Established Leicester based session musician, collaborator, performer and classical arranger Francis Binns, has released his first classical solo piano album. Fell Swoop was funded by Joe Crompton in a modern day philanthropic move to prevent his best friend Binns “taking his tunes to his grave”. The collection of contemporary compositions was captured in a day at Acapela studios on a Yamaha grand, the first time Binns' solo work has been professionally recorded for public release. Likened to Nyman, Evans and Eno, the results are beautiful: a timeless treat of harmonic piano minimalism that gives credit to years of improvisation and experimentation by its composer.
He is a multi-instrumentalist, and plays guitar in a duo called 'Jon Cank' with long-term friend Teresa Connelly. He has collaborated with other artists such as dub producer 'Vibronics', coming up with a cracking spanish guitar hook on 'Night Storm'. He also recorded and released an album in 2005 called 'Shallow Dive', under the name of 'Chin Chin', which sits in the genre of folkronica. One of the tunes featured on this album was played by Rob da Bank on his Blue Room programme on Radio 1.
His piano compositions are created by improvisation. An idea will develop and then will be revisited over a number of days, weeks or even years:
Nocturne in C # minor was originally written when he was 14, discovering the likes of Beethoven and Chopin, and has been slightly altered since.
Cramer was written when he first got a piano back in his house after a 15 year absence and was written in a weekend.
Fell Swoop was composed to be played at his friends’ wedding after the vows: a piece of calm minimalism to let everyone breathe and take in the occasion.
Tom was composed while at work, based on a very simple melody: it was noticed that Tom, a profoundly disabled student, was smiling while listening. In subsequent lessons it would never fail to recreate the same response.
The most recently composed track was Sight Unseen, in a scale that is evocative of the works of Debussy.
These compositions have individually been performed in many environments and touched all those lucky enough to hear them.
Binns has also performed a live preview of the complete album at Embrace Arts, Leicester to a rapt audience. Picked to score an upcoming British film, Honeytrap, as a result of its director Rebecca Johnson hearing Fell Swoop, Binns has now produced more album copies to circulate his personal piano treasures beyond his comfort zones and out into the realms of the worldwide music scene.
Francis Binns is 40 years old and has been playing, performing & writing music for the last 20 years. Binns is currently teaching music to young adults with profound learning difficulties and helping people with mental health issues to gain confidence through playing and performing. He lives in Leicester with his partner June and their two children Dulcibella and Jonah.
Quotes from listeneners:
"Francis is an incredibly gifted composer and pianist and his music is powerful, sensitive, nuanced and moving. I am really excited to be working with him.' Rebecca Johnson (director of Top Girl and Honeytrap)
“…beautiful harmonic piano minimalism... file alongside Michael Nyman, Bill Evans and Brian Eno”
Jim Lister (DJ on Brighton FM)
“His new Fell Swoop album is a timeless collection of well-weighted treasures sure to carry you through high times and low…” Myoptik (Centrifuge Records)
“Gentle, calming and clever”
Justin Vee Liu
“Beautiful, epic….a great ‘end of the day meditation listen’”
“Gorgeous music!!!!! Fantastic, love it so much!!!!”
Leila Houston (Artist)
"Personally I love it, my son loves it, my Mum loves it - something for everyone."