Transparent Music 2
BJ Cole with Guy Jackson
Available through Untied Artists.
CD: £14.00 Limited time £10
MP3: £10.00 Limited time £5
Deluxe Digital Download: £12.99 Limited time £10
Transparent Music 2 is the long-awaited follow-up to the ground-breaking Transparent Music of 1989.
Nine ambient compositions crafted over several years by BJ with long time collaborator Guy Jackson.
There are unique guest appearances including Davy Spillane the Uileann pipes supremo, Arve Henriksen the Norwegian trumpet virtuoso, Mo Foster the renowned bassist and Michael Messer the legendary
BJ Cole & Emily Burridge "The Gnossienne Suite"
New release 2011 digital download
"The Gnossienne Suite"
Arrangements of Eric Satie's "Gnossiennes" by Emily Burridge - 'cello
and BJ Cole - Pedal Steel Guitar
Available through Emily Burridge.
Although BJ Cole and Emily Burridge have had several of Erik Satie's Gnossiennes in their repertoire for some time, it was only when they had the idea of performing the complete cycle that it became clear that the pieces should evolve in the form of a suite, and to this end they have composed musical passages that link the individual 'miniatures' and create a sense of momentum through the whole work.
LushLife .. Roger Beaujolais / BJ Cole / Simon Thorpe
Available through Untied Artists.
A strangely familiar sound, in an entirely new context... BJ Cole, the legendary pedal steel maestro and his vibraphone counterpart, the great Roger Beaujolais have come together to craft an intoxicating blend of their distinctively eclectic sounds, woven together by the acclaimed Simon Thorpe?s immaculate, textural double bass.
The result is a surprising reinvention of a familiar musical space, think of it as ?Loft Jazz?... it?s up there somewhere, it?s luxurious, inspired and exudes an effortless cool.
Into The Blue
INTO THE BLUE Duets
for Pedal Steel Guitar & 'cello. Cat No BJEM01
By BJ Cole & Emily Burridge
Available through Untied Artists.
Unique interpretations of pieces by Erik Satie, Henry Purcell
and Aaron Copeland recorded live in the fabulous acoustics of
Oulton chapel, Norfolk by Jonathan Baker. Hear clips from the
Now with brand new cover artwork by Kenny Laurenson
Trouble In Paradise
Trouble In Paradise
(2004) Cooking Vinyl Records COOKCD312
For further info go to www.cookingvinyl.com
You can also download individual tracks from the album here:
Through working with Luke Vibert I had made many contacts in the
dance music field. It seemed like a very natural progression to
ask some of them to work with me on new tracks for an album. As
all of them had the utmost regard for 'Stop The Panic' it was
not difficult to get them excited about the idea. The album turned
out to be darker and more complex than it's predecessor, and took
me almost four years to complete. Following it's release I formed
the live ensemble, 'the Trouble In Paradise Trio' with percussionist
EDDY SAYER and lap top wizard BEN BAYLISS. See the PROJECTS
page for more details.
Trouble In Paradise 5.1 Surround sound remix.
Silverline 284403-2 Dualdisc containing both the regular CD mix
and a 5.1 surround sound remix.
For further info go to www.silverlinerecords.com
Thanks to the USA based record label Silverline, I got to remix
'Trouble In Paradise' in 5.1 surround sound. Not only did I discover
that the multi dimensionality of 5.1 made the album a much fuller
listening experience, but I also became a fervent fan of the surround
sound medium. This Silverline release also made the album available
in the USA.
Alexis Petridis Friday July 9, 2004
The pedal steel guitar isn't normally associated with clubby electronica
or languid drum'n'bass, but pedal steel vet Cole shows that with
a bit of ambition and attitude, he can take his favourite contraption
anywhere. Apparently the album was four years in the making, but
Cole's patience was rewarded with a batch of cunningly-wrought
tracks featuring guest appearances by Alabama 3, Groove Armada,
Trash Palace and a whole bunch more. So you thought the pedal
steel meant Nashville and Tammy Wynette? Then think again, and
stroke your chin in wonderment as Cole glides menacingly above
the blippy, hustling beat of Milkshake Roadmap (with help from
drummer Neil Conti and processing by Brian Eno), gets trashy and
low-down with Alabama 3 on Are You Ready for Some Country, and
"blends acid house with bluegrass" over Luke Vibert's shape-shifting
groove on Surf Acid Hoedown.
