It was my 32nd birthday yesterday. Not a significant age, although in this digital world we live I suppose 32 is a more notable number than it once was. And by some coincidence, my online presence will be changing somewhat in the near future. More news on that soon!
In terms of releases, Curtain Moon will be finally getting its release, on No Problema Tapes, at the end of the year. The album has been renamed Myosphere. I’m super happy to be on No Problema, who are one of my favourite labels operating at the moment.
Before that will be a newly recorded work entitled Opaline, which will be out on 10th September on BLCR (the label who put out the reworked version of Bathe in the Lights of Distant Cities earlier in the year). This is an album of longform dream acid pieces. There may be a physical version of that coming at some point, but it’s just a digital release for the moment.
And Genderqueer Synth Diaries will be coming along at some point this year at last, as the artwork is now entering its final stages.
This will clear the backlog of stuff – typically for me it’s been 14 months since my last proper album and now there are three coming along all at once (there’s a bus analogy here somewhere). It’s been a relatively quiet year for me in terms of recording – Opaline was done over the space of a week, and those other two were completed last year – but I do have a few things down as starting points for my next full length. I’ve spent a few months playing with ideas but also getting involved in some online stuff, and recently reassessing my past. I’ve reached a point where I feel happier with the last few years of my work than I have ever done, and I feel very positive going forward to my next album. I have the same sense of focus that I haven’t really had for a very long time. I’d imagine the next album will unfold over a long period of time, but hopefully it’s something that’ll be out next year.
I’ve recently been listening to the new album from David Tibet and Youth as Hypnopazuzu which is excellent, and the last School of Seven Bells album. Also a wonderful tape on the Tekres label by Somnus called Sleep, which comes highly recommended.
So there are a few completed things lined up for release. Curtain Moon, the long-awaited follow up to Ambifauna, will be out on Bedlam Digital in July. That album is a fairly dense mix of ambient techno, vaporwave and new age stuff that is the culmination of everything I’ve been doing for the last couple of years. It’s the album I’ve wanted to make for ages and I’m incredibly proud of it. That’s just a digital release at the minute, although I’m hoping to arrange a physical version for some time later in the year.
Around the same time, there’ll be a collection of pieces I made using hardware, recorded to 4-track tape, called Genderqueer Synth Diaries. That’ll be coming out as a tape on Third Kind Records, just waiting on a release date confirmation for that.
There’s also new music from Winter of the World and Middlemarch due this year at some point.
From now on I’m trying to focus on one project at a time as much as possible. The next thing I’ll be working on is a collaboration with my Five Minutes Alone (aka my Middlemarch bandmate Dimitris) which I’m really excited to get started. And then later in the year I’ll start work on new International Debris material.
2015, then. I won’t deny it’s been a difficult year. After a relatively good 2014 this year’s been rocky. I ended up in hospital with my mental health issues again. I ended up moving back in with my parents again. On the other hand, I’ve learned a lot about myself and am so much more confident going forward with my life, about who I am and what I want. I am more aware than ever of my weaknesses, what aspects of my life trigger off anxiety, and things that make my OCD flare up; equally I feel more capable of managing these things moving forward. I am hoping in 2016 I’ll be able to redress the balance in lifestyle and be able to start functioning better socially.
Musically it’s been a year of some real highs and proper lows. International Debris started properly at the start of the year, and since then I’ve put out a couple of full-length albums, including Ambifauna, one of my strongest records to date. That came out on Psychonavigation, probably my most high profile release, although one which received disappointingly little coverage or response. The first half of the year also saw the release of probably my most personal release to date, the Anxiety EP. More recently I’ve put out a number of vaporwave releases which have been very well received. I was also very proud to put out a tape on one of my favourite labels, ((Cave)) Recordings, with the second Winter of the World album (my collab with Noisesurfer). I curated five episodes of Terminal Radio, and since then have been running a fortnightly show called Dream Machine, both on the brilliant Future Music FM.
On the downside, I’ve had more doubts about my own music this year than any time in the past, and have seriously considered giving up all together. I recently tied together various odds and ends into an album called Remains (to be released next year on Aloe City Records), and I am going to be making a fresh start in the new year, spending more time really getting to grips with the hardware I’ve acquired over the past couple of years and really learning how to use it rather than pissing around and using the bits that work. There are two other albums coming in 2016, ParkCity by Day on Beer Wizard in Jan/Feb, and Curtain Moon later in the year on a label still to be announced. There should also be a collection of lo-fi synth jams called Genderqueer Synth Diaries, to come out on the lovely Third Kind Records at some point.
Most of my best moments this year have involved Lucy and Rosey. Without them I wouldn’t have got through half of what I got through. They are both beautiful and wonderful.
