Mesmera: The freedom of independence

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Album 3, And All Is As It Should Be, Distant Activity, Distinctive, General, Icarus, Lightfields, Mesmera, Music, Obscurer, Pieces, Reason

Mesmera is, much like every one of my solo releases since 2014, an independent release. For most of my solo musical career I’ve written and released music independently, and I figured I was overdue talking about why that’s been the case.

When I first started out I, as I imagine a lot of musicians do, had this idea in my mind that getting signed and releasing an album through a label was kind of the “big goal”, this nebulous idea that somehow being signed to a label would validate my musical output up until that point. I had already released a bunch of music for free on-line, and in retrospect I don’t think I fully appreciated the following I’d acquired by doing so. While this seems to be less of a big deal nowadays, releasing music independently to an international audience in the late 00s was a bit of a daunting prospect – especially to someone who had never put out a “proper” release before, and had no idea of what to expect or even what to do. It wasn’t my initial intention to release my first album independently, but that’s how things worked out.

Album #1: Distant Activity

In 2008 I released my first album, Distant Activity. This album was comprised of tunes written between 2006 – 2008, and I’m still incredibly happy with how it turned out. It was written and produced in a variety of bedrooms and student houses in totally inappropriate acoustic conditions using a laptop, Reason, a microphone, a guitar, and a Behringer audio interface. Once I had a mostly-finished version of the album to hand, I set about sending out demos and copies of the album to as many labels and individuals as I could think of. I must admit, I’m still pretty atrocious at the whole “blatant self-promotion” aspect of releasing music independently, and I can only surmise that I was probably worse at it in 2008. I received a lovely response from the good folks at Magnatune, but outside of that – nothing. Nada. Not a “thanks, but we’re not interested”, not a “good lord this is awful, go away”. Not a thing. This was initially a little dis-heartening.

A little time passed and I had a completed version of Distant Activity ready to go. The record was mastered, the artwork was ready, and I was just sitting on it. Rough around the edges, very much a product of its environment, but I was really pleased with how it turned out. One day I started thinking “you know what? I’m really happy with this, why haven’t I released it already?”. It was done, and I was sick of sending e-mail messages and CDs out to a seemingly ambivalent world… so I started taking steps to get it out there myself. I had a small run of CDs duplicated, I signed up for digital distribution through CDBaby, and because independent digital outlets weren’t much of a thing back then (to my knowledge) I decided to start selling it through my own website.

I had no idea what I was doing back then (some things never change!) – I hadn’t even figured out a proper release date for the album beforehand, it just came out when it came out. All that said, I was thrilled to see that people were buying CDs and checking out the album through Magnatune / CDBaby / iTunes / whatever. I was getting frequent feedback both directly and on forums, people were leaving messages on Myspace (yes, this was still a thing), it was an absolute blast. All of this was going on when I probably should have been paying more attention to my final year of studies at university, but I loved the experience. All of this was also going on while I was still getting my toes wet with the world of music licensing, which would prove to be a much smarter direction to go in.

This was a pattern I repeated somewhat with Lightfields, which I initially released independently in 2010… albeit this time I actually had a release date in mind before I released the damned thing!

And All Is As It Should Be

Fast forward to 2014, and I’d had a few label releases by this point (a topic I may delve further into in the future!). Distant Activity and Lightfields were re-distributed by Distinctive Records, And All Is As It Should Be was released through Lost Language, and my follow up Icarus was released through Distinctive Records. All of these are albums that I am incredibly happy with, and in retrospect I feel a large part of my experience in producing Icarus comes down to my own personal attitude towards it rather than anything on Distinctive’s end.

Icarus was a slog to complete. Distant Activity and Lightfields were two totally different albums stylistically, and rather than writing whatever felt natural I spent too much time thinking about audience and label expectations. Should I lean more towards the style I established with the former? Should it sound more polished? What if people are expecting something more like Lightfields? Why do all of my mixes sound awful? I ended up going through a multitude of album revisions, with the first rough cut being completed in 2011. I couldn’t bring myself to move on from it, and it was drove me nuts.

Following the release of Icarus I realised I needed to try a different approach, and I remembered how much fun I’d had releasing music independently – at this point, it had been over three years since I had done so. I also figured that if I was going to do that, I wanted to take the opportunity to try out new ideas. I had come to love the idea of rewarding fans for purchasing my music rather than punishing people for having the audacity to seek it out. I also loved the idea of working on a release that didn’t have an over-arching concept, that didn’t impose any kind of expectations on myself, and that felt completely natural to write. That release was Pieces, and I absolutely thoroughly loved working on and releasing it. People responded really well to the pay-what-you-want approach. As such, I decided to adopt a pay-what-you-want model for all of my independent releases, and rewarding fans while encouraging listeners became my go-to model for releases. This is a model I adopted for subsequent releases Obscurer and The Broken Divide and now Mesmera (whew, at last – bringing this back around to the album at hand!).