Crud Newsletter Aug 14, 2004
Packing a whopping thirty odd years in the music business as Pedal
Steel Guitar player extraordinaire and session guru, B. J Cole
has worked with pretty much all the mainstream and non-mainstream
luminaries you could care to mention: REM, Scott Walker, Beck,
Sting, Spiritualized, Bjork, Elton John, Marc Bolan, Scott Walker,
Pink Floyd, Eno, The Verve, Robert Plant, Marianne Faithfull and
Joe Strummer. And lo and behold, 'Trouble In Paradise' sees
Cole get back a little of all that he has put in to everybody's
else work courtesy of some worthy contributions and co-writes
from some equally subversive hands including: Luke Vibert,
Bent, Groove Armada, Alabama 3 and Fluid.
As a founder member of the British post psychedelic band Cochise
and keen experimentalist ('The New Hovering Dog' 1973) don't go
assuming 'Trouble In Paradise' to be one slip-slidey ho-down of
a record, endeavouring to meld an embarrassing conflation of the
old and the new with little or no regard to the integrity of either
- because on this record Cole handsomely extends his grasp of
avant-garde and ambient without once sounding like a twat. If
you enjoy the moist and streamy electronica of Luke Vibert or
Bent you're certain to enjoy this loose, decadent and effortlessly
dreamy road trip of a record. If you don't enjoy any of those.
Well you're f***ed, quite frankly.
Stop The Panic
Stop The Panic (With
Luke Vibert). (2000) UK. Cooking Vinyl Records. COOK CD 193.
For further information go to www.cookingvinyl.com
USA. Astralwerks Records. RSW 48797-2.
For further information go to www.Astralwerks.com
You can also download individual tracks from the album here:
Working with Luke was probably one of the most enjoyable projects
of my whole career. For some time I had held an ambition to work
with a DJ and/or programmer. Through a combination of circumstances
I ended up getting to know and work with the most musical and
prolific practitioner of his art. On top of that he has a passion
for the Steel Guitar and all things exotic. I think our mutual
excitement shows in the musicÖ
Andy Gill. MOJO Feb 2000
Vibert is the Cornish sampling bod better known as Plug or Wagon
Christ , while BJ Cole is the UK Pedal Steel Guitar virtuoso whose
licks have graced records by everyone from Bjork to Beck, and
who replaced Nick McCabe in The Verve. This collaboration may
be the best thing either has done, a rewarding alliance of eclecticists
whose tracks recall the exotic sonic tableaux of Les Baxter and
Martin Denny, with breakbeats and techno figures furnishing the
rhythms and Cole's guitar lines like a silken thread holding Vibert's
sample collages together. The results are surprisingly diverse,
ranging from the lugubrious menace of 'Dischordzilla' to the quirky
banjo driven Hipalong Hop, with Swing Lite- a sort of cross between
Les Paul and Hawaiian lounge music - the most obviously indebted
to '50's exotica.
I - D Jan/feb 2000
Youíll laugh out loud. Not because STOP THE PANICís cheeky hip
hop grooves mashed along with BJ Coleís steel guitar genius is
particularly funny. Or that the soulful curves of Start The Panic,
the weird shit noisenik of This Stuff Is Fresh or the Hawaiian
sway of Swing Lite - Alright ainít up to scratch. Itís just that
for once seriously good music wonít have you reaching for your
MINISTRY Jan 2000
Bearded bedroom rocker Vibert, the brains behind the deeply undervalued
Wagon Christ, has hit the jackpot with STOP THE PANIC. It's a
crazy comic strut through his seriously well equipped Cornish
studio. Weird noises, dark hip hop beats, barking dogs, panting
girlies and fat basslines are given a truly unique counterpoint
, courtesy of pedal steel guitar legend BJ Cole. Veteran of recording
sessions with everyone from Marc Bolan to Beck. Cole can sound
like a Hawaiian beachbum, a blunt smokin' banjo picker or even
a brain fried Bollywood sitar king. On paper, Vibert and Cole
look like a combination that would never work. It's a testimony
to their vision that it does.
