Geoff Downes is not a man who remains complacent with the notion of downtime. In fact, the once and future keyboardsman of Yes and Asia has again teamed up with Chris Braide in the Downes Braide Association (DBA), having just released Skyscraper Souls on November 17, 2017 through their own X2X Records, via Cherry Red. This is the DBA’s third collaboration, following Pictures of You (2012) and Suburban Ghosts (2015).
Skyscraper Souls is a more traditional progressive/classic rock/band album than DBA’s previous material, yet retains a strong pop aesthetic. It also features many great guest contributors including Marc Almond, Andy Partridge from XTC, and Kate Pierson from the B-52’s. The front cover artwork seen here is (of course) by Roger Dean.
Knowing how much Downes has been invested in sound quality over his long and storied career, we here at HRAC look forward to experiencing the hi-res version of Skyscraper Souls.
And in case you don’t know much about his C.V., Braide is a British singer, songwriter, and producer based in Los Angeles who has written and produced songs for Beyoncé, Lana del Rey, Paloma Faith, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, David Guetta, Sia, Afrojack, and Marc Almond… to name a few.
Watch the new DBA lyric video right here:
The idea for the album started as a series of sketches Downes had been working on after a break from touring last year. By the time he returned from the road, he directed the subsequent pent-up energy into new compositions. For his part, as a kid, Braide had always loved expansive pieces like Yes’ “Close to the Edge” and Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells.” While he is a huge pop fan and has written multitudes of pop hits for pop stars, Braide admits his heart has a special place for those big, epic studio productions.
On Skyscraper Souls, Downes and Braide were joined by drummer Ash Soan (Trevor Horn, Squeeze, Faithless, Del Amitri, Adele, Cee Lo Green, Will Young, Robbie Williams, Gary Barlow) and bassist Andy Hodge. Notes Braide, “Having such an amazing rhythm section really brought the songs to life. With previous albums, we always used drum machines and samples. There is so much warmth and movement in these recordings. They breathe!”
The fact that the pair’s “Association” has always had to fit around their extensive commitments has never dulled their remarkable musical creativity. This album went a step further and was co-written remotely; i.e., at no time were the pair ever in the same room! As Braide explains, “Geoff would send me folders full of stuff, such as the magnificent piano pieces which turned into ‘Glacier Girl’ and ‘Prelude.’ As soon as I heard the chords, I was writing lyrics like a mad man, and before long, the album started to materialize.”
Downes adds, “The ideas themselves were in a very rough format, but with the melodies and basic harmonies. Chris started playing around with these, and often, they came back with some radical changes, but Chris was always very conscious to retain my original idea.”
Official website: http://www.downesbraide.com/
1. Prelude (featuring Andy Partridge – XTC)
2. Skyscraper Souls (featuring Kate Pierson – B-52’s)
3. Glacier Girl (featuring Andy Partridge)
4. Angel On Your Shoulder (featuring Matthew Koma)
5. Tomorrow (featuring David Longdon – Big Big Train)
6. Lighthouse (featuring Tim Bowness)
7. Skin Deep (featuring Marc Almond)
8. Darker Times (featuring Andy Partridge)