Mesmera continues in this tradition. In many ways I consider it a bit of a spiritual successor to And All Is As It Should Be (which I considered a spiritual successor to The Dawn EP at the time…), but it’s what I wanted to write. It came together naturally because it scratched an itch I’d had for quite a while, and that’s why I was able to bring in ideas from 2016 despite having only “properly” started working on it in 2017. It was wonderful to be so hands-on with every single aspect of the creation process, as in many ways creating the music is only one step (albeit a large one) towards completing an album. I went through several artwork revisions (with my incredibly patient buddy Tom Pritchard), track-list orders, mix approaches… but it never became obsessive or manic, and it never felt like a slog. It always felt like I was working toward something I wanted to create at the time, and that’s something I feel I lost sight of while working on Icarus. Again – can’t stress this enough – I am 100% totally and absolutely thrilled and happy with how Icarus turned out, but I’d rather not repeat that creative process again if I can help it!

Mesmera is available NOW through Bandcamp. You can listen to it in its entirety and download it from my Bandcamp page. Bandcamp subscribers also get access to an exclusive audiophile master, along with a beatless arrangement of the album. It’s also available to stream & download from a wide variety of digital distribution outlets.

Icarus: out now

Posted on 3 CommentsPosted in Album 3, Distinctive, Icarus, Music

Icarus is out now!

Following on from Lightfields (2010), and his collection of ambient works ‘And All Is As It Should Be'(2012), British electronic producer Adam Fielding’s is set to return to Distinctive with a new album titled ‘Icarus’. As ever, Fielding’s productions are rich with drama, space and intention. His work always carries a distinctly cinematic narrative; a trait that’s picked up by the film production houses that regularly champion his work.

Opening the album is the title track and first single off the album. It’s a vocal opus charged with breathy pads, smart string arrangements and snappy beats. ‘Fireworks’ is a powerful follow-on, with an undulating synth bass line and expansive tonal work.

For ‘Are Lights Approaching’, he takes a thumping 4×4 beat and envelops it in his signature textures, topping it off with an edgy vocal delivery that gives a raw, low-slung feel. Next up, ‘All We Ever Wanted’ introduces some acoustic guitar tones and yearning lyrics to the mix to create a haunting ballad.

‘Somewhere Out There’ is an ambient piece, just vocals and ethereal pads on this one that builds to a cathartic end. ‘Hiding From January’ is purely instrumental, showcasing Fielding’s intricate beat programming skills. Next, we have ‘Out of Reach’. It’s a propulsive stomper with a darker, industrial space-age feel. Fielding’s effected vocals adding to the crystalline finish.

‘High Rise Downfall’ uses a forceful broken beat pattern to punctuate beautiful synthetic atmospheres before some warm piano and guitar chords kick in to switch the vibe. ‘Break Me Down’ carries on the piano themes,this time paired with dynamic ‘rock-esque’ beats and chord progressions to make one of the album’s proper epics.

‘A Fire In The Sky’ is a moody and contemplative, acting as the level-setting precursor to one of the more accomplished vocal tracks on the album, ‘Ashes By Dawn’. Fielding’s vocal takes centre stage here, and it’s nothing short of breathtaking. As a final reprise, he delivers a short yet stunning string arrangement using the movements of the opening ‘Icarus.’ A fitting end to a record.

Icarus is my third full-length album of original works, written between 2010-2013 and released through Distinctive Records. The album features the incredible talents of The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. You can find it via DistinctiveiTunes, Amazon and pretty much any other major online music retailer you can think of.

You can find out more information and listen to previews via the music page on this site, or you can check out the clips from the album below.

Having spent three years working on this album, it’s quite surreal to see it finally making it’s way out into the big wide world. I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone I’ve been pestering over the past few years with constant revisions, ideas and general nonsense, and of course thank you to everyone who has ever supported me and my music throughout the years. Without you this album would simply not have been possible.

You can read a bit more about the background and creation of Icarus via the music page. You can also find full album lyrics via the lyrics section of this site.

I’d absolutely love to know what you think of this album, as I mentioned – I couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out, and as a piece of work I think it perfectly highlights more or less entirely what I’m about as a musician.

Thanks!

