Downes Braide Association: Skyscraper Souls

DBA3 Cover

DOWNES BRAIDE ASSOCIATION Release New Album Skyscraper Souls Feat. Guest Appearances By Andy Partridge (XTC), Marc Almond and Kate Pierson (B52s)! OUT NOW!

Front cover artwork is by Roger Dean!

London – Super-duo Geoff Downes & Chris Braide, known as the Downes Braide Association (DBA), release their new album Skyscraper Souls on 17th November through their own label X2X Records via Cherry Red. This is their 3rd collaboration and follows their two previous critically-acclaimed releases Pictures of You (2012) and Suburban Ghosts (2015).

Both members have an immense body of work. Chris Braide is a British singer, songwriter and producer, now based in LA, who has written and produced songs for Beyonce, Lana del Rey, Paloma Faith, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, David Guetta, Sia, Afrojack & Marc Almond… to name a few. Geoff Downes is the prog legend who has played keyboards in The Buggles, Asia & Yes… he co-wrote the hits “Heat of the Moment” and “Video Killed the Radio Star.”

Skyscraper Souls is a more traditional progressive/classic rock/band album than their previous material, but retains a strong pop aesthetic and features many great guest contributions, including Marc Almond, Andy Partridge from XTC and Kate Pierson from the B52s. The front cover artwork is by Roger Dean.

The idea for the album started as a series of sketches Geoff had been working on after a break from touring last year. By the time he returned from the road he directed the subsequent pent-up energy into composition and the ideas literally poured out. As a kid, Chris had always loved expansive pieces like “Close To The Edge” and “Tubular Bells.” While he is a huge pop fan and has written multitudes of pop hits for pop stars, his heart has a special place for those big studio epic productions.

On this album, Downes & Braide were joined by drummer Ash Soan (Trevor Horn, Squeeze, Faithless, Del Amitri, Adele, Cee Lo Green, Will Young, Robbie Williams & Gary Barlow and many more) and bassist Andy Hodge. Chris says, “Having such an amazing rhythm section really brought the songs to life. With previous albums we always used drum machines and samples. There is so much warmth and movement in these recordings. They breathe!”

The fact that their ‘association’ has always had to fit around their extensive commitments has never dulled their remarkable musical creativity. This album went a step further and was co-written remotely – at no time were the pair ever in the same room! Chris explains, “Geoff would send me folders full of stuff such as the magnificent piano pieces which turned into ‘Glacier Girl’ and ‘Prelude.’ As soon as I heard the chords I was writing lyrics like a mad man and before long the album started to materialize.” Geoff adds, “The ideas themselves were in a very rough format, but with the melodies & basic harmonies. Chris started playing around with these, and often, they came back with some radical changes, but Chris was always very conscious to retain my original idea.”

The pair feel Skyscraper Souls is their strongest album to date, which is no mean feat! This album contains constant motifs and themes that recur and flow throughout. Keeping strong melodies to the fore they have created a wonderfully interesting soundscape.

Track list as follows:

  1. Prelude (ft Andy Partridge – XTC)
  2. Skyscraper Souls (ft Kate Pierson – B52s)
  3. Glacier Girl (ft Andy Partridge)
  4. Angel On Your Shoulder (ft Matthew Koma)
  5. Tomorrow (ft David Longdon – Big Big Train)
  6. Lighthouse (ft Tim Bowness)
  7. Skin Deep (ft Marc Almond)
  8. Darker Times (ft Andy Partridge)

Outside of DBA Downes and Braide remain in high demand.

Geoff has been pretty much flat out touring the world with Yes and Asia for the last few years. Any breaks have been filled up with other projects, including putting together some new Buggles ideas with Trevor (Horn). He is also writing film and library music.

