Many things have been in a state of transition, and though my sense is that this has been true for just about the whole world, it makes it harder to decide when best to comment and log these changes.
It is rewarding to have 2 new CDs come into being. The first is a collaboration with Mike Booth from Aura-Soma, which combines poetry and rap with music I have written. It was fun to spend time in fresh stylistic territory with this project, and gave me a chance to explore fresh areas. My connection with Aura-Soma has always been creatively fruitful, and this remains true.
Mike and I have discussed the sequel to Atlantean Chants ever since its release in 2001. This year the timing seemed just right, and though Mike`s schedule is always packed, somehow we found the time, and it all seemed to come together quite effortlessly.
I also enjoyed contributing visual imagery for use in the artwork, which was assembled by my friend Barry Stevens. He and I have also found ourselves recently working on the longstanding mandala video project along with Mike Booth. This may well be the next creative project where my energies will be focused.
The other CD is Return of the Tiger on New Earth Records. This is my first new