Friday, 3 April 2015


TOR48 Released March 2015.

Al and I were interested in making music in several different ways, but where the music would be bound by feeling and esoteric relationship; contrast and exposure. The selections on this recording fall into several categories:

Field recordings – throughout 2014 I made many field recordings: cathedrals, nature, street bands... I thought these could be used to make several collages; a running theme and interesting sonically with various effects applied.

Thematic variations – there are several versions of the main theme of a soundtrack that has no movie.

To venture less explored emotions and feelings in music - fear, paranoia, mental health, calmness, the esoteric, the occult, death, desolation, isolation, contrasted with the more recognisable hope, warmth, calm and stillness.

To try and further pinpoint the source of such inspiration, its relationship with its environment.

Focus and distraction through drone – both Al and I love drone and ambient music. So we decided to go all out on some of the tracks. Again, instinctively knowing they would fit with the others.

There was also the instinctual decision to make this instrumental. There are human voices on there, but they’re as murky and confused and as misunderstood as the emotions they’re trying to convey.

The Recordings

01. Last chance to advance beyond human... – Essentially a guitar experiment. A short drone. The name comes from the header of a flyer posted by the Branch Davidians in their final weeks.

02. The Black Square – The first theme variation, performed on nylon string guitar.

03. Perception is a reflection of existential self-knowledge – Electric guitar drone with field recordings, and a vocal sample of Jordan Maxwell.

04. The Power of the Witch – The title comes from a recently re-discovered BBC documentary from the seventies about witchcraft in modern society. The music was spontaneously composed.

05. Spire – Composed, improvised and re-composed piano version of the main theme.

06. Mirror Mountain – Manipulated field recordings and improvised melodica. Inspired by the German various artists album ‘Vor Der Flut (Hommage An Einen Wasserspeicher).’ Also has a snippet of a slide guitar demo.

07. Priest Hand License – Primitive guitar blues.

08. Lateral exclusion field along a path of least resistance – This piece is made exclusively from manipulated field recordings. At the end, dogs in a valley, their barking swept up by the wind from the top of Blencathra.

09. Spiral – The final and most elaborate version of the main theme. The variations on the main theme run from the most vague to most complete order. This was to give the listener the effect that something was becoming clearer, and to realise that something had always been there.

10. Just After Now – An exploration of tone and rhythm within sound. Purely sonic adventure.

11. The Smiling Chair – The most explicit and visceral of the recordings; horror ambient? The title was inspired by the picture ‘The Singing Chair’ by Arthur Tress.

12. Kielder – A direct sonic representation and homage to the woods and water of Kielder in 12-string and bowed bass.

‘The Headland of the Demon Haunted Castle’ is an approximate translation of ‘Skinburness’, the name of the road I grew up on.

- Stephen.

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