Chris has been writing music for movies in LA, the most recent being a new animation called LEAP. He wrote “UNSTOPPABLE” for the Olympics with the artist SIA and has co-written and produced the new single for DJ Robin Schulz. He also wrote and produced a new Marc Almond album, due out next year as well as Marc’s next single “Embers.” He produced a single for Elle King for a big ad campaign featuring Kendal Jenner, and is currently scoring a movie soundtrack at his studio in LA. He has written a song for Trevor Horn called “Sky Show” for an animation he was working on. With more new ventures, Chris has had no break this year, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

To purchase:

For more information:

Official website: http://www.downesbraide.com/
Twitter: @TheRealDBAMusic

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John Wetton & Geoff Downes’ iCon Zero Now Available on CD and Download!

Icon Zero Cover Art

iCon Zero is a revised presentation of the Wetton/Downes album and is a precursor to their iCon series of albums. It is essentially a collection of tracks mostly recorded in the late 1980s through the time of their brief reformation in 1990.

The original version of the album was released in 2002 and in retrospect seemed like an iCon album from a previous era, so both John and Geoff readily agreed to it being brought into the iCon family. John came up with the name Zero, and both John and Geoff approved the new front cover artwork.

The album has received a 2017 remaster and includes two previously unreleased bonus tracks.

Geoff Downes reminisced about this time period in their joint career with these comments: “Icon Zero brings back many fond memories of working with John back in the early-mid 80s. Despite being the principal writers for Asia, we both felt there was at least one other string to our bow. This manifested itself in later years as the Icon project, and this album is an insight into the inner workings of our early relationship, not just as members of Asia, but also as songwriters. These recordings were made largely at weekends when we rented demo studios to try out our ‘other’ ideas and simply have some fun time away from the pressures of the music business. Most of these songs were put together in a few hours, and written on the fly. Then, they were recorded straight down that same day. One great aspect of this was, we always seemed came up with something new, and as the inspiration flowed it was captured there and then even in its embryonic form.”

Sadly John Wetton passed away in January 2017, but this release was already on the cards, with his Estate and Geoff Downes approving it going ahead as originally planned.

Geoff Downes had these further comments about his late bandmate: “John was a genius in every sense of the word, and I am most privileged to have been a big part of his career. The iCon project in itself stands alone as a complete cycle of our work together, and this album (iCon Zero) displays an important part of that development. The great John Wetton’s unique presence can be felt on every note and lyric of these songs. Please enjoy.”

iCon Zero will be followed by definitive edition re-releases of the subsequent three iCon albums, with bonus tracks, during 2018 with Geoff Downes’ personal approval.

To purchase John Wetton & Geoff Downes iCon Zero:

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Carl Palmer and Geoff Discuss Asia Show at Bergen Performing Arts Center

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Wetton/Downes’ iCon Announces the Mainstream Release of Urban Psalm on 2CD/1DVD

The collaboration of the ASIA co-founders, John Wetton and Geoff Downes’ iCon, has led to the formation of Epicon Records (via Cherry Red) and its first release of Urban Psalm as a 2CD/1DVD set.  The release was planned before John Wetton’s death in January 2017 and is fully approved by Geoff Downes and the Wetton Estate.

The concert was filmed at the iconic St Mary-le-Bow church in London and features a unique set including iCon songs, heritage tracks and the greatest hits of ASIA.  This release of Urban Psalm is the first in a series of definitive re-releases of the iCon catalogue.

The Urban Pslam recording also features Dave Kilminster (Roger Waters, Keith Emerson) on guitars, Pete Riley (whom John called “the best drummer in the world” and played with Keith Emerson alongside Dave), Panic Room’s Anne-Marie Helder on vocals and ELO’s Hugh McDowell played cello.

Of the release Geoff Downes said: “Urban Psalm emerged out of a very special one-time concert featuring the music of John and I. Set in an historic church in London, the concert was recorded and filmed. Concert goers received a DVD as part of their attendance. Few people had the opportunity to see this live and until now has had very limited fan-based distribution”

The setting was historic and intimate and the film has not been shared widely until now, although fans came from around the world to participate.

You’re in for a rare treat.

Available to order now:

Amazon 2CD/1DVD set: http://geni.us/icon6

iTunes: http://geni.us/cG4tsgs

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Geoff Downes remembers John Wetton

Geoff spoke with 94.7 WCSX in Detroit for their podcast on February 1st. Listen to the interview.

