Pieces: What’s in a name?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in And All Is As It Should Be, Civil Protection, General, Pieces

Pieces is a strange collection of songs. You may have noticed that I haven’t really been referring to it as an “album” over the past couple of weeks wherever possible (though, it’s always easier to label a collection of songs as an “album”, so now and then I take the easy route!), and there’s a very deliberate reason for that.

"Pieces v1.0"
“Pieces v1.0”

In my eyes, an album is something that was written & arranged to take the listener on a very deliberate journey – a collection of songs that follow a specific theme, or a deliberate series of themes, designed to complement each other. Where some people may refer to certain album tracks as “filler”, in my view it’s much more important whether such tracks work in the context of an album taken in its entirety than as stand-alone tracks. It’s along this way of thinking that I didn’t refer to And All Is As It Should Be as an album for a very long time; AAIAISB was more of a collection of selected ambient works, and while I can now say with absolute certainty that it has a strong journey-esque feel to it, it was certainly never written with a particular goal in mind. AAIAISB started life as a series of ambient re-works of existing tracks because I thought it’d be an interesting exercise, and it was something I found myself completely absorbed in once I got going. The aesthetic came as a natural extension of what I was doing, but it wasn’t a deliberate choice from the offset… but as a result of that naturally evolving aesthetic I feel, in retrospect, as though it’s earned the right to be called an album.

Pieces, on the other hand, was written over a much longer period of time than And All Is As It Should Be, and it certainly wasn’t written with any particular aesthetic in mind. I started working on Pieces one night back in August 2012, and it all came about from not being able to sleep one night. You get no bonus points for guessing which track I started writing that night (spoiler alert: Sleepless), but I wrote it and realised that I had no home for it. I was putting the finishing touches on Icarus, and it didn’t fit in with the rest of those tracks… so I held onto it. That was the start of a pattern of holding onto disparate tracks that wouldn’t fit in anywhere else, with one big exception.

In October 2012 I decided I was going to go to town and just write as much music as I possibly could. Regardless of whether I thought an idea worked or not, I was going to write loads of music and deal with it later. I ended up with 17 tracks at the end of the month, and I was incredibly happy with how the experiment turned out. In the months leading up to that (and somewhat thanks to my experience with writing Sleepless) I’d been working on refining my workflow in Reason. I had a very particular palette of sounds to work from (a lot of my own patches & techniques, and a lot of sounds by Tom Pritchard), and I found the chilly late-Autumn atmosphere particularly inspiring. I was experimenting with Blocks in Reason, and my Propellerhead Artist Feature was filmed around the time I was working on these tracks. Of those 17 tracks, only 5 made it onto the final version of Pieces, but two of them made it into my Artist Feature (if you’re interested in hearing those, they’re still on my Soundcloud page, and can be listened to using the player below). The rest found their way into the hands of various production agencies & music libraries, so all of them found a home. I was worried about breaking up that collection of songs for a long time, but it was definitely the right call. While they still stand as a lovely personal time-capsule in a similar vein to AAIAISB, I am much happier with the finished version of Pieces than I was with those tracks in isolation. The title of the project comes from this particular run of tracks, but feels much more relevant in the context of the finished article than the original 17 tracks.

(june 2015 edit: sorry, this playlist doesn’t exist any more as the tracks found a new home)

That said, I continued writing odd songs over the course of the next year and a half, and it was only in late 2013 that I realised that I had a pretty hefty selection of songs without a home. I listened to them all, and I was surprised at how well they all sat together. A few songs had originally been written with album 4 in mind, so those sat well together. I’d written a few tracks around Sleepless, and I wrote a chunk of material during that particular October. I’d also written a couple of more post-rock inspired tracks after putting out the debut Civil Protection album. Here were four disparate collections of tracks that were all written to sit together in small groups, all thrown together to see what would happen… needless to say, I was very pleasantly surprised!

So, while I might not refer to it as an album in the strictest sense, that doesn’t mean I’m not happy with it as a complete work… and, for all I know, I’ll probably change my mind somewhere down the line. I’m already starting to feel that it has a pretty solid aesthetic quality to it, and it seems strange that these totally unconnected works would fit together like they were always supposed to. In that sense, I can’t think of a more fitting title for this particular project.

I guess the pieces came together, but I guess it’s up to the listener to decide whether they fit or not.

Post Civil Protection tour shenanigans, album plans, and all that fun stuff

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Civil Protection, General, Music, Patch design, Stolen Fire

It dawned on me recently that I probably should have updated this page when the Civil Protection album was actually released, or after we finished touring it… but I guess I’m just not that smart. In any case, both of those things happened, and you can listen to the Civil Protection album in its entirety using this handy little music player doofer. Hooray! I’m afraid you’ll have to forgive the gaps between tracks, but you can get around those by buying the album.

