Sunday, August 23, 2020

Fugue State - full sleeve notes

This is the final collection of music recorded exclusively during my time in Newcastle, England.

By this stage, I had stopped producing for external clients, preferring instead to write and record for the various bands I was involved with directly. This meant that much of my solo material no longer took its starting point from third-party material, but instead came from my own sonic sketches.

I continued to employ large amounts of found sounds I had captured using my handheld recorder, to add texture and depth to the arrangements. It would also mark the first time I had access to software powerful enough to time stretch and pitch shift entire mixes to produce strange, unpredictable results.

Former Planet

I have virtually no memory of making this piece.  I would love to know how I made the string sound.  It sounds like a sample, but upon inspection of the Logic arrange page, I appear to have created it myself.  The element that is a sample is from Rebecca Jones’ ‘Ne Me Quitte Pas’, which is looped endlessly throughout.

I was really happy when I discovered this one;  it was almost lost to obscurity, until an in-depth trawl of the archives revealed something that was definitely worth keeping.

Chill Bass

This is another one that I cringe a little at.  I’m not sure what I’m trying to achieve with the vocal.  Perhaps I was trying to emulate the soulful hooks that occur in hip hop, which contrast with the cut up and reversed Ol’ Dirty Bastard spoken word sections.  I had taken a freestyle bassline recording of mine and forced it to fit to click, which explains its somewhat topsyturvey rhythmic core.  Keen to use more of my samples, I flew in the sound of me skiing which acted as a high end wash behind the rest of the instruments.

Hypnotic Batman

This is another piano demo that was exhumed from the old tape cassette demos, and played into the laptop to click using high powered microphones.  The atmospheric samples here include playing air hockey at All Tomorrow’s Parties at Minehead Butlins holiday resort.  The slowing down and speeding up effects were now easily accessible in Logic 9, accessible through the ‘fade’ tool.  They have subsequently become ubiquitous in pop music.

Organ Demo #1

After having produced The Colt 45s record, the band had nothing to pay me with, so instead offered me their organ.  It sat in the living room of my home in 12 Whitby for many years, and was never used quite as often as it should have been.  This particular demo was done off the cuff, and felt right just leaving it as it is.


Another piano demo that was upscaled to the digital world, and sat on the shelf for many years until Grilly was enlisted as guest guitarist to breathe some life into it.  He would later remix the track himself, using vocals from another artist.  As was increasingly my style around this time, atmospheric samples feature heavily here - with a bell chime from a Cretian monestary and the BBC Sound Effects ‘Disasters’ LP featuring heavily.  The synth was made using samples of my own voice, and was used to varying degrees in both Rebecca Jones and Aaron McMullan recordings.  Here was an opportunity to use the synth as dry and bare as possible, which I though was much more interesting.

Touch Me (I’m Already Gone)

This marked the first use of the Roxio Isotope RX software, that could slow things down to enormous degrees, and was a craze for a short period around this time.  Justin Beiber and Radiohead songs were both notable examples of well-known pieces being slowed down heavily, thus revealing something beautiful in all the formants and artefacts that the time-stretching algorithms tossed up in the process.  

The original audio was formed from me setting off several live loops in the Room 17 rehearsal space, and having Andy join me on drums upon his arrival.  It initially proved fairly unremarkable, but upon treatment with the software, produced something really unexpected and haunting.