Friday, 17 February 2017

The musical onion of time

The passing of time has become a recurring and central theme to my music in recent years.

Making music that is heavily atmosphere-based, a thought-provoking subject needs to lie at the core and work as a catalyst for the project, and this subject matter provides a wealth of inspiration.

Whether you’re reflecting on life, sifting through memories and nostalgia or researching history, it all links back to the passing of time.

I’ve always found it interesting when in towns or cities, to look at the changing architectural styles. Or sometimes when you look just above the fa├žades at street level, you’ll see part of the buildings that haven’t changed for decades, maybe even centuries. Buildings have history attached to them – if you’ve ever looked at old photographs of places you know, and spotted the familiar buildings but looking very different or serving a different purpose entirely at a different point in time. That’s when you realise time really is all around us, constantly. 

I remember once doing some family tree research and discovered that the factory where my great grandfather worked, stood on the exact same spot and street as the office where I was working at the time. The spooky connections of past and present were clearly strong that day!

There’s also that feeling of re-treading the footprints of your former self when you return to a fondly remembered place that you haven’t been to for a long time. Almost like you left a bit of yourself behind there.

It’s very easy to think of time like an onion, with layers and layers to peel back and reveal what went before. Except with an onion, you'd reach the core. Not with time.

At the same time, layering is a vital part of my musical composition - this time, building up a soundscape layer by layer. My intention has always been to create a musical landscape to explore; the kind where you might hear something new each time, or perhaps want to focus just on a tiny part in the background. So my music feels rather onion-like in that sense!

Traces (2014) and Timeshift (2015) are two of my personal favourite album projects which are heavily inspired by all of this (and more!). I wanted to make music that evoked the nostalgia of reflection, often with a tinge of melancholy, and that explored the ever-changing environments around us and the transition from day to night.

I’m incredibly proud of these two albums, not only because I feel they work as strong concept albums in the way I had intended, but both were a progression musically and creatively.

Thanks to Distribeat, Traces and Timeshift now have a wider release, and are available on iTunes and Amazon’s digital music store.

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