So. Anyway. The tour. Well, that was an interesting experience – full of fun! Full of laughter! Full of Sylvester Stallone impersonations that totally didn’t get old at all, I don’t care what you say. And full of glorious, glorious noise!

We ended up performing the bulk of our gigs up North, with a couple of gigs a little further south (namely in Nottingham & Islington). Unfortunately, a lot of the planning was a bit of a last-minute affair, so there were a couple of gigs where maybe things didn’t go as smoothly as I would have hoped. Having said that, those moments were overshadowed by the moments where things went more-or-less exactly as planned, and it’s always fantastic to play to a crowd who really gets what we’re trying to do. We’ve all learned a lot from the experience, and I’d just like to say a huge thanks to everyone who came along to our noise-making sessions!

As an aside: if I ever see a lead vocalist yawn on-stage again during a set (seriously, this actually happened) then I will genuinely lose my shit.

So, right now I’m currently knee-deep in another patch design project which I imagine will keep me occupied for a good chunk of this month. However, that hasn’t stopped me from working on some new material in the past couple of months. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, but I have a few ideas in place regarding my next album, and what I want to do with it. One thing I am quite keen to do is to release it independently – it’s early days at the moment, but I’ve had a few interesting ideas regarding distribution since my last independent release – which would be 2010’s Lightfields album, which has since been re-released – and I’m not entirely sure whether I’d be able to do what I want to do any other way.

Anyway… I do believe I am getting ahead of myself here, and it’s going to be a very long time before I’m ready to release another album. In the meantime, you can have a sneaky listen to what I’ve been up to lately via this second handy little music player doofer.

(18/03/14: sorry, I’m being all sneaky and hiding my stuff and that)

Civil Protection album “Stolen Fire”, out 7th October

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Civil Protection, General, Music, Stolen Fire

As some of you may or may not know, I play guitar & perform vocals in a band called Civil Protection alongside my solo work.

Earlier in the year we were signed to indie label Bunnysnot Records, and started working on our debut album – which was also mixed & produced by yours truly.

Titled Stolen Fire, the album’s a bit of a departure from our earlier work, and is a mostly instrumental post-rock affair. Working on the album was quite the learning experience, especially given that it’s the first project I’ve properly worked on featuring entirely live instrumentation & manipulated audio based on live recordings (outside of a drum-machine & synth based track intro).

We’ve had a couple of glowing reviews come in, which you can check out here, here, and here.

I’m really excited about this, and we’ll be following up the album release with a short UK tour from October 11-20th. In the meantime, you can listen to one of the tracks from the album (Alaska) on our Bandcamp page, which we will also be using to take pre-orders in the near future.

Here’s a bit of information regarding the release:

Post-rock outfit Civil Protection are gearing up to release their highly anticipated debut album ‘Stolen Fire’.

The Yorkshire band – formed of members Adam Fielding, Nathan Bradley, Josh Clark, Philip Birch and Kenny Skey – came together back in 2010. Sharing a love for bands such as The American Dollar and Mogwai, it was a natural progression for the band to edge towards the post-rock, highly atmospheric sound they quickly developed.

Their experimental approach, which favours mood and texture, transmits immediately into the arresting soundscapes the band creates. Motivated by their support slots with like-minded acts such as Scottish math-rock band Vasa and The Indelicates, the band released a handful of early demos showcasing their sound. Continuing to gig and pen material, the band caught the eye of independent label Bunnysnot Records and are now looking towards their debut LP.

Composing the record between their guitarists’ own studio and Active Audio in Harrogate, the skeleton of ‘Stolen Fire’, which had been floating around for years, soon took form. From the mysterious opening guitar drones to the final crescendo, ‘Stolen Fire’ is a truly arresting listen. Evoking elements from Mogwai’s own record Come On Die Young, as well as sharing similarities with groups such as Caspian and This Will Destroy You, the album wrestles the listener between beautifully ambient sections through to heavier moments.

The band’s talents are quite clear throughout, – whether it be in the epic guitar tremolo riffs found in ‘My Memories Will Be Part Of The Sky’, or chugging bassline in ‘Many Moons Ago’ – and their refined sound is apparent for all to hear. Inducing moments of melancholy and euphoria in equal parts, ‘Stolen Fire’ is a stunning debut release from this Yorkshire group.

You can also check out Alaska via the Soundcloud player below.

