26th July 2017

I recently started a bit of work on some new material (for the first time in many months). It’s been quite nice using hardware only as it makes it very simple to do alternate, varied mixes: in this case starting out by doing a fairly dancey track, then just making a few changes and suddenly being able to whack out an ambient version. I have nine or ten pieces done (incl. variations) and reckon one or two could end up on whatever the next album turns out to be. You can check out one called Nais Metalmark below.

I’m still having to set up my gear every time I want to make something, which is an absolute pain, but hopefully going to be getting some shelves to put all my hi-fi stuff on soon which will enable me to turn my desk into a permanent studio space. This should help creatively, as it’ll simply be a case of switch on and go whenever I want to make something. So I’m looking forward to that. Hopefully I’ll be able to spend the rest of the summer and early autumn working on a bunch of tunes and maybe put together an album and an EP or two by the end of that for release next year. I have a potential title lined up. It’s been quite a while now since I had a properly new release to get excited about (last year’s Opaline, I suppose), bearing in mind both Seltrac and Myosphere both spent around 18 months waiting to be released.

Generally I’m forcing myself to really strip back my sound a bit. Every time I start a new tune I end up throwing in loads of tracks and muddying it up a bit (not only the mix – no outboard EQ yet – but also the focus of the piece), but whenever I’m listening to music I always make a mental note that I tend to lose the starkness and simplicity of it. So I’m trying to change my creative process to make something less cluttered, more minimal. There’s a lot of gear I still want to get which will help open things up to creating more ambient stuff again, so I suppose the stylistic sound for the moment maybe minimal lo-fi house/techno/electro with ambient touches. But we’ll see.

It’s been a weird summer so far. Either blazing hot sun or tipping it down with rain (neither of which I’m a particular fan). I’m just coming out of a period of particularly poor mental health – something that is often referred to autistic burnout – which has put a lot of personal progress on hold, but I’m definitely feeling better. Taking a bit of time off social media, particularly Twitter, which can be a madhouse when I need some headspace, is definitely helping in that regard. Trying to get back to leaving the house on a more regular basis, and maybe lose some weight too. Really trying to be positive moving forwards. Part of this has involved making peace with some elements of my back catalogue, so Obliquity, Periphery and Two Suns are back on my Bandcamp for good now.

Lately been listening to a lot Martin Newell – Cleaners from Venus and The Brotherhood of Lizards in particular – which has made me consider working on some new Curse of Kevin Carter stuff for the first time in ages. Also Patricia, both albums on Opal Tapes are excellent and I have the new one on its way in the post. And Global Communiction and Heavenly Music Corporation, because there’s always some ’90s ambient in there somewhere.

Later this week comes the third Winter of the World album, Human Croquet. Joaquin and I have been working on this project on-and-off for a while now, and have two albums coming out this year. Human Croquet is the first, and will be released as a CDr on the wonderful Sea of Clouds label. 70+ minutes of sound collage, ambient drift, piano improvisation and even a touch of vaporwave. The other album is called Croxton Kerrial and will be out on Celldeath later in the year. That one’s a lot darker and more experimental.

On the subject of collabs, the Middlemarch remix album is making progress, with premasters delivered to Carpe Sonum (who will be releasing it in the new year), and two tracks previewed on the label’s latest sampler. Have a listen to Mick Chillage and Off Land giving ‘A Painter’s Eye’ and ‘Angels’ a once over here. There are a couple more collaborative projects currently in progress which are pretty exciting. I’ll have more proper news on those in the coming months. And there’s a ton of new/old stuff over on House of Broken Clocks. All can be grabbed for free as ever.

9th February 2014

You know when you take on too much at once?  My current workload:

Releasing The Last Swifts of Summer and split with Wet Eyes on Bullfinch in a couple of months;

Waiting for release of A Time After Computers on Knife in the Toaster;

Looking for a label for a tape of out-of-print synth music;

Dubbing the first batch of Bullfinch tapes;

Starting promo to make sure people know that Bullfinch is coming;

Beginning to organise the second batch, including artwork;

Recording material for splits with Five Minutes Alone and EL Heath for release later in the year;

Sorting out label stuff for first album and EP by Middlemarch;

Sorting out label stuff for second Sturmazdale album;

Keeping up to date with progress from Dimitris and Craig about recording progress for upcoming Middlemarch and Sturmazdale albums respectively;

Finishing first Merganser release;

Working on some noise-based stuff with Joaquin for future Winter of the World releases;

Curating Terminal Radio Transmission 13 for broadcast in late March;

Curating the third Terminal Window album;

Writing stuff for Absent With Concept (completely behind with this, once again);

Working on the second Captain Busby record when I get chance to see Gregg;

Working on the first Duggan! album on the vague occasions Thom and I get our arses into gear;

Why do I do this to myself?  If my medication stops working anytime soon I’m going to have some sort of breakdown from this insanity.  Send me money/love/free tapes of nice music while I work through these one step at a time.

