4th September 2011

Some people might be mistaken in thinking that being one of those people who is constantly recording is a good thing. It’s not! Well, it has its down sides, at least. For a while I’ve been worrying that I’m actually working on too much music, but then I remember even around the time of Purlieu I was recording that, and almost an album’s worth of material that didn’t make it onto the album, and a couple of 2T Records, and a So Far So Good album, and some nonsense as Rory and the Smendles, and still at college and persuing a social life. So perhaps it’s not so odd that, given the fact I have nothing to do at the moment, I’m coming up with a lot of new music. It’s all being put into different boxes on different themes. I’ve decided to revisit the original ideas behind Vacuum Road Songs (long before it turned into the maddening journey through a city story it was planned to be a more grim sounding soundtrack to a rather scary part of a city – think Burial’s first album in mood), a ghost story themed album inspired by a car trip near Hinckley, the electro-acoustic experiments I’ve spoken of before, the old tape collage, and a box for general stuff that might get used in the future. I’m getting in touch with labels to see what will be released where and when. Hopefully a few bits and bobs will be out over the course of 2012.

I spent much of yesterday playing with a melodica, writing, recording, manipulating sounds. It works very well at forming an ambient backdrop, and I came up with some great sounds. I think I really need to get a guitar very soon. Given the opportunity to write tracks, rather than piece them together on the computer, it should slow down my progress without stopping me from being musical!

8th October 2010

Long-time fans of Second Thought will remember the 2T project which recorded between 2001 and 2003, the name of which still occasionally appears credited as artwork designer. Upon revisiting some of my old music, I renewed my interest in the harsher and more experimental ends of my music – noise, industrial, drone, harsh noise wall, breakcore and all the other ridiculous stuff 2T used to come out with. In a recording spree of a few weeks I came up with a startling amount of this material and am now faced with the rather worrying prospect of a billion different releases. Only one has come out so far – last week’s Torn Vision 3″ CDr.

Fortunately, a fair amount of it will be appearing on compilations over the coming months (more news on them as and when they’re released). I’ve also come together with a few artists to release some splits. Next week will see a CDr release on Jerky Oats of a three-way split between myself, Cementimental and Fist Taker. It’ll be limited to 30 copies, digipacked with more artwork by Lucy Wade, my beautiful girlfriend and co-conspirator in the creative world of Jerky Oats Records and Merganser. The album is 75 minutes of harsh noise wall and should be approached with caution and curiosity by anyone not familiar with this end of my music. I have another split on its way, with Absence.Insolution (who is releasing one of the aforementioned compilations), we’re just looking for a label for that, and third split with Noisesurfer due out as a netlabel release before the end of the year. Which leaves me two 20 minute records which I’m currently submitting to a few cassette labels. If they ain’t interested I’m heading outwards to some CDr labels, although I like the noise cassette scene so it would be sad not to have at least one of them released on cassette. These, coupled with The Curse of Kevin Carter’s song form, Dungeness’s dronescapes and the unmelodic textures of Small Black Box, mark a very experimental final quarter of 2010 for Second Thought.

The reason for the push on getting these out is I want a clear run in the new year. I don’t think they’ll all be out by January, but I really want to be able to categorise this period as the experimental period, when a lot of unusual sounds and ideas were put out at once. It’s like a scrapbook, lots of ideas and genre exercises and experiments, put out for free, or as limited editions. And I’m tired of seeing all this stuff lined up and not actually releasing it. It’ll clear my mind and inspiration to get it out of the way, because I feel like this era is over in my head and I hate holding on to stuff. 2010 has been a year of experimentation, with all sorts of new releases and directions for me. It’s been the re-emergence of Second Thought with a bang, and I’d like things to calm down a bit now.

The new year will see Safernoc released, and an accompanying EP of outtakes, Syophonic. Safernoc is the big statement, the proper follow-up to Vacuum Road Songs, after all these years. There are a couple more things due – some remixes, and follow-ups to Canal Seven and 60 Degrees South, but overall I want to let everything breathe. And I want to work towards a more streamlined future. Once the follow-up to Safernoc is out (yes, I’m that far behind on actually releasing stuff), I’m calling an end to side-projects and experiments, and putting everything out as ‘proper’ releases. This might mean two albums a year rather than one album and six experimental EPs, I don’t know. But it will make Second Thought feel more like Second Thought again. I kind of miss the days when I’d record a bunch of tracks, and as they went along they’d begin to make sense and an overall sound would become evident, and after a while, 12 or 13 tracks would fit together nicely and become an album. It felt very honest and I’m looking forward to returning to that mindset again.

