6th September 2015

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.

4th August 2015

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…

28th December 2014

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 🙂

13th November 2014

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.

28th September 2014

I honestly think I get some sort of reverse seasonal affective disorder; it’s not just being contrary or disliking the heat – I am generally so much more miserable in the summer. I just popped on the Chvrches and was immediately reminded of when I got it (and listened to it repeatedly) last autumn/winter and my mood shot up. Just the thought of chilly air, pale blue skies and the pavement covered in dead leaves makes me feel really happy.

The arrival of the first proper autumnal weather always feels genuinely like a return to ‘normality’ – as if the summer has been a diversion into something I have to endure, and finally things are back to where they should be. I can’t work out exactly why this is – I’ve lived through the same seasons as everybody else, so it’s not as my first twenty years were permanent winter – but I feel it this strongly every year. There are also a disproportionately high number of records in my favourite albums list that I got into in the colder months, and every one brings back fond memories of those times.

Funny brain I have.

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.

25th May 2014

Two Suns Were Visible in the Sky has been mastered by offthesky’s Jason Corder, who has done as excellent job as you could expect from him. Kate at Flaming Pines is currently working on the artwork for that, so I’ll be able to bring that to you very soon. Still aiming for a June release there.

Currently finalising the tracklist for Periphery with Gavin at Twice Removed, I posted the artwork for that recently. That’s now looking to be out before the end of the year, as Twice Removed will sadly be closing its doors in November. That does mean 2014 will be focused largely on those two albums, though, which works well for me.

Collab-wise, there are new records from Middlemarch, Winter of the World, Sturmazdale, Merganser and Captain Busby in the works, plus new projects with Tim Dwyer (Off Land) and Justin Marc Lloyd (Pregnant Spore, Rainbow Bridge, etc. etc. etc.).  So I’m staying very busy.

And if that wasn’t enough, there are still singles on Knife in the Toaster and Plenty Wenlock due over the summer, and there are still some remixes to come out at some point…

6th March 2014

Having done a lot of trawling through various hard discs, backup CDrs and DVDrs, and other headache-inducing madness, I have finally come up with the goods for the 10 year anniversary edition of Purlieu.

There will be two editions:

1. Standard CD re-issue

2. Limited edition CD + 5xC30 tape re-issue

The limited edition will feature a box of C30 tapes, including the whole album on cassette for the first time, and two tapes of outtakes, alternative versions, demos and remixes (some previously heard, some unreleased).

The most exciting part (for me) is the discovery of the very first mix of the record from October 2002, when it was originally mooted to be an EP to follow my Twenty-Four CDr album. It exists as a 15 minute track and is a lot more abstract than the final version, although all the elements ended up on the final CD.

More information coming soon. Still hoping for a May release date.

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.