Tabula Rasa Suite

by Neil Campbell

supported by
Peter Critchley
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Peter Critchley Virtuoso Neil Campbell alone playing classical acoustic guitar.
The suite consists of beautifully composed and performed pieces set against the backdrop of sounds associated with Sefton Park, Liverpool, a tranquil place I know and love. Campbell’s playing is immaculate throughout. The work is contemplative, reflective, suitably restrained and beautifully played to create a wonderfully autumnal, pastoral feel. Favorite track: Tabula Rasa Suite: II.
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about

"This music brings to mind the best work of Vangelis. It is passionate and masterfully executed. In an era of plastic pop stars and disposable Bandcamp heroes, Mr. Campbell is the definition of a true musician. An excellent work." - Gary Flanagan, Night Waves

"A masterful work of simplicity and depth... Recordings of birdsong and children at play create the perfect backdrop to (Campbell's) impeccable playing, often plangent, playful and searching" - The Musician

"a CD for contemplation, relaxation, the westering of the sun towards a purple horizon, an interlude of an evening with a few quiet friends, in the back of the house, on the adobe patio, wine in hand." - Mark Tucker, FAME reviews

"with Tabula Rasa Suite this wonderfully gifted guitarist has crafted a personal journey that is remarkably easy to engage with, while remaining stubbornly attention holding...The joy of what Campbell himself provides is the manner in which he holds the imagination through sounds which in the wrong hands could be seen as melancholy; instead the beauty of the scenes intended comes across so strongly that it's easy to imagine the settings and happenings played out in front of Campbell's window even before you read the short liner notes which confirm the intentions." 4.5/5*- Steven Reid, Sea of Tranquility

"nine beautifully composed and performed pieces allowing a glimpse into a tranquil place centred around an English park." - Bob Mulvey, The Progressive Aspect

"Like the cosmos, Neil’s guitar music is complex; weaving intermingled waves; yet shines bright with the clarity of stars....with Tabula Rasa Suite Neil redefines ambient solo guitar, combined with the sounds which fill his daily life with celestial light; wringing siren song from silence; the sort of music that creeps up on you and stealthily steals away with your soul." - Chumki Banerjee, Nerve

tabula rasa
ˌtabjʊlə ˈrɑːzə/

noun

an absence of preconceived ideas or predetermined goals; a clean slate.
"the team did not have complete freedom and a tabula rasa from which to work"
the human mind, especially at birth, viewed as having no innate ideas.


'Tabula Rasa Suite is a very personal series of pieces for solo guitar and environmental sounds. Early in 2013 I moved to a beautiful leafy area very close to Liverpool's Sefton Park and Princes Park. I wanted this music to reflect the change of scenery in my life - a sort of new beginning.

I asked Manuella Blackburn, an electro-acoustic composer, to assemble a backdrop of environmental sounds. Rather than just use library audio I wanted something more personal for this project, so most of the audio is recorded close to where I live, in nearby Sefton Park. The sound environment, and the suite of music, were sequenced to reflect the creation story within the context of sounds you might hear in a suburban park - starting with the elements (rain and thunder), then humble creatures (birds) and lastly human beings (children playing).

This piece is my reflection on creativity and new birth. Everything that human beings create is just a small reflection of the mystery that surrounds us; How all of this - the world , the universe and ourselves - came to exist is unfathomable to even the greatest minds. Every new birth and even every new idea is a miracle. Around the time I completed Tabula Rasa Suite my friends Viktor and Shannon celebrated the birth of their new son Tor. Given the concept of the piece, it seemed entirely relevant that the final piece be dedicated to him.

My thanks go out to Perri Alleyne-Hughes, my inspiration, who has contributed her beautiful understated vocals to Part VIII. Also special thanks are due to Kyle Western, who has given a great deal of his time and creativity to making this music sound as beautiful as possible. And finally my thanks to you, the listener. Sit back, close your eyes and enjoy the journey.'

Neil Campbell, Liverpool, 2014

credits

released December 6, 2014

Tabula Rasa Suite:

Composed by Neil Campbell
Neil Campbell (classical guitar)
Manuella Blackburn (sound environment)
Perri Alleyne-Hughes (voice on Part VIII)
Engineered by Kyle Western
Produced by Neil Campbell and Kyle Western

Special thanks to Kyle Western, Manuella Blackburn and Perri Alleyne-Hughes.

Trois Gymnopédies:

Composed by Erik Satie
Neil Campbell (classical guitar)
Engineered by Kyle Western
Produced by Neil Campbell and Kyle Western


Original painting used in cover image by Brian Gibson, used with thanks.
Photograph of Brian Gibson painting by Alistair Adams - thanks Alistair.
Art concept by Neil Campbell
Design by Paul Hunt

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about

Neil Campbell Liverpool, UK

Liverpool composer and multi-instrumentalist Neil Campbell has been described by Classical Guitar Magazine as 'an outstanding guitarist whose originality of thought makes him far more than just another gifted purveyor of finger acrobatics.'

His work traverses many musical styles including minimalism, progressive rock, jazz and ambient music.
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