Well, my track-a-day lockdown project didn’t get very far, which usually happens with me. I remember 11 years ago when I started recording Safernoc and was giving blog updates on a daily basis and then disappeared again until the album was finished, eight months later.
Nerra Ninna Noak came out a couple of weeks ago, on the wonderful Time Released Sound. The limited boxset sold out in two days, and the response so far seems very positive. There are still digipaks and downloads available from the TRS Bandcamp. Listening back now, it feels like a step on from Arboretum, more spacious in some ways, more dense in others. Unlike that album, NNN took a lot of moulding and shaping and editing and reworking to get into its final version. It started off as a much weirder sound collage, a touch of the darkness of Melkur with some of my FSOL influence sprinkled on top. Needless to say, the final version is a dramatic improvement and it’s an album I’m enormously happy with.
Speaking of Melkur, I’ve combined both the Borderlands and Enofa editions of that album together on my Bandcamp as I was never entirely comfortable having them separate. The albums are about 50% the same and deserve to be heard side-by-side. Anyone who previously bought the album can re-download and get a copy of both albums.
Despite not continuing with the track-a-day project, I have been working quite a lot on music over the past month or so. The result was, in some ways, the opposite of what I was planning: I’ve basically scrapped the best part of an album’s worth of recordings. The music itself was actually quite good, I think, but the whole thing just didn’t feel right. As I was recording it felt very much like I was covering ground I’d been over multiple times, recorded in exactly the same manner as Myosphere, Holosphere and the forthcoming Paxanimi. I’ve always been fairly open about my need to continually move forward – indeed, it was this that set up the idea of challenging myself to do new things in my abandoned track-a-day project last month – and while the tracks I was working on were great, I didn’t feel like they reflected me now, and I was ultimately left unsatisfied. Indeed, a lot of the work I’ve completed in the past few years has been of a specific type: dense, multi-coloured works with tons going on in them. The music has been full of greens, yellows, reds and other bright colours, with complex patterns and grains in the imagery. I feel somewhat worn out by this approach. I feel like returning to a plainer palette, with washes of greys and dark blues. In hindsight, this exact feeling is something I was beginning to explore on Arboretum and Nerra Ninna Noak, both of which are among my best works and probably the pieces from the last five years of which I am most proud. Coming to this conclusion actually filled me with a feeling of excitement and vitality, the like of which I’ve not had when it comes to my own music for some time, so I feel it’s probably the right decision.
Before all that, however, there is still Paxanimi to deal with, which is currently slated for release in June as a run of 30 cassettes on Doom Chakra. The artwork has been finalised and I believe copies are in the process of being manufactured. Keep an eye on social media for that. It’s one of the dense, multi-coloured works, but still a record I’m very happy with. Once it’s out, it’ll be a bit of a clean slate as I currently have no completed tracks and only a couple of vague sketches moving forward. Whatever approach my next work takes, it won’t be out until next year I imagine.
It’s taken a few weeks, but I’m gradually getting used to the current lockdown situation. The government have eased it this week, and the ‘R’ rate has shot back up again, so I imagine we’ll be back where we were pretty soon. I’m using the time to work through the rather large backlog of books I have (currently ploughing through Tolkien’s Middle Earth books) and revisiting albums I’ve not given enough time to in the past. In particular, Autechre’s work of the last decade. Ae albums always take some time to digest, and one thing or another has prevented me from dedicating the time needed to process the last few, so Exai, elseq and the NTS Sessions in particular have been on my CD player. I also realised, for the first time, just how good Untilted is. Only took 15 years.
I hope everyone is well out there and that you’re all keeping safe! x