Sunday, 4 September 2011

"Soundtrack For City Living" Completed

Yes. "Soundtrack For City Living" is finally completed, the masters have been handed over to AD Music and without question, it's definitely my best work to date.

My first two albums, "The Garden" and "The Timeless Mind" were both very spiritually influenced and I think showed a certain naivety and innocence. "Soundtrack For City Living" is a much more grounded and earthy, late night, smoky club affair, I've dared to combine female and male vocals, saxophones and orchestral strings with synths, electronics, sequencing and synthetic rhythms. I've also tried to vary the mood from out and out romantic to dark and brooding, from sophisticated to blatant British electronica. I won't be held to boundaries and won't stay too long in anyone's pidgeon hole, that's for sure. I think that "Soundtrack For City Living" also shows the growth of my own personal inner-confidence with making music as the album has been largely recorded and produced by myself. I also had the confidence to bring in other musicians to add to the depth and feel of the album, and also to take on board some of their suggestions.

And so to the tracks themselves:

1. "Beyond The Garden": The time has come to move away from the deeply spiritul influences of the first two albums, and this is what the first track does. A deeply atmospheric opening leads to a gently rhythmic interplay between piano, strings and rhythms, with a heavily effected Casiotone VL-1 beat skittering around a soild bassline. This leads into an upbeat section that takes us into the heart of the city, before reminding us, as the traffic moves around us, of where we have come from in the closing phrases with a brief piano motif from the title track of the first album.

2. "Beauty In Decay": As well as being a musician, I am also a photographer with a passion for dereliction, decay and abandonment - Urban Exploration. "Beauty In Decay" seeks to convey the lost splendour of a once grand building, the echoing piano defining the emptiness, and the swirling chords of the first half symbolising the dust seen in the shards of brilliant sunlight that breaks through the cracks in the roof or the boarded windows.

3. "Underpass": This is my take on the classic electronica song originally recorded by former Ultravox-frontman, John Foxx. Every city has a darkside and this is what I wanted in my version of "Underpass". The vocals are made up of male and female voices with a haunting female spoken spoken voice. A lone piano takes the famous hookline and intricate rhythms drive the track along. Throughout, orchestral strings provide a dark and brooding atmosphere. I've added a new middle section to compliment the rest of the song and my own arrangements seek to retain the gloriously dystopian feel of the original.

4. "Devil May Care": So, I've always wanted to write a song for a James Bond movie, and this is it. Not so long ago, the social networking site MySpace (whatever did they do to that!!! ) ran a competition to make a theme for a new James Bond novel that was about to be released at the time. This would have been my entry, but I was unable to get it finished in time, so it has found it's way onto "Soundtrack For City Living". I tried to put in all the elements: the female vocal, the guitar solo, the sultry sax and the dramatic John Barry style strings. I like to think I achieved that.

5. "Moonlight Interlude": I said earlier that I like to break boundaries and defy pidgeon-holing - this track demonstrates that. Think 1a.m. in London, rain-soaked streets, the smoky jazz club, your lady on your arm and the chimes of Westminster in the background. That's "Moonlight Interlude", a piece of music that eases things over after the intensity of the previous two tracks. What I like about this track is the raw one take piano recording. It is as it was played, a little out of time here and there and complete with bum notes. The sax and strings round off this smoky piece beautifully, presented as is, warts and all.

6. "A Rainfall Moment": Emotions play a big part in music, in all it's forms, and this track, by far, has to be the most romantic piece I've written to date. Lilting pianos, the orchestral strings and a 60's style guitar blend together to create the atmosphere of a moment in the rain. Taken from a personal experience, "A Rainfall Moment" seeks to convey a couple in love, caught in the rain whilst out on a romantic liasion and getting soaked just doesn't matter. As the song goes, when you're in love with a beautiful woman, you don't care.

7. "West 9": Another piece that's inspired by personal experiences. I spent a period of time in the West 9 district of London, and I loved it. The throng of city life was like a drug to me. This track takes you from sunrise to sunset with it's changing moods and atmospheres, hoping to capture the essence of a living, breathing city.

8. "Fast Lane": This final track hits the tarmac running for a full-on journey on the motorway fast lane. Forget "Autobahn" with it's gentle drfiting melodies, "Fast Lane" goes for the maximum speed limit. Unashamed British style electronica with added cheese, this piece of music lifts the mood for an uptempo finale and poses the question of whether or not this could be the direction of future works ;-)

"Soundtrack For City Living" will be released by AD Music on the 30th September 2011.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations Neil-I look forward to hearing the album!


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