The Northern Irish artist and electronic composer’s third album is a seven-movement odyssey for analogue synthesizers and traditional colliery brass band. With only a year following on from the release of her album ‘Awake But Always Dreaming’ to great acclaim (Voted No.1 Album Of the Year – Electronic Sound Magazine), ‘Mary Casio: Journey to Cassiopeia’, explores one person's journey to outer space, by telling the story of an unknown, elderly, pioneering electronic music stargazer and her lifelong dream to leave her terraced South Yorkshire home in the mining town of Barnsley and see Cassiopeia for herself. With artwork by the Grammy award winning designer Jonathan Barnbrook (David Bowie collaborator on albums such as ‘Blackstar’ and ‘The Next Day’ ) and recorded live on location in The Barnsley Civic Theatre by Peter Gabriel’s Real World studio team, this exclusive album combines Peel’s analogue synths with ‘Tubular Brass’ featuring the top UK championship brass band players. It’s a collaborative sound that has never been made or heard before.
"We have a hundred billion neurons in our brains, as many as there are stars in a galaxy"
Continuing themes from her last record by delving further into the rabbit hole of the mind and creating parallels between the human brain and space, Peel combines unearthly sound textures and celestial ostinatos of the analogue synthesizers with the tremendously deep and rich power of traditional ‘British’ brass to map Mary’s intergalactic passage into another world.
Hannah: “I wanted these huge slabs of planetary sound to echo the excitement and wonder of our human need to explore and develop. Outer space is where only a select few can reach; yet it is somewhere we dream of reaching, or perhaps collectively wanting to know what is out there. The unparalleled vastness in our galaxy and beyond is as equally melancholy and desolate, as Mary’s lonely voyage from all she knows”.
“It is a wonderfully open and uplifting response in the face of adversity.”
‘A great singer and a latter day Delia Derbyshire’
The last year has been one of Hannah’s busiest: In 2016, in addition to her solo album, she collaborated with Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve (aka Erol Alkan & Richard Norris) on the singles ‘Diagram Girl’ and ‘Creation’ and her band The Magnetic North released their widely praised second album, ‘Prospect Of Skelmersdale’ in March ’16.
Her single ‘Tenderly’ from the album was playlisted by BBC 6 Music and in the wake of a sold out headline show in Shoreditch Church in November 2016 featuring readings by actor Christopher Eccelston and writer Lavinia Greenlaw, Peel was interviewed by Radio 4, The Guardian and Lauren Laverne (who also invited her to play a BBC 6 Music session).
Peel first came to recognition with her mesmerizing, hand-punched ‘music box’ EP ‘Rebox’, featuring covers of ‘80s bands Cocteau Twins, Soft Cell, & New Order. Having released her critically lauded solo debut album ‘The Broken Wave’, Peel then formed The Magnetic North, a highly praised and expansive collaborative project with Simon Tong (The Verve, The Good The Bad And The Queen, Gorillaz) and Erland Cooper (Erland & The Carnival).