Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Going beyond the boundary...

Ever since I started making my own music, one of my ambitions has been to make an album of space travel-themed music.

My first attempt at this in came in 2006, when I put together a set of demo tracks entitled Discovery. Despite being a rather amateur attempt, the ideas were there, but it wasn’t quite the album I had in mind. A second set of half-formed demos came in 2009, under the working title of Voyage, but at that time I had run out of steam, and decided to put music on the back burner for a few years, while I focused on my artwork.

Following my science fiction-inspired album Future Worlds, and appointment as first honorary musician for the Institute for Interstellar Studies™ (I4IS), the time felt right again to have a go at the space album. Beyond the Boundary would be a project specially composed for the I4IS and to help raise awareness of the institute and its forthcoming book of the same name, to which I also contributed. It’s worth noting, that I borrowed their title for this album, so the two would tie in!

I’ve written a lengthy chapter about the connection between popular music and culture with space travel. I’ve gone into detail about the association between space travel and the music of artists such as David Bowie and Jean Michel Jarre among others, and the influence their work has had on my own. This is a theme with infinite creative possibilities, and also one that instrumental music best lends itself to. One particular benchmark album for me is Mike Oldfield’s The Songs of Distant Earth, which is a work of pure majesty, partly charting the evolution of the world, and partly based on Arthur C. Clarke’s epic book of the same name. 

I’ve been working on two different albums over the last eight months or so. When I’ve been stuck for ideas on one, I’ve worked on the other. This could have been a disastrous approach, but it actually worked very well for me. Beyond the Boundary is the first of the two albums to be finished. In fact, my original idea was simply to produce an EP of six tracks, but this gradually evolved into a fully-fledged album. I realised it was getting into album territory once the running time went over twenty-five minutes (your maximum EP running time), so six songs became eight. One of the album’s strongest pieces – Beyond the Boundary (Part Two) – actually came together very late in the process. Sometimes it happens like that. The album does actually include two of my older demo tracks, which I have revamped and completed for this project – one of which was originally on Discovery, so it’s nice to see it finished and given a home!

So Beyond the Boundary is an album with multiple missions – to take the listener on a journey beyond the stars, to help raise the profile of I4IS and promote the upcoming book. And to further this, I’ve been working on a digital booklet to accompany the release. You’ll get this when you buy the full album download from my Bandcamp page. The PDF booklet features stunning artwork from space art legends Adrian Mann and David A. Hardy, whose work also adorns the front cover of the release.

Beyond the Boundary will be available from Bandcamp from the 2nd December, with a possible wider release to follow.

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