Mesmera: out now

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Mesmera, Music, Subscribers

Mesmera, my new ambient solo album, is out now! As always, it’s completely free, and you can download it in the format of your choice from my Bandcamp page here.

Mesmera is an album of ambient/downtempo pieces by UK-based musician & producer Adam Fielding, written and recorded between 2016 – 2018 and released in August 2018.

Since the release of his first album, Adam Fielding has experimented with a wide variety of genres ranging from ambient to IDM, post-rock to synth-pop, and everything in-between. Mesmera sees Fielding taking on a renewed exploration of downtempo ambience, mixing organic and electronic instrumentation with a heavy focus on deep atmospheres and cinematic moods.

Mesmera is a representation of a daunting-yet-deeply rewarding journey, following themes of exploration, reflection, and imagination. Launching from the energetic expanse of Standing On The Precipice, the journey travels through celebrations of the unknown in Everything Felt New, deep introspection in the title track, through to freedom from the past in You Have To Let Go.

With Mesmera, Fielding playfully mixes the familiar with the unknown, crafting a unique album that is sure to be a rewarding listening for ambient & electronic music lovers.

It’s been an interesting journey to get this album released, especially given its origins as an exploration of a more comfortable space. It’s been extremely rewarding to re-visit a more ambient style, and I hope it won’t be quite as long before I delve back into it again. Thank you so much to everyone who pre-ordered the album and my wonderful Bandcamp subscribers (seriously, you’re the best), and I hope you enjoy the journey!

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.

“Mesmera” – the new album, out 8th August

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Mesmera, Music, Subscribers, The Broken Divide

Mesmera is an album of ambient/downtempo pieces by UK-based musician & producer Adam Fielding, written and recorded between 2016 – 2018 and released in August 2018.

Since the release of his first album, Adam Fielding has experimented with a wide variety of genres ranging from ambient to IDM, post-rock to synth-pop, and everything in-between. Mesmera sees Fielding taking on a renewed exploration of downtempo ambience, mixing organic and electronic instrumentation with a heavy focus on deep atmospheres and cinematic moods.

Mesmera is a representation of a daunting-yet-deeply rewarding journey, following themes of exploration, reflection, and imagination. Launching from the energetic expanse of Standing On The Precipice, the journey travels through celebrations of the unknown in Everything Felt New, deep introspection in the title track, through to freedom from the past in You Have To Let Go.

With Mesmera, Fielding playfully mixes the familiar with the unknown, crafting a unique album that is sure to be a rewarding listening for ambient & electronic music lovers.

Surprise! I realise I’ve been rather quiet over the past year or so (and with good reason, which I’ll be getting into over the course of the next few posts), but I’m incredibly happy to announce that my new album, Mesmera, will be released on the 8th August! Although appearing quite different sonically, I consider this album to be a spiritual sequel of sorts to my previous ambient album And All Is As It Should Be, with much more of a focus on atmosphere and texture than my previous couple of releases… albeit with an extra dash of rolling percussion throughout. I’ll be talking about the conceptualisation and production process behind the album on this blog over the coming weeks, so watch this space!

In the meantime, you can pre-order it from Bandcamp – all pre-orders will receive a copy of the Extended version of the album upon release (more on that in a second), though the main album itself will be available as a pay-what-you-want release when it comes out.

As has been the case for my past couple of album releases, I’ve decided to throw in some extra goodies for Bandcamp subscribers. These are as follows:

  • An “Extended” version of the album, featuring beatless versions of all of the tracks found on the main album. These versions feature arrangement and mix tweaks as opposed to just being the exact same tracks with the percussion taken out, and serves as a nice counterpoint to the main version with its present percussion. This version of the album will also be available on other streaming services such as iTunes post-release, and will be made available to anybody who decides to pre-order via Bandcamp.
  • An “audiophile” master of the album. Once again, this will be a Bandcamp subscriber exclusive, and if you’d like to know what exactly this entails then I’d suggest reading this handy blog post which covers the subject quite nicely. The audiophile release also includes the beatless mixes from the Extended version.

One of the tracks, entitled “You Have To Let Go”, is available for streaming now via the handy little player above, and is also available to download to all pre-order customers immediately.

As I mentioned above, I’ll be talking a bit more about how this album came together in the month-or-so leading up to its release, so for now I’ll leave it there and just say that I cannot wait to get the complete album out there! I hadn’t expected to be writing another album again so soon after The Broken Divide, but things just kind of worked out that way. I hope you’ll be joining me for the full journey on the 8th August 🙂

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.