Anyway, that’s a lot of ranting for what is effectively “expect a lot of weird unlistenable shit before Christmas”.

6th December 2004

I found a bunch of stuff on my computer from the long scrapped 2T album ‘Water Or Jazz’ today. Gave me a few ideas…Struxsture has to be brought back at some point… I also found a silly little track called Eruropiann, which I uploaded to my AS page. I’d forgotten how complex some parts of it were. I’m still fond of the 2T version of Maching/Machine, too. Maybe something’ll happen with that. It was interesting to hear some of this stuff which I haven’t heard in so long. If only the bass wasn’t mixed so high in Kwel Leavels. Bah.

15th January 2004

2T came second in ‘Most Improved Artist’ at the ES Awards 2003. Second Thought grabbed that spot last year. I have no more artists to do that now, though. That’s a shame, really. I wonder if I’ll get a prize.

10th January 2004

What’s going on with my music? Purlieu is ever closing in. Hopefully looking at sometime within the next couple of weeks to get it off for manufacture, now things are tidying themselves up in the US, meaning a February/March release, but don’t hold me to that.

Work has begun on the next album, interestingly enough. I’m going with a complete contrast to Purlieu, in theme. From a place that doesn’t exist, of trees, meadows and eerie desolation to a busy, rough, noisy inhabited place – I’m thinking maybe a town or city, perhaps. I’ve been collecting samples, and have a hell of a lot of tracks begun. I think it’s going to be a bit less ambient than Purlieu, a bit harsher sounding, but I’m not going with a full on IDM breakbeat onslaught… still some of the ambient and slightly classical-esque ideas I used on Purlieu. Generally, the overall tone will be different – instead of the eerily tranquil and disturbing, it will be more… perhaps melancholy and a touch distressed… very much like you’re caught up in the complete chaos of a city. It’s an idea I’ve been playing with for a long time now, I’ve always wanted to do an album with this sort of theme. I’m thinking of restructuring a couple of ideas from some unreleased remixes I did, and I’ve got a great track emerging from the remains of ‘Birmingham City Skyline on a Hazy September Morning’, from back in the day. [-second thought-] has produced a hell of a lot of good tracks in the long run.

I’m also messing around with the idea of jazzy stuff. I wrote a few ideas on the piano at college, and found two tracks that worked together purely by accident. I’m really hoping that’ll be on the album, too. I think 2T will be at work on this album, too. The way the 2T project is heading at the moment – Maching, for example – is beginning to be more Second Thought than 2T. I think I’m going to take the IDM bits and incorporate them into Second Thought. Either way, that’s what the distant future holds. I’m not even considering finishing the record before the coming winter, so don’t hold your breath.

In the slightly more seeable future, there’s the AmbientLive show, which I can assure is going ahead, at some point. I’ve still not actually finalised the setlist – I’m thinking of taking the new breakbeat reworking of First Understanding out, as it is an ambient show, after all. What to replace it with is the hard thing – there’s not much from ‘Purlieu’ in the set, but I’ve exhausted all the easily reproducable tracks from that, so I’m thinking maybe an unreleased track. I’ve not tried a final mixdown of ‘Borderline’, which will hopefully be the opening track on the next album, so I don’t know how that would sound. It’s a possibility. Otherwise, there are a couple of other ideas that aren’t finished, but could be played as sketches. I’m not sure how work arrangements will suit Greg for playing, but if he can make it, there’ll be live guitar from him on a couple of tracks. I also have a sample for closing the show to get for that, so it’s certainly not complete. As soon as I get a date forthat, I’ll spread the word.

Listening to some live FSOL stuff. Man, I’d love to create this sort of soundscape. Even though I come from a similar standpointwhen it comes to creating albums, I’ve never been able to create something as… alive as Dougans and Cobain ever managed. I am constantly amazed by their music. To make an album with as much atmosphere and presence as Lifeforms is a fantasy of mine, and one I don’t think I’ll ever really fullfill.

Been picking up the guitar a lot of late. I don’t know if this will give more guitar on the Second Thought stuff, or lead me back to being a singer/songwriter type again. I think the recent happiness of mood might help me out in that department. I could do with writing some songs, even be they cheesy love songs.

The future’s bright, the future’s storange.