ISLAND MUSIC / ALBUM MIX PREP

I write to you all from a tiny scrap of rock in the middle of the ice-cold Celtic Sea, where I washed up a couple of weeks ago to work on a few musical tinkerings outside of the ‘Fisher King’ album.

Last week we launched an album of new electronic music that I produced with Isles of Scilly-based musician Piers Lewin. The music is made almost entirely with found sounds recorded on the islands themselves – rocks going ‘crunch,’ seagulls going ‘caaawwwww,’ boats going ‘uuuuughhhh SLOSH’ and so on. We moulded and warped and twisted these sounds to make music, and the finished album is called The 5 Elements. It was designed to accompany meditative yoga sessions as well as a stomp around the blustery islands as well as those end-of-a-wild-night-out-slightly-spaced-out moments. Should you need the sound of colliding rocks and volcanic basslines in your ears today, you can hear the whole record here: https://fullofnoises.bandcamp.com/album/the-5-elements

We launched the album with a special gig in a house right next to the stormy sea, where we made loud electronic noises and loops in competition with a gale that was rattling the windows behind us. Mother Nature may have won in the end, but we put up a pretty good fight, and it was the perfect way to launch a CD inspired by the ferocity and beauty of the elements on these wild islands.

After that, myself and Piers set up camp in a big old church on the island of St Mary’s to record an album with his classical duo ‘Duo Prospero.’ Cue Mozart and Bach battling with bagpipes and fiddles. It was a lot of fun to record and a pleasure being in close proximity to such amazing musicianship.

We then boated across to the island of St Martin’s for the Daymark Festival, a weekend of live music and revelry at the Seven Stones Inn where I did a solo set and then joined the Rough Island Band for raucous folk action and Beyonce covers. (Yes, you read that correctly.) Many a glass of whiskey was raised in glee and it was a joy playing in such a beautiful spot.

Amidst all of this island hopping I’ve been sitting in dark corners with my laptop like a unsociable Mac-gremlin, scrolling through the hundreds of audio files we have for the ‘Fisher King’ album and trying to make sense of them. The songs are all intact, and it’s now the final stage of consolidating all the files and deleting any extraneous noises like coughs, sneezes and frustrated swearing, ready to hand over to mixing-wizard Graeme Stewart in just over a week’s time.

Better run now and pack my portable studio into an absurdly humongous suitcase that’s larger than me and impossible to carry. Sailing back to the mainland later today, slightly fearing the unfamiliar sight of cars and tall buildings, but looking forward to diving back into the murky, deformed-fish-riddled waters of ‘Fisher King.’

Faretheewell for now,

John