Archive 01: 2003 – 2004

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Archive, General, Music, Reason, Subscribers

Last week I released an album exclusively to Bandcamp subscribers called Archive 01: 2003 – 2004 which, as the name would suggest, is a collection of tunes originally written and produced between 2003 and 2004. However, me being me I decided to give them some much needed love and attention before giving them a proper release, and I figured I’d write a bit about why I decided to release these tunes now and the process involved in putting the album together.

Although I’ve been writing music since the mid-90s, I wouldn’t really say I “properly” got into writing music until 2002 when I purchased my first bit of music software. Up until that point I’d been using free software pretty much exclusively, along with one or two sample discs I purchased along the way. In 2002 I picked up Propellerhead Reason, and spent the next few years trying to find my musical voice, so to speak.

2003 was a particularly interesting year for me to revisit as it was a time when a lot of things changed in my life. My friends had started heading off to university, and I had come to the conclusion that my own future lie somewhere with music. I had originally planned to go to university to study music production of some sort, but after some arguably rash thinking I decided to put off my plans for university in an attempt to get a better grasp on what exactly I wanted to do. While I ended up working a couple of jobs in this time, I was in a bit of a personal limbo.

Up until this point I had been working almost exclusively with samples, so while I had a really firm grasp on the fundamentals of digital sampling and audio manipulation, it’s not much of a stretch to say I didn’t have much of a handle on synthesis techniques, effects processing, or even mixing, really. I had already started messing around with VST effects – and it didn’t take long to get to grips with the fundamentals of subtractive synthesis (thank you, Subtractor!) – but I was still much more focussed on getting ideas down than sound design at this stage.

It’s also worth mentioning that, prior to this period in time, I hadn’t been particularly interested in a whole lot of commercially available electronic music. The furthest I had delved up until then was in listening to a ton of video game music, and picking up a couple of albums by Frontline Assembly & The Alpha Conspiracy (Epitaph and Cipher, respectively). I listened to these albums endlessly. I was getting more into select film soundtracks as well. I wasn’t really sure how to categorise the music I was writing at the time, I just knew that I was having fun writing it.

During this time, I started posting more and more of my music online – specifically, to the now defunct Propellerhead Music Forum. This was awesome because not only was it a place for musicians to share their music, but they could also share read-only versions of the actual song documents for listeners to check out. Through this forum I got a ton of amazing feedback, learned a ridiculous amount by dissecting other peoples’ tunes, and even made a few friends along the way.

One such friend, whose music I also had a huge amount of respect for, introduced me to the likes of Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Biosphere, Freeland, Cliff Martinez, Massive Attack… well, the list goes on. This was a HUGE “holy shit!” moment for me as I started to realise that not only was there was this huge world of music that I had previously ignored or even shunned (I was very much a “dance music suxx!” kid at school), but it was exactly the kind of thing I wanted to focus on. Now… I feel I should probably mention that I’m certainly NOT comparing my music to these hugely influential artists, but this was really the first time I started listening to music and thinking “just how the hell did they put this together?”. I heard so much music and listened to so many sounds that, up until this point, were pretty much alien to my ears. It was amazingly inspirational. I still attribute my love of fusing organic instrumentation with electronics to my pre-existing tastes of the time and this sudden infusion of electronic music.

I still jokingly refer to material from this time as a bit of a “golden era” for me – not necessarily because of the actual music I was writing, but more because I was just starting to find my feet through experimentation, and I was really starting to expand my horizons as a result.

More recently, one of the things I had really wanted to do with the whole Bandcamp subscriber thing was to start releasing some of this old, forgotten material. I’d actually been toying with the idea of putting together a collection of old tunes for quite a while, and I figured that I now finally had a “proper” outlet for it. I decided to focus on re-mixing tunes from specific time periods for my archive releases, and 2003 – 2004 seemed a logical starting point. Anything before this point would have been pretty cringe-worthy I think, and I figured starting with a time period that I held such a strong personal attachment to would be quite interesting.

So… in late March 2017, I started putting together playlist ideas of tunes from 2003 – 2004 to release as an EP. I had settled on an EP as I thought any more and the whole thing wouldn’t really work as a coherent collection of tunes… but I started running into problems with this approach. No matter which songs I picked, I’d always end up changing my mind a day or two later, or think of something else I wanted to include. I figured the only way forward would be to just sink my teeth in and start working with these tunes. I knew with absolute certainty that I was going to include Contact (written in 2004), so I opened up the old song file and had a look.

