That’s the short story; what’s the long version?
As many of you know, among other things I’m a musician. I’m forever pestering people to buy tickets to see me sing opera or operetta; I’m also the drummer in the “Greatest Post-Punk Band You’ve Never Heard Of” (Happy Refugees).
But all that came to screeching halt last year with Covid and lockdown. No learning of roles, no rehearsals, no shows, no after-show parties, no recording sessions, no nothing.
Bereft, and slightly bored, I decided I’d put some serious effort into completing a project that I’d been chipping away at in a desultory way for years: an album of electronic music. With time on my hands, I worked on it with serious intent for most of 2020. By this January I was close to completing it. Now, ordinarily, I would just have put the thing out on Soundcloud or whatever and then sent the link to a handful of friends for their amusement.
But then both I, and my cousin Kathie, caught Covid. (About Kathie: when I was a kid, because of my father’s increasing ill health, I was an only child. But he had older brothers and a sister and so I had a squad of older cousins who were seemingly always around and who populate my happiest childhood memories. Kathie, the next youngest after me, was the closest I ever had to a sister.) Sad to say, although I quickly recovered from Covid, she didn’t; after almost a fortnight in hospital, probably weakened by her existing conditions, she died on January 10th.
No flowers – instead, her family’s wish was for contributions to the Multiple Sclerosis Society, (https://www.mssociety.org.uk) a charity that works tirelessly to help people with this terrible, wasting disease: an illness from which Kathie had smilingly and uncomplainingly suffered for decades but which had gradually confined her permanently to a wheelchair.
All this is to try to explain how the Multiple Sclerosis Society and an album of electronica became linked in my mind. The album has become a kind of tribute and it means I can fulfil Kathie’s family’s wish – not just with money, but with something much more personal.
What’s the music like? Well, it’s electronica but not dance music; it takes its inspiration from older musical models: 60s experimental music, 70s ‘Krautrock’, 80s TV themes, ambient music, free jazz, minimalism. It’s a little odd. Here are some adjectives used by the few people who have heard it so far: “complex”, “sonically pleasing”, “frantic”, “playful”, “demonic”, “cool and vibey” (which I think is a good thing) and – my favourite given the quote’s origin – “too many notes”. It was mastered by a guy called Pete Maher whose normal A-list clients include U2, Pixies, The Killers, Nick Cave et al. This music isn’t like theirs in the least – but, thanks to Pete, it does sound great.
Anyway, please just buy the thing and find out. If you hate it, you can use the rather beautiful CD cover – with artwork by my talented artist son Arthur – as a drinks coaster and at least know you’ve helped a very worthy cause. If you love it, meglio ancora.
Thanks, and here’s the link again – please buy the album, follow me on Bandcamp and share the link as widely as possible.