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John Wetton 1949-2017

John Wetton, Geoff’s long-time friend and collaborator, passed away this morning.

From Geoff:

“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart, that I have to report we have lost my dearest friend, brother, bandmate and long term musical collaborator, John Wetton, who has passed away after a long and tenacious battle with cancer. He will be remembered as one of the world’s finest musical talents, and I for one of many was wholly blessed by his influence. It was a massive privilege for me to have worked with this genius so closely on our numerous projects together over the years. His bass playing was revolutionary. His voice was from the gods. His compositions – out of this world. His sense of melody and harmony – unreal. He was literally a ‘special one’.

But John was much more than a gigantic and unique musical talent. He was a supremely intelligent man, marked with his great observations and wisdom about life; all couched within his wicked sense of humour. The wit was dark and deep, only fully perceptible to those on his same wavelength. I was fortunate enough to be able to be on that wavelength, and discover that we had much in common. Many of his personal life experiences were reflected in his lyrical contributions to the songs. His heart was always in the music. That was John, through and through. It was always about – the music.

As a person, he was fiercely loyal, loving and generous, particularly to those he cared about. But he could be as stubborn as a mule or as gracious as a nobleman, depending on the mood that grabbed him on any particular day. There were some who couldn’t read his brilliant mind and complex personality. Some found him charming, others infuriating. But however you found John, there was no denying his rare talent as a musician and songwriter was second to none.

Both of us having been brought up with similar backgrounds in provincial England, we shared a love of many things – sport, and in particular – football, English church music, current affairs, comedy, literature, you name it….pretty much everything that 2 kids from the sticks were exposed to in our youth.

Our planets seemed to be immediately in alignment when we first met in early 1981. There was a laddish camaraderie that grew between us as we became as close as two non-related brothers could be. He was an avid reader and film enthusiast, something he pursued with great interest. This helped inspire him to some wonderful lyrics to the literally hundreds of songs we composed together. Back then, we immediately hit the ground running as we composed much of the debut ASIA album together and forged a formidable partnership which lasted right up until now. It was a wholly natural process for us, whereby we could knock out 2 or 3 songs in an afternoon. They were always greeted with our gentlemanly handshake and smiles once we had wrapped up another one in the bag.

Above all else though, his passion for life was to the fore. The battles he endured throughout were immense and well documented. Firstly with alcohol, which he so resolutely overcame, then open heart surgery and finally cancer, which sadly was to take his life in the end. He once observed to me that this disease is a “merciless assassin”. Just another example of his perception and the descriptive language that he was so richly blessed with. He took all of these battles on board with great bravery and almost a ‘laissez-faire’ attitude, tinged with his inimitable wry wit.

To say I will miss my him greatly is beyond understatement. He was such an inspiration to me. We were planning another album, but sadly he was not well enough to complete it. I feel heartbroken about this, as I knew John thought it was to be one of our finest albums to date. I remain as proud as ever of our Wetton/Downes writing partnership. I am hoping one day that I will be able to finish it, and that it will be appreciated by all those who loved his and our music, and most importantly, a legacy he would have been proud of.

Life will not be the same without him. And words are not really enough to describe the loss I feel right now, and the many friends and fans all over the World will also be feeling. It is the end of an era for all of us. But we will soldier on – the music of John Wetton needs to be heard loud and clear from the rooftops.

Dearest John, may you rest in peace brother.
X
Geoffrey

Please join me in sending our sincerest thoughts and prayers to Lisa, Dylan and the entire Wetton family at this difficult time.”

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Journey & Asia 2017 Tour Dates

Geoff will be on the road with Asia for a series of dates with Journey. Be sure to check for a show near you!

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A Personal Message from John Wetton

I am disappointed to announce that, on the advice of my medical team, I have to withdraw from Cruise to the Edge, and from the first leg of the Journey tour, March 15 – April 4. I will soon be starting a new medical chemotherapy procedure, under which I will not be able to fly.

