2nd June 2014

Since late 2011, with the release of my final Second Thought LP, Leaf Pass, I have been working with a sound I often refer to as ‘ruralism’ (as suggested by The Glimmer Room’s Andy Condon), which generally has a certain sense of warmth, a lot of nostalgia, often lo-fi production quality and frequent use of acoustic instrumentation. Over this time, I’ve produced three albums I’m really proud of (The Blackbirds’ Revenge, Photographic Reflection and East of Evening) along with a handful of other tracks I’m happy with, featured on various ephemeral releases such as the Revolution series.

However, as I was completing what was to be my fourth ruralist album, The Last Swifts of Summer, I began to feel that I had done as much with this sound as I could: I was largely repeating old ideas. Anybody who knows me (or indeed my music) will have an idea of how quickly I get bored of working with a certain sound, and change direction. This was the major reason behind the album’s demise.

With that in mind, you will notice a change of direction with my future releases*. My next album, Two Suns Were Visible in the Sky, picks up where East of Evening left off, but eschews most of that album’s pastoral sound, expanding instead on its more abstract moments (‘Ghost of Dreams Past’, ‘Beyond Evening’ etc.) Don’t worry, I’ve not suddenly started doing dubstep; if anything, Two Suns… is a transitional album, with many of the guitar parts and field recordings not so different to my previous few albums. But it will also be different. A little darker; a little less pretty; a little colder.

Since completing the album, I’ve been laying down a few ideas for my future direction, exploring different approaches. Recently I’ve begun fleshing out these ideas, and working directly on an album which will be released in early 2015. I can’t say too much about it yet – as I don’t know exactly how it’ll shape up myself – but expect something more synthetic; something that moves towards soundtracking an imaginary place, rather than capturing a real one. Having spent a few years looking to the past, I will now be focusing on the present, and possibly the future. I am very excited to be visiting new sonic worlds, and look forward to sharing them with you all. 🙂

In mind of this, you may notice some redecoration around my various online homes.

*the exception being the Clouds in the Shape of Clouds single on Plenty Wenlock, which finally gives that track a home, along with two unreleased pieces of ruralism.

19th December 2013

Another year down, then.  It’s been a very strange year for me, musically, kind of all over the place.  It started strongly with East of Evening, which I am incredibly proud of.  Much of the year was taken up by Terra Incognita, which went through many incarnations (the initial and final mixes sharing only a few minutes of music), which is now finally out!  In personal terms, a whole new load of crises appeared this year, which I’m finally overcoming, but things seem to have ended well, with a move to south east London planned for the start of January.  The place is absolutely lovely, with lots of natural open space a minute from the house, yet the convenience of having all that London has to offer – and for cheap rent!  Seem to have finally landed on my feet there.

This year has also been fantastic for music, with some surprisingly brilliant comeback albums from the likes of Bowie and Suede, and Autechre and Wire producing some of their best work to date.  My top 30 albums (as also posted on Absent With Concept):

01. Chvrches – The Bones of What You Believe [Goodbye]
02. Karl Hyde – Edgeland [UnderworldLive]
03. Dementia and Hope Trails – Pure Magical Love [Rainbow Bridge]
04. Luke Howard – Sun, Cloud [self-released]
05. Jack Anderton – Vale [Sirona]
06. Wire – Change Becomes Us [Pink Flag]
07. Aaron Martin & Christoph Berg – Day Has Ended [Dronarivm]
08. Broken Chip – The Wonga Pigeon [Flaming Pines]
09. Suede – Bloodsports [Warner Bros.]
10. EMS : Piano – One [FSOLDigital]
11. Rad Wolf – Content [self-released]
12. Rat Rios – Broken Fold EP [self-released]
13. Pure Bathing Culture – Moon Tides [Memphis Industries]
14. Amalgamated – Trudge/Slap [((Cave)) Recordings]
15. Off Land – Tidewater Pulse [Psychonavigation]
16. Sabri Meddeb – Between Dawn and Dusk [self-released]
17. David Bowie – The Next Day [ISO]
18. Autechre – Exai [Warp]
19. Inappropriate King Live – Datboonbaat [Rainbow Bridge]
20. R. Sawyer – Attention [Bridgetown]
21. Piper Spray – Epigraph to the Bright Star Catalogue [Singapore Sling]
22. Marcus Fischer – The Crow [Flaming Pines]
23. The Rainbow Body – Magnetic Highway [Tranquility Tapes]
24. The Amorphous Androgynous – The Cartel [FSOLDigital]
25. Blackhill Transmitter – EP [FSOLDigital]
26. Modulator ESP – Inner Cosmos [Fort Evil Fruit]
27. Sand Sound Folly – Salient Moons 1973 [FSOLDigital]
28. The Glimmer Room – A Return to Cromley Hall [Silent Rookery]
29. Off Land – Overtide Recon [Stasis]
30. Dementia and Hope Trails – I Am Still Shaking Because of You [Sacred Phrases]