Icarus (single feat. remixes) is out now! Album to follow on the 29th

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Distinctive, Icarus, Music, Remix

Adam Fielding is back with us once again at Distinctive, this time with his latest single ‘Icarus’. Delivering nothing short of beauty, Mr Fielding brings what he does best to the table and we know you’re going to love it. Icarus opens with an instant wave of atmophere that straps you into position for the ride the is about to unfold infront of you. Lighthearted break beat carries through and is joined by elegant keys and strings that build and retreat into majestic peaks and breakdowns, the descriptive vocal floats through the track with a masterfully balanced contrast of ambience, dark bass lines and synth work – a light vs dark element and a great example to the mind of Fielding.

The 06R remix comes at the track with a larger lease on atmosphere, keeping the break beat vibe but going towards a more progressive almost Hybrid esque twist, the remix has more of a dancefloor edge and less outerspace flavour around it. Utilising those powerful strings and entrancing vocal it proves to be a meaty remix!

Blanka is up next and the duo of Adam White & Adam Dowling (Lost Language veterans)do what they do best and have created a big trance remix, fast flowing melodies derived from those awesome strings roll against the darker bass lines you hear in the original mix but with more of a focus point on that underlying thump from the bass line.

OhmFat relaxes the fringe with his remix, creating a very laid back; downtempo mix that has got sunshine groover written all over it. A new melodic bass line becomes the prominent factor whilst OhmFat takes little snippets and elements of the big room atmosphere and weaves them through the background of the mix. Definitely one for an Ibiza beach.

Chevy One tears up the rule book with his remix, the hour of ambience is gone and now comes the day of punchy progressive electro. The no fuss mix pumps out a dirty electro bass line that becomes very entrancing through its repetition. A great and unique take on the single.

The eponymous single from my upcoming album, Icarus, is out now! With a heavy breaks-inspired flavour, the original mix sets the stage for the rest of the album with a delicate mix of organic and electronic instrumentation, featuring strings performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.

You can find it via the Distinctive page, iTunes, Amazon, Beatport, Audiojelly, OneRPM and Trackitdown (among others). You can also listen to the single in it’s entirety via Spotify.

The full-length album Icarus will be released on the 29th.

Icarus album: Four weeks to go!

Posted on 3 CommentsPosted in Distinctive, Icarus, Music

After a long wait, I’m proud to announce that my third full-length original album Icarus is out in just under four weeks! This is preceded by the release of the first single from the album, Icarus. The single features the title track along with five remixes, spanning a wide range of genres from breaks through to house along with a film-score inspired take on the track. Both the single and album feature the incredible talents of The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.

The album follows the same genre-spanning trend as the single and my previous albums, drawing inspiration from rock, classical, breaks, synth-pop, ambient and various other forms of electronic music. Spanning twelve tracks and clocking in at just under seventy minutes, it’s a rather epic musical journey that I am particularly proud of. With it being the culmination of just under three years worth of preparation, writing, performance and production, I am incredibly excited to finally have this chance to share it with you all.

The album will be released in both digital and physical formats. Full album lyrics and detailed information will be available from this site following the release of the album.

Icarus: release dates

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Album 3, Collaboration, Distinctive, Icarus, Music

My third full-length, original solo album Icarus is due to be released on April 29th, with the eponymous single to be released a week before on the 15th. The single features a slew of remixes covering a wide variety of styles and genres both by myself and a hearty band of talented remixers.

I really can’t wait to share this with you… it’s been a long time coming and a hell of a lot of work from myself and a sizeable selection of other people (including The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, no less). I recently had the single masters back and, I’ve got to say, I’m really, really happy with how it’s all turned out. Of particular note for any audiophiles reading this – the final masters are sounding fantastic, and should come as a welcome relief to anybody out there (like myself) who’s sick of listening to excellent music that’s been mauled thanks to a constant push to over-compress and squash the living hell out of the source material in an effort to make it sound as loud as possible. As a record, Icarus is not that kind of listen and, as such, I’m very keen for it to withstand repeated listens.

I’m currently working with the label on the artwork and I’m looking forward to being able to hold the finished album in the not-too-distant future. I plan on talking in great length about the album both thematically and production-wise, but it’s still a little way off release so all I’ll say for now is that for fans of well produced electronic music with a heavy emphasis on emotion, melody and narrative I genuinely believe that it’s been worth the wait.

On a non-Icarus related note – I’ve just realised that I haven’t updated this site since the end of last year, so I guess now is as (in)appropriate time as any to say a hearty – albeit massively belated – Happy New Year!