I am grateful to the promoters of the cruise.  I wish them pleasant sailing and I know my friends on the cruise, both artists and fans, will have a ball on the ocean wave,  I will be with you all in spirit.

My good friend Billy Sherwood will fill in for me within Asia, keeping my seat warm during the initial 12 Journey dates.  While I am naturally disappointed to miss the beginning of what I know will be an historic ASIA tour, I am intending to return to the stage with Asia later in 2017, dates soon to be announced. I know this decision will be in the best interests of my health and our fans, in the long run.

John Wetton
Bournemouth
England
January 11th 2017

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ACTION MOVES PEOPLE UNITED with UNESCO USA

WORLD PEACE – SPOKEN WORD ALBUM ACTION MOVES PEOPLE UNITED with UNESCO USA

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OVER 300 INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS CONTRIBUTE from over 30 countries featuring Dan Aykroyd, Julian Lennon, Kathy Sledge, Alan White, Geoff Downes, John Wetton, Patrick Moraz, Annie Haslam, Janis Ian, Martin Barre, Colin Andrews, Lillias White, and many other artists!

ACTION MOVES PEOPLE UNITED, a World Peace Project with UNESCO – USFUCA, is produced by Grammy® Winner Kevin Mackie, award winning producer Krista Wallhagen, and Guinness World Record® holder musician and award winning filmmaker Rupam Sarmah. Through media initiatives, in collaboration with artists, authors, and organizations from all around the world, AMPU’s mission of establishing a peaceful planet and a healthy biosphere will be an ongoing commitment. One of the goals for the project is to pair up artists who live in opposing countries for collaborations that go beyond politics, religion and borders.

The team has produced a musical spoken word album that will exchange ideas, stories, and information focused on bringing about World Peace through individual responsibility, Education, and helping each other. The goal of the project is to raise awareness of environmental and humanitarian crisis and find actionable solutions.

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) strives to promote peace and security among nations through education, science, and culture.

“I pray for the moment of mass consciousness when we all wake up and bring peace into our own hearts and souls. It’s a challenge and it’s going to take every one of us to make it happen,” says Dan Aykroyd.

The double CD album with 45 tracks of Musical Spoken Word and Songs will be officially released on Sept 21, 2016. The album is available for digital download on iTunes, Amazon, and other stores worldwide. Please visit the site for details: www.ActionMovesPeopleUnited.org

AMPU Press Release

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Summer US Yes Date Announced

Geoff will be touring with Yes this summer. Announced dates can be found below.

Day Date City Venue
July
WED 27 Columbus, OH Ohio State Fair
SAT 30 Atlantic City, NJ Tropicana
SUN 31 Bethlehem, PA Sands Event Center
August
TUE 2 Lewiston, NY Artpark
THU 4 Lynn, MA Lynn Auditorium
FRI 5 Wallingford, CT Oakdale Theatre
SAT 6 Westbury, NY Theatre at Westbury
TUE 9 Staten Island, NY St. George Theatre
WED 10 Englewood, NJ Bergen Performing Arts Center
FRI 12 Port Chester, NY The Capitol Theater
SAT 13 Morristown, NJ Morristown Performing Arts Center
TUE 16 Washington, DC Warner Theatre
WED 17 Munhall, PA Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall
FRI 19 Sterling Heights, MI Freedom Hill Amp.
SAT 20 Chicago, IL Copernicus Center
SUN 21 Milwaukee, WI Pabst Theater
WED 24 Denver, CO Paramount Theatre
FRI 26 Anaheim, CA The Grove
SAT 27 Las Vegas, NV Downtown Event Center
SUN 28 Santa Barbara, CA Arlington Theatre
TUE 30 Los Angles, CA Orpheum Theater
WED 31 Saratoga, CA The Mountain Winery
Sept
FRI 2 Reno, NV Silver Legacy Casino
SAT 3 Paso Robles, CA Vina Robles Winery
SUN 4 San Diego, CA Vina Robles Winery
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