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!

9th March 2012 – Revolution 2

I’ve written, lately, about my increasing disinterest in ‘albums’, and about wanting a more spontaneous feel to come from my music. With this in mind, I am happy to announce the forthcoming release of Revolution 2! I chose the name in reference to the lo-fi spontaneity of the first rather than a musical similarity, along with a nod to the fact it is similar in construct to the Mix Tapes series I recorded back in the 1990s. It’s a collection of lo-fi pieces and sketches: an ‘anything goes’ scrapbook of ideas, long and short, beautiful and silly, melodic and experimental. You can read more about that in the discography. It will be out very soon, as the first release on Bullfinch Records, in a handmade sleeve with individual photograph. The sleeve design I’m very happy with, and involves very little cutting! It’ll also be available to download. I will be continuing the Revolution series later in the year, and whenever music comes together without an album theme. To preview that direction, and the first track from it – “Wind in the Poplars” – The New Worck have put out a new mixtape of mine entitled Sunday, which I put together as music that makes me think of my favourite day of the week. It’s a feeling I’ve tried to capture on several of my records, all of which are represented in the mix, along with complementary music. Click for more info and download!

I recently uploaded all of my Obliquity material to the Obliquity Bandcamp page, which can now be downloaded for free by anybody interested in that project! Otherwise I’m just looking for an outlet for the Sturmazdale record currently, and beginning work on some more collaborative music, with my friend Thom (or Jesse Conner, depending if you’re a Jerky Oats fan or not). My most listened to album lately is Stratosfear by Tangerine Dream. I love the way they experimented with the sequencer-based approach rather than just remaking Rubycon time and time again.

19th May 2010

My new album, 60° South, is released today through renowned UK CDr label AmbientLive records! “Superb and intricate melodies from this UK artist. Modern, vibrant, yet based deeply in the tradition”

Partially inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s novel ‘At The Mountains Of Madness’, 60° South is Second Thought’s fourth album (the ‘third’ and ‘official follow-up’ to Vacuum Road Songs is out later this year. Erm), and takes a new synthesizer-driven approach to production, compared to the sample collages of previous releases. This electronic tapestry paints an image of life in the cold antarctic circle. Some tracks reflect the Lovecraft tale’s sense of unease and mystery, while others drift along more pleasantly, reflecting the grand majesty of the Antarctic landscape and the sea that surrounds it.

1. Tekeli-li
2. Ice Shelf
3. Gellert’s Grave
4. Clouded
5. Snow (I)
6. Degrees
7. Return
8. Meltwater
9. Gone Forever
10. Icebergs (I & II)
11. Snow (II)
12. At The Mountains Of Madness

Meltwater has been added to the MySpace music player for your listening pleasure.

This is a rather exciting time for me as it’s the first physical release in almost exactly three years. Thanks to John at AmbientLive for releasing the album, and to everyone for their support over the last few years. It’s nice to be back, properly, after such a long time away from releasing music. And thanks to anyone who buys the album, which can be picked up from the link above. 🙂

Thanks, finally, to Lucy, to whom I dedicate Iceberg II.

24th March 2010

Right, well, there’s lots to report, again!

First up, and most excitingly, ‘Aqueduct’ from the forthcoming album Safernoc is featured on The Future Sound of London’s latest podcast ‘Electric Brain Storms 6: The Most Secluded Place’, which can be bought from FSOLDigital. It’s the third time one of my pieces has been used on one of their mix sets, and as ever they’ve done the piece proper justice, it sounds awesome floating in after the Tangerine Dream piece.

Elsewhere, those following my Twitter will know I’ve completed the synth ambient record I was talking about below. It’s called 60° South, and is inspired by Antarctica, particularly the story ‘At The Mountains Of Madness’ by HP Lovecraft. It’s alternately dark and light and features barely any rhythm. Lots of melodies, though. It should be coming out on AmbientLive Records as a CDr release later in the spring. I am excited about this. Artwork and tracklist can be found on the music page.

Lots more music is brewing too, but I’ll wait for a while before explaining. 2010 has been very, very busy so far!

The new Autechre is awesome, by the way.