Claire Morgan Jones DJ Magazine
A strange and eccentric item, this one. Take one Luke Vibert of
Wagon Christ and Plug fame and put him together with legendary
slide guitarist Cole, who's worked with the likes of Scott Walker,
Bjork, The Verve and Beck, give the mix a quick stir and what
do you get? Well, kind of a block party vibe in a hula hula skirt,
hip hop Country and Western, urban hickster drum'n'bass. Instrumentation
such as slide guitar banjo and violin may not sit easily with
hip hop, but Vibert and Cole manage to blend seemingly contradictory
sounds with skill, especially on cuts like 'Hipalong Hop' and
the dreamy 'Fly Hawaii', where Cole really gets to show off his
brilliance as a guitarist. Images of Elvis in full '50's overdrive,
body popping on a beach in Maui suddenly spring to mind. That's
the kind of album we're dealing with here.
THE FACE Jan 2000
Cole's Steel Guitar fretwork gives Vibert instant access to the
chilled retro flavour most producers dream of, with the unlikely
duo pushing the collaborative envelope further with every track.
Individual and accesible: a truly rare combination.
Heart Of The Moment
Heart of the Moment
(1995) Resurgence RES 107 CD.
This album is available from Resurgence Records (a division of
Voiceprint Records) price £9.99.
For ordering information go to
THIS ALBUM IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT
Sting contacted me to work on his album 'Mercury Falling' after
hearing 'Heart Of The Moment'. He told me the album was the perfect
musical accompaniment to his Yoga sessions
JOHNNY BLACK in 'Q'
This set of chamber atmospheres and ambient soundscapes,
largely improvised with the Transparent Music Ensemble, is bold,
exquisitely performed and often breathtakingly beautiful. With
occasional embellishments from cello, violin, viola and chinese
flute. Cole and co drift effortlessly into areas most instrumentalists
don't yet know exist. If you have a heart and can find a moment,
this can fill it and then some.
Anyone expecting a gentle dose of Country twang from Pedal Steel
maestro Cole and his TM Ensemble will be in for a bit of a shock.
Their new 'Heart Of The Moment' album kicks off with a vibrating
cello, and ducks around a couple of soaring violins before getting
stuck into a Pedal Steel/piano/MIDI lament that wouldn't go amiss
in the chill out tent at Phoenix, or on a Peter Greenaway movie
soundtrack. ...It has to be admitted that the general perception
of the Pedal Steel Guitar as a musical instrument is as an equivalent
to a Pot Noodle or 'Beadle's About'. Somehow it's all 'Achy Breaky
Heart' and 'D.I.V.O.R.C.E.. but if anyone can alter the way we
look at it, it's Cole.
Soundscapes? Are they ever! But 'Heart Of The Moment' is not just
ambient or chill out. It's classical/contemporary: cosmic imaginings
brought to life: Pedal Steel Guitar and piano, cowboy blues, entertainment
avalanche and 'cello. Designed to mesmerize, improvised, intuitive,
but perfectly pre conceived. Can instrumental really be this good?
Who is BJ Cole? a specky clever geek. And The Transparent Music
Ensemble? See right through to the feeling. Their ideas are born
of genius. Thank you chosen all powerful creative being they're
COUNTRY MUSIC INTERNATIONAL
BJ Cole is undoubtedly the best known British
Pedal Steel player in the World. He has, after all, added his
talents to everything from Elton John's 'Tiny Dancer' to Jimmy
Nail's 'Crocodile Shoes'. But anyone intrigued by this solo album
based entirely on that information should remember that Cole has
also recorded with the Orb and toured with John Cale. The album
credits make the implications of this dichotomy perfectly clear
when they label these tracks as 'Soundscapes performed by BJ Cole
and the Transparent Music Ensemble'. Those who enjoy the chilled
beauty of ambient music will particularly appreciate the laid
back lushness of 'Icarus Enigma' and 'Adagio In Blue'...
