As I often live in this fantasy in my head where I actually have a full-fledged music career (instead of what I actually do which is just releasing material on my blog and SoundCloud to a limited audience) I often think in terms of marketing and design. As a result, I spend a lot of time designing thematic artwork and graphics for my releases, with a sensibility much like my musical heroes would have done. So with the elements of my new collection (finally) coming together, I pre-emptively started working on a design for the artwork, once I had decided on the title for the album.
I think that the general cheerfulness of this photo kind of belies the musical content, at least partly. When I started writing material for the next album (way back in 2014). the title was to be ‘The Worry Box‘. All of the tracks I was working on at that time were borne of personal tragedy and resulting mental health issues. Then everything was shelved. There are a few resurrected songs from that period which have been or will be revamped and expanded, but there are some new additions which perhaps aren’t quite as dark.
Like all of us, I have had difficult experiences with the pandemic over the past two years, but there have also been additional hardships and losses which occured outside of that context. During all of this, the thought of compiling a new album was always recurring to me. weighing heavily on me, as a matter of fact, like an opportunity unfulfilled. Because I realised that I was still here and somehow made it through all of that shit, at some point, it occurred to me that I didn’t want to worry any more. I became the kind of person who was able to face challenges and just get on with it. So ‘The Worry Box’ was no longer an appropriate title for this project. But as I am not naive enough to expect that the arrival of hardships is no longer a possibility, ‘Here We Go’ is really more fitting title — a pithy paraphrasing of ‘we’re all in this together, so let’s forge ahead’.
Celestial is a track that is even older than ‘The Worry Box’. It was begun in 2006 when I was writing tracks for Omega. it was only within the last few days of this post that I finally found the means to polish the track off enough to be worthy of consideration for this collection.
Rumination and Insidious are tracks written in 2017 for a second attempt to compile ‘The Worry Box’. These were SoundClouded in demo form but had not been fleshed out beyond that until recently. Vocals are intended for both tracks. Rumination was meant as a backdrop for a rapper, and the writing process had begun but the project petered out.
Futility, a drum and bass work from 2016, was written for an as yet unrealized ibigibi album and was similarly SoundClouded. but an alternate version is being added to the PEM album.
The remaining tracks were all composed in 2020/2021 and have not been made public yet. Icicle and Iceolation are live piano recordings which is something new that I have not attempted before on an album.
Each of the songs cover (either lyrically or thematically) a particular element of my experiences since 2014. Loss, anxiety, confusion, anger and uncertainty. But there are also elements of hopefullness, contentment and peace. As is the style with my releases, the genres of the songs are not constrained to a single genre. A listener will find themselves moving from one level of intensity to another, but it will somehow be cohesive as a work.
There is a time coming soon when all this will finally come together. Stay tuned.