So we're nearing the end of another year. I don't know about you, but 2013 seems to have flown by in a flash. I thought I'd take a self-indulgent moment to look back on what the last year brought to the world of The Light Dreams.
In February I released Future Worlds, the culmination of several months hard work and a lifetime's interest in science fiction. I learned a lot during the making of that album, and I'm incredibly proud of it. My artwork and music converged for this release, with one of my favourite paintings, "The World Outside" being used as the album cover (the painting actually illustrates the song on the album of the same name). This was also the first new music I had produced as honorary musician for the Institute for Interstellar Studies (I4IS), so it was a privilege to also promote them with the album. Future Worlds was also my first work to be available on the big platforms such as Amazon and iTunes.
Following the release of Future Worlds, I decided to take stock and look at my back catalogue of demo albums dating back to 2006 – stuff which had been online around the time I was working on them, but that I had taken down around 2009. From these demo albums, I pulled together a new compilation, After Hours, of what I felt were the strongest pieces.
I started working on new music around June, and decided to work on 2 different albums simultaneously. One would be an EP of space music for the I4IS, the other would be a more electronic, dream-inspired album called Traces, a title which had been in my head for a while. Working on 2 music projects meant that when the ideas temporarily dried up for one, I could bounce back to the other, and inevitably this would lead to new ideas on the other album!
I was also invited by the I4IS to contribute a chapter to their forthcoming book, Beyond the Boundary. My chapter looked at the association of space and interstellar travel and popular music culture in the twentieth century. This gave me a perfect opportunity to write about my specialised subjects of the careers of Jean Michel Jarre, David Bowie and Mike Oldfield, artists whose music continues to inspire me to this day, and artists whose work is synonymous with space travel.
This also led to me naming my space EP after the book, as a sort of tie-in. However, as work progressed, Beyond the Boundary EP soon evolved into Beyond the Boundady – the album! The ideas kept coming, so why stop them?!
In the autumn, I started working on some artwork again – this year, I'd only produced one original piece, albeit, it was probably one of my best! But this time I looked back at several earlier works that I never felt were quite finished, and enough time had elapsed for me to see exactly what was required. So by October, I had several refreshed digital paintings I was very pleased with, and all ready in time for the Novacon convention.
Novacon took place in early November, and although it was only my second appearance there as an exhibiting artist, I loved it. I'm already looking forward to next years. It was an absolute honour once again to exhibit alongside my good friend and renowned space artist David A. Hardy, and it was great to talk to the people visiting the art room. I'll admit, I'm not the best when it comes to spontaneous social interaction, but at Novacon, you can literally talk to anyone about anything! What's more, my work did very well in the auction, which I hadn't expected. This was not only very rewarding personally, but a huge confidence boost.
My artwork and music converged yet again at Novacon, as several of my albums were playing in the art room, and the newly-completed Beyond the Boundary had its first public airing.
I released Beyond the Boundary on Bandcamp at the start of December, its real aim to help raise the profile of the I4IS. I'm working hard on the Traces album and also have ideas for new artwork. So although the year is almost over, my work here is almost certainly not done! I have a good feeling about 2014…