Stolen Fire will be released in physical & digital formats on the 7th October. You can find Civil Protection on Facebook and Twitter. Drop by and say hello!

A new collaborative song and some general updates

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Civil Protection, FiXT, Music, Production music, Reason

It’s been an incredibly busy past few months, which was all rounded off nicely with a week-long holiday in Rhodes last week. I got back on the 10th, and I’ve been a busy bee since getting back. I’ll be working on some patch design projects starting from the beginning of next week, so I figured I’d spend some time working on something I’ve wanted to do for a little while now.

Below is a collaborative song entitled Take My Hand, written & produced by both myself and the ever fantastic Tom Pritchard, featuring the excellent vocal stylings of Holly Nelson (aka A Million Tiny Architects).

The song itself is a free download, with an MP3 link included on the Soundcloud page itself if you’d rather download an MP3 over a more hefty WAV file. I’m thrilled to have been a part of this song, and I can’t thank Tom & Holly enough for bringing me on board with this. I’m hoping that, along with our previous collaboration Contrails, there will be plenty more collaborations like this in the future.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing since I got back from Rhodes. Since my last update around the release of Icarus I have been incredibly busy with a couple of other projects – one of which is currently available.

Following in the footsteps of my FiXT production album Chase The LightI once again had the pleasure of working with FiXT on a follow-up entitled Chase The Light Vol. 2. Volume 2 features a slightly harder sound to it over Volume 1 in my opinion, but here’s what FiXT had to say about the album itself.

UK composer Adam Fielding has been crafting evocative albums of downtempo breaks and ambient soundscapes since 2008, with the well-known UK breaks label Distinctive Records having just released his third full-length, Icarus. While not working on those albums, Fielding produces instrumental soundscapes for Film/TV/Video Games, and FiXT is proud to present this second volume of Fielding’s Chase The Light series. Picking up where Vol. 01 left off, Vol. 02 contains eleven cuts of iridescent Electronic Rock/ Breakbeat that incorporate hints of dubstep, ambient, and more.

On top of that (did I mention that I’d been busy?), I also spent a good chunk of the last two months producing & mixing my band Civil Protection‘s debut album, Stolen Fire. It features a much more organic sound over our debut EP, and is focussed much more on atmosphere & mood (as evidenced by a clearly reduced dependence on vocals) with a much more post-rock feel to it. I’m very excited about this one, and I can’t wait to share it with you later in the year when I’ll also be touring with the Civil Protection chaps. For a taste of the album, there are some demo versions of a few album tracks on the Civil Protection Soundcloud page.

I’ve got a few more musical projects in the pipeline outside of those mentioned, and later on this week I’ll have something very cool to share with all of you. Until then, I hope you enjoy my recent offerings, and I’d like to extend a huge “thank you” from the bottom of my heart for everyone who has supported Icarus following it’s release. So… thank you! See you later in the week :]

Bit of a re-shuffling, I see…

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Civil Protection, Distant Activity, From Out Of Nowhere, General, Licensing, Lightfields, Music, Site

Hello! If you’ve visited this site recently then you might have noticed that I’ve had a bit of a re-shuffle – I like to keep things mysterious and hidden like that.

Actually, the reasoning behind moving everything about is a bit more logical than that, but just to let you know where everything’s living these days and what’s changed…

  1. The Bandcamp player widgets have been replaced by some sexier Soundcloud alternatives. Not that I had anything against the Bandcamp player, but the Soundcloud player just looks SO MUCH BETTER. Functionally they both operate in the same way, only now you can leave me timed comments/dirty messages on all of my uploaded music as you listen to it. Which is always fun.
  2. My solo/artistic works (i.e. singles, albums, EPs) can now be found via the handy drop-down “solo works” menu at the top of the page. You’ll be able to check out previously released material (sometimes in full) via the included players on each respective page. There’s also a handy front-page if you simply click on the “solo works” button.
  3. My production music/licensing information can now be found via the “production music” button at the top of the page. Production music is music that has been written for a specific purpose (film/TV/adverts and the like) and should not be confused with my solo/artistic work – not that I consider my production music to be lacking in artistry (far from it, in fact!), just that they are both written with very different audiences and uses in mind. As such, I figured that they could do with separating out so as to avoid future confusion. The production music page is still very much a work-in-progress, but will feature a more complete portfolio in the near future. In the mean time, if you’re interested in licensing any of my music for commercial purposes then this is the place to start.
  4. All Civil Protection/band-related shenanigans can be found via the “Civil Protection” button at the top of the page. Again, my work with Civil Protection is targeted at a very different audience than my solo or production material, and decided to provide it with it’s own space. You can also find out more about Civil Protection at the band’s official page.

