John Bence

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About John Bence

Though the work of avant-garde composer John Bence takes different forms on his various releases, visceral emotional expression is at the center of his music regardless of the style it assumes. Bence's early output involved dark and brooding clashes of chamber music and intense vocalizations, but he stripped his arrangements down to just piano for 2020's stark and contemplative album Love. Bence was born in Bristol, England and grew up in a highly musical family. He was an excited participant in Bristol's electronic music scenes at a young age, and his wide-ranging influences and musical interests all played into the sounds he made when he began composing. His 2015 EP Disquiet was issued on Nicolas Jaar’s Other People label, consisting of three tracks made up of haunting vocalizations and uneasy modern classical arrangements. Bence followed the same approach down a much darker path for 2018's Kill, moving from the curious, cautious sounds of Disquiet to more frantic and erratic compositions. Troubles with addiction and substance abuse were a frequent focus in Bence's music, and when he got sober in 2018, the massive life change directly informed his next album. 2020's Love, released on Thrill Jockey, was a minimal and reflective affair of solo piano compositions, written and recorded as Bence began his journey through recovery. ~ Fred Thomas

United Kingdom