Ik kwam in aanraking met zijn album International Blue in 2014 naar aanleiding van een artikel in een Engels popmagazine, waar de recensent lyrisch over het album schreef. Zelfs dermate dat mijn interesse gewekt was en ik het schijfje onbeluisterd aan mijn verzameling toevoegde. Geen seconde spijt van gehad, want vier jaar later klinkt het nog steeds fris en modern: een tijdloos maar ondergewaardeerd juweel met de geweldige vocale ondersteuning van Glenn Gregory (Heaven 17), Midge Ure (Ultravox), Liam McKahey (Cousteau) en Neil Crossley (Half Man Half Biscuit). Het album slaagt met vlag en wimpel in het recreëren van een eind jaren zestig-geluid. Mooi georkestreerd met een vleugje bombast.
Dutch musician Stephen Emmer worked with the unique voice of Associates’ Billy Mackenzie on his 1982 imaginary soundtrack Vogue Estate.
Way before Facebook took over, before Whatsapp and Twitter updates and global news every second, there was, once upon a time, MySpace. I was an avid member of it around 2007, as most musicians were at the time. I posted some music of my own on my profile page and one day I got a call from NYC, from a person who said he represented a well known music producer.
Heaven 17’s Glenn Gregory channels Scott Walker on Stephen Emmer’s darkly sumtuous, orchestral tribute to his late Associates bandmate Billy MacKenzie. As classy as a gleaming vintage Rolls.
[Untouchable Review - The Times - 12-04-14]
Hear it here. Dutch musician Stephen Emmer worked with the unique voice of Associates’ Billy Mackenzie on his 1982 imaginary soundtrack Vogue Estate. 32 years on, he presents his tribute to this late, much-missed talent with Untouchable, released as a single on April 7.Untouchable on Spotify
Once of the moderately missed Minny Pops and The Lotus Eaters, Stephen Emmer featured spoken-word interludes from Lou Reed and Richard Burton on one of his infrequent solo albums.
As soon as Untouchable kicks in, you realize it's a tribute to the late, great Billy Mackenzie, The Associates frontman who had a passion for majestic arrangements, sweeping string and big tunes. As a tribute, it's brilliant - and it should be, considering the talent behind it. - About Untouchable, the single.
International Blue comes with serious support. Produced by Tony Visconti, the album’s guest singers include Midge Ure, Heaven 17’s Glenn Gregory and Liam McKahey (Cousteau).
'The album is a set of lush, timeless songs, by which you can wish over and over again that they were sung by Scott Walker' -About International Blue
The Amsterdam native started his career in the ‘80s, releasing a solo album titled Never Share in 1982. He went on to spend time playing in such seminal new wave British bands as The Lotus Eaters and the Associates, before quietly returning to The Netherlands. There he found great success scoring Dutch TV programs and films. In 2008 he released Recitement which featured his music combined with spoken-word performances from artists like Richard Burton and Lou Reed, as well as the Dutch film actress Sylvia Kristel, among others. In 2009 he brought out Time to Face the Music.
Dutch musician and composer Stephen Emmer has enjoyed a successful career for over 50 years. His eclectic body of works spans a multitude of genres and professional incarnations; from working as a new wave artist in the 80s with the electronic/art band Minny Pops, to working on soundtracks for Dutch television companies. His last album Recitement featured spoken word pieces from the likes of Lou Reed, Sylvia Kristel, and others, set to his music. His latest project, the album International Blue, is a tribute to the late Billy Mackenzie of The Associates, and features the vocals of Glenn Gregory.
With a 40-second opening that could almost be used to set the scene for a Hollywood blockbuster, the musical genius displayed on the instrumental for this track is something special.
'Untouchable' is a ballad, but whereas you may think of these types of songs being soppy and full of self-pity, this is one that manages to give the impression of being completely in control and possessing an immense amount of power.
Dutch-born composer, former member of one-time Joy Division support the Minny Pops and ex-Associate and Lotus Eater Stephen Emmer brings together a collection of songs with special guests to show off the joys of crooning. Along with his guests vocalists, he is joined by other former Lotus Eaters and one-time Cure member Michael Dempsey while the album was produced and mixed by the legend that is Tony Visconti.
Acclaimed composer Stephen Emmer pays tribute to the pop crooner on latest effort “International Blue,” the long-gestating follow up to his 2008 spoken-word slab “Recitement.” The 10-track new album features powerful vocal contributions from Midge Ure (Ultravox), Glenn Gregory (Heaven 17), Liam McKahey (Cousteau) and Neil Crossley (Furlined). -About International Blue, the album.
What's the story? Dutch musician and composer Stephen Emmer released his first album, Vogue Estate back in 1982, working with the fantastic voice of Associates' Billy MacKenzie. However, it was fully 30 years before a follow-up emerged - Recitement, in 2008, a record which featured spoken word contributions from Lou Reed and Serge Gainsborough. -About International Blue, the album.
With his new album Untouchable – a tribute to Billy Mackenzie of The Associates – sung by Heaven 17′s Glenn Gregory, pop crooners have clearly been on the mind of composer Stephen Emmer a lot recently.
2014 has seen Ure contribute to the orchestrated great adventure of ‘International Blue’, an album celebrating the art of the crooner. Assembled by Dutch composer Stephen Emmer, the album also features Ure’s old pal Glenn Gregory from Heaven 17.
Tony Visconti talks about his collaboration with composer/arranger/musician Stephen Emmer and vocalists Glenn Gregory, Midge Ure, Liam Mckahey & Neil Crossley as well as about how he produced the International Blue album.Watch Video
Midge Ure talks about his involvement in 'International Blue' and 'Taking Back My Time'.Watch Video
Quote : 'Very impressive!'
'With International Blue he has topped himself, creating a gorgeously atmospheric soundscape of emotional music. This world needs more ambitious and visionary musicians like Stephen.'
Glenn Gregory from Heaven 17 talks about Stephen Emmer, Billy Mackenzie and his involvement in International Blue. Interview recorded during the IB album launch at Abbey Road Studios.Watch Video
Quote : 'I have listened to the album and it is extraordinarily beautiful. Truly transporting'
'This music is simultaneously lush and ominous, panoramic and intimate. In a much better world than this one, Emmer and Visconti would be creating the next generation of James Bond movie themes'
Quote : ‘This musical work by Stephen Emmer comes highly recommended.’
Quote : 'Luscious and beautiful'
Quote : ‘I can hear this as the next Bond Soundtrack’
Quote : ‘Absolutely great’
Liam McKahey interview during the International Blue album presentation at Abbey Road. He talks about 'Blown Away', Stephen Emmer and how he got involved in the International Blue project, for which he wrote 3 beautiful songs.Watch Video
Neil Crossley from Furlined talks about how he got involved in 'International Blue' and how 'Sleep for England' initially came together.Watch Video
Quote : "Stephen Emmer is one of those musicians/composers who knows the musical rules best and therefore also how to break them"
De carrière is lang en divers. In 1979 maakte Stephen Emmer deel uit van Minny Pops, was even later medeoprichter van het blad Vinyl, maar verdiende daarna vooral de kost als componist van toegepaste muziek voor commercials en opdrachtgevers als de NOS en RTL. International Blue is pas zijn derde soloalbum, na Vogue Estate (1982) en Recitement (2007).
"Ik wil een nieuw avontuurlijk kleurenpalet. Ik creëer complexe suikertaarten. Ik stapel. Ook 'The Wall Of Sound' van Phil Spector was meer dan alleen veel lagen. Het geluid bezat gedetailleerdheid. Dat hoor je tegenwoordig te weinig."
De Nederlandse componist Stephen Emmer heeft op 7 juli zijn nieuwste album International Blue gelanceerd. Met dit album, waarop hij samenwerkte met Midge Ure, Glenn Gregory, Liam Mckahey en Neil Crossley, wil hij de luisteraar blijven verrassen. 'Ik wil dat mensen na een zesde keer een nummer te hebben geluisterd er nog steeds nieuwe dingen in ontdekken.'
De Nederlandse componist Stephen Emmer heeft op 7 juli zijn nieuwste album International Blue gelanceerd. Met dit album, waarop hij o.a. samenwerkte met Midge Ure en Glenn Gregory wil hij de luisteraar blijven verrassen. “Ik wil dat mensen na voor de zesde keer een nummer te hebben geluisterd er nog steeds nieuwe dingen in ontdekken.”