BALTIC FLEET is the moniker of multi-instrumentalist and DIY producer Paul Fleming who returns with his third album ‘The Dear One’. The new album follows his critically acclaimed debut ‘Baltic Fleet‘ (a Rough Trade Shop ‘Albums of the Year’) and his second album ‘Towers‘ which also made several End of Year Polls and was nominated for the Liverpool Music Awards Album of The Year alongside Miles Kane and Ian Skelly. Baltic Fleet is also a winner of the annual Liverpool GIT Award, dubbed the ‘Scouse Mercury Prize’ by The Quietus.
Both previous albums have gained both UK radio support particularly from BBC 6 Music (including Steve Lamacq, Gideon Coe, Stuart Maconie & Mark Radcliffe and Marc Riley who invited Baltic Fleet in for a 6 Music session), and BBC Radio 2 (Janice Long) as well as international airplay. Baltic Fleet were also nominated for a MusicWeek Sync Award.
Although initially bourne from a studio project Paul Fleming brings together like-minded musicians for the occasional rare live show. Baltic Fleet has performed with acts including Public Service Broadcasting and at festivals including Liverpool Soundcity, Yoko Ono’s Meltdown, FestEvol (Liverpool), Norwich Sound & Vision, Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia, Sheffield Sensoria, Club Paradiso’s annual ‘London Calling’ in Amsterdam, as well as being invited to play at Rough Trade East’s Birthday Celebrations.
Whilst on a World Tour playing keyboards for Echo and the Bunnymen Paul began to write what would come to be his 2008 self-titled debut ‘Baltic Fleet‘. With a laptop and any instruments that were to hand he would capture, in music, what inspired him in each city around the world; from Texas to Barcelona to Berlin to Copenhagen to Reykjavik and back to the UK in Brighton. In hotel rooms, tour buses, planes, at the end of radio sessions and sound-checks, every opportunity was taken and tracks gradually started to form into an album, and a sound was born influenced by works from artists such as Eno, The Doves, NEU!, Sigur Ros and DJ Shadow.
Written, produced and performed by Paul, the album also features contributions from Simon Finley on drums, Will Sergeant on guitar and Pete Wilkinson on Bass. Paul signed to Blow Up Records in April 2007, and the same Summer took his recordings into Studio B, The Premises in Hackney for additional production, mixing and some heavy-duty valve and analogue processing with Nick Terry (Simian Mobile Disco).
The album was released to critical acclaim, and was made an Album of the Year (No 29) for Rough Trade Shops who described it as “A faultless piece of instrumental music that captures the spirit of Eno, NEU! all the way through to modern post-rock and chamber music”.
The cinematic aspect was still apparent on this second offering but more direct: analogue synthesisers intertwined with distant guitars rolling over a backdrop of live and electronic drums. Two years in the making, the album tells a story of life in between the silos of Liverpool and Manchester but with a foot in both, a cultural no-man’s land, in the shadows of industry. ‘Towers’ was written and produced by Paul Fleming and again mixed by Nick Terry at Malabar Studios, Oslo.
Rough Trade Shops again placed the album in their Album Club, making ‘Towers’ Album Of The Week and an Album Of The Month: “Immense. Fleming has upped the ante on an already stellar debut” . The NME referred to Towers’ “Exceptional motorik beats” whilst Subba-Cultcha described the album as “A sublimely cinematic blend of kosmische musik, dream pop”and Prog as a “Haunting electronic elegy for post-industrial Britain”. The album appeared in end of year polls including Vive Le Rock, Crack Magazine, Louder Than War: “A wonderfully well rounded and complete album” and The Liverpool Echowho described it as “One of the finest records from Liverpool in years”.