Friday, 22 September 2017
Deeper Into the Light
My latest album project, Back Into the Light – the follow-up to my 2007 début, Into the Light – was unleashed to the world today.
Even though two of the tracks were created during 2016, it is one of the fastest albums I have ever made, but also one of the most rewarding – if not the most rewarding.
Although the music on Back Into the Light is wide open to interpretation, all the tracks had different starting points or ideas behind them...
Back Into the Light
It was always my plan to open the album with a reinterpretation of the original title track from the first album. This song uses most of the same sounds that were present on the original, and it is built around the same analogue drum loop. I wanted it to start off sounding quite familiar, before venturing into new territory.
One of my favourite pieces on the album. I was trying to make a piece of music that evokes the same kind of life-affirming feeling that you get when you're out in a beautiful place and a huge intake of fresh air never tasted so good.
An evolving adventure of a track. I imagined plotting some kind of mystical journey across unknown lands. This one never stands still and takes you through several different places. This track remained unfinished for quite a while, before I discovered how it should conclude, with a thumping rhythm and booming bass synth.
Moments of Bliss
A simple, upbeat track with a catchy groove... for those little, rare moments in life when everything feels perfect.
Again an appreciation of the natural world around us, whether it be mountains, forests, animals or even huge manmade structures from times past.
The album takes a darker turn at this point as we enter a series of songs that explore the psyche and dream state a little more. This track started out as a series of happy accidents – sounds and notes which shouldn't have been played together are actually what make it work.
I was reading an article about mental health, and the title came from there – the idea of there being an infinite number of "rooms" in the human mind. This immediately reminded me of a fascinating art exhibition I saw in the 1990s, of works by patients of a mental institution, produced whilst under controlled drugs. There was one piece I remember, a cross-section of a head – like the type of illustration you'd find in an encyclopaedia – and inside it was filled with hundreds of tiny little interconnected rooms. That piece stayed with me – I'd love to see it again.
This is another track with a direct link to Into the Light, being built around the same percussion loop as Above and Below. Like that track it also features the sound of marimbas and is again a track of two parts; one distinctly darker and heavier than the other, like a split personality.
The Water's Edge
David A. Hardy's stunning painting Ocean of Space – which features as the album cover – was the starting point for this track. A framed canvas print of the piece hangs above my Mac, so I can stare out into this other world at any time and watch the crashing waves. As a synesthete, I wanted to use sounds that in my mind, matched the colours and form of the painting – and like all Hardy paintings, it is one that you feel like you could jump into and go soaring off over an awe-inspiring landscape.
I've always maintained a connection between dreams and music, and the dream state has inspired a large portion of my music to date. I wanted to interpret that moment when you don't realise you've fallen to sleep and cross through that blurred line between reality and dream. This was one of those rare tracks which fell into place effortlessly, and the version you hear is pretty much my first take.
Back Into the Light is available now via Bandcamp.