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…
The Bandcamp player widgets have been replaced by some sexier Soundcloud alternatives.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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
So, what is it? Reconstructed Textures consists of 26 Combinator-based ambient drones, each built using heavily processed samples found in the Factory Sound Bank & ElectroMechanical Refills. But why make a Refill using samples found in the Factory Sound Bank? Well… a little while back I was trying to remember how I created some of the droning sounds featured in one of the tracks on Distant Activity (the track in question being Travelling Light). There are some neat piano drones and reverse effects found in the intro, and – being as I wrote the original version of the track about half a decade ago – I’d forgotten where those sounds came from. After a quick examination, it turned out I’d taken some piano samples from the Factory Sound Bank and processed them. I thought it was a neat idea, so I figured “why not go beyond using just piano samples and see what else I could find in there?”.
All the Combinator patches start with FSB/EM samples – re-mapped, re-pitched, re-looped and layered up in an NN-XT. Then they’re processed with filters, distortion, EQ, compression, reverb, delay or whatever else I fancied doing at the time before being sent to the Combinator’s output where they’re mixed with more layered up, processed NN-XTs. It was an interesting exercise in creating unrecognisable sounds from stock banks as opposed to creating ambient textures from scratch using synths and external devices.
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.
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.
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!