To Love Somebody Melancholy
A SONG CYCLE BY MINUTE TAKER
WITH ANIMATIONS BY ANA STEFANIAK
Acclaimed folktronic singer-songwriter Minute Taker and award-winning animation artist Ana Stefaniak have joined forces to create a haunting, modern fable told through a dynamic live band performance, projected animations and storybook captions.
Expect to be immersed in a dark and magical world of strange animated characters and piano songs brimming with ethereal harmonies, fizzing synthesisers and orchestral twists.
Ben McGarvey - voice, piano, glockenspiel, synths, guitar, looping
Jonathan McMahon - drums, percussion, backing vocals
Léonie Higgins - cello, backing vocals
Mark Pestana - violin, viola
Harry Selevos - keyboards, backing vocals
Produced by Ben McGarvey
Visual technician - Dan Denton
Assistant producer: Connor O'Mara
Consultant: Ravi Thornton (Ziggy's Wish)
Supported by Arts Council England
Watch the trailer below
featuring clips of the show's premiere at
Chorlton Arts Festival 2015
In ancient Greek philosophy Aristotle first popularised the notion that artists, poets and writers were of a melancholic disposition. In the middle ages melancholics were thought to be possessed by demons if they could not be “cured” of their depressive tendencies.
Set on a desolate seashore, To Love Somebody Melancholy explores the notion of the archetypal artist as he journeys through the euphoric highs and the self-destructive lows of his creative cycles.
A new romantic relationship brings the artist the contentment he craves but it soon becomes apparent that there's something else lurking in the shadows; a ghostly, shapeshifting third entity whose form is entirely dependent upon the artist's current mindset. Sometimes a saviour, a source of inspiration and hope, sometimes a savage, ruthlessly determined on driving his lover away.
Minute Taker performs his haunting soundtrack live with his eclectic 5-piece band, incorporating piano, vocal harmonies, glockenspiel, synths, guitar, cello, violin, drums and looping to build ethereal, multi-layered soundscapes.
Ana Stefaniak’s animations beautifully combine illustrated characters and photographic imagery, full of strange characters and symbolic, abstract imagery.
Exploring ideals of love, identity and home, To Love Somebody Melancholy draws the audience into the artist's inner world, dramatic and dream-like, as he battles with his conflicting affections towards his lover and his muse.
Some previous press for Minute Taker...
"a mix of haunting melodies, electronic beats and soulful singing. The man is superb."
- Time Out
“Epic, otherworldly sounds in an intimate show, with digital trickery"
- The Guardian
"singer/songwriter with that rarest of things in the genre; imagination"
"songs of true otherworldly magic and splendour"
- Manchester Evening News
Some audience feedback from the premiere of the show at Chorlton Arts Festival...
“At times it was almost transcendental. I was absolutely absorbed by it from start to finish. Mesmerised really.”
“The musicianship, songs and performance of the band were exceptional. The songs/music took us on a journey.”
“There isn't enough space on this page to explain how profoundly absorbed and moved I felt. I got a real sense of the melancholia, the feelings of squandered chances, the struggle of dealing with these cyclical aspects of self and identity.”
“Emotions washed over me in waves.”
“Amazing! It was very creative. Nothing like I have ever seen before. The music matched perfectly with the animation. It gave me shivers.”
“'This is not love, this is narcissism' – what a great lyric! Totally tickled my sense of humour!”
“The performance helped me explore my own feelings of loss and disconsolation and encouraged by own self reflection.”
“The performance was so captivating and inspirational. It just flowed so naturally. It gave me shivers.”
“beautiful and haunting. I was totally immersed”
Minute Taker, aka Manchester based composer and performer Ben McGarvey, has previously released 2 albums, Too Busy Framing and Last Things, which led to critical acclaim from Clash, Time Out, The Guardian, Notion, Manchester Evening News and Tom Robinson (BBC 6 Music). He also composes for theatre/film and performed the soundtrack to an Arts Council funded dark stage musical called HOAX My Lonely Heart (Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre, 2014 and The Lowry, Manchester, 2017).
'Alklai' Music video
Somewhere Under Water
Song from the album 'Last Things'
Ana Stefaniak is a London-based animator, illustrator and photographer interested in narrative stories, surreal worlds and symbolism. Her short animated films Dreamlands and Provenance have garnered a host of awards including Best Animation at BFI Future Film Festival 2013, Best British Film 2012 at Anifest Caterbury and Best Short Film (age 16-25) at Framed Film Festival 2012. Ana draws influence from a wide range of styles such as Japanese Anime, magic realism, double exposure photography and storybook illustrations.
'Dreamlands' Short film
'Provenance' Short film