So it was for Hayley Martin and Aidan O’Brien when in 2009, studying at universities in Nottingham and Guildford respectively, they first began collaborating on a new project that would go on to become Shadowboxer. Combining influences ranging from Björk to Oceansize, with the full gamut in-between, the pair set out to combine the rock guitars, bass and drums of their previous bands with more atmospheric, synthesised tones as well as piano and orchestral sounds - all the time being careful not to lose sight of the song at the centre of the arrangement. Recruiting friends to contribute performances and help with recording, they began laying down tracks anywhere they could, resulting in time spent in a plethora of bedrooms and home studios around the country, as well as several sessions at Phoenix Sound, Pinewood Studios - a benefit of having friends in the right place at the right time. Despite this, Two Cities, the resulting EP, is very much a DIY job, written, arranged and produced at home, and recorded on a budget which essentially comes down to the price of a few train tickets to get musicians where they needed to be.
Regardless, the finished product is a sonic treat, taking the listener from the accusatory "How do you sleep at night?" refrain of Juniper to the guitar-led climax of Word of a Stranger via the fragile, jewellery-box style verses of Dancer and the frantic drumming and building vocals of Villanelle. Having been rehearsing with an extensive live band for the last 2 months, and already at work writing and recording the follow up to Two Cities, Shadowboxer have big plans for 2011. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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