Adam Donen grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, the eldest child of prominent anti-apartheid activists. He delivered his first
poetry performance at age six, reciting works by William Blake and Samuel Taylor Coleridge to ANC freedom fighters inside
Polsmoor Maximum Security Prison. Much as everyone who heard the Sex Pistols' Manchester Free Trade Hall gig is said to have
started a band, so everyone who heard Adam would later become a cabinet minister: audience members included Tony and
Lumka Yengeni and Jennifer Schreiner. Adam began playing guitar a year later.
He moved to London at eighteen, read English and started a band. His first major project, garage artrockers Alexandria Quartet,
toured the UK for much of 2006 and 2007, playing six shows a week in grotty ketamine dives. Their music was violent and
political, and they channeled Old Testament-style hellfire at apathetic Blair babies.
After sixteen months of raging, burn-out set in. A spell of depression and agoraphobia left Adam in an underground hovel in
Hackney, disinclined to leave the house or take visitors. There he set to work on new poems and songs. He developed an
obsession with the 60s band Love; upon discovering that they based their string arrangements on Rimsky-Korsakov's Principles
of Orchestration, he duly devoured the textbook.
Around this time, a mutual friend brought Adam to the attention of superproducer Robert Harder (whose other credits include
Herbie Hancock, Brian Eno and Pete Doherty). This led to 2008's album and poetry book 'As Our Parents Slowly Turn to Clay',
recorded in Harder's 2-Noise Studios. Virtuouso jazz sax player Pete Wareham (of Acoustic Ladyland and Mercury Prize winners
Polar Bear) guested on many of the tracks. Jo Silverston (Rachel Unthank, Emily Barker) provided cello. The disc-and-book
package was sold at gigs.
Single 'Five Minute Zeitgeist' proved an underground success, and was named cited by tastemakers as one of the tracks of 2008.
The band played shows withThe Boo Radley's Martin Carr, Loney Dear, Yoav. A more mainstream success beckoned.
ut by 2009, after the dissolution of a long-term relationship, Adam had slumped into another depression, and decided that he
had tired of rock music. He found solace in the Old Poets with whom he had spent his youth, and worked his way through the
Lomax field recordings.
Gradually, he set about composing a new album. It was to be called Immortality, and was to be, he wrote, 'the mausoleum of my
childhood'. The songs were quiet dirges set against the backdrop of a declining civilisation. In August, Donen returned to Harder's
studio to lay down the tracks, joined by a string quartet, flautist, horn section and an array of guest backing vocalists. Mixing was
finished by October.
The album is scheduled for UK release in May 2010.
Adam returns to the road in January 2010. Alone, this time.
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