Today's listening - 'Night Stories' by Amarta Project. Yep - me again.
So where was I? Oh yes, 5 tracks down, half way in. So...
6. 'Cloud Cover'
Look at these beautiful people.
Ladies and gentleman - allow me to introduce you to the Boat Party Masseeeeeeve.
How is this related to 'Cloud Cover'? Well - it was after a night out with this bunch that CC came into being. Last summer was kinda dreary, weather wise. Typical British summer ya know - kinda sunshiney, mostly cloudy, overall disappointing.
I had this notion, that I liked the title 'Cloud Cover'. It sort of summed up my mood at the time of inception, and pretty accurately reflected the shitty summer weather of 2011. When I first started writing it, it was kind of downbeat, reflective - not the happiest of tracks.
The I went out with this lot, and had a great night out.
The revisited version of CC, post Boat Party, was a different story. It became infused with a break in the cloud, an injection of sunshine provided by a mad night out with some great people. If you listen to the track it starts off kind of pensive, resolved onto a minor chord. Then, as with a break in the cloud when the sun comes out, it shifts to a more upbeat partylike mood. You can see yourself dancing with a drink in your hand, surrounded by great company, sailing the high seas (well, Thames) through to midnight and beyond. CC has been live on my sites for a while, and has proved to be one of my most popular tracks - mostly thanks to this lot. Cheers.
June 5th 2011 - the sun shone brightly that day.
7. 'The World Looks More Beautiful At Night'
It really does. This track was designed to be listened to driving around London by night, maybe by the river, on a summer's evening in an open top car.
London is full of ghosts, and you see them quite often shuffling about the streets in the wee small hours. You see some strange things. Sometimes they stand stock still in the street waiting to be noticed. Sometimes you catch them hovering in a doorway. Sometimes you don't see them at all, you just know they're there. They don't make a sound - but they have a resonating frequency that you feel deep within, somewhere. This track is my attempt to translate that frequency. It's lazy, dreamy, funky, sinister, beguiling - a little bit lost and jarring. It means nothing in its' constituents - a snippet here, a vocal clip there, a monotonous groove underpinning - but when you sum it all together, it just works. Very proud of this track, it's my soundtrack to a city that's indefinable and shifting, beautiful and evil. And as for the intro sounding like 'West End Girls' - that's COMPLETELY intentional.
8. 'Neon Sun'
Another track that proved a battle of wills. The classic case of having a beginning, and an ending - but nothing in the middle to gel it together. This in turn proved to be a blessing as I had to flex my imagination and musicality quite a lot to get the job done. The result is probably the best 'drop' on the album. Again this track, much like 'Monument', modulates quite a bit musically. Don't know what key it's in. (Okay, force me to call it - A minor, with a modulation to D minor after the drop - happy now?) It's subtle, you wouldn't notice it unless I'd pointed it out (which I just did) but it was the glue that was needed to nail this. All in, despite this geek talk, all you need to know is this - IT'S. A. BANGER. Play it loud. No - LOUDER THAN THAT. Yeah - now you got it....
9. 'Hearing, Breathing'
The most personal track on the album. In February of this year, I was struck with a crushing bout of vertigo. If you've ever had it, you'll know how horrible it is. You can't move, you can't get up, sit down - nothing. It's like spending your life in the inside of a washing machine on spin cycle. The best you can do is lie still and breath. This vertigo continued for a couple of weeks, and a doctor's diagnosis was that it may be 'something else'. Meniere's Disease is a condition that can manifest as vertigo in its' initial stages, and can lead to a loss of hearing down the line. The prospect of losing my hearing was terrifying. I pretty much disappeared off the radar when I was going through this, but thankfully came out the other side.
Breathing is kinda important. I knew this, obviously - but only truly appreciated it after one night, sitting in my car at work, eating a Snickers bar. Random? Yes. Relevant? Totally.
Whilst chowing down, a small piece of the bar got lodged in my throat. The more I tried to shift it by coughing frantically, the more it seemed reticent to move. Panicked, I stumbled out of the car gasping for breath - drawing in but not being able to breathe out until there was no room left in my lungs. Involuntary tears streaming down my face I thought 'this is it, you're going to die in a pile on some concrete in an industrial estate in Hounslow.'
On my hands and knees now, I coughed harder, and harder, whining and gasping until finally, after what felt like a million heartbeats ripping through my ears, it shifted. I must have stayed there for a while, dribbling onto the concrete. I drew gazes from the little Indian boys pummelling up and down the road in their forklifts as they loaded fruit into the ar-tics. Thanks for your help fellas. 'Preciate it.
I've had my appreciation of the simpler things in life rekindled this year. Listen to this track - if you listen hard and close - you will hear it breathing too.
Written pretty much in one sitting - 'Shiver' was completed in about 6 or 7 hours, maybe the quickest written track on the album. The first edit of this track was too long, it bored me. So it was subject to a musical bob cut for the album. The result is much tighter, more concise, and more impactful as a result. It's a cold sounding track that warms up through the layers. All the synth sounds are quite thin, reedy, barely there - but when layered up with a big sub bass and a housey groove, heat up significantly. It's pretty relentless, musically not very deep - but it has a presence and a vibe that just again, kinda works. The power of layers. And yes, that is me muttering away over the top. This track was submitted to a label for a deephouse compilation. They rejected it. Losers.
So there you have the inside track. An autopsy of the pieces that slot together to represent 'Night Stories'.
I'm very proud of it. I hope you are too.