“McGarvey is a young singer/songwriter with that rarest of things in the genre; imagination.” – Clash
“Epic, otherworldly sounds in an intimate show, with digital trickery framing trad folk
singer-songwritery fare.” – The Guardian
“An undiscovered hidden gem” – The 405
“Last Things is a beautiful collection of electronic-orientated pop songs” – Planet Notion
“McGarvey has locked himself away in his bedroom and crafted songs of true
otherworldly magic and splendour.” – Manchester Evening News
“a haunting take on modern folk” – Red Online
Minute Taker is the artist name of Manchester-based alternative songwriter/producer Ben McGarvey. In 2008 Ben released his debut album Too Busy Framing to critical acclaim. Primarily recorded in his parents’ basement using an old piano, a PC and various gadgets, the resulting album was described by Manchester Evening News as “bursting with beautiful acoustic melodies and hooks”, and was recently declared “an underrated hidden gem ” by The 405. Minute Taker’s sound has been labelled “digi-folk”, incorporating a range of acoustic and electronic instruments and drawing comparisons to James Blake, Bat For Lashes, Grimes, Björk and Thom Yorke.
Minute Taker’s sophomore album Last Things was released in April 2013. The album and it’s 3 singles, Merge, Let It Go andAlkali received critical acclaim and prompted a string of features in The 405, Notion, Red, Gay Times, Attitude and airplay from Tom Robinson (BBC Radio 6 Music). Songs such as Merge, Alkali and Echo 2 are loaded with distorted beats, sweeping synthesisers and dense vocal layering. Conversely, on other tracks, live instruments occupy the foreground with stark piano and string arrangements – such as Tin Box and Somewhere Under Water, which garnered a short-listing for Mojo Magazine’s 2011 New Voice Award. The clear threads that run throughout are the emotive melody lines and existential themes. Layers of floating vocal choirs, glockenspiel inflections and found-sounds form an ambient and often otherworldly back-drop.
Minute Taker composed and performed the music for a dark stage musical HOAX My Lonely Heart, which premiered at Manchester’s Royal Exhcange Theatre in June 2014. A collaboration with award winning cross-media author Ravi Thornton and award winning director Benji Reid, HOAX is a tragic love story based on the experiences of Ravi Thornton’s younger brother Rob who took his own life at the age of 31 after having suffered a long battle with schizophrenia. Ben performed the music live during the show, accompanying the actors, using a loop pedal to create layers of vocal harmonies, piano, synths, glockenspiel and electronic beats. Following a 4 night sold out run and critical acclaim, the show will tour in 2015.
Minute Taker’s 2 albums Too Busy Framing (as Ben McGarvey) and Last Things are now available to buy from www.minutetaker.net as well as iTunes, Amazon and various other online stores.