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Marvin AyresMarvin Ayres

“A serious and thoughtful composer”. The Wire

Marvin Ayres is a British modern-classical composer, cellist, violinist, pianist and ambient producer. He has composed and recorded a diverse selection of minimalist albums, incorporating spatial soundscapes and psycho-acoustics and latterly 5.1 surround sound as well as producing a number of film soundtracks.

A founding member of the cult band ‘The Government’ Marvin Ayres also made solo contributions to bands and artists such as Culture Club, Simply Red, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Prefab Sprout.

In 1999 he was signed to the avant-garde label Mille Plateaux as composer and producer releasing two ambient albums, Neptune and Cellosphere, to critical acclaim. Excerpts of these works have been performed live in an array of forums such as: London's 'Festival of Electonica,' (with Groove Armada's Patrick Dawes) and the inter-media cutting edge event 'Sprawl'.

Marvin’s reputation as a producer and performer came to the attention of former
CAN drummer Jaki Liebezeit who invited him to re-mix tracks and tour with Liebezeit's band Club off Chaos in early 2001. 

Later on he co-produced former Curved Air vocalist Sonja Kristina's ambient jazz album
"Cri de Coeur" and has continued to join forces with Sonja to explore new musical horizons through the project Mask.

Marvin Ayres & Sonja Kristina

More recently Marvin produced the Curved Air live album entitled ‘Live Atmosphere.’ Two of Marvin’s productions are also featured on the Curved Air CD ‘Reborn.’

In addition to his work with musicians Marvin Ayres also collaborates with visual artists on audio-visual installations which have been exhibited in major galleries and art houses in Europe and the U.S. In 2000, the prestigious ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts) in London commissioned him to compose and produce their first ever DVD exhibition. The two works resulting from this were Sensory and Cycle which became the DVD Sensory which is on exhibition at The Tate Modern.

His collaborations with film Artists have been screened at the Tate Modern, the ICA, the Sundance festival, and other international galleries and film festivals and also broadcast on Classic FM.

Another part of Marvin’s work is a commission from electronica music publishers Freibank his compositions have been featured on five of Freibank's 'For Films' albums.

“Like some of Eno’s best work, the atmospheres Ayres creates are also compelling pieces of music that can dominate and transport.” All About Jazz

Harmogram Suite 2012               

Eccentric Deliquescence 2008             

Sensory 2004            

Cycle 2004            

Scape  2004             

Neptune 2001

Cellosphere 1999

Harmogram Suite CD Cover


The Harmogram Suite is the sixth album from the British modern classical - ambient composer Marvin Ayres. This two-disc CD-and-DVD package, recorded in 5.1 surround-sound consistent with the holographic concept, is in the best tradition of his diverse back catalogue of minimalist albums incorporating special soundscapes and psycho-acoustics.
Harmogram is Marvin Ayres’ term to describe his hybridizing harmonics, harmony and hologram. His initial idea for the piece was that the ‘delivery’ of sound (i.e.: 5.1, 7.1 surround, etc) now seems to be almost as important as the ‘musical’ content and instrumentation involved.

With Harmogram Suite, Marvin takes his listeners on a hugely emotional and dramatic journey in a musical piece written in six movements, over-dubbed with one hundred and forty layers, with every instrument and every part, played by Marvin, excepting the fifth movement which utilises a choir.

Marvin Ayres 'Lament' You Tube

During the recording process, different playing techniques, recording set ups and textures were used to produce an authentic full live orchestral sound. The result is a unique, modern classical musical sound composition.

It was at a meeting towards the end of recording the album Harmogram Suites that Marvin met with Martyn Ware (Human League/Heaven 17). So enthusiastic was Martyn about the piece that he suggested to Marvin that the album should be mixed in 3D, with the intention of giving live performances, in combinations of players and 3D Sound System Orchestra. 

The National Museum of the Royal Navy has commissioned Marvin to record a suite of four movements to reflect the Royal Navy on the sea, under the sea, in the air and on the land.

Each movement will be recorded in a significant Naval location, to reflect the four forces of the Royal Navy. The ‘On the Sea’ movement will be recorded on HMS Victory where Admiral Nelson lost his life during the Battle of Trafalgar.

Marvin Ayres at HMS VictoryMarvin visits HMS Victory

The ‘Under the Sea’ movement will be recorded inside the WW2 submarine HMS Alliance at the Submarine Museum in Gosport.

The ‘In the Air’ movement will be recorded within the hangars of the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton and the ‘On the Land’ movement will be recorded in the vaults of the Royal Marines Museum in Southsea.

The idea behind ‘Sacred Spaces’ is to use incongruous places for composition and performance and reawaken the inherent and/or dormant spirit residing in these unlikely locations.

His initial idea progressed from an unusual way of playing cello in the 'live' recording room: aiming towards being spiritual (in a non-religious sense), to discover how the randomly tuned cello “felt and breathed” with the player and the environment and responding to how the instrument played and resonated in the live room, with the criteria to create warm, beautiful and vibrational sound. Marvin states: “I found that by detuning my cello and improvising, it made the experience similar to playing a totally new instrument, enabling me to play with completely fresh ideas”.

Assisted by sound engineer Alex Siddall, Marvin’s instruments are randomly tuned to complement each environment and microphones used to pick up the full ambience of the space once excited by the cellos, violins and violas.

Locations include Bretton Chapel in Yorkshire, H.M.S. Alliance, Tate, Orford Ness, Greenwich Royal Observatory, Usk Lighthouse and Winchester Cathedral.