Now, the great thing about Reason is that it has amazing backwards compatibility. Contact – like many of the tracks here – was written in Reason 2.5. I still had my old sample collection with the 2004 folder structure intact, so opening up these tunes in Reason 9 was as simple as finding the old song files, opening them up, and Reason would take care of the rest. As soon as I opened up Contact, I knew I was going to have to properly re-mix these tunes. Just to clarify – when I say “re-mix”, I mean that in a very literal sense – not in the typical re-interpretive meaning of the word remix, but in the “I need to break this mix down and start again” meaning of the word. At the same time, I wanted to preserve the old feel of these tracks. So… where to start?

The first thing I did was to disable all post-mix processing in these tracks. A common mistake (which I still come across these days with great regularity!) is that people tend to think they can fix the deficiencies in a mix by applying crazy effects to an entire mix. This is generally a bad idea. A lot of these tunes had heavy EQ/compression/distortion effects placed on the entire mix. In some cases, simply turning these effects off had a huge impact on the overall sound. The reason I make such a big deal of encouraging people to get the mix right before even thinking about “mastering” is because I’ve been down the road of thinking you can fix anything in mastering, that mastering was the one thing stopping my tunes from sounding great. With a good mix, yeah, that sort of makes sense. With a bad mix? It’s a bad idea. Don’t do it. You can make a great mix shine with a light touch at the mastering stage, but you can’t fix a broken mix with tons of effects.

One of the major differences between newer versions of Reason and the older “classic” versions (as I like to refer to them as) is that Reason 6 onwards has a really, really nice mixer. When you open up old tunes in these newer versions of Reason, this new mixer remains unused as the original rack devices perform that function. As such, the first thing I needed to do was to figure out what each track in each song file corresponded to (not easy when you consider that my labelling system was pretty much non-existent so you’d end up with tons of tracks with names like “PEQ-15”, “Malstrom 3” and so on), and to route it to this new mixer along with all the appropriate aux send effects intact. Essentially, what this meant was that the first thing I did with each of these tunes was to re-route each individual channel to a new mixer and try to re-create the original mix in the new mixer. This was oddly cathartic.

Once I’d re-routed everything, I started to re-EQ certain instruments and tweak certain effects. I wanted to do this with a light touch as I didn’t want to totally change the feel of the music. At the same time, there were some tunes that had masses of mud for no good reason, painful highs, drums that would disappear under the rest of the mix… you know, fun stuff like that. A lot of the time this was easily rectified by utilising the filters on the new Reason mixer – carving out space for bass and kicks in certain tracks was generally pretty straight-forward. In certain tracks, rolling off the lows on the main reverb aux-send made a huge difference. Dialing back the release time on certain synths made little discernible difference to the feel of a song, but had a huge impact on the space available for the rest of the mix. Carving out space was very much the name of the game here.

In a couple of instances, I ended up layering some additional drum hits over the top of the existing drums. This was generally a last resort, and usually happened in tracks where I’d relied on a single heavily compressed REX loop for the drums or something equally silly. It’s hard to stop the drums in a mix from disappearing if you’re relying on something that sounds completely flat at the source. Thankfully I only had to do this a couple of times, and in each instance I was able to match the new drums quite closely with the feel of the original track.

The final part of this process was mastering. This was done with a light touch – I ended up just using a single limiter on each tune and leaving it at that. The bulk of the work had already been done at the re-mixing stage, so I didn’t want to jeopardise that. This was more about level consistency than anything else, and I really didn’t want to over-cook this release.

I repeated this process a few times and started thinking “well, I’ve got a good process going, I’ll just keep working on tunes from this era and worry about the track-list later!”. After a while I ended up with a selection of about ten tunes. I took these tunes out of the studio and listened to them in a variety of environments, and I was really pleasantly surprised with how well they sat together. The feeling of the era was intact and, thanks to the re-mixing and light mastering process, they sat really nicely together. Without really realising it, I had started to put together a decent collection of the music I wrote during this time period. At this point the EP idea went totally out of the window.

A few more re-mixes later and I had a collection of music from 2003 – 2004 that I was happy to release, a definitive album of works collected from this particular time period. Now all I had to do was figure out what to do about the cover art.

I played with a couple of ideas, mostly based on photography from time spent in Alaska in 2004. Visiting Alaska was a hugely inspirational time for me – I’d spent some time in 2003 & 2004 working in a small village pub to save up for this trip, and it truly is an awe inspiring place. It made sense to use artwork from such an inspirational place, especially given that a lot of the music on the album was written after returning from said trip. I ended up with two main ideas – one was a photo from Talkeetna lakes (which is what I ended up using), and another was a night shot that ended up looking like something from a dark ambient album. I fully intend to use the latter at some point!

