As you may or may not be aware, today is my birthday. Happy Birthday to me!
This time last year I figured I’d release a bunch of out-takes from the writing & recording sessions for Distant Activity (Background Activity). This year I thought I’d try something different and, as a result, I present to you the complete instrumental versions of Distant Activityand Lightfields!
I’m sure some of you may be wondering why exactly I’m doing this, and the simple answer is because a few people asked for it and, after much deliberation, I figured… why not? With Icarus right around the corner – not long to go now! – I thought now would be a great time to look back and get everything out there as far as my first two albums are concerned, ready for the third big one. I must admit that listening to both albums sans-vocals is quite an interesting experience, personally speaking.
You can check out both instrumental albums (along with most of my back catalogue) on my Bandcamp page.
I was without a reliable internet connection, my laptop was on the fritz and I was about to start my final year at university. I’m not going to lie – as far as release schedules go, I’ve had better.
It was a completely new and alien experience to me… at the time, I had been releasing music freely on-line for a good 5 or 6 years (not including my late-90s/early-00s tracker output which was, to be kind to it, pretty horrible), and I had never released such a large collection of music that was supposed to flow together as one cohesive whole. Then there’s the whole “releasing an album independently” angle which, more or less, came about after an exasperating couple of months in which I sent the album out to a load of indie labels and heard absolutely nothing back. Not a peep. Well, except for Magnatune.
Thankfully, Magnatune were on board right from the start and, with Magnatune on board and some serious consideration, I knew that it was probably the right time to risk a completely independent release. Unfortunately, things took a bit longer to get together than I’d expected and by the time I actually got around to releasing the album, I was about to start my final year at university. Could have been worse – if I’d tried releasing it a month later then I really would have really been screwed!
Distant Activity was a learning experience like no other, and – while the actual writing and production of the album wasn’t always exactly… pleasant – I have fond memories of finishing this album and the immense sense of pride that came with releasing something so personal into the wild. I never expected for a minute that so many people would connect with it in such a profound way, and I couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out.
Background Activity is a selection of songs written and produced during the creation of Distant Activity (2007 – 2008) that were not included on the album itself.
During the creation of Distant Activity, there were a number of songs written and produced that didn’t make the final cut. Some went on to be released as part of other projects (namely, The Dawn EP). Some tracks were a little too quirky. Some didn’t fit with the overall aesthetic of the album. Some just wouldn’t have fit on the album. As time passed, these tracks remained archived and untouched – a curious reminder of musical and emotional ideas that were never intended to see the light of day.
As such, Background Activity is a revisiting of the period during which Distant Activity was created. All unreleased tracks are presented in their original state – rough edges and all – as a musical time capsule for anyone interested in hearing some of the ideas that paved the way for the completion of the full album itself.
Happy birthday to me!
Rather than hog all of the birthday fun, I thought it’d be nice to share a little gift with all of you. As such, I’ve released a free selection of songs which, for one reason or another, never made it onto Distant Activity. This selection of out-takes (handily packaged together as an EP titled Background Activity) is a small selection of material which was written around the same time as Distant Activity but – for whatever reason (some songs didn’t fit the overall album’s aesthetic, some were a little too quirky and some simply wouldn’t have fit on the album at all) – were simply not included on the final album.