2012 was a bit of a turning point for myself as a musician, particularly in terms of focus and direction. I’ve been working on a couple of production music (music for TV, advertising, film etc.) projects so far this year along with another project that I’m excited to have been a part of, which I’ll explain in more detail as things progress.

Something I do plan on doing this year is collaborating with more musicians. I have plenty of ideas in mind, and this idea was more or less spurred on by a collaboration between myself and the inimitable Tom Pritchard toward the end of last year which you can listen to and download for free below.

It’s been a long time since I worked on a proper collaboration, and I think I’ve progressed a fair bit as a musician and as a person since my last attempts. I’d love to know what you make of this particular collaboration! Please, no collaboration requests… as I said, I’ve already got a few ideas myself.

Distant Activity (DISN206) and Lightfields (DISN207) re-released through Distinctive

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Distant Activity, Distinctive, Lightfields, Music

So, I decided to have a gander at the Distinctive website to see if there was any mention of my signing and, lo and behold, here we go!


What’s even nicer is that I’m sat next to Way Out West on the artists page… very, very cool!

But, on a more practical note, both Distant Activity and Lightfields have now been re-released through Distinctive. What does this mean for you? Well, at the moment, not a lot – they’ve both got Distinctive catalogue numbers, but the albums remain unchanged from their original iterations. I’m currently in the process of removing “my” versions of the albums from iTunes et al (mainly to avoid confusion, though both versions are identical), but I will continue to sell copies through Bandcamp – which means you can still grab physical copies of both albums if you so wish. However, I certainly won’t be making more physical copies of both albums so when they’re gone, they’re gone – every copy of Lightfields gets a little signature on the inside cover, and I can sign Distant Activity if you wish.

I’ve just finished working on my demo-track for the previously mentioned Reason-based patch design project I’ve been involved in, so I’ll be sharing that with you once the refill comes out.

Technical anomalies?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Distinctive, General, Music, Site

Turns out I’ve been having some issues with getting this site to send me notification e-mails and e-mails sent using the contact form on the site – unfortunately it’s been like that for about a month now, so if you’ve attempted to contact me through the site in the past month then I’d like to apologise for not getting back to you. I’d hate anyone to think that I’m intentionally ignoring them as that’s absolutely not the case – in the meantime, if you’d like to get in touch then you can still do so via my Facebook page, or drop me a line via Twitter.

On a more positive note, I recently headed down to London to discuss album #3 and another project with John at Distinctive Records and I’m excited to see how things go on that front. I’m still messing around with ideas and am in a sound design/planning stage at the moment, though I have a few song ideas that I’ve been fleshing out as well. I’ve just finished up another Reason-based patch design project as well so I should have some news regarding that in the not too distant future as well.

I’ll be sure to update this post when I hear anything new about the lack of notifications issue – I’ll just make more of an effort to check the site, so don’t be afraid to leave comments if you want to… I’m sure I’ll pick them up eventually.

A general update

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Distant Activity, Distinctive, General, Licensing, Lightfields, Music
Adam Fielding & Tom Pritchard - photo by Tom Pritchard

Apologies for the relatively slow update – I figured now would be a good time as any to answer the question of whether or not album #3 is on the cards. So…

The good news is that there will definitely be an album #3. Lightfields came out not too long ago, and I’m hoping to share some good news regarding both Distant Activity and Lightfields with you in the not-too-distant future. Right now I’m still figuring out what sort of direction I want the next album to go in, so I guess you could say I’m still in the planning stages. That’s not to say I’m not working on new material at the moment, but it does mean that it’s incredibly early days yet. I’d love to give you more information right now, but – to be honest – I don’t know which direction it’s going to go in yet.

Right now I’m splitting the vast majority of my time between my own artistic output, publishing/licensing and sound design. All I can say is that a bit of a gap between updates isn’t necessarily a bad thing… it normally means I’m busy working on something.

In the meantime, I think you should check this out. Anyone familiar with Tom (pictured right alongside yours truly)’s musical output should already know that his work is utterly fantastic, and this Nintendo DS-based project is no exception.

Signed

Posted on 6 CommentsPosted in Distinctive, General, Music

I am now officially signed to Distinctive Records!

I’ve been a huge fan of a fair few artists on Distinctive for many, many years now (I fondly recall being introduced to both Hybrid and Way Out West during my early years at university), so – naturally – I’m incredibly thrilled to be a part of the Distinctive family. Naturally, a huge thanks are in order both to the kind folks over at Distinctive for bringing me on board and, of course, to you the listeners. I imagine that this marks the start of bigger and brighter things, and I sincerely hope you’ll be joining me for the ride. Watch this space, and…

Cheers!