About the Glare
Michael Nyman and David McAlmont first met at the Freud Museum in London in the summer of 2000. They had both been invited to the launch of Nose Book: Representations of the Nose in Literature and the Artsby the author Victoria De Rijke. David had been a student of Victoria’s at Middlesex Polytechnic and the score of Michael's Nose-List Song(1985) was included in the book.
Michael and David talked and discovered that they were signed to the same record label, Virgin, at the time. Years before, David had become 'utterly entranced' by Nyman's soundtrack to Peter Greenaway’s film The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Loverand soon after he acquired the box set of Nyman's soundtracks became a huge fan. In the years following the Nose/ Freud meeting it was often mentioned on the grapevine that Michael might be interested in working with David but this was all hearsay until 2007 when David, in a state of creative frustration, decided to join Facebook. Nyman contacted him within a week. They recollected their first encounter and quickly began plotting a collaboration.
Michael mentioned that he was totally unable to write his own song texts and David realised that he had become bored with 'the navel-gazing futility of writing love songs about his own feelings' and at 40 wanted to create something more worthwhile with his lyric writing. At this point Géricault’s painting The Raft of the Medusaemerged as a subject of interest to both musicians as David indicated that he had become fascinated with the life of the 19th century French painter - especially his determination to create documentary canvases based on contemporary life: battle-field injury, asylum inmates and shipwreck memoirs.
But this project was soon replaced by the current project where David wrote new songs based on contemporary news stories over pre-existing Nyman compositions. McAlmont's subject matter explores pertinent subjects as varied as 21st century piracy (Going to America), trafficked prostitution in Europe (City of Turin), sexually-charged world leaders (In Rai Don Giovanni), assisted suicide (Friendly Fire), reality television (The Glare), African orphan migration (Fever Sticks and Bones), banking errors (Take the Money and Run)and drug mules (In Laos). David felt strongly that the songs were most effective if written from the first person point of view of the individual characters discovered in the researched reports to create an emotional engagement with the subjects that is lost by the time their stories emerge in the glare of the 24 hour news media. This process of course caused initial concern for McAlmont because he was taking already brilliant compositions, adding to and adjusting them. But fortunately, Michael Nyman was delighted with the result.
David McAlmont’s voice is one of the most praised instruments in British music. He has been favourably compared to Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Philip Bailey and Curtis Mayfield by The Daily Telegraph; The Guardian writes that he is “Both an extraordinary soul singer and one of British pop’s most chameleon-like performers”. As a collaborator he has worked not only with film composers such as Craig Armstrong, David Arnold and now Michael Nyman, but he has also performed and recorded with Courtney Pine, Terence Blanchard, Cyndi Lauper and Guy Barker. Most famously he created two memorable top 40 albums as one half of McAlmont and Butler, a partnership that yielded the unforgettable songs Yes, You Do and Falling. He has also had success as a songwriter writing for himself and Bernard Butler, and with Gary Clarke, Boo Hewerdine, Tommy D, Pascal Gabriel, Craig Armstrong, Jools Holland; and with David Arnold and Don Black for KD Lang, the song Surrenderfor Tomorrow Never Diesand more recently for Shirley Bassey.
David McAlmont 2009