Geoffrey Armes
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Geoffrey Armes

Band World Acoustic


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The best kept secret in music


"Tony Fletcher Review: The Song and The Scheme"

Geoffrey's memoir/critique, Music Matters, remains unpublished for now, but he has just released his debut album, Green Love. Rooted in acoustic singer-songwriter territory, with an evident World Music percussive influence, it's a high quality home-grown recording on which Geoffrey's deft guitar playing provides an apt foundation for his soft voice that, by dint of its frequent falsetto, invites immediate comparisons to Neil Young or Sting. (Armes, who has played professionally in various forms of educational and classical dance music for years, prefers to reference Gordon Lightfoot.)

The melodies, like the arrangements, tend towards the subtle, but the best of them impose a welcome presence. 'Ride The Beast', 'Before The Fall' and 'The Three Kings' all have fragile choruses that accurately reflect their subject matter – the sad passing of long-term love, the realisation that partnerships made in heaven don't always survive their time on earth. On the other hand, love for one's child is truly forever,and Green Love is book-ended by 'Swim' and 'Little Girl', songs I assume to be written for and about Geoffrey's 11-year old daughter, Constanza, especially as she also painted the album sleeve.

Geoffrey's told me there's a reference to 9/11 in the lyrics somewhere, but I've failed to find it. More readily identifiable is 'Hoolifan', in which he disowns the childhood friends who got caught up in 1970s football agro; 'The Song and the Scheme,' where from the vantage point of an apartment block balcony, he disassociates himself from the New York hubbub down below; and, appropriately enough, given that the instrument appears on almost every song, 'Twelve String,' whereby he sings of watching his partner watch him as he sings. For ex-Kingsdale, he's a mellow man indeed.

...with his beautifully toned Gibson by his side, Armes is comfortable where he stands in life right now, and it comes across it the quiet confidence of his music.

- ijamming


Elemental Red---full length CD Spring 2005
Green Love--full length CD 2002
Stretch and Breathe--full length CD 2000


Feeling a bit camera shy


Singer/Songwriter Geoffrey Armes grew up in multiracial Brixton with reggae on the streets, pop and art music at home. Born in Bristol, but 'environmentally a Londoner' says Armes, he was blown away in Brixton market one day hearing reggae hit-record 'Monkey Spanner' followed in quick succession by the Byrd's 'Chestnut Mare' and CSN's 'Marrakesh Express.' By fifteen, having been introduced to the music of Gordon Lightfoot, he had fallen in love with the acoustic guitar and the singer/songwriter form. Another huge influence was the Celtic harp of Allan Stivell.

Coming of age in the music-scene of late seventies/early eighties London, Armes retains the independent spirit of that era to this day. Jamming with Reebop Kwaku Baah (formerly affiliated with Traffic and Dizzy Gillespie) gave him an education in the value of polyrhythmic groove as well the beauty of hand drumming. Embroiled in the city's pop scene, he formed "The Duplicates," an improvising jazz/punk band whose members' credentials included the Soft Machine and Third Ear. "We referenced Can, Jon Hassell and West African Highlife, as well as PIL and Einstuerzende Neubauten," says Armes. "We recorded in Camden Town, sharing studio space with Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox, where some of the sounds we conjured ended up on their 'Sweet Dreams,' album."

A move to Berlin kept Armes growing and developing. In tourist halls he learned stage-craft, playing a mix of covers and original material. He composed and performed music under the auspices of The British Council, created sound-montages for the expressionist painter Ter-Hell, and wrote music for the local Contemporary Dance community.

Upon his return to London, and then later in New York, he continued in that field. Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, and Merce Cunningham are amongst the companies he regularly works with. "I improvise using keyboards and percussion, as well as guitar. " His dance class CD, "Habibi Stretch and Breathe" sold out. He composes for independent choreographers and has been called as a session player by producers such as Tom Desisto, Butch Jones, Bernie Worrell, Fred Schneider, Frankie Knuckles, NEC Computers, William 'Space' Patterson, and others. A producer and engineer himself, Armes creates recordings for other artists in his home-studio.

Armes has studied and played music from the Sahel and Northern Sahara, and this can be heard on his recently released CD, "Green Love." This is even more apparent in live performance, when percussion accompanies Armes' voice and Gibson 12 and 6 string guitars. Sometimes language fails in these sessions and Armes resorts to wordless vocalisations eerily reminiscent of the Muezzin tower.

"Green Love" is a dreamy, ambient, Sufi-Celt set of folk songs, dominated by Armes' guitars, non-intrusive keyboard, and a Nigerian clay drum. A couple of tracks feature djembe, talking drum and dumbek. "In some way its a musical return-journey, back to the world of the acoustic singer-songwriter that first inspired me to play," says Armes. Judging from the response of audiences, it's a winner.

Howard Gotfryd's review: " of those great players who can set up a wonderful groove in a song and keep it going, so one is absolutely drawn in and compelled... he has listened to his share of raga in his time, and his singing voice conjures up images of--I got it!-- a cross between the younger George Harrison and Bryan Ferry, yet... distinctly his own, at once authoritative and full of whimsy and longing."