John Metcalfe
John Metcalfe

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26 October 2008
I have several pieces on Tom Kerstens's new album 'Utopia'' which is available on the Bowers and Wilkins Music Club website. This club is a partnership between Peter Gabriel's Real World label and speaker-makers B+W. There is also a video interview with me and Tom at


More Reviews 
Had some nice reviews for the album....

'This third album from New Zealand-born British composer and former Durutti Column and Duke Quartet member, is a woozy wedding of classical, electronica and ambient. String arranger by rock royalty appointment (Morrissey, The Pretenders, Blur) Metcalfe released his first album in 2004 and the fact this album is released by The Big Chill gives a good indication of where its heart lies. It's a gloriously schizophrenic collection, one minute lazily teasing out notes amid floaty atmospherics (opener Echo Valley), then jack-knifing into a 60's spy thriller set piece, heavy on brass and scratching (A Whole Day Nearer, Undertow). We're seven tracks in, at Nothing More True, before vocals arrive, and even then it's as a looped breathy syllable refracting back on itself. We don't get actual lyrics until an A&R-worrying ten tracks in, on You Call My Name, whose skittering beat mirror downbeat drum'n'bass'n'chillout duo Lamb. A wonderful wrong-footing of a music business built on the selling of vocalists as personalities'.

- Eamonn Forde, The Word

'It seems that every man and his dog wants to be a film composer nowadays. Very few actually know what it takes, let alone have the understanding, poise and ability to create that kind of emotive resonant sound. String specialist and ex-Durutti Cloumn member John Metcalfe however is one such musician'.

- DJ Magazine

'John Metcalfe made his name helping Vini Reilly to construct mesmerisingly ghostly guitar sculptures in the Durutti Column years ago, and has since established himself as one of the top string arrangers in Britain. His third album, though, owes at least as much to electronica as to classical.

One or two tracks engage in sub-Michael Nymanisms, but most of A Darker Sunset is that rare thing: ambient with an edge. Felt, Unseen deploys the repetition techniques of Steve Reich to create an awesomely lovely effect of twilight-after-rain, Parkstone is a dizzying trill of kaleidoscopic piano playing, and the stately beauty of The Shock of Recognition is only marred by an ill-advised synth line that wobbles along the track like a gaudy squiggle across a painting.

It would'e been easy for a man of Metcalfe's gifts to go down the more lucrative road of soporific chillout. Instead, this is imaginative and impressive'.

- Jonathan O'Brien, Sunday Business Post

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Kings Place review 
The Duke Quartet got this nice review from Tim Ashley in the Guardian for our performance of Steve Reich's 'Different Trains' at Kings Place.

'Hall Two is very different - a potentially more versatile and, it would seem, more popular - space, packed by a trendy crowd for a concert given by the Duke Quartet. Arvo Pärt's Summa, deftly and gracefully done, was followed by Steve Reich's Different Trains, a work for quartet and tape, in which the melodic contours of recorded speech form the basis of an exhilarating yet vaguely sinister portrait of travel and speed. Every lurch in tempo and volume registered thrillingly, and the response was enthusiastic'.

I didn't fully describe what an amazing day we had at Kings Place. Performing three different shows with only 30 minutes interval between each one to set up was intense to say the least but it was unbelievably exhilarating. Everyone played beautifully, the Duke Quartet, Max Richter and ensemble and all the musicians in my band. Full houses for all three shows made for a truly great afternoon.

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09 October 2008
Both the launch show at the 100 club and the 3 events of 'Beyond the Loop' at the opening day of Kings Place were fantastic. The venerable 100 club turned out to be the perfect choice. The band felt we gave one of our performances of the year and the crowd were brilliant. Thank you to all who made the effort to come and particularly to Dr. Alick Sethi and Steve Carnello for giving us the ideal atmosphere before and after the show with tailor-made tunes.

If you didn't make it to Kings Place then you must go! The venue has two stunning halls to play/listen in and the atmosphere is focused but very welcoming. There are some great concerts coming up with something for those who like classical/jazz/world or electronic music. The band is back in March supporting the Bays. Looking forward already.....

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