(1989) Eyekon Records IKECD002
Available through Untied Artists. Price £8 + P&P
Transparent Music was the culmination of a project I had been
working on for four years with my musical confederate Guy Jackson.
After trying to adapt the familiar Gymnopedie No 1 by Eric Satie
to Pedal Steel it became clear to me that the Pedal Steel was
made for this type of music, so I embarked on a voyage of discovery
in which I attempted to transcribe more demanding examples of
French Impressionist music. Parallel to this I had become immersed
in Brian Eno's ground breaking ambient music series, and was convinced
that the Pedal Steel could bring a lot to the style. Of course
ambient music and French Impressionist Music are two example of
'Sound Painting'. With this aim in mind, Guy and myself came up
with 'Ely Cathedral' and 'Window On The Deep'. I also recorded
my arrangement of 'Clair De Lune. with the help of composer Richard
Hartley. Joe Boyd of Hannibal Records saw the potential in these
three tracks and encouraged me to finish the album for release
on his label Hannibal Records.
After having been unavailable for many years, 'Transparent Music'
has been re released on BJ's own label, EYEKON Records Cat No
Now available through Untied Artists. Price £8 + P&P
If not a masterpiece, "Transparent Music" is at least very close.
This recording feature's BJ Cole's extraordinary facility on the
steel guitar. In his hands, the instrument moves through an amazing
spectrum of expression: gently calling, murmuring, whispering,
softly humming, weeping, then soaring and singing. Song selection
on "Transparent Music" is classical (or neoclassical, if you prefer),
and Cole manages to generate the bigness of classical music, the
grand sweep and the idea that the song is a force of nature; a
product of the weather or a manifestation of the environment.
Most compelling are his interpretations of Ravel and Debussy,
rendered with real vision and feeling with an instrument typically
thought of as limited to Country & Western. Debussy's already
glorious "Claire De Lune" hasn't sounded this sensitive and atmospheric
since Isao Tomita's interpretation. Ravel's "Pavane Pour Une Enfante
Defunte" (Pavane for a Dead Princess) is here rendered gracefully
heartbreaking, and Cole's instrument lets out a sad cry that seems
to remember every sweet gesture of the lost child. Accompanying
instrumentation is much influenced by musical masters Harold Budd
and Brian Eno; appropriate guidance for anyone seeking to create
a world of tenderness and hazy sunlight. Music with many of these
qualities is often categorized as "new age," just one of several
sections in record stores where you may find the CD. I've seen
it stocked as "instrumental," "meditative," "classical" and so
on. "Transparent Music" also features sensitive treatment of two
Erik Satie pieces, and several original compositions by Cole and
keyboardist Guy Jackson. The use of a steel guitar in classical
music isn't without a sort of sonic precedent. Music played on
a violin has a similar sound; due in part to the fact that notes
gradually emerge when the strings are rubbed with a bow. It's
true that the steel guitar is plucked like an ordinary guitar,
but it's common practice among steel guitarists to vary the volume
so the sound seems to emerge into perception. Compare this, for
example, to a piano where strings are struck with small hammers
to induce a vibration. The violin has a more gentle approach;
a quality of being sensuous and natural in the sense that the
human voice is an emerging or non-percussive instrument. The only
other person to do something like this is probably Junior Brown,
and in his case he actually invented a hybrid slide guitar/steel
guitar called a "guit-steel." Cole's chromatic palette is like
that of painter Maxfield Parrish; it conjures up a vivid world
bathed in a pearlescent, sunset glow. He exploits this quality
of the steel guitar to great effect, and a few other qualities
of the instrument and the recording studio we did not know existed.
In that sense, "Transparent Music" is a ground-breaking recording;
it not only does a beautiful job of re-interpreting well-known
music and showcasing several new compositions, but it presents
a new musical sound; a unique approach introduced by a gifted
Pissed off with pop? Ravaged by rap? Hounded by house? Want something
different, something no smart arse can categorise? Try BJ Cole's
'TRANSPARENT MUSIC'. Haunting and death defying versions of Satie's
Gnossiennes Nos 1 and 3, Ravel's Pavanne Pour Une Enfant Defunte
and Debussy's Clair De Lune all played exquisitely on the Pedal
Steel Guitar! Truly the man is a genius, truly no one will be
able to stick a tag on this one. We love it, and so will you.
