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Thomas Hein (2006-2016) Sophie Sleigh-Johnson (2006-2010)
These New Puritans are an English music group/band from Southend-on-Sea, England. It consists mainly of Jack Barnett (principal songwriter, vocalist, producer, multi-instrumentalist) and his twin brother George Barnett (drums, electronics, producer, artwork). Thomas Hein (sampler, keyboards, percussion, bass) was an active member of TNP between 2006 and 2016; Sophie Sleigh-Johnson (keyboards, sampler) was active between 2006 and 2010. They have recorded four studio albums: Beat Pyramid (2008), Hidden (2010), Field of Reeds (2013) and Inside the Rose (2019).
Their music has been described as "blurring the distinction between rock, classical, electronic and experimental" and as "strikingly modern yet simultaneously timeless."
The Barnett brothers grew up in the Essex town of Southend-on-Sea. Their father was a builder and their mother was an art teacher. George and Jack made music together as children with "karaoke microphones, old bongos and guitars too large for their tiny hands", later focusing on electronic music. They formed the band together with childhood friend Tom Hein, who grew up in nearby Billericay.
Before their second album Hidden was released, Barnett revealed that he had been writing music for bassoon and stated that the aim was for a final product where "dancehall meets Steve Reich". He taught himself musical notation to score the brass and woodwind elements of the album. In a 2010 interview with Jack Barnett, Paul Morley described These New Puritans' new material on Hidden as "very 1970, but also quite 1610, 1950, 1979, 1989, 2005 and 2070". When performing live during the Hidden era they were often accompanied by a five-piece brass-woodwind ensemble. In 2010 they performed a series of full live performances of Hidden (featuring a brass-woodwind ensemble, Taiko drums, children's choir, three vibraphonists and live Foley techniques) entitled Hidden Live, at venues such as the Barbican Centre (featuring the Britten Sinfonia), the Pompidou Centre and Berghain. In 2010 the song "We Want War" featured on the Assassin's Creed Brotherhood soundtrack.
In a May 2010 interview with C.B.Liddell, Jack Barnett revealed that he was interested in Melanesian music and that he anticipated that the next TNPS album would be "quieter." Towards the end of 2012 the band remixed "Mutual Core" by Björk, which featured on the remix album Bastards. In June 2013, they released their third album, Field of Reeds, which featured jazz singer Elisa Rodrigues. The video clip for the single Organ Eternal was directed by Willy Vanderperre and featured the acclaimed Belgian actress Line Pillet. Musically Field of Reeds was described as "uncategorizable" and as drawing heavily on avant-garde classical composition. For the "Fragment Two" video, they reunited with Daniel Askill, who'd previously directed "We Want War".
These New Puritans returned in November 2018 with the song, "Into the Fire", which was released digitally and as a limited edition flame-coloured 7" single. This was followed in January 2019 by a video for "Inside The Rose", made in collaboration with photographer Harley Weir, and the announcement of a new album of the same name. Recorded in Essex, London and Berlin, and mixed in Los Angeles, Inside the Rose was described as "another creative reinvention" and as their most direct and accessible music yet. The album's release was marked with a "happening" event at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, involving a stage set constructed out of slashed silk hung from scaffolding, designed by George Barnett and artist Freya Don. The support act was performance artist Soojin Chang.
After the release of Inside the Rose it was announced that Thomas Hein had departed the group, due to his academic commitments in studying computational neuroscience.