All this said, returning from Alaska was the start of a more lonely time as my friends had found some stability in either university or work, and I was unemployed and pretty much broke without a clear plan for the future. I ended up coasting for longer than I really should have before getting a full time job and figuring out what I wanted to do with my future… but, during this time of lessened responsibility, I ended up sinking my teeth more into writing music and discovering new sounds. I ended up writing tunes like Contact, Neon, and Where Do I Go From Here during this time, most of which I’d say lie on the more introspective/atmospheric end of the spectrum than some of the other tunes on the album.

The last tune I wrote in 2004 was Aeroplanes & Fireflies, which I figured would make for a fitting opener as I felt it really captured a sense of things to come, which provided a nice warm-up and contrast to some of the more introspective tracks throughout the rest of the album.

It’s a wonderful feeling to finally have these tracks out there. It’s an incredibly personal collection of tunes from a defining point in my life, with several tunes having never truly seen the light of day up until this point.

Archive 01: 2003 – 2004 is available exclusively to Bandcamp subscribers in the format of your choice, along with a whole host of other subscriber exclusive content including October Sessions, Apparitions, Traces, and Call Of The Void.

October Sessions: Out Now

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in General, Livestream, Music, October Sessions, Subscribers

October Sessions is my latest Bandcamp exclusive release. If you’re already a subscriber, you can download it immediately in the format of your choice. If you’re not, then I’d say with three albums, one single, and a ton of other exclusive goodies in the bag that now is a pretty damn good time to check it out! (this reminds me, I really ought to upgrade that crappy video at some point)

October Sessions is an album consisting of previously unreleased tunes written and produced entirely during October 2014.

I’m really happy with how this particular release turned out, though between PiecesObscurer, and The Broken Divide all coming out between 2014 – 2016, I never really felt like I had an opportune moment to release it… until now!

As with Traces, I’ve also put together a preview mix for non-subscribers if you want to get a feel for the album in general.

On a related note, I may or may not be continuing my October Sessions tradition this October due to some pretty big circumstantial variables (i.e. “I might be moving house & studio”), but it’s something I’d really love to re-visit again and see what pops out. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the future holds 🙂

I’ve been focussing on writing a lot of production music this year, which has seen me trying out some heavier styles than I guess you’d typically associate with me – it’s been a ton of fun to work on those, and I’m looking forward to seeing where those tunes end up.

I’ve also had a few people asking me about my lack of live streaming lately – I haven’t given up entirely on those, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to give the usual “I’ve been quite busy” excuse with regards to why I haven’t done any for a while now. It’s definitely something I’d love to get back into – right now I feel like I should at least do one final live stream from my current studio before I move, but I’d like to get moved and re-settled before I really get back into those.

The Broken Divide: Release notes

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Distant Activity, Icarus, Lightfields, Music, Subscribers, The Broken Divide

With just one day to go until the release of The Broken Divide, I figured I should probably take a second to write about the actual release of the album itself and how it came together after I finished writing it (which you can read about in more detail in my previous TBD-related blog posts).

Before I talk about the release of The Broken Divide, I’d like to talk a little bit about the release of Pieces. Pieces was the first album/compilation thing that I had released independently in about four years or so, and so I decided to try something a little different with the release.

There are two great advantages to releasing music independently, as far as I’m concerned – the first is that it afford you complete creative control over what you put out. Pieces was something I’d been toying with for a while, and I knew I wasn’t in a rush to release it. This gave me plenty of time to sort out mastering, album artwork, and release formats. I’ve already talked at length about my approach to pricing (or lack of) and the “audiophile master” release of Pieces – both of which you can read about here and here. I mention this because it’s an approach I’m taking once again with the release of The Broken Divide.

Which brings me onto the second big thing I love about releasing music independently – the freedom to experiment with release methods. One thing I have been experimenting with recently is the Bandcamp subscription format. I still believe in making my major independent releases easily accessible to everyone, but the subscription system affords me the means to get bonus goodies across to people who might be more interested in checking this stuff out without necessarily “cluttering” my discography for those who just want to listen to my albums. It’s an interesting balancing act, but after releasing Pieces I had more or less decided quite early on that my next album release was going to be another pay-what-you-want release on Bandcamp.

Sorry guys, you're on your own.
Sorry guys, you’re on your own.

Alas, another similarity between these two releases is that there is no physical CD version. Back when I was releasing my first or second albums, this idea would have been kind of abhorrent to me – I love picking up CDs where I can, but the sad truth is that demand for physical copies of my music is nowhere near substantial enough at this point to warrant getting a decent run made and, as with many other people out there, I have no problem with my own musical purchases being digital… provided I can download it in the format of my choice. Maybe one day I’ll consider a limited run of CD copies for some of my more recent releases, but for the time being it’s not going to happen. That said, digital downloads of my music have skyrocketed in the past few years so, hey, there you go!

