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!

5th November 2011

I’ve got label stuff sorted for The Blackbirds’ Revenge, which is good – coming soon to a cassette label near you (or probably not, unless you live in Finland). I was thinking about how different it will seem compared to my previous albums, but in many ways it shouldn’t come as too much of surprise. It depends how you perceive my previous music. Part of the shunning of Aeolian Landform, the 2010 releases and other stuff from my catalogue was due to it not seeming personal. While my first three albums might not seem personal, they weren’t massive widescreen soundtracks either. Purlieu was based very much on the Leicestershire countryside I was so familiar with; Vacuum Road Songs started with my fascination with city life and ended with my experience of it; Safernoc explored my interest and fascination with ghost stories, myths and legends. Otherwise, Since Every Hour is Too Late adopted a track-by-track emotional approach, and Leaf Pass was more gentle, rural and even acoustic in sound, with the presence of an actual song – ‘Anticipated Lies’ (admittedly muffled and placed in the background). The Blackbirds’ Revenge – and my music to come – will continue in the spirit of all of these albums, but particularly the elements of the last two albums that I highlighted there. The music will remain as personal (and inspired by my life and surroundings) as ever – maybe just in a slightly more obvious way.

It’s rather typical that as I’m rounding things up for Second Thought – just two months to go – the name is getting more attention than ever before. I’ve had several positive reviews for Safernoc, Since Every Hour is Too Late and Leaf Pass lately, and the Nearby Forest mix is now available to download from The New Worck. And another appearance on an FSOL Electric Brain Storm mix. After a long period of self-doubt, the last few months have seen such genuine interest and passion for my music that it’s really settled my mind.

In slightly less positive news, college didn’t work out too well, for a number of reasons that I shan’t go into here. So music is slightly higher on the agenda again, but I’m still on the playing guitar and coming up with little ideas front rather than taking it much further – once I get some more recording equipment and The Blackbirds’ Revenge is out, I can maybe make some progress. Next year probably.

15th May 2011

Since Every Hour Is Too Late is available to pre-order – an immediate download as of now! I’m hoping to get the discs out on or before the 1st June release date. This is an exciting and relieving time for me. I’m very proud to get this album out, as it’s got some of my favourite work of mine on, and also it marks the end of a run of releases which has been almost non-stop since November 2009. The first track for the album was composed shortly after Safernoc was completed, back in October 2009, when I still lived in Manchester. Since then I’ve moved four times, scrapped a lot of recordings, finished four different mixes of this album and been through a lot of personal things – but come out of it in one piece and have this album to show for it. It breaks the pattern of my previous soundscape albums, containing individual tracks which each tell their own story. It is certainly my most melodic album to date, and the most personal, and probably the most sad sounding. I had a number of personal crises which led to the composition of some of the material here. Other pieces are portraits of birds I recorded for my fianceé, without whom I would not have got through this time. More than this, the album is the achievement of a long term goal. Many years ago, I was walking in Wales with my friend on a camping holiday, and the landscape, with some ruined buildings, inspired me to plan out an album of pieces for piano and strings that would reflect the ancient landscape. It was due to be my fourth album following Dead Hymns, themeatically acting as a spiritual reawakening after the trip through hell. This album might not have that conceptual wholeness which I over-planned, but it is an album of mostly string and piano arrangements, it is my fourth record, and it is in many ways a soundtrack to a time of readjustment and dealing with life. It might not have been quite the landscape record I imagined seven years ago, but it certainly is the melodic, modern classical album I wanted to record.

I’ve been working more on new material, which is definitely continuing with the classical theme, but that won’t be out for some time yet. After a barrage of material lately, this is the last new stuff I’ll be putting out until next year – it’ll be nice to get back to one or two albums a year. This album marks the end of a series of albums, and the end of a continuous run of releases (other than the outtakes split EP which will accompany it on 1st June, of course). I think May acts as the perfect closer to this era for me. Thank you to everybody who’s listened over all this time, and I hope you enjoy the album. 🙂


5th May 2011

Initial sessions for the next album have come along nicely. It’s nice to be working with samples again, and as soon as I opened up Fruityloops (yes, I’m going full on retro) I reverted almost immediately to Purlieu mode, which is interesting. This won’t be quite the same in overall sound, but melodically I think there will be definite comparisons. The more sinister, jarring edge to that record is definitely present, along with some influences from serialism and other 20th atonal music. The nearest comparisons to my own music so far are Parin Onia from Purlieu and Cwn Annwn from Safernoc, I think.

In more pressing matters, I will soon be getting copies of Since Every Hour Is Too Late in the post. It’ll be nice to have that released, as with my recent working with strings and piano for forthcoming material it seems more fitting, and the initial sessions for the album were recorded in October 2009 – although it was only completed four months ago. Either way, it and its accompanying EP will be the last new Second Thought material for quite some time (until next year at least), and will mark the last material from the 2009-2010 sessions (other than the shelved album, anyway). So an important milestone there.