Cole has successfully managed to express both Debussy's sensuous
haze and retain the intended clarity of expression of Ravel's
work. For the rest, Cole's orchestral Steel Guitar manages to
wrap itself around some Satie piano pieces, and comes into it's
own on the eerie 'Ely Cathedral' and the exquisite 'Window On
The Deep'. The latter two are both self penned, and 'Window' is
the kind of piece that Eberhard Weber would have been proud to
have written. In short, this is a well paced set that manages
to avoid the common pitfall of a poppy lightweight interpretation
of standard works.
The New Hovering Dog
THE NEW HOVERING DOG (Re-release 2013)
The album can be downloaded at
The album has been re mastered from original tapes and transferred
at high resolution by Neil Wilkes of Opus Productions Ltd.
The album has not sounded this good since I mixed it at Lansdowne
Studios, London in 1972
The New Hovering Dog was my first solo album, and was originally
released in 1973. It has never been re released on CD, and has
become a much sought after collectors item. After making three
albums with the Country Rock/ Psychedelic band Cochise (1969/1973),
I broke away from the Country Rock format to create a more experimental
album that combines poetic lyrics with orchestrations and electronics.
In retrospect it can be compared with the early work of Brian
Eno. THE TRACKS. 'REGAL PROGRESSION' and 'COLD MOUNTAIN MARINER'
features a strong cast of the top musicians of the era, including
Danny Thompson on Double Bass, Mike Giles (King Crimson) on drums
and Francis Monkman (Curved Air) on Harpsichord. Robert Kirby,
who is better known for his work with Nick Drake, did the orchestral
arrangements. As with most of the other tracks on the album, and
on this unique occasion, I did the singing, as well as all the
Pedal Steel parts. 'NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON'T', YOU'RE PROBABLY
LOST' and 'I KNOW NOW'. Songs of paranoia and megalomania, featuring
my old buddies Keith Baker (Bass) and Laurie Jellyman (Drums).
Heavily inspired by seeing Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band.
Additional madness is supplied by Graham Preskett (Violin & Vocals)
and Bill LeSage (Piano). 'UP ON THE HILL WHERE THEY DO THE BOOGIE'.
A momentary lapse into Country Music territory with this cover
of a John Hartford song. This was the single, believe it or not.
'FIVE PIECES FOR STEEL GUITAR AND PERCUSSION' my first attempt
at writing a suite of orchestral pieces. Featuring Tristan Fry
(later of the group SKY) on percussion. 'THE EAST WINCHLEY TANGO'
In 1971 I got hold of one of the first VCS3 Synthesizers. This
tune was edited down from a longer improvised performance utilising
the oscillators and joystick control, and morphed into ring modulated
Quotes from Franz Kafka's short story, 'Investigations Of A Dog',
Used in the promotion campaign of the album 'The New Hovering
Dog' by BJ Cole...
"We dogs are all engaged in the strangest occupations, occupations
in which one would refuse to believe if one had not the most reliable
information concerning them. The best example I can quote is that
of the hovering dog. The first time I heard of one I laughed and
simply refused to believe it".
"So it was too with the hovering dogs. I discovered a great many
things about them; true, I have succeeded to this day in seeing
none of them, but of their existence I have been firmly convinced
for a long time, and they occupy an important place in my picture
of the world".
"Take the hovering dogs once more as an example; they are not
haughty as one might imagine at first, but rather particularly
dependent upon their fellow dogs; if one tries to put oneself
in their place one will see that."
"And perhaps indeed it is well not to be too obstinate, but to
yield to public sentiment, to accept the extant hovering dogs,
and without recognizing their right to existence, which cannot
be done, yet to tolerate them. But more than this must not be
required; that would be going too far, and yet the demand is made.
We are perpetually being asked to put up with New Hovering Dogs
who are always appearing."