Black Heart Machine Is…

The creation of musicians Robert Thompson, and Brent Jones, and joined on drums by Fil Beorchia, Black Heart Machine is a recording project where sonic experimentation meets creative song craft. The culmination of years of experimentation led to the creation of more than two dozen songs that comprise the duo’s debut Ruins of Our Greatness (2015). In the summer of 2016, the duo returned to Quiet Earth Studios to record an organic album of acoustic guitar and piano with Simon Larochette engineering and producing. Four songs came out of those sessions, and another four (and a half) were added at Larochette’s Sugar Shack in the spring of 2017. The finished album, On Its Head, was released on Oct. 28, 2017, and captures the themes of mortality, politics (of all sorts), and concern for the obvious chaos of the time. A record of its time, and a perfect release for the fall as the leaves begin to hit the ground.

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Robert Thompson:

A writer, journalist and musician for his entire adult life, Robert has played in psych, shoegazer and acoustic bands for decades. In 2010 he began crafting songs with lifelong friend Brent Jones, taking the skeletons of acoustic tracks and recording them with the help of Jones’ Quiet Earth studio. The pair reworked, invented and revised the songs until they had little in common with the basic structures that started the process. Over the following five years, Robert and Brent generated dozens of ideas and sounds, creating more than 20 songs in the process. Ruins of Our Greatness was the pair’s first album, followed in 2017 by On Its Head.

Brent Jones:

A bon vivant who has spent his life writing, performing and recording music, Brent Jones brings the colour to the palette that is Black Heart Machine. Adventurous in his approach, sophisticated in his arrangements, with an ear for experimentation and melody in equal measures, Jones’ production, piano and sonic input was key to bringing the Black Heart Machine to life. A producer with his own unique sensibility and a hugely talented solo artist, Brent’s harmonies, experimental creativity and insights into the musical process play equal roles in Black Heart Machine. Brent sings lead on two songs on the group’s second album, On Its Head.

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In the pace of our time

Last night, on a cool autumn evening, we played our best show yet for friends and family at the Jones’ Farm, part of Brent’s Quiet Earth project. Many thanks to Josh Wiener for joining Black Heart Machine on bass, Kevin Kennedy of the Marrieds and Dyadics for swelling his way along on guitar, and Howie Zowie for joining on theremin. And especially to Bob Breen of Armor Pro Audio for making it all sound so wonderful.

On Its Head is a product of the time we live in, of the chaos, but also the triumph of the progressive voices that are being heard. It is observational, but ultimately hopeful. We hope you enjoy it.

Special thanks to the Jones family for all their love and support.

Cheers,

Robert, Brent and Fil (Black Heart Machine)

On Its Head is completed—CD release set for Oct. 28

After nearly two years of work, our second album, On Its Head, is complete. Recorded at Quiet Earth Studios near Dorchester, and the Sugar Shack in London, and mastered in England, On Its Head is an album of multiple themes, both personal and political. From the quiet reflective opener, When Morning Comes, to the guitar onslaught of The Staircase, the album demonstrates a range of styles and sounds, while remaining true to the organic approach Robert and Brent took to making the album. And this is an album—nine songs linked both through their construction, recording, and lyrics, On Its Head demonstrates a cohesiveness in both sound and vision. Guests include producer and engineer Simon Larochette on pedal steel and bass, drummer Fil Beorchia, cellist Christine Newland, vocalist Jennifer Hale, violin by Kelly Wallraff, and French Horn by Josh Wood, and guitar by Roberto Lorusso.

The CD launch, which will include appearances by many musicians who contributed to the project, will take place on Oct. 28 at the Jones Farm.

Work continues on new Blackheart Machine album

swartWith four songs complete, and four new ones underway, we’ve back at the Sugar Shack recording new tracks. The first four decidedly acoustic, while these latest have a delicate and often psychedelic feel to them. They’ll also have the debut of Mr. Brent Jones on lead on two of the new tracks.

In the meantime, here’s a sneak peak at one of the new tracks, “Judas had his reasons.”

New BHM songs on the way

IMG_8635Though we’ve only played a single show since the release of the “Ruins of Our Greatness” CD, I’ve been active in working through new songs. Plenty of them in fact. More than a dozen.

Some stem from sessions done at Quiet Earth outside Dorchester in late 2014, including a couple of songs I played at the CD launch, namely Decades, and Yellowing Pages, compositions that are largely acoustic with some electronic flourishes. More recently we’ve worked out a group of more electronic tracks—Beautiful Thing and Glory Survives—that I’ve had noted percussionist Jayden Beaudoin add his input to after writing them around electronic drums.

Both songs have some guitar, though Beautiful Thing is only the second song I’ve written that was not based on guitar, and actually is inspired by a Spoon song, though it has nothing really to do with the fine band from Austin.

Anyway, at this point the plan is to create an EP of electronic songs, and then a very minimal album of acoustic songs at Quiet Earth with my partner in crime, Brent Jones. The hope is to have one done by the end of summer, and the other early in the fall.

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Celebrating Bowie

bowie_eyesWithout question one of the biggest artistic and musical influences on the music of BHM is David Bowie. I’m gutted that I won’t be anxiously awaiting a new Bowie album ever again. Broken even.

I’ve covered Bowie before—Queen Bitch in an early band, for instance—but it was Blue Jean, played when I sang in Licorice, that I’ve always been thrilled to work through when I grab a guitar.

Here is a stripped down version with my wonderful wife, Jennifer, channeling her own Margo Timmins for the harmony.

  • Robert

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EVENTS

No upcoming shows scheduled

Past Shows

March 25, 2018 London, ON ( Canada ) Aeolian Hall Aeolian Hall
March 24, 2018 London, ON ( Canada ) Tim Turner's home, London Tim Turner's home, London
October 28, 2017 Dorchester, Ontario ( Canada ) The Barn Stage at the Jones Farm The Barn Stage at the Jones Farm
November 7, 2015 London, Ontario Arts Project Arts Project

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Contact Us

To contact us please email robertthompson8@sympatico.ca.ca and we will get back to you as soon as we can!