On a similar note, I have still in no way whatsoever been bitten by the vinyl bug. It’s a growing format but it’s one that I just don’t get – for me, it’s kind of a weird situation. There are many releases for which the “best” version is the vinyl release, simply because the most tastefully mastered version of an album is usually the vinyl version. Nothing to do with the format (outside of some physical constraints due entirely to the medium itself which go some way to preventing bad mastering practices), but because people who listen on vinyl tend to be more picky about this kind of thing. Which is great! But there is nothing stopping people from releasing tasteful masters of their albums digitally, and I find the lack of options kind of strange in that regard. Maybe in a few years I’ll be all over vinyl, but for the time being… not happening. It’s not something I’m interested in and it would be both disingenuous and financially bonkers for me to go down that route.

This is all kind of interesting to me because this will be my first “big” solo release since 2013 – I’m super happy with all of my interim releases (Pieces, AdFi, Obscurer), but this is the album that I would consider the “true” follow-up to Icarus. That album had a bit of a troubled release, to be honest. From issues with the artwork, digital outlets still not stocking it correctly (go ahead, try and find it on Amazon UK), payments and recoupable costs having to be chased up for about a year, and a general lack of post-release support… yeah, it was not pretty. Hell, for a few months I had no idea which label it was going to be released through thanks to a total communication snafu. Alas – due to the nature of it not being an independent release, this is all stuff that was generally outside of my control. Icarus really made me appreciate how much I’d taken full creative control for granted over the years, and how it’s something I’m not willing to relinquish for my own solo releases. The release of Pieces made me really, really appreciate how much I’d missed releasing music independently… the general feeling I got during both releases was completely different. I’d like to emphasise that this in no way somehow reflects my own personal feelings of both albums from a musical point of view – this is strictly from a release/logistical perspective.

ANYWAY. Bitching and moaning aside(!) – the point I’m trying to make is that returning to that mindset of retaining full control during the writing, production, and release process for a “big” solo release was a really wonderful feeling, and I think that feeling of releasing something completely on my own terms because I wanted to is something that runs throughout the entire album. In many ways the huge contrast between the release of Icarus and Pieces fuelled the direction I took with this album… knowing that it was probably going to be an independent release made me think “hey, that means I can pretty much do whatever I want!” which is, y’know, exactly what I did.

So. One more day to go. I hope you get some time to check out the album in its entirety once I release it into the wild, and I hope you like what you hear. Cheers!

The Broken Divide 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 bonus tracks and instrumentals.

The Broken Divide: Instrumentation

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Music, Subscribers, The Broken Divide

Something I’ve always been quite keen on in electronic music is the fusion of organic instrumentation with electronic instrumentation. There’s an oddly humanising feel or grounded sensation to be had when combining precisely sequenced synths with recorded/performed instrumentation. It’s something I’ve really strived for since Lightfields in particular – in that instance, I was fusing live instrumentation with electronics to give a more energetic, spontaneous feel to the album. With The Broken Divide, I thought it’d be interesting to use some non-traditional instruments and sound sources to aid with the sound of something recognisable and inviting, yet unusual and kind of unfamiliar at the same time.

The first track (“The Beginning And The End”) is a good example of this. There are guitars buried in the mix, about 2/3rds of the track make use of a piano – which is heavily processed at times, the percussion is formed from a mixture of drum synths and odd recordings, and there are field recordings all over the track. Even the frantic synth-type sound used during the crazier part of the track (you’ll know which part I mean if you give it a listen) was based on a recording of me sticking my finger on the end of an amped up cable. The recorded percussion is a mixture of rubbing hands, clicking batteries, scissors, shakers… I really wanted to give the percussion a strangely loose, human feel to it underneath the precisely timed electronic kit.

Of course, this is just one track. Although there are plenty of guitars and pianos across the album, I decided to avoid using strings and orchestral elements. Although I’ve used orchestral elements extensively in my work before (and still do!), I felt like there’s such a strong automatic association between orchestral instrumentation and “cinematic” music that wasn’t really representative of what I was shooting for with this particular album… I didn’t really want to invite that comparison through my choice of instrumentation, so I decided to avoid it entirely for The Broken Divide. I was incredibly tempted to use some strings in the penultimate track (“Time To Go”), but decided against it in the end. I think it was the right call, as the fusion of sparse electronics and piano/vocals complements what I was going for with the track on an emotional level. The only time I decided to use anything approaching orchestral instrumentation was in the title track, which uses a heavily processed and frantically bowed (read: abused) violin layered up with a stretched version of itself to give an ethereal-yet-familiar sound to it.