Next year I am hoping will finally be the resolution to several years’ personal issues, and also a consolidation to what I’ve been doing musically since late 2011.  The last two years have been a retreat from the madness of the end of Second Thought, and I feel as if I’ve moved far enough away to finally be back at that comfortable place again, making music purely for the love of it, and releasing a solid album every year, rather than several half-formed projects.

Bullfinch Art & Tapes should be finally making a much-delayed appearance at some point later in the year – I have a few tapes for that lined up, and hopefully those Finches art prints will go on sale eventually!  I’m also planning on getting myself a bit more music gear at last, some pedals and a synth, at least.  Something I can play about with.

Happy midwinter and New Year, westerners, and I hope you are all well.  🙂

13th February 2013

All of my past music that’s available has now been added to my main Bandcamp.  This basically brings together past work as Second Thought and The Curse of Kevin Carter under one banner, which is certainly not how I originally imagined things, but I’m now happy to just say ‘this is me’.  I have included a wealth of bonus material in here, too.  First off, Purlieu has been rounded off with a 30 minute collage collecting various related unreleased material of similar style, from the Purlieu, Leaf Pass and East of Evening sessions.  Since Every Hour is Too Late has been expanded to include a selection of synth pieces from the same sessions, and closes with ‘May Revisited’.  There are also bonus remixes and live takes included in the downloads of Vacuum Road Songs and Safernoc.  Finally, the lost Second Thought album Aeolian Landform is available in its original format, after a short appearance under my Obliquity monker a couple of years ago, in its rightful place amongst my other records.  This now gives the whole page a rather strange feel, collecting together ambient techno, modern classical, lo-fi acoustics and various other genres, but why should genres matter, really?

All of the albums (except East of Evening, of which there are still a few tape copies available) are available as name-your-price downloads, so there is potentially eleven hours of free music to grab there, although I am saving towards some new gear which I’ll be needing to work on my next album, so all donations are very gratefully received.  Enjoy!

26th December 2012

Well, thankfully the world didn’t end, so I can end the year on a high note.  2012 has been a very important year for me, in many, many ways.  In musical terms, it has been a year of reinvention – a chance for me to start again, work out who I am and why I am doing what I’m doing.  The Revolution sessions at the start of the year were a proper ‘year zero’ thing, stripping right back to me, an acoustic guitar, a cheap keyboard and a 4-track, for the most part.  Since then I’ve released two records I’m very proud of – The Blackbirds’ Revenge and Photographic Reflection- which have built on the ambient acoustic sound I have found so rewarding to work with.  The second half of the year I have spent recording a huge bulk of material, but thankfully have found the quality control to only select ten tracks for album number 3, East of Evening, which will be out in January.  I’m expecting the tapes to arrive just after new year, and will start dubbing them then.  I’ve had some really positive reviews and lots of great feedback from these new records.

I really do feel a sense of peace and ease with my music now that hasn’t been present since recording Safernoc and Canal Seven back in 2009.  I have a few ideas about music going forward, and think it’ll take a lot longer with more attention to detail than the somewhat stripped-back nature of the recent releases, going to work on a big, lush sound.  There’s also a very experimental record with my friend Craig, the second album as Sturmazdale, which will be appearing at some point in the coming months, and tentative work has begun on the second Curse of Kevin Carter album.

I feel like I really know who I am and what I’m doing these days, and that makes me very happy.  Roll on 2013!