Cities are layered things.
Look around. There’s always the fascinating notion of peeling back the layers of modernity to uncover what lies beneath. Like when you see a shop being renovated – the current façade or signage comes off, uncovering the remnants of what was there before; a vague outline of vintage typography or peeling paintwork. A little souvenir of the past, given one last brief airing, before being lost again.
There’s also the way that different parts of a city attract different cultures and walks of life. There are the documented histories in local archives and reproduced maps of how things used to be in times gone by. You’re treading on history as you walk through a city whether you like it or not. Layers of history, yet always the present.
Sometimes all you need to do is look up.
Look past the shiny contemporary frontages of the high street and more often than not, you’re met with upper levels in the architectural style of yesteryear. Some cities cling on to their heritage, others favour the new. And many are a hybrid of the two.
Films and books set in future times often depict cities we know as unrecognisable places from the past. Chrome and glass gradually transform the cityscape; it grows, changes, evolves. It towers over you and becomes unrecognisable. But follow your protagonist down the back streets or underground and you’ll nearly always find a different side. Another face to the city.
When the title of Sentient City came about, that really defined the mood of the album. I wanted something upbeat and dynamic, that captures the energy and bustle of the city – but something that also thought provoking, dark and atmospheric that poses questions.
Which city? And when?
And that’s where it’s over to the listener.
Sentient City is available now via Bandcamp.