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Peter Beasley is a British composer and producer of instrumental electronic music who works in a broad range of styles including progressive , rock, dance, pop, ambient, solo piano and Berlin School. He was born and lives in London, UK.
Originally a rock drummer, he moved into electronic music production, co-founding AMP Records with Mark Jenkins and Ashok Prema in 1985. Beasley contributed three tracks (Ollie's Camera Looks, Cherub and Parchal Papaguio) to The AMP Records Compilation Album (1985).
He was a regular live performer on the electronica scene in the 1980s and toured the UK in 1986 to preview Coruscation, which was released the following year with a performance at the UK Electronica Festival at the Gatehouse Theatre, Stafford.
Beasley's next project was Imaginary Soundtrack - a series of short, mostly improvised pieces, inspired by Tangerine Dream's 80s soundtrack work. This was completed in 1992 but not released until 2009. Available on last.fm as a free download.
In 2007 after a long hiatus, Beasley remixed and remastered Coruscation, re-releasing it with bonus tracks to mark the 20th anniversary.
Beasley was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2003 which has severely restricted the use of his hands and fingers preventing him from live performance. Consequently he has adapted his writing style to employ sequencing and programming more extensively.
In April 2010 he released a live album recorded at various venues on his 1986 tour UK Tour 1986
He is currently (2013) working on several projects, including a new studio album, The Tree That Wished To Dance.
Some other Peter Beasley websites:-
Coruscation track listing:-
1 Hunger Hill (6.00)
2 The Swaggering (4.58)
3 Nullified (4.25)
4 Qwerty Uiop (6.56)
5 York Aspiring (21.21)
6 Hunger Hill (Under Construction) (5.45)
7 Qwerty Uiop (Demo) (5.41)
8 York Aspiring (Demo) (22.13)
Reviews of Coruscation
Back in the 80s there was a style of lively and rhythmic instrumental synth music that became known as 'Brit Synthrock'. In contrast to the more dreamy, spacey European styles it gave the EM scene a much-needed kick up the bum, but sadly, it was to fade away as most instrumental synth artists started churning out third-rate Tangerine Dream/Klaus Schulze clones rather than developing their own styles. This album from the then London-based Pete Beasley was originally released on cassette (CDs were out of the reach of most amateur musicians in those days!) in 1987, re-released on CDr during 2007 and it remains one of the best examples of 80s British synth music.
Alongside Beasley's undoubted melodic talents, what makes this album stand out is his sequencing skills, a legacy of his past playing drums in rock bands, that only the most talented musicians have ever equalled. This is particularly important on the 21 minute magnum opus York Aspiring which moves from its atmospheric, majestic opening through several rhythmic passages, each one merging seemlessly into the next with a constant flurry of thoughtful melodics keeping interest high throughout. The manner in which the pace of the latter sections changes once the rhythm line is fully built up is particularly worthy of note and testament to his skills.
As well as this, there are four shorter tracks (which made up side one of the original cassette), starting with the memorable Hunger Hill (named after a part of Nottingham, fact fans) which kicks the album off in fine fettle with a memorable dynamic and totally digital feel (the DX7 reigns supreme here!) and is followed by the improvised numbers The Swaggering and Nullified which again demonstrate his melodic skills while Gary Attwood's guitar work adds further strength to the pacey and instantly memorable Qwerty Uiop, the loose feel of which hints at more improvisation!
As a bonus there are earlier versions of three of the tracks although, for those who were around at the time, it's a shame that none of the tracks from The AMP Records Compilation Album were included (I wonder why they weren't?). Still, even now this remains a worthwhile listen and a reminder of how good Brit Synth Rock was!
For anyone into strong, muscular synth music, this album has much to offer: HUNGER HILL moves along at breakneck speed; THE SWAGGERING features strong percussives and is jazzy in a kind of Roger Powell way; NULLIFIED is more unusual, with reverberating drums beating strongly against a Tangerine Dream like tune, the effect being somewhat like Peter Frohmader's 'Ritual' album, but Beasley's approach is more spritely and light; QWERTY UIOP is a kind of like a disco-ified Ashra sequencer piece, the guitar solo is nice, but it's a pity it wasn't a bit more forward in the mix.
The major triumph here though is the side long YORK ASPIRING, which opens swirling from the void into a typically Tangerine Dream 'White Eagle' period, relaxed melodic rhythmic piece. The composition is quite clever, different ideas take over in steps, so that the fabric of the music is constantly changing. Moving from the gently melodic to the thunderously heavy to the cacophonous to the tranquil with ease. The final section again has an Ashra type sequence, complex percussives and some Tangerine Dream style solos - finishing the album most vibrantly.
Review of London concert 1986
Another concert organised by AMP Records in quite contrasting surroundings to their bash at the Planetarium a few weeks ago. Situated by the Piazza in Covent Garden, the Africa Centre greeted a small but enthusiastic crowd on a drizzly winter evening.
After an hour of fine E.M. records, courtesy of D.J. Monkey Pilot, Peter Beasley took the stage for the last date of his UK Tour, accompanied by Dave Titchen. I didn't really know what to expect from Beasley, as his contributions to The AMP Records Compilation Album were so varied, but I wasn't disappointed - his hour long set was one of the best I've heard in ages.
Peter kicked off with an improved version of Ollie's Camera Looks and then previewed material from his forthcoming album Coruscation. The first piece, York Aspiring, featured stunning atmospherics and tremendous soloing, with Pete's drumming background clearly evident in his dynamic sequencer patterns.
The highlight of the whole evening came next, as Peter and Dave were joined by guitarist Gary Attwood for another new number. Attwood played a superb solo over a bouncy, driving, Fripp influenced beat. Dave Titchen then featured a short, melodic organ solo which led into a powerful and lively finale. They encored with a number about ex-newsreader Anna Ford!!!
On the strength of this evening, I'm sure Coruscation will be eagerly received.
Top SongsTotal plays on Last.fm over the last 6 months
- Red Fog Erase - 704 plays
- Works in progress 2010 - 362 plays
- Hunger Hill (excerpt) - 264 plays
- Ollie's Camera Looks (Live) - 410 plays
- Coal Black Polar - 267 plays
- Qwerty Uiop (excerpt) - 172 plays
- Farewells and Flight - 162 plays
- Crashing the Pips - 179 plays
- Shocked Quartz - 158 plays
- York Aspiring (excerpts) - 114 plays