Back in about 2004 I got it into my head to start writing music again. I’d been in a few bands over the years but I was always more interested in dabbling with sound rather than actually playing someone else’s tunes. I was quite happy just to sit there in front of the computer making things go beep. Anyway these are about the only things worth listening to and I say that with some surprise after all these years. There’s probably only 2 other people who have heard these before as I was too embarrassed but on listing to them again today I thought there were a few snippets that had some worth. I’m no musician and couldn’t play anything I’ve done here live. I’m sorry to say I’m very much an exploiter of happy accidents. I’d just improvise for hours on end and then go back over the results and see if I found something I liked. Then would begin a long and laborious process in the editor reworking it all into some kind of form, editing the piano-roll and midi control data, desperately trying not to fall asleep (they’re not the most stimulating of tunes!).

As for what I listen to, well anyone who knows me won’t be surprised if I mention David Sylvian and all the people he’s worked with over the years, including the geniuses who are Mick Karn, Steve Jansen, Richard Barbieri, Burnt Friedman, Christian Fennesz. (And a quick shout to Sweet Billy Pilgrim). And then there’s Porcupine Tree. Elbow and the later Talk Talk. But you might be surprised to hear Isao Tomita, particularly his recording, Snowflakes are Dancing, early synth interpretations of Debussy. Something else my dad introduced me to. While I wouldn’t say I listened to them all the time or that I as a huge fan, some of it I wasn’t that keen on. But tracks like Reverie and in particular The Engulfed Cathedral have been there at the back of my mind ever since. If you listen to more usual interpretations of the Engulfed Cathedral you can clearly hear the story but I had absolutely no idea for years. Tomitas took me off in a totally different direction and the memory of that, like my early memories of the Lord of the Rings, have never gone.

Anyway, the only one close to being finished is the piano and guitar piece. The rest all require a lot more work. I don’t have speakers so was trying to mix and master on headphones which is stupid but all I could do. Now I have no music setup at all but I’m planning on getting some installed so I can play with some samplers and synths again. Music and sound are probably THE most profound, intense and personal of the arts and immensely satisfying.

So here they are in all their ugly unfinished .. ness (and yes .. the names are totally unimaginative .. just working titles). There would of been some proper videos for them but maybe at a later date.

Oh and Vimeo seems to act a little weird with these sometimes and you may need to let the entire file load before it will play. They all start slow . .so patience . and don’t try dragging the slider or you’ll cause the internet to stop. You have been warned.

The most finished. Suffers from only being mixed on headphones and too high a compression on the higher frequencies of the piano samples. I really wanted them both to be further back, like you’re listening to them in a church but it only ever sounded muddy.

Arpeggio .
A couple of notes that shouldn’t be there due to a midi issue when transferring between different software versions and the bass sometimes gets lost in the mix but over all I was quite happy.

Never right. The bass tone is pants and I want to change the drums. Just two loops in there now which were originally just standin but got left in and became all too familiar.

Parts of this I love, other parts are just bleh, some parts are missing notes due to some midi bug. Other bits are disappointing. And just when you think its all over…

Once this gets going I quite like it. Needs remixing, some phrases need editing and the eq, balance and spatial positioning are a mess. There’s a whole load of little bits that just shouldn’t be there. The intro drags and is a mess and the build up to the first melodic part just isn’t there.

Good and Evil.
Needs remixing. Bits of this I really love. Some of the piano bits are a bit incongruous, but I kinda like them. I particularly like when the repeated bass note first starts, its not quite what you expect and gives a slight sinister under current that constantly tries to dominate while everything else tries to break away from or convert it. The good eventually wins out but its not convincing.

Hawkshead Dark.

Not finished. This stops half way through as I had three different layers of piano parts that I was stitching together and suddenly all the extra bits play together and its a mess. But I love the raw sound of a piano and really enjoy just listening to the tone and texture of a single note. You can probably make out the beginnings of the piano tune right at the end. I took that and went off in a slightly different direction.

I always wanted a better range and quality of instrument samples for this. They just seemed to lack punch and breadth. I compressed it as much as I dare but it wasn’t enough. The original chord sequence was put together when I was in sixth form and I had it knocking about in various forms for years. I’ve got a dodgy 4 track version of it somewhere but it wasn’t until I could do it on computer that I could layer all the details I wanted and then once I could I just got carried away.

Twee, cliche and really bad. But I’m fond of it. When I was at Uni I borrowed a 4 track while I was writing the music for a play. So one night I just started playing random stuff and most of the melody, bass line and rhythm just came out.