I guess one of the key reasons for my decision to avoid orchestral instrumentation was that I wanted the instrumentation & production to be in service of the music and emotional component itself, and not the other way around. There’s one track on the album where I used the sound of rattling keys to signify a transition, running with the theme of travel and unfamiliarity I was basing the song around. There’s another track that makes use of my first acoustic guitar (which is an old, battered thing I picked up from a charity shop that I’ve been meaning to give away for years) which tied in quite nicely to the memory referenced in that particular track, which really complements the personal connection I was going for.

There was a certain point during the creation of the album where I started to think “this is probably going to be an instrumental album. I need to focus on writing some vocal tracks to round it out, or just add vocals to the stuff I’ve already got written”. In hindsight, this was a really stupid idea. I started to make the mistake of comparing The Broken Divide as it was with my previously released albums, trying to fulfill some kind of audience-expectation quota with regards to vocal tracks rather than just letting it happen naturally. The vast majority of the instrumental tracks on the album just didn’t click when I started experimenting with adding vocals to them and, consequently, took away from the underlying memory or emotional state that I was trying to convey. That said, as I started working on the final third of the album or so, I ended up writing a few vocal tracks that fit the overall mood of the album pretty much perfectly. I also ended up writing one vocal track that didn’t fit the mood of the album, but I thought it was a really nice track… so I decided to include that with the extended version of The Broken Divide (which is exclusive to Bandcamp subscribers). In fact… thinking about it, the main hurdles I seemed to encounter when putting the album together were when I started to do things that went against the nature of the album as it was shaping up, or other things that simply didn’t fit the natural flow that ran throughout the production process. Lesson learned!

I guess that’s quite indicative of the album in general, really. The entire production process seemed to come quite naturally once I stopped trying to force it. Although I wanted to keep things interesting from a production and sound design point of view, trying to force it toward a particular direction was distracting at best, and contradictory to the album I wanted to write at worst… and I think the instrumentation is quite indicative of that. Every layer has a particular purpose and a particular role to play, and it was nice to be able to serve the emotional flow and theme of the album through the instrumentation itself.

The Broken Divide 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 bonus tracks and instrumentals.

Live stream tonight, new Neffle, and new subscriber goodies!

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Apparitions, Collaboration, General, Music, Neffle, Reason, Subscribers, Tom Pritchard, Traces, Tutorials

Hey all, just figured I’d post a quick update here to let you know that I’ll be doing a live-stream TONIGHT (17th Feb) at 7pm GMT over on Twitch. My plan is to write a quick & rough song, so come on over and feel free to pester me in the chat while I’m making some noise 🙂

Watch live video from adfielding on www.twitch.tv

Also, there’s another Bandcamp subscriber-exclusive goodie out there – ApparitionsApparitions is a series of abstract ambient sketches written during January this year, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. Always nice to start the year off in a productive manner, I feel! You can listen to a few tracks from Apparitions here:

If you like what you hear, feel free to susbcribe to my Bandcamp page. There are currently TWO releases (Apparitions and Traces) available exclusively to subscribers, with more to come later in the year.

….aaaaaaand there’s a new Neffle release, called Assistance which is available to download RIGHT NOW. Neffle, as you may or may not know, is my ongoing hardware jam-collaborative project with Tom Pritchard, and we’ve been sitting on this one for a little while now. After much deliberation, we finally agreed to release Assistance in its current form. I hope some of you enjoy it!

Hopefully I’ll see some of you over on Twitch later on. Should be fun!

Traces: Origins

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in General, Reason, Subscribers, Traces

Thanks to everyone who’s been listening to Traces, and thanks to everyone who’s decided to subscribe! I just hope that you’ll enjoy what else I’ve got in store for the rest of the year 🙂

I figured now would be an opportune moment to go into a little bit of depth as to the origin of each of the tracks, both for my own sake (I think getting everything down in one place would be a good thing) and so you can have a better understanding of where all of these tracks came from.

I’m normally a little loathe to talk about the exact meaning behind my music, but in this case – being primarily made up of production tracks – I think it makes sense to talk a bit about each track individually.

So, let’s start from the beginning- track 1!

You Can See The End From Here (2014)
This is actually the newest track on the record, and was written for a pretty charged pivotal moment in a short film with a sci-fi twist. I actually wrote a couple of revisions, but this is the one I preferred. Unfortunately, it didn’t click with the film-makers for whatever reason and it went unused… hence its appearance as the opener here.

