We invest much of what we take in with our own meaning, so I don't want to say too much, but hopefully this will give you a glimpse as to where I was coming from.
[service_item title="World Without End" img="http://worldwithoutendalbum.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/1.png"]
This is the piece that kicked the whole thing off. I originally wrote it when asked to put a track together for the group 'Dunamis Collective' by Carl Stanbridge. It was probably the first time I'd managed to find a sound I could call my own, perhaps down to actually embracing my influences & guilty pleasures, rather than shying away from them. The only recording equipment I had then was a mini disc with a microphone, so that's what I used to record Rowan at her house, and that's what you now hear for the 'echo' section. The phrase 'world without end' was lodged somewhere in my head, probably after attending evensong at Kings College, Cambridge. It comes from the anglican liturgy and is an old English term from the King James era meaning 'Forever'. It can be heard at the end of some prayers ...'as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.' The themes of eternity, origin and destination are present in the pieces bookending this album, and although over the years my ideas on the subject have changed, still the thought of it remains inspiring.
[service_item title="Where Do We Go From Here ?" img="http://worldwithoutendalbum.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/2.png"]
Here is where you see me acknowledge my love of the scores of Henry Mancini. I have very fond memories of watching Blake Edwards films with my dad on the TV when I was younger, often on a Saturday afternoon after Grandstand had finished. The Pink Panther, The Party, Breakfast at Tiffany's etc etc, something about the lush strings and celeste in the scores evokes a very cosy feeling, that warm, idealised, colourful & romantic sensation that, for my dad at least, in most cases preceded the inevitable drift into slumberland. The melody came to me whilst walking past M&S in Ealing Broadway. Go figure.
[service_item title="Downstream" img="http://worldwithoutendalbum.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/3.png"]
A shift away from innocence. This piece opens around a bonfire with a distant melancholy piano on a radio somewhere. The piano in question is sitting in my living room, it was a gift from my mates and this is the first thing I ever recorded on it. By this time I had a couple of cheap mics - but I love the way it captured particularly the high end. I removed everything I could around the strings and got in as close as I could for an intimate sound. I had no idea what I was doing, I still don't really, but it was fun. I particularly love Nait & Sean Allen's work on this track - recorded one grey, wet afternoon in Willesden. I had the image of travelling away from the warmth & security of the home, slowly drifting down a river towards a bigger world and starting to witness & experience the darker side of humanity.
[service_item title="Sanctus" img="http://worldwithoutendalbum.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/4.png"]
Sanctus, meaning 'Holy', is also a section from the Anglican liturgy. There have been many of these written over time, notably from Gabriel Fauré , whose influence is present here. I'm particularly fond of the middle 'call and response' section here between bass and vocals. The piece really came alive in their hands; Sean's beautiful deep melodic lines are answered by Rowan's sublime harmonies, while Nait's groove perfectly underscored it. This originally was going to just be a single vocal line, but when I went to record Rowan in Charlbury, she came up with those extra layers. It's something of a speciality of hers; you'll find this out when you investigate her further. I'll never forget coming home afterwards and getting the first mix going with all the elements now in place; I don't think the grin left my face for hours. The elements that make up the unusual hits in the first section are my own secret potion, but I can tell you that one of the sounds is a final chord from my mates, Pat&Phil's thrash album - 'Laughing Boy - The Pursuit of Physical Perfection'. A nice counterpoint to the ecclesiastical subject matter.
[service_item title="All The Earth" img="http://worldwithoutendalbum.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/5.png"]
I'd been listening a lot to a Stevie Wonder track called 'Moon Blue' when I wrote this. The key it's in (Eb minor - or 'all the black keys') is as a direct result of trying to learn his piano solo at the end, with mixed success I may add. So I wrote something with a Motown feel I could doodle on with those harmonies. I used to love watching 'Friday Night at the Apollo' a variety show in Harlem, I really enjoyed the excitement of the crowd, so I wanted this to be a sort of celebration. Ideas that emerged from this are that natural patterns & rhythms pervade all living things, so what else is there to do, but DANCE ! To illustrate the all-encompassing & celebratory nature of this, I wanted to include as many friends as I could in the group vocals so I roped in my housemates at the time in Portnall Road, Ben Lawrie and Alexandra Brind. Thanks guys, your vocal debut is now committed :)
[service_item title="Box Of Delights" img="http://worldwithoutendalbum.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/6.png"]
The basis of this came together pretty quickly one melancholy afternoon in Portnall Road. I think I'd been listening to Bjork's 'Post' album, particularly "Possibly Maybe'. I played a simple arpeggiated rhodes part, and then on my MS-10 synth, I sat on the floor with it and improvised over it twice. What you hear on the track is exactly that. Every now and then I've been able to get myself out of a bad mood by turning it into music. This wasn't one of those occasions, as soon as I did it I dismissed it and filed it away, and there it sat for a long time. I was idly flicking through some odds and ends some time later and came across it, really liked it, did some simple mixing to get it working and then got Alfie to bring his magic to it. A few more touches and it was done. So this is the simplest and most raw of all the pieces, a very certain mood from a quiet afternoon, beauty in melancholy
[service_item title="Carousel" img="http://worldwithoutendalbum.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/7.png"]
The clockwork of dreams. I read somewhere recently that the freest expression of creativity can be found watching a child at play. I think the older I've got, the more I've judged, compared and measured my ideas, based on who and what is in my life at the time. In my sleep however, my subconscious can still run rampant, especially if I feed it with cheese just before bed. So I suppose this is an ode to the imagination of a child. The clockwork effects come from wooden spoons, and knocking them against the bannister from my house in Portnall Road. Who knows why, it just felt right.
[service_item title="Naoko and the Green Ray" img="http://worldwithoutendalbum.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/8.png"]
I've always heard this track as a theme to film which doesn't exist yet. It took a while to come together. For a long time I never had a 'B section' to follow the main theme; I was fighting against my instincts that were telling me where to go with it. For some reason I was thinking I should be cleverer, or more cool, or more contemporary - and it held me up. Michael Jackson once said when interviewed about writing music, 'The music is out there waiting to happen, your job is to not get in the way of it'. Perhaps this was lodged somewhere in my head, and eventually I conceded, and let it be what it wanted to be. Unashamedly romantic. I won't give away the cultural references of the title and opening sound effects, but I'll just say that they are from varied sources, some of which are Japanese, and they all occupy the same space in my imagination; a sort of wistful nether-world which we occasionally get to glimpse. Concealed within the opening effects is the sound of Rowan's vocals from World Without End - a little reminder of where we have come from.
[service_item title="Cocoon" img="http://worldwithoutendalbum.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/9.png"]
Beginnings and endings. An album that has remained a fixed favourite of mine has been Vangelis' score to Blade Runner, it was probably this that kick started my love of synthesisers. You can hear it's influence in the first half with all manner of them in bouncing patterns, lead sounds and sweeping effects; Some are very subtle throbbing effects, others are just bolstering a bass tune, there's a lot in there - but I'm rarely happier than when I'm sat at my studio setup experimenting with layer upon layer from my various machines. I've often been captivated by films with personal, philosophical themes; A.I., Melancholia, Fearless, Into The Wild, Solaris, Tree of Life. Many startling images have come out of the idea of reaching the end and what lies beyond, and I wonder what is it that stays with with us when face to face with this ? Perhaps it's that which has given us life at the beginning and along the way. For although in our minds we can scan the skies, essentially we are earth born and earth bound.