I finally bought that Kerkville album. It’s absolutely beautiful. I highly recommend it.


6th April 2011

If anything’s going to get me in the mood for making sample-based music, it’s the incredible research that appears midway down this thread. FSOL’s music becomes more dense and layered every time I listen to it. What amazes me is that the process – if not the attention to detail – is how I used to make music until the last few tracks I completed for Vacuum Road Songs, and purely by coincidence. I am going to begin collecting samples soon I think. Hopefully Since Every Hour will be out in the next couple of months and then I can move on to tentatively starting composing again in the summer.

1st April 2011

After a lot of consideration, I have decided that now is not the right time to release Aeolian Landform. This blog must get quite tedious with its constant ‘New album! Wait, no, actually, I’m not going to release it’ contradictions, I suppose it would be more sensible to say nothing about a release until it’s concrete and finalised. Either way, I just don’t feel comfortable releasing the album this year. With the direction I’m going to be taking in the future, and the releases of Safernoc and Since Every Hour Is Too Late, it feels very out of place and not at all representative of who I am as a person and a ‘musician’. Maybe it’ll re-appear one day in the future, or under a different name. I’d like to think so, as it is rather good.

I have been enjoying some slightly more avant-garde sounds lately. Nothing too far out (I did listen to Markus Schmickler’s Sator Rotas earlier, but it didn’t sit right with me at all), but the sample and field-recording manipulations of Xedh, Mystified, Christopher Bissonnette and M.Rosner have been ticking the right boxes since I’ve been in Brighton. I also really, really want to get ahold of Kerkville’s ‘Days’ album – but I suppose that must wait until I have money!

Since Every Hour Is Too Late news soon!

23rd March 2011

A quick change to update the ‘future of Second Thought’ position, as I feel like clarifying some stuff and getting some info out there! The follow-up to Safernoc situation is a bit confusing, after much assessment and re-arrangement of music. Either way, the album has two follow-ups, sort of. The first is Since Every Hour Is Too Late, the collection of works for strings, piano and synth which follow on from the neo-classical moments on Safernoc. That was due out in August, but will hopefully be out sooner – some time in the summer. The other record expands on the sounds introduced on Send More Bees, Night Train, Savernake, Moss and Aqueduct; the first half is ‘ambient dub’, and the second half focuses on synth work and Berlin School sequences. That will be out before the end of the year (I’m hoping September/October). They will both be on CDr + download format through Bandcamp.

Why say all this now and why get them out so soon? Some recent listening and experiences have given me chance to assess my music in a more considered way than I have before. In particular, I had the closest, most in depth listen to Lifeforms that I’ve had in years, and was staggered at how well the mixture of samples and synths works on that album. On top of that, there’s this from my friend Themis’s label Triple Bath. The piece comes entirely from guitar. Lastly, some trawling through my old work for various reasons has really shown the difference in my older, sample-based work and the very synthetic textures of Aeolian Landform. Much as I am proud of the album, it feels less personal and individual to me, and I really want to get back to working with audio, taking acoustic sounds, editing, filtering and changing them and making my own music from that. There’s also been a lot of emphasis on composition and performance lately, and I genuinely miss working with loops and samples in the way I used to. So once I start composing again, later in the year, I’ll be doing that again – starting from scratch, with new software to learn and a whole new range of samples to mess around with. In the meantime, I’d like to get these records all packaged up and out of the way, while letting everybody get the chance to hear them. Also, one potential show in July aside, any future live sets will probably be quite different in style to the dancey synth fest of my last couple (and the improv that will be heard some time in the future). I’ve had a lot of fun with synths, dance music and such lately, but I think it’s about time to get back to forging my own sound again.

Music I’m listening to and would recommend you listen to:

Roddy Woomble – The Impossible Song and Other Songs
4m33s – Time
Somnarium – Frost
Wire – Red Barked Trees
The Future Sound of London – Lifeforms

26th February 2011

Safernoc CDr release is officially ‘available’ – some promo copies, some for friends and some will be available from live shows in the future. With that, the Safernoc era is finally over, and what better way to mark the occasion than by revealing the artwork and tracklist for the next album! This one was half complete at the start of 2010 and has been touched up over time since then.

Since Every Hour Is Too Late

The Day You Left
Birdsongs for Lucy, I: Magpie
Birdsongs for Lucy, II: Goosander
Birdsongs for Lucy, III: Tawny Owl
Burbage Park, for Dad
Peter Pig
Glebe Road, 1998. Rain
Untitled for four pianos
Birdsongs for Lucy, IV: Stonechat
Mip and Bella, for Mum

This is a more personal album than before, as is obvious from the song titles alone. The album expands upon the neo-classical piano/string elements of Safernoc, with the album’s overall palette being little more than piano, strings and subdued synths, plus the occasional sample and field recording. The album features more strict compositions and less improvised pieces than any of my previous work too. The mood of the record is one of a hazy, wistful nostalgia; my dad’s photography of places close to my home town adds to this feeling, and many of the titles refer to aspects of my childhood, along with a series of pieces inspired by birds I wrote for my fiancée.