Insignificance (2009)
In late 2009 I had only recently finished university and I hit a bit of a creative funk. To counter this, I started a practice which has become a regular trend for me. I decided to try writing one “sketch” per day, just to run with any idea as it formed regardless of my own perceived satisfaction. This is the first such sketch, written after a night of stargazing and feeling a little insignificant (hence the title).

Midnight Spirit (2011)
I’d only recently started working on music as a full-time venture at this point, and was in the process of writing production music as a means to sharpen my skills a bit. I was trying lots of different ideas and genres, and figured I should have an attempt at something with a more atmospheric, almost dubstep-y feel to it. I liked the idea of pitching my vocals down a bit to see what would happen, and was delighted with how un-cheesy it sounded!

Survival (2013)
An acquaintance of mine was studying video game design at university and needed to make a pitch of his game concept to some industry heads. It was a cool idea, and I thought it’d be a unique way to get my music heard by some people in the gaming biz (and I love me some video games), so I decided to write some music for it. I ended up with two tracks – this is the first…

Beneath The Surface (2013)
…and this is the second. While Survival was more of a thematic piece, I wanted this track to be a more atmospheric/background piece. In retrospect, it’s a little more overbearing than I had first anticipated, but I was really happy with both of these tracks. They never really found a home outside of the initial pitch – and now they have. Nice!

Behold (2011)
This was written during the same burst as Midnight Spirit. After writing a fair amount of downtempo/atmospheric music to try and beef up my output a bit, I figured a change was in order. I wanted to write something production-friendly with a more dramatic flair to it, and this is what popped out.

Tread Carefully (2009)
An unusual one, this. I had recently finished my university degree and was due to graduate in a month, so I decided to visit my parents at the other side of the country. I’d brought my laptop with me and this popped out while goofing around in the living room one day. I seem to recall playing quite a bit of F.E.A.R. at the time, so I guess that explains the ominous mood.

The Old Tower (2012)
I was working on a production album with a focus on really chilled, downtempo numbers – all of the tracks I wrote for that project were picked up, except for this one. I suspect it may have been a little too ominous for their tastes, but it’s always been one of my favourites from that project so it’s nice to give it a bit of attention here.

Sweeping Junk (2011)
Yet another track from my 2011 production music binge, I’d recently picked up some nice acoustic drum loops and thought it’d be fun to chop them up and play with silence in my music a little bit more… hence the stop/start/stuttering nature of the drums. This one was a lot of fun to work on!

Counterbalance (2012)
In 2012 I wrote a lot of music with a view to using it as production music, though a good chunk of it would later end up on what would become Pieces. This track didn’t really sit well with me in either camp – it was too scatter-shot to work as production music, and didn’t seem to fit the flow of Pieces… but I really liked it, so I thought it deserved a proper place on Traces.

Traces (2009)
Ahh yes, the title track – and a continuation from my sketch-a-day session which spawned Insignificance. I really felt like I hit upon the central theme of my 2009 sketches with this particular track, which is why I thought it was particularly fitting for the title of the entire release. The entire sketch-a-day sessions form a very personal diary-of-sorts for me, as it was written at a particularly pivotal moment in my life. In many ways this track represents the introverted precipice before a particularly joyous point in my life.

Picking Up Where We Left Off (2010)
This is another continuation of my sketch-a-day exercise started in 2009 with Insignificance. I had a break over the Christmas season, and came back to it in 2010 for a brief spell. This was the first track from the second session, hence the title – I was trying to re-connect with the feeling I had during the first session, despite a lot of things having changed for me in that interim. It was nice to re-connect and, well, to pick up where I left off.

Communication (2009)
This is an odd one. A friend of mine was running for student union president at university at the time, and was focussing on a neat digital campaign. He asked me to write a track and overlay some audio from an interview over it, and this sort of popped out. After the campaign was over I removed the speech, sent it to a few non-exclusive libraries and it got a bit of use. Which was rather nice, actually!

Another Yesterday (2011)
The final track written during my great 2011 production music writing binge. Structurally it’s very simple, but I wanted something that just built up to a really nice finish, and I think this is a nice showcase of a lot of my habits (good and bad) of late 2011, so I thought it would make a fitting end to Traces.

…and that’s it! If there’s anything you’d like me to explain in more detail or anything, feel free to drop me a comment or send me a message 🙂 Don’t forget that you can still grab Traces by subscribing to my Bandcamp page here.

Traces: Out Now

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Music, Production music, Subscribers, Traces

Traces, my first Bandcamp subscriber-exclusive release of 2016, has just been released. If you’re already a subscriber, you can download it immediately.

Traces is a mixture of previously unreleased production music and other collected works written during 2008 – 2014.

Naturally, Traces is available to download in your format of choice via Bandcamp. If you’re still on the fence about the whole subscription thing, I’ve put together a mix containing clips from Traces which should give you a good taste of what Traces has to offer.

I’ll be bumping up the price of subscriptions on the 10th January, so you’ve still got a chance to get an early-bird subscription in for the rest of 2016 if you’re interested in hearing what other exclusive goodies I’ve got in store for the rest of the year.

Bandcamp subscriptions

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in AdFi, Distant Activity, From Out Of Nowhere, General, Lightfields, Music, Obscurer, Pieces, Production music, Subscribers

So… I realise it’s been quite a while since I last posted a proper update here.

To be perfectly honest, I had been planning on waiting until I gave this site a complete overhaul, but I figured it had been such a long time since my last update that I should probably elucidate some of the ideas I’ve got for next year. So – here goes!

2015-12-17 17.03.21

Starting in 2016, I’m going to be using Bandcamp subscriptions. Basically, what this means is that – for an annual flat fee – you’ll have access to the following.

  • Immediate access to my entire Bandcamp back catalogue, including all bonus extras. This means that you’ll get access to my independent solo albums (including Distant Activity, Lightfields, Pieces, and Obscurer), along with all the tasty bonuses – i.e. for now, the audiophile & extended versions of Pieces.
  • Full access to all future Bandcamp releases (including all extra bonuses) while your subscription is active. As soon as I release anything, you’ll be notified and will receive full and immediate access to the music in your format of choice.

“But Adam!”, I hear you say. “All of your Bandcamp music is Pay-What-You-Want! Why would I pay for an annual subscription when I can already download your music for free?“.

That’s a fair question – and I guess besides the obvious “I like money and I need your support to sustain my extravagant Fabergé egg addiction“, I should probably throw in something extra… which leads me nicely onto:

  • Access to an ongoing series of SUBSCRIBER EXCLUSIVE releases.

“But Adam!”, I hear you say. “What the hell. Why are you going to lock future releases behind a paywall?”.

That’s another fair question – again, I guess besides the obvious “I like money and I need your support to sustain the lifestyle to which my cat has become accustomed”, I should probably explain what sort of thing I have in mind for these exclusive releases, and what that means for my future album releases.

First up: All of my future “main” albums/EPs will still be available as PWYW releases to all non-subscribers. The extra content (bonus tracks, alt. masters, instrumentals, etc.) will be subscriber only, but the main meat of the albums/EPs will still be available in the exact same manner as before.

The reason for making this bonus content subscriber-exclusive is two-fold: obviously, there’s the aforementioned “I like money” angle. Also, my current process of manually e-mailing out codes to people is pretty archaic, and it’s only going to get worse as I release more bonus content (which I absolutely assuredly will be doing). By doing this, it’ll automate the entire process. For anyone who’s received a dodgy code or couldn’t get the bonus content to download properly, this will probably come as a welcome relief.

Secondly: I should probably explain what sort of thing I have in mind for “subscriber exclusive” releases. Here are some of the ideas I’m working on:

  • Previously unreleased production music
  • Unreleased, re-mixed/re-mastered archive material
  • Music from my “October sessions”
  • Hardware jams and extended sessions

…and so on. Basically – music that I’m really, really, really happy with, but wouldn’t fit into a “standard” release.

I understand that, right now, it sounds like this requires a bit like a leap of faith as there is no guarantee of the kind of material I’m going to be releasing as exclusive content. That’s totally fair. What I will say is that I have at least three releases planned for next year, two of which are going to be subscriber exclusive. As soon as I release some sort of exclusive content, I’ll make it available for non-subscribers to stream so you can at least get a taste of what to expect.

Onto the pricing: Annual subscriptions are going to be set at £15, but until the first exclusive release I’m going to enable early-bird annual subscriptions at £10. The first exclusive release will be coming in January. So.., right now, grab yourself a nice Christmas treat 😉

On a personal note, this is all a bit of an experiment for me – much like the unorthodox release of Pieces, I want to try something new out. I want to make sure I’m not standing in the way of people who want to listen to my music, but I want to say “thank you” to people who choose to support me. For most people, the appeal of Bandcamp subscriptions is in gaining access to a musician’s entire back catalogue – and I guess that’s still the case here… but I really like the idea of sharing my less heavily publicised output with people who really want to check it out. So, that’s the plan.

You can check out my Bandcamp subscription page here.