Nowhere and Back Again

Time for a little once-annual self-promotion. You may recall that over the last couple of years, I had been remastering the two instrumental albums that I released between 2002 and 2003, as well as their accompanying singles. From Roots to Branches was finally reissued in 2017, and the follow-up Shadowsphere turned out never actually to have seen a wide release, so finally saw its first full release in 2018.

Sonically, as you will no doubt quickly realise, neither album is exactly a great accomplishment, but the second album was also a technical disaster, with masters failing and numerous pieces being lost. In the end, the second single from that album, the Fading Synthesis EP, was abandoned, unfinished and lost. One of the first things I did in 2019 was to retrieve the pieces, leading to this brand new version:

There were then just a couple of things left to do – one of the new tracks on that EP was in fairly good shape, so I finished that off, and called it Time Honoured, and then there was a very old demo to finish off, called Glen of Tranquility. Having tightened those up with new mixes, I moved back to From Roots to Branches. There were a couple of tracks that I wanted to try remixing, starting with Leaving Home:

Finally, it was time to try something new – I pulled all the pieces of Landscape #1, Landscape #2, and Landscape #3, together with a more recent song idea, and built this, Landscape #4, as a bit of a modern tribute to the first album:

Which meant it was clearly time for a tribute to the second album, so I turned to the other b-side demo for Fading Synthesis, which was going to be a continuation of Noise Gate. So I pulled together elements from that, plus the three shorter tracks on Shadowsphere, and built this, Voices in the Shadows (Part 2):

Self-indulgent? Definitely. But it was fun to finally find closure for those early albums. I’m sure it won’t excite too many people other than me, but I hope it won’t offend them either. There’s even a CD available on Amazon now, too, including some of the extra tracks from the singles. You’ll find the album on some of the regular streaming services, such as Spotify, Deezer, and others, and as always, everything is completely free on Bandcamp.

Of course, now, it’s hard to stop – there’s plenty of unfinished business from after 2004, so a series of EPs will follow in 2020, and possibly even the fourth album.

Shadowsphere

A little over a year ago, I was rude enough to impose some of my own music on this blog, and since everyone was surprisingly supportive at the time (that is to say, people who didn’t like it just ignored the post and got on with their day), I’m going to do it again. Sorry in advance.

But the story starts back in 2002, with my first album From Roots to Branches, which was what I posted about last year, as I remastered it just in time to celebrate its fifteenth anniversary. The following year (2003), I followed it up with Shadowsphere, which was either more adventurous or very dull, or most likely some combination of the two. As a taster, here’s the opening track Noise Gate:

Also in 2003, I had released one single, one sampler, and one EP, and so I collected the tracks from those, plus some special unreleased demos and other oddities, onto a companion compilation called Hidden Paths. From that, here’s the original single version of Great Nowhere:

Remastering both of these collections presented some interesting challenges – there was a lot of background noise on several of the tracks which was coming from one or two of the synthesisers that I’d used. In the process, I found a more effective way to get rid of the noise, and so re-remastered From Roots to Branches in 2018 as well – and then proceeded to release both on CD, with bonus tracks.

There was some unfinished business though – I had recorded about half of one final single, intended for release in mid-2004, but the recordings had been lost. Trying to revive the tracks led to the Reverse Engineered singles, starting with Alien Worlds:

The series was due to continue a few months later with Infinite Wisdom, but due to another computer crash, I lost the initial re-recordings, so it didn’t actually happen until a few months ago. Here’s the single version:

There are now six releases online: From Roots to Branches and its companion album Fallen Leaves, Shadowsphere and its companion album Hidden Paths, and the two Reverse Engineered singles Alien Worlds and Infinite Wisdom. All are completely free, and available from my Bandcamp page.

From Roots to Branches

I’ve never used this blog to discuss anything particularly personal – politics aren’t entirely a no-go zone as far as I’m concerned, but my other projects and lives don’t really belong here. But it’s the start of a New Year, and it always takes us a little time to ramp up to the regular posts, so I hope you’ll forgive me a little self-indulgence.

As will become clear shortly, one of the reasons I write this blog is that I’m an exceptionally untalented musician myself – but I did give it a try, with two albums released in 2002 and 2003 respectively. For years, I’ve been meaning to go back and remaster them, and finally, about six months ago, I started work on a cleaned up version of the first album From Roots to Branches.

The first track on the album is Landscape #1, which is supposed to be broad and atmospheric:

If that’s a bit dull for you, I think this is one of my favourites, Landscape #2:

There are nine tracks on the album in total, some more “pop” than others, but honestly I think now that the most accessible tracks were on the three singles, Landscape #1Forgotten Summer, and Illusions of Twilight. I’ve compiled all these together with a whole load of previously unreleased material on a new compilation called Fallen Leaves. This is the first track I worked on for the whole project, started in late 2001, and entitled Charmed Life:

I was learning all the time, and the 2003 recordings fixed a lot of the things people had pointed out with the originals, so the single version of Illusions of Twilight is, to my mind, considerably better than the original album version:

Both From Roots to Branches and its companion album Fallen Leaves are available now, completely for free, from my Bandcamp page. If you download either, I’ll also send you a free copy of The Branch Line EP, which is a collection of demos and unreleased versions.

The second album Shadowsphere will follow in the first half of 2018.