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Mike Block Releases New Album, "Machines That Fly"


This morning, Grammy Award-winning cellist and ArtistWorks instructor, Mike Block released his 16th record as a solo artist or bandleader entitled Machines That Fly.


Restricted by the isolation of the pandemic, Mike was unable to perform many of the pieces that he had released on his October 2020 album, The Edge of The Atmosphere, with a full rock ensemble as they were originally recorded. Determined to circumvent this obstacle, Mike composed stripped-down and intimate solo cello and vocal arrangements of seven of The Edge of The Atmosphere’s original twelve pieces in order to perform them without the support of a band. These seven songs became the foundation of his latest work, Machines That Fly.


LEARN MORE: Want to learn how to play the cello from a master musician like Mike Block? Try some free online cello lessons now!


It was an awkward feeling to listen to my own album over and over in order to learn my own songs,” expressed Mike. “At first, I had the intention of meticulously recreating the full band arrangements by combining multiple lines into a composite cello groove. Over time, though, these solo arrangements took on a life of their own, and I let them transform around the strengths of the cello. I found opportunities to embrace the intimacy possible in stripped-down solo versions.”


Machines That Fly is comprised of ten tracks, seven of which are reverse-engineered recreations of pieces from The Edge of The Atmosphere, while the remaining three are brand new releases unique to the 2022 album. The three pieces making their formal debut include “Going Home,” “The Chicken,” and “When the Birds Sing Along in the Morning,” which features lyrics pulled from the memoir of the legendary cellist, Pablo Casals. Also featured on “When the Birds Sing Along in the Morning” is world-renowned cello icon and one of Mike’s lifelong heroes and mentors, Yo-Yo Ma.


Mike Block - “When the Birds Sing Along in the Morning” feat. Yo-Yo Ma (Official Music Video):



“The title of the album comes from a phrase that Casals (born 1876) remembered his father telling him as a young boy: ‘when you grow up, there will be machines that fly,’” Mike explains. “I feel the process of good song-writing is a bit like Casal’s father trying to describe ‘machines that fly’ before airplanes were invented. I’m not always sure what it will end up like when I’m writing, but I know that once it’s done right, I’ll be able to fly.”


Mike Block - “Going Home” (Official Music Video):



To download Machines That Fly, head to Mike’s website here, or listen on any of your favorite streaming platforms.



Have you always wanted to learn how to play the cello? Through our comprehensive cello lessons online and Video Exchange Learning platform here at ArtistWorks, you can learn directly from world-renowned cellist Mike Block, and get personal feedback on your playing.


Mike’s course starts with the basics and teaches everything from beginner cello to advanced performance techniques and tunes. So, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, all levels are welcome and all students will grow and improve their skills as cellists and musicians!


Try out some free music lessons here and see what makes ArtistWorks courses some of the best online music lessons around!



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