Introducing The Borderlands

Over the past six weeks I’ve reissued 30 of my past releases on CDr, including the bulk of my solo material, plus all of my collaborative albums as part of Captain Busby, Sturmazdale and Winter of the World. These will be available for the foreseeable future on my Bandcamp. It’s been nice revisiting my back catalogue, as there are many albums here I’d not listened to in a few years. In particular it was enjoyable going back over the collabs – I think those Sturmazdale and Winter of the World albums are unfairly overlooked, by myself as much as anyone. Some music I’m really proud of there.
 
During the brief period that I was considering doing more fleshed out, expanded reissues, I began to work on some tentative liner notes to accompany them. Getting back into the headspace that accompanied these old albums played a big part in my decision to make my forthcoming album Holosphere the last International Debris album. Just over four years ago I wrote about feeling ready to get back into making expansive electronic music again after spending a few years mostly working with low-scale, acoustic based ruralist ambience. Since then I’ve recorded Bathe in the Lights of Distant Cities and the Sphere trilogy, the latter being basically the albums I dreamed of making for years. With this achieved, I’m heading off into different territories and a new project.
 
One specific thing I got from delving back into past headspaces was the desire to have my own musical language. I remember, when I was working on Purlieu in late 2002, I actually put the four-to-the-floor kick in ‘Tsohg’ as a joke, to see how people would react to having an overtly dancey sound in my music, and also a nod to the fact that I’d started out making eurotrance type material. There was a fairly conscious decision on Purlieu to move away from beats and dance music, and during the initial planning sections for Vacuum Road Songs, the album was going to be almost entirely beatless ambience. Due to the creative block leading to the absorption of several projects into that album, it ended up being mostly rhythmic, and owing much to various existing genres. This inadvertently ended up shaping much of my music over the following ten years, and while I’m very happy of most of my beat-based material, I always find it sounds less individual or unique to myself, like I’m speaking somebody else’s musical language. So I decided to take the mindset I was in back in 2003 as a jumping off point for the future, exploring possibilities of where I might have headed had I continued the stylistic path I’d begun. It’s not an attempt to re-write history, but an opportunity to take my music in new directions. There are hints of this in what I’ve made since then – Leaf Pass and East of Evening feel close – but it will be different to the bulk of my material from 2007 onwards.
 
This is all the context with which I announce that, from here on, my solo electronic / experimental music will be released solely under the name The Borderlands.

16th April 2018

I’ve always been drawn to the chronology of things, being able to look back over periods of time and identify the evolution of an idea, a sound, a place. For a while now I’ve felt like I’ve been coming to the end of a particular era of my music, and have been tying things up in a faintly subconscious way. Arachnidiscs have just announced pre-orders for my new CD Exteriors, which sold out its limited run fairly quickly and has gone onto a second run already. That’s a compilation of pieces that never quite found a home, an album I’d wanted to make for ages portraying a normal everyday town situation, rather than the rural / exotic / surreal soundscapes I normally end up making. There are some very old tracks on it, so in some way it’s of a kin with Leaf Pass, but overall I’m really happy to have finally made this little record that’s been eluding me for such a long time now. You can pick that up from the Arachnidiscs Bandcamp.

Otherwise I’m now just sorting out label stuff for Holosphere, the final piece of the Sphere trilogy of that started with Ambisphere and Myosphere. It’s not too dissimilar in mood, although is the most rhythm-based of the three. The trilogy is born of my love of ’90s ambient, particularly the heavily sample-based end of it a la FSOL and The Orb. Sometime down the line once I have the rights to Ambisphere back I’ll be doing a nice 3CD box of those. In the meantime, Myosphere is down to the last four tapes on No Problema, so this is probably your last chance to grab that.

Holosphere runs a little like this:
01. Ladybird Spider
02. Verdant Sphinx
03. Blades of Grass
04. Baby Universe
05. Cromagnon
06. The Mauve Raven
07. Pargeons
08. Distance Collapse
09. Spacemoth
10. Little Leaf
11. Retrofire

To coincide with this, I’m also going to be reissuing my entire back catalogue on CDr. I had had plans to work on some nice deluxe 2CD reissues, but the time and money involved would mean the whole campaign would drag out over a few years, and frankly it’s not so healthy to be putting all that much effort into the past when I could be putting it into the present. So instead I’m going to make all of my out-of-print releases available on CDr again. In all applicable cases, these will be the same issues as were on sale on my Bandcamp for a limited time a couple of years back, only with slightly updated artwork (all will be credited to International Debris). There are also several which  have not received a CD or any physical release before, and some of these will be expanded editions. I’m hoping to have those ready by the end of May.

After that there’ll be a bit of a break while I start to work out how to translate all the ideas in my head into new sounds.

I’ve been helping out restart the Terminal project after a couple of years of silence. Season 3 of Terminal Radio is coming later this year, and there are some very big names involved. I’ve been working on mixes for that so I’ll be popping up and hopefully some artists I’ve invited along will be too. Once that’s settled in we’ll be looking at where to take Terminal as a collective and label, hopefully with physical releases and art editions somewhere down the line…

And while I’ve not been doing all that, I’ve been keeping myself busy working on my FSOL wiki.

25th March 2018

Despite having mentioned it late last year, I’ve been continuing to work on new material for the Peregrination album, which is now longer going to be called that. I’ve actually created a lot of material for the album this year, and it looks like it’s going to end up being a double album at this rate. I’ve recently been on a one-track-a-day routine as part of some OCD self-help, keeping things structured and not allowing myself to worry too much about whether the album is finished or not for the minute. Focusing wholly on one piece at a time has resulted in some work I’m really proud of, and I’m genuinely excited about where this album is going. I’m using lots of samples. I’ll keep working on that for a while and I’m sure you’ll all hear it next June or something knowing the usual process.

Otherwise, Exteriors and Arboretum are still lined up ready to go, the former at some point in late spring and the latter in late ’18/early ’19. That’s still a lot of albums. Meanwhile, it’s spring, and I’m going to be going outside a lot because the outside is a good place to be.

Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Nurse With Wound and Stephan Micus and really early vaporwave.