Here’s to 2016. Happy new year to you all. 🙂
When I came up with the idea of International Debris around a year ago, my original plan was for it to be a group with a loose cast of members, along the lines of Current 93 or The Orb (although Kris Weston might have something to say about that). I was originally going to be handing out production and mixing duties as well as compositional ones to various people, making each track a proper ‘group’ track. Bathe in the Lights of Distant Cities was certainly working towards that, but since then I’ve ended up taking over control of almost all pieces, largely because I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to my own music. I’m also quite impatient.
So from now on International Debris will be considered a solo project. This doesn’t meant I won’t be doing collaborations, but I’ve decided it’s probably better for me to take control of the name so I don’t have to worry too much about it being a ‘group’ thing. So yes, International Debris is now just me again.
Been a while since I posted an update about my music…
Ambifauna came out a couple of weeks ago, reactions have been very positive so far. It’s available directly from the label, as well as from Amazon, iTunes, Juno, Kudos and various other online outlets, as both CDr and various digital download formats.
The album itself I am incredibly proud of. In these days of uncertainty about my own music, I am really happy with Ambifauna. In some ways, it’s a concise version of everything I was trying to achieve with Second Thought back in the day, although containing a lot of new sounds. Certainly the seamless flow and segues have achieved everything I ever wanted to do with that sound.
I’ve recently been tying up the next album, which I’ve been labouring over since January. It’s been a lot more difficult than most of my albums, going through countless incarnations over the months, with about thirty tracks being considered for it in total (only seven will be on the final version). It is spiritually linked with Bathe in the Lights of Distant Cities and stylistically not that drastically different from Ambifauna; the three form a loose trilogy for me, and after this I’ll be moving off to do something different. The album should be appearing next spring at some point, more news on that soon.
After a couple of years in London, I’m actually back in Hinckley again. No matter where life takes me, I always seem to end up back here again. With all the health issues I’ve had over the last few years I’m using it as an opportunity to finally get a bit of peace and rest and hopefully recover and be able to move forward with my life as and when I’m ready.
Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Ishq, Pete Namlook, Susanne Sundfor and Tangerine Dream…
2014 in review, I: favourite music
My top 25 records of 2014…
01. The Future Sound of London – Environment Five
02. Bedroom – Shade & System
03. A Winged Victory for the Sullen – Atomos
04. Manic Street Preachers – Futurology
05. Off Land – Quinarian
06. Aphex Twin – Syro
07. Foxes – Glorious
08. Deaf Center – Recount
09. The Birthday Suit – A Hollow Hole of Riches
10. Origamibiro – Odham’s Standard
11. HOLOVR – Holo Earth
12. Pyramids of Space – Pyramids of Space
13. Caustic Window – Caustic Window LP
14. Off Land – Voyage/Home
15. Off Land – Accitiper/Coast
16. The Long Lights – Our Waking Hours
17. Roddy Woomble & Band – Live in the Inner Hebrides
18. Off Land – Osculation
19. Nmesh – Dream Sequins
20. Hakobune/Sim Kima – Split
21. RAGS – Belief in an Order of Meaning
22. The Original Flowering Earth – Hosshein
23. Glass Girl – What’s it All About?
24. Eno/Hyde – Someday World
25. Blackhill Transmitter – 2nd
Somehow ended up missing the new Zola Jesus, but I’ll catch up with that pretty quickly in the new year.
2014 in review, II: my music
It’s very strange to think that a year ago I’d only just released Terra Incognita – an album that I began almost a year before. It feels like a lifetime ago. Still, that was more of a side-project record (originally planned to be released under the name ‘Hello Egypt’ before I shied away from the idea at the eleventh hour), and I spent the first half of the year making progress from my 2012 records – stripping the acoustic sound right down for Two Suns and its related mini album Periphery, before building up with more electronics once more on cer. The first two of those were released on a couple of ambient labels I have great fondness for: Flaming Pines and Twice Removed. These gave me a rather nice amount of exposure – just in time for me to sabotage in it typical style by another style and name change.
There are several reasons for changing from Ross Baker to International Debris, but the main two are wanting to get out of the ruralist corner I’d painted myself into with my own name, and wanting to freely work with others. The second half of the year was spent recording ID material, of which about five hours’ worth has been completed. From this bulk have been assembled two albums: Bathe in the Lights of Distant Cities (due out in January on Metaphysical Circuits), and a second entitled Ambifauna, due later in the year – more news on that soon. Ambifauna in particular I am incredibly proud of, and much of this material is the best I have ever recorded. I have worked with six different musicians on these sessions, and will be working with many others in the next year on future material. The creative decisions I’ve been making over the past few months have given me a certain sense of freedom with my music, and I’m looking forward to exploring that further.
More news in 2015! Happy holidays 🙂
I think, more than anything, the musical shift to my time spent recording under my own name gave me the opportunity to focus on writing music rich in either jubilation or ‘euphoric sadness’ (copyright Gaz Cobain) – which is something I want to take forward with International Debris. Deep, rich emotions rooted in melody and harmony. Hopefully.