The record should be out in the summer, all being well, but I’ll post more news on that nearer the time. It feels good to be finally moving on to this album! Also, 60° South is finally in the albums section, in ‘fifth album’ position. Although some tweaks were made on Since Every Hour Is Too Late after 60° South’s release, it was conceived and mostly recorded before that album. 60° South actually expands on the synth ideas put forward on Since Every Hour Is Too Late, and is a very suitable bridge between that and what should follow it. But no more on that just yet!

25th February 2011

Finally, the time to take a break from music is here. All releases for the foreseeable future are complete, artwork is done, a release schedule has been planned out and I’m finally happy with things. Expect the Safernoc follow-up (and related EP) in the summer, then something around New Year, and hopefully another live recording in the future. It feels like I’ve finished another chapter in the Second Thought story, one which started with the recording of Treatments in late 2009. Of course, you won’t hear all of this for a while yet, so I won’t do too much of a ‘chapter closing’ rant just yet…

I’ve also been doing a bit of tidying and re-arranging of the discography (again), as some re-evaluations of last year’s work and a realisation that people coming to my music for the first time might be a bit confused have left me updating the ‘experimental series’ a little – that is now for drone, noise and other things which are most definitely unlike my main musical projects. Anybody who discovers me through Oncoming Storm or Thatcher With a Dick or… whatever, will be able to find related works in that section as it is now labelled as such. This leaves Canal Seven rightfully among the normal EPs (given that it contains work from the Twenty-Four and Safernoc sessions, this is only right), and 60 Degrees South will be appearing in the albums again later in the year (this will make sense at the time). It can still be bought direct from AmbientLive anyway. Despite all the annoying moving around, I think this does leave the discography more sensible in the long run.

Immediate future – Songs of the Emptying Race is coming out on Bump Foot on 13th or 20th March (confirmation soon), and the Live From Folkestone EP at the same time on Jerky Oats. Even more excitingly for me, Safernoc discs should be arriving today so the physical version will be around from the 28th. As of Monday, the Safernoc era will finally be over. This means I should be able to confirm stuff for the next album in the next few weeks. 🙂

1st January 2011

Re-arrival. Second Thought is back! I thought it would be fitting to open this entry with the same words I chose nearly two years ago, upon commencing work on Safernoc, as not so long ago I mentioned this year would pick up where 2009 left off.

In November 2009 I decided I wanted Second Thought to be a more productive project which wasn’t constrained by the ‘writing and recording an album every two years’ format, and embarked on what became known as the experimental series, released throughout 2010. Of course, being me, I overdid it and realised that I didn’t actually enjoy working in that way at all, so comfortably sectioned off the year’s releases as side-projects. Moreso, I’ll be using compositional and production ideas discovered last year to full effect on coming albums. With that said, chances are you won’t really hear about the experimental series from now on. Now it’s back to albums.

It’s time to reveal the sounds of Safernoc to everyone – a 6 minute teaser video containing clips of each track can be found here. I’m still incredibly proud of this album, it’s light years ahead of the first two in terms of composition and production. I find it very evocative myself. Hopefully this will be out in the next three to four weeks. Before then I’ll be posting a mix of inspirations for the album, and the Syophonic EP will be out as a free download, both to help promote the record. I’m kind of sick of the whole promotional campaign thing in some ways, but I’d already planned all of this so I thought I’d go along with it. It’s quite nice in a way, reminds me of when I released Purlieu.

Ignoring the Safernoc follow-up, which I’ve already mentioned is nearly complete and ready for the end of the year, I’ve been working on tracks for what will follow that, and decided to revisit the score I wrote for my friend’s film, Glacial Art, last autumn. It’s compositionally very strong, so I’ve been working some of that into ‘full’ tracks. All rather fun. I’ve also been playing with some algorithmic composition software and generative music software to help add sounds and samples to that record, they’re very good for between-track sections. Work there is coming along nicely and that album will hopefully be finished by the summer, in time to start sending off demos around the time the Safernoc follow-up comes out. So I’m slowly regaining a more sensible momentum. Hopefully when I have a job, it’ll all fall into place again, as I’ll have less time to sit around making music!

I hope everybody had a lovely festive period. A rest in Hinckley did me the world of good and I feel utterly refreshed and alive again, for the first time since… as long as I can remember, actually. Things are looking up and I’m hoping the future will be as bright as it seems at the moment!