"Funky King", "Great Leader", "Great Dancer", "A Holy One"...
Five years on from 2014’s critically-acclaimed Pantomime Cannon, Threepenny Bit release their fourth studio album: King Ahtu (pronounced ‘ahh-too’). This new body of work sees the eight-piece instrumental band digging deeper into their musical toolbox, exploring an ever-widening spectrum of colour and texture.
King Ahtu takes a sideways step from the jigs and reels that soundtrack the band’s popular ceilidhs, while always keeping them within arm’s reach. The band recorded the album in Cambridgeshire and Cumbria, with producer Pete Ord. “Finding someone to record the band who shared our love of both the traditional and the adventurous, was important to us”, says Steven Troughton (accordion). The band have admired Pete’s work on albums by The Teacups and Ross Couper & Tom Oakes, but it was the memory of his accomplished sound engineering of their first performance at Folk Weekend Oxford, that prompted them to get him on board. His confidence balancing a band of many components, combined with his technical prowess in the studio, promised a fulfilling working partnership. Where Pantomime Cannon sought purely to capture the essence of Threepenny Bit’s live performance, King Ahtu treats the studio as an additional instrument, augmenting the band’s natural sound. “Pete’s involvement afforded us the freedom to broaden our music, rather than simply using the studio as a means to replicate our live show, and we jumped at the opportunity”, says Josh Robson-Hemmings (guitar).
The rich production of King Ahtu complements the band’s intricate compositions and arrangements, showcasing the often complex rhythmic and harmonic elements, while allowing space for the traditional and self-penned melodies to breathe their own life into the music. Through the soaring soundscapes of A Big Egg, Katie’s and The Hilt, and the tightly-focused grooves brought to the fore in Sula’s, Ballydesmond and Cuckoo's Nest, the band never loses touch with their roots, as at the core of each track is an irresistible dance tune.
Comprising alto saxophone, fiddle, clarinet and flute alongside accordion, guitar, drums and bass, Threepenny Bit have spent almost a decade performing and composing together, honing their unmistakable sound world. “With King Ahtu, our aim is to hook people with the first play, and reward them with new discoveries on each successive listen” - Threepenny Bit.
released December 3, 2019
Threepenny Bit are:
Jason Beaumont (bass guitar, flute, whistle)
Ruth Burrows (saxophone)
Helen Gentile (clarinet)
Ross Gordon (drums, percussion)
Hannah Gray (flute)
Chris Nichols (violin)
Josh Robson-Hemmings (acoustic and electric guitars)
Steven Troughton (accordion, acoustic and electric guitars).
Produced by Pete Ord
Recorded and Mixed by Pete Ord at Half-ton Studios, Cambridge and The Studio at Sunbeams, Cumbria
Mastered by Katie Tavini, Brighton
Photography and Artwork by Zoe Manders
Photos taken at Reginald Ballum, Worthing
Clothes provided by The Vintage Cellar, Worthing
Pete Ord, Zoe and Richard Manders, Katie Nichols, Matthew Aldous, Emily Bird, Ben Jennings, Andrew James, Gordon Potts, Fee Lock, Ian Nichols, Andy Rouse, Paul Bickmore, Paul and Cath Burke, Mike Bennett, everyone at Reginald Ballum and The Vintage Cellar.
What happens if you combine the top europen balfolk artists and put them in a room?
topette is happening! and the results are beyond amazing - this record is for everyone, not only folk enthusiasts. redpanda3800