My new music project for 2018 is an album entitled Crossover.
Having returned to the world of my first album last year, with Back Into the Light, I also found myself thinking back to my roots and looking at the original influences which made me want to create instrumental music in the first place.
The albums in question are Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells and Jean-Michel Jarre's Oxygène – two hugely influential and staggeringly unique albums that emerged in the 1970s and changed the face of both rock and electronic music. While very different in style and production, both albums took you to another place; like a vast musical world to explore. The tracks flowed seamlessly into one another, creating a continually evolving soundscape.
As a self-taught musician, every project is a learning curve and a progression. And from each, there is something that has taken me into the next. But looking back at how those albums influenced my work, I realised that I hadn't actually tried my hand at creating that kind of continuous, flowing album, so it was time to put this right!
Crossover contains just 3 tracks, but with each one lasting between 12-15 minutes and moving through a variety of styles and atmospheres. It is an album where dark and light battle it out, but also a journey and a dream-like adventure – and my most ambitious album to date.
Here is the cover art:
I am constantly fascinated with that shift between worlds, whether it is in our own dreams, films or books – particularly books. I love the often sinister blurring of alternative existences in Christopher Priest's work, in books such as The Glamour, The Affirmation or A Dream of Wessex. Then there's the wonderful writing of Haruki Murakami; his books brimming with poetic metaphors, but also characters who cross between planes or realities. I love how one moment you're in a bustling urban environment, but Murakami can take you into a building such as a hotel or office block and through there, you enter someplace else. However one of the origins of Crossover was Blake Crouch's recent book, Dark Matter. An incredible, if mind-bending read, but the travel between alternative realities and the journey of the characters really got me thinking how I might score a "soundtrack" for such a thing.
While that kind of journey is at the core of Crossover, it also remains open to interpretation – after all, there are many points in our lives in which we find ourselves transcending from one point to another, physically, emotionally or psychologically.
Creating a cohesive musical interpretation of all of the above (and more) has been a real challenge, but also a creative, fun and rewarding one, and I look forward to sharing some clips from the album soon.
Crossover will be released at the end of March, to coincide with my attendance of "Follycon", this year's Eastercon event, taking place in Harrogate. My plan is to launch the album there, where I'll have a limited physical release on CD.
Watch this space...