As I’ve stated, the reason for a lot of these changes is to prevent future confusion. I can’t be dealing with using a different musician name for each song I release (hence why I tend to just release everything under my real name), and this is my attempt to keep everything vaguely organised without having to resort to using fifty different musician names for different types of music.

Feel free to say hello over at Soundcloud as well!

Civil Protection – The Lines Are Drawn EP out now

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Civil Protection, Music, Uncategorized

Their hometowns spanning the length of the United Kingdom, the members of Civil Protection can claim to bring with them an equally diverse range of influences. From the pulsing industrial anthems of Nine Inch Nails to the ethereal soundscapes of The American Dollar, this Yorkshire-based band have set about fusing these electronic elements with the more organic characteristics of ‘Rock Action’ era Mogwai. Taking an experimental approach to writing akin to that of Tool, Civil Protection aim to create songs as accessible as they are rich, and as beautiful as they are haunting.


As some of you may or may not be aware, I’m the vocalist/songwriter/general producer-type guy in a band called Civil Protection. We’ve been together as a band in one form or another since 2010, and after much shedding of blood, sweat and tears (oh, the blood) we’ve finally put together a 4-track EP titled The Lines Are Drawn, which we have released for free via Bandcamp. Because we’re nice like that. The style is considerably heavier than my usual output, so I recommend playing this at an incredibly loud volume at a particularly anti-social time of day/night to enhance the experience for all concerned. Long-time listeners might recognise the EP opener (albeit in a considerably re-worked form).

Although the EP itself is completely free, if you choose to throw any moneys our way then we’ll send you a code which will allow you to download a selection of extra bonus tracks as our way of saying thanks.

It’s quite a departure from my usual electronic-heavy output, and I’m really happy to finally be sharing this with you all. Give it a whirl, I’d love to know what you think of it!

You can also find The Lines Are Drawn on iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby and – soon – Spotify.

 

Civil Protection EP – coming soon!

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Civil Protection, Music

As you may or may not be aware, as well as being a solo musician and generally writing an awful lot of music and all that fun stuff I am also the vocalist/producer for a band called Civil Protection. We’ve been working on getting an EP put together and released for a little while now, and I’m very pleased to say that the EP itself will be out (for free!) on the 29th February. In the meantime, I’ve uploaded the first track to Soundcloud if you fancy a listen.

[update: sorry, this EP has been removed from Soundcloud]

If you’re a long-time listener or regular visitor to this site, you might notice something familiar about this song. It’s one of my rockier tracks, but since playing it with the band it’s sort of taken on a life of it’s own. I’d be interested to know what you think of it, and can’t wait to get the rest of the EP out there!

The Lines Are Drawn EP will be available to download via Bandcamp on the 29th February, and will also be available to stream and download via Spotify, Amazon, iTunes et al.

Now on US TV

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Civil Protection, Licensing, Music

So, it turns out that one of my songs is currently being used by GMC in an advert for a truck… which is actually kind of neat.

On top of that, the kind folks over at Higher Plain Music have decided to run an interview with me, where you can find out a little bit about the process of writing Lightfields and some of the themes behind it, as well as a more detailed look at how I got started in writing music. You can check out the interview here if you’re interested. I’ve also had some very exciting news on top of the aforementioned advert placement which I look forward with sharing with you all soon. Keep your eyes peeled!

Song lyrics and some other news

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Civil Protection, Distant Activity, General, Lightfields, Lyrics, Magnatune, Music

I figured it was about time I added some song lyrics to this website, which you can now check out via the “lyrics” tab above. So far I’ve included lyrics from Distant Activity and From Out Of Nowhere, though if anyone’s after something a bit more specific then I’m sure I could add to that list. Naturally, Lightfields lyrics will make an appearance once the album is released.

I recently had a bit of good news regarding some song licensing which has got me pretty excited – I don’t want to say too much until everything’s 100% finalised, but if it all comes through it could be a big deal. Interestingly, the song in question is currently being used by my band Civil Protection – it’s an instrumental version of “Anticitizen” – so feel free to give it a listen and, while you’re there, say hello to the rest of the band!

Thanks to everyone who’s picked up a copy of Lightfields so far – as well as being released through iTunes, Amazon et al, it will also be released via Magnatune on the 11th September. Magnatune really came through for me with the release of Distant Activity, so I’m thrilled that they’re going to be releasing Lightfields as well. Good news for Magnatune subscribers!