Tuesday, July 05, 2011


My latest opus (ha) is now available for your delectation on Soundcloud. This is a 15 minute drone piece constructed in a systematic but somewhat oblique fashion. (No, none of Brian's cards were used for this one).

What, on the surface sounds remarkably like a whale stuck in a train shed is, in fact, something fairly complex. My work always seems to have an element of 'archaeology' about it. That is: it usually has some fairly complex work lying beneath the surface area. Layers of grit, dirt and even ugliness. Life is about bad as well as good. We exist in both states.

Myself and the EBP were discussing this methodology the other night and I realised that a lot of my work is assembled rather in a visual manner. Not surprising for someone schooled in Art History, I guess. The closest analogy would possibly be abstract expressionism, where random elements combine with surrealist principles to create something dredged from the deeper part of my subconscious. It's not MEANT to be a personal statement, but often seems to reflect various stresses and directions prevalent in my life at the time. Interestingly you'd assume that most of my work right now would be akin to Napalm Death but considerable work with various meditational techniques and mindfulness exercises appears to be having fairly remarkable results. If I were incredibly pretentious I'd liken what I've done in Transmutation3 to a Rothko - all glowing calm on the surface floating over deep and disturbing undercurrents. Pah…

The work began as a piece based on my own experience of depression and its essential nature of repetition, habit and laziness. A series of short rhythmic guitar pieces for both acoustic (heavily treated) and electric (using delay pedal) were recorded, edited down to one or two bar snippets and combined with some synth and drum patterns on patterns based on sevens. And yes, the number 7 has significance here.

Eventually ending up with a set of 19 snippets in 21 bar lengths, I then proceeded to edit these together in regular cross-fading patterns, applying a vast amount of processing. This was Transmutation1. Then I doubled the pattern length - it was now Transmutation2. Finally, at EBP's suggestion I slowed the whole piece down to, again double the length and using one mixdown at half speed, one of the same length pitch-shifted back up to normal pitch, and two of the Transmutation2 mix edited together to make a piece equal to the half-speed version. Crossfading according to multiples of seven again - I mixed this down into the completed Transmutation3.

This half explains the title. What was really at the heart of this piece was a conscious intent to reflect some recently read teachings on the ability to use mindfulness to transmute anger, pain and sadness into compassion and release.

So, as a whole the piece reflects a huge moment in my life whilst still allowing the universe to play its part. Good grief, i sound like Jon Anderson now… I won't make it better if I also tell you the piece is in the keys of C and G: the corresponding frequencies for the root chakra - Muladhara and the throat chakra - Visuddha. If you want to know the significance of THAT have a look here.

Anyway - I hope you enjoy it. It is meant to be enjoyed. And it's sent with an open heart.

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