Will Gregory Moog Ensemble Share A New Track From Their Debut Album

Will Gregory Moog Ensemble have shared the second track, ‘The Sand Reckoner’, to be taken from their debut album release, Heat Ray, an album inspired by the work of Archimedes, the Greek mathematician who lived and worked in the third century BC. The album – recorded by the ensemble on analogue synthesisers, alongside the BBC National Orchestra of Wales – is set for release on vinyl, CD and download on 14 June 2024 via Mute.

‘The Sand Reckoner’ illustrates the album’s movement through Archimedes’ achievements – each more wonderful than the next – more specifically for the new track, it deals with scientist’s attempt to work out the number of grains that would fit into the universe, “which is just insane”, Will says, “but also amazing, in that he wanted to approach these kinds of concepts…and it became his vehicle to introduce the world to really large numbers hitherto unimagined.” 

Listen to the track here:

The new track is accompanied by news of a series of live dates for autumn: Will Gregory Moog Ensemble will be performing at the Hidden Notes festival in Stroud before two performances with the Britten Sinfonia at the Barbican, London and in Saffron Walden. Further details below, with more dates to be added.

The Will Gregory Moog Ensemble – which at times, comprises up to fourteen players – was formed by Ivor Novello winning musician, producer and co-creator of Goldfrapp, Will Gregory. Although they have been performing together since 2005, it took Archimedes to bring the ensemble together to commit these spirals of melody, circular structures, sequences, and patterns to tape. The album’s inspiration occurred during the pandemic lockdowns, when Will started digging into the mathematician’s life, after watching lectures online. “I became a bit of a YouTube fiend. Attending all these lectures I would never normally go to on subjects I had no business to be interested in. Scratch any of these maths gurus and it turned out Archimedes was their favourite mathematician. I wanted to find out why.”

The ensemble’s members – a talented bunch who have worked with the likes of Florence & the Machine and Dua Lipa – include Portishead’s Adrian Utley, a longtime collaborator of Will’s, who co-produced and plays on the album. Mute’s Daniel Miller is its “kind of executive producer”, and he even played on one of the tracks. “Given he’s been into synths right from his early days, and is a genius with them, that was a good moment”, alongside John Baggott, Graham Fitkin, Simon Haram, Vyvyan Hope-Scott, Ross Hughes, Hazel Mills, Daniel Moore, Hinako Omori, Eddie Parker, Harriet Riley and Ruth Wall, their instruments include Minimoog, Moog Voyager, Korg 700s, Prophet 6 and Roland JX3P, their individual lines coming together in intricate arrangements creating a stunning superstructure of sounds.

The album has been a humbling, joyful project for the Will Gregory Moog Ensemble, and it continues to be, with Will enthusing, “I mean, the knowledge that these people had. And also, the idea that it only takes one person to absolutely leap the whole of civilisation forward, take so many steps – it’s astonishing. And to think that libraries were burned, and so much knowledge was lost for millennia. It reminds us what we have to hold onto.”

Heat Ray takes the fertile imagination and application of those incredible times, and adds an effervescent spirit of discovery to the mix, one that often crackles and sparkles when musicians are powerfully inspired to make music together. Another legacy of Archimedes’ work rises up as a consequence – an album that brings ancient history into the modern world, pushing us towards an endlessly curious fascinating future.

Heat Ray is released on vinyl, CD and download on 14 June 2024.

Heat Ray tracklisting

Young Archimedes

Buoyancy Theory

Circles, Spirals and Pi
Law of the Lever

The Claw

Archimedes’ Screw

Heat Ray

The Sand Reckoner

Archimedes’ Legacy

Will Gregory Moog Ensemble dates

21-22 Sep – Hidden Notes Festival, Stroud

8 Oct – Barbican, London – with the Britten Sinfonia

11 Oct – Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden – with the Britten Sinfonia 

Will Gregory Moog Ensemble players

Will Gregory – Minimoog and Mellotron 
Graham Fitkin – Moog Voyager
Hazel Mills – Prophet 6 and Minimoog
Ruth Wall – Korg 700s 
Vyvyan Hope-Scott – Minimoog 
Hinako Omori – Prophet 08, OB6 and Minimoog
Daniel Moore – Moog Sub 37 and  Minimoog
Adrian Utley – Minimoog 
Ross Hughes – Roland Promars Compuphonic MRS-2, Minimoog, flute and bass clarinet 
Eddie Parker – Minimoog and Roland JX-3P
John Baggott – Minimoog 
Simon Haram – Minimoog and EWI
Harriet Riley – Marimba, snare and bass drum