Tuesday, December 22, 2020

No Days Off Forever - full sleeve notes

This is the sister disc to 'London Doesn't Need You', since the songs come from the same period of time, and uses many of the same techniques and sample material in its construction.

Tracks include the now-familiar hallmarks of my music from this period: a blend of ambient samples from the city, heavily programmed delay patches, mixed with old snippets of piano from the church studio, as well as new compositions that were done using Ella's piano in Kew Gardens. There is also a soundtrack for a short film that was never used by the people who commissioned it, and has instead found a home here.

This marks the end of music I made while living in London, and after this I would return to Portrush to collect much of the material together, and refine it during the start of 2017.

Swazzi Hold

I honestly have no idea how this was made.  I think it was part of a much bigger piece, which was then discarded.  The audio was then put through a filter which cut off much of the signal if it dipped below a certain frequency, giving it this amputated, incomplete feel.

London - December 2

Samples here include tenants in the pub accommodation I lived in waking me up at night by singing Bible songs, an exhibit in the Tate Modern that featured some audio, recorded conversations that were heavily bitcrushed, all of which were put through the Delay Designer.  I will never grow tired of the ways a single natural piano take can be manipulated and played with until it sounds otherworldly and orchestral.

Day 84

The title comes from a period in mid-2014, when I worked for eighty-four consecutive days without a day off.  This included teaching English and working 24 hour weekends in a particularly wretched pub in Richmond.

The material used here is another exercise in using stock material from Logic’s library, adding it to piano from the church, and trying to see if anything interesting comes from it.  

The preset bass guitar was pitch shifted down extra low, to create a woody-sounding effect, and not at all like it was from a library bin.  I was pleased to finally include the cello scraping sound that Sarah Gill recorded when I was taping the Rebecca Jones overdub sessions in 2007.  The piano from the church (intentionally operating in triplets compared to everything else, which is in 4/4) was double tracked through a pitch shifter, which created new, uneasy harmonies.

B-Movie Drop Out [suite]

This was the rejected soundtrack for the follow-up to the fashion film, which can be read about more here.

It used Stuart’s glockenspiel from the My Attorney LP5 session, the old Farfisa organ from the church, as well as piano from the church and a recycled Four Lane Ends Metro station sample.  

The edits are in odd places:  this was because I was working to the cuts of the moving image.  In total, the film demanded three distinct bits, with music for the credits - so these four components make up the “suite”.


I came across smartphone video footage of a Sri Lankian dance routine one night on YouTube, and tried to manipulate it into something that resembled the chaotic and colourful rhythms of M.I.A.’s songs.

Leyborne Park Love Scene

The audio book of Carrie Fisher’s memoirs came out just after her death, and it was fascinating to hear tales of my favourite on-screen heroes having a genuine romance behind the scenes.  It seemed for a moment to make the original Star Wars film as real as it had been in my childhood imagination.  

I used a sample of it to accompany a piano moment I had recorded in the Kew Gardens address of the song title.  It was put through Logic’s Ringshifter - a powerful tool that can bend anything until it’s virtually unreconisable from its original state.

End Sequence

This is more of Ella’s piano, heavily processed.  I had the closing moments of some epic video game in mind, listening back to this.  Living in London for me always had a video game element to it:  staying one step ahead of the sudden drop, with no extra lives.  “Your Princess Is In Another Castle”.