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John Fryer – Photo Credit: Martha Schuster
Well known for his work with most ‘Golden Era’ 4AD bands, as well as a celebrated handful of charting ‘heavier’ alternative bands, English producer John Fryer has made his mark with the notable work he’s done on hundreds of releases. Focused primarily on two distinct styles of music: the punchy industrial sound of bands like Nine Inch Nails and the ethereal, dreamy reverie and drifting soundsacpes of 4AD groups like Lush and Cocteau Twins.
Now Fryer has unveiled the latest offering under the Black Needle Noise moniker. ‘What a Wonderful World’ features Tom Berger on vocals and is the second offering from BNN’s forthcoming covers-based album These Mortal Covers. The accompanying video, starring model Dori Darkmoon with Tom Berger himself, was directed by Christoph Vitt and Alex Makarov.
“I have always loved the Louis Armstrong version of ‘Wonderful World’ from when I heard it as a child and it has stayed with me ever since. So I wanted to make a very different cinematic version, a very depressingly apocalyptic version with an uplifting feel. I thought of Tom Berger my friend for many a year to sing it and I think he has done an amazing job to convey those haunting sentiments,” says John Fryer.
Tom Berger and John Fryer have long been collaborators, beginning their long-term friendship in the ’90s when Fryer signed Berger’s band Sundealers to his ‘Something To Listen To’ label. Berger also contributed guitar on recordings and live performances for Fryer’s project DarkDriveClinic. Most recently, Fryer executive produced, mixed and co-wrote tracks for the new album from his band Jonny Tupolev.
About this new rendition of the classic, Tom Berger notes, “For me it was a real challenge to sing the vocals of a classical piece of music. After John sent me the instrumental version, I thought it’s not possible – How can I transform such a fragile and innocent melody into such a massive wall of sound? And that was the thing: I sang it like I‘d never heard the 1967 original. The result is not just a cover – it’s something new – and I’m very proud of the final result.”
The album’s first single ‘She Talks To Angels’ features vocalist Anjela Piccard, whose powerful rendition of this Black Crowes track brings their own unique twist and stylistic trademark. Earlier, Black Needle Noise released ‘Seed of Evil’ with PIG, an unholy collaboration between Fryer and industrial music legend Raymond Watts (KMFDM).
John Fryer started his career in 1979 at London’s Blackwing Studios (London) and soon began working with seminal bands on the 4AD, Mute, Rough Trade and Beggars Banquet record labels, including Depeche Mode, The Wolfgang Press and Cocteau Twins. His achievement in helping develop the latter’s pioneering ethereal and ambient sound ultimately led Watts-Russell to recruit Fryer as his partner for This Mortal Coil.
A sense of expectation about his music has never left him – expectations he often exceeds from release to release, having produced many iconic artists along the way, including Love and Rockets, Swans, HIM, Cradle of Filth, Clan of Xymox, Nitzer Ebb, Dead Can Dance, Yaz (Yazoo), Xmal Deutschland, Fields of the Nephilim, De/Vision, Stabbing Westward and many others. Fryer has also produced many film soundtracks, such as Seven, Clerks, Johnny Mnemonic, Mortal Kombat, Faust and Resident Evil: Apocalypse.
‘What a Wonderful World’ is out now, available digitally across online stores, such as Apple Music, and streaming platforms such as Spotify. It is also available directly from the artist via Bandcamp
More good news for Black Needle Noise fans – the long-awaited vinyl issue of their debut album Before The Tears Came can also now be ordered HERE
Also check out some of the other awesome BNN offerings issued as of late: