Slowly but surely… the new album

Currently listening back to the latest mixes of my next album, “Spirit Level”. The title is taken from The Spirit Level, an influential book by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett on the consequences of inequality in societies. With one or two exceptions, the tracks are all sounding jolly good, even though I do say so myself. Still a long way to go though, now hoping for a 2014 release.

Studio2band2013

Monty Oxymoron, Tim Burness, Fudge Smith and Keith Hastings

We made a big step forward in March, with around ten days with Julian Tardo in Church Road Recording Studios in Hove. Having originally worked on around thirty rough tracks since 2010, some ruthless decisions have been made, and it’s now down to ten or twelve. More than ever before, I have tried to put as much of my self into this album as possible. I’m trying to give it absolutely everything – I might not have many albums left in me! Musically, as with most of my material down the years, it is a mixture of “progressive rock”, pop, and electronic and experimental elements. A fair bit of my dubious sense of humour is in there too.

A few general influences on the album have been a fascinating biography of The Beatles by Sean Egan, the stunning opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games, and a number of books such as the recently published The Future by Al Gore. Musically I have gone back over much of my own work down the years, aswell as listening very very carefully to many of my all-time favourite classic rock albums and artists.

There are scrillions of people making music these days, and much of it is of a high standard. A lot of great stuff is only heard by a very small audience. At this stage, I am just grateful for the opportunity to have a lot of fun expressing myself, with the help of some great musicians and friends. Drummer Fudge Smith and bassist Keith Hastings came down to Brighton for their final contributions in March. The next step is a bit of compositional homework with keyboard maestro Monty Oxymoron, then back into the studio in a few months time.

Next gig coming up

New music

Now listening back to some of the rough mixes of what will be the next album, maybe in 2012 with a bit of luck. We are really trying to dig much deeper this time.

As with the ‘Finding New Ways To Love’ (2004) and ‘Vision On’ (2007), most of the recording is taking place with Julian Tardo in Church Road, with the excellent musicianship of keyboard maestro Monty and drummer Fudge playing an important part.

After the last album (which I now view as a disappointment, even though there are some very good moments on it) I have gone back to opening the whole thing up a bit, rather than an emphasis on a stylized version of “progressive rock”. Is the new stuff any good? Is anyone interested?! (Okay, I know quite a few people are actually.) Even if the answer to those questions is yes, the chances of making any money from it whatsoever are slimmer than ever – SO WHAT?! As long as I can get the thing out there somehow. We have certainly been having a lot of fun, which is a good sign and probably the most important thing.

I put a lot of the first keyboard demos down by myself in late 2009 and we have been working on the pieces for a few days every two or three months since. Many of the tracks are still at the stage where they could be taken in completely different directions e.g. instrumentals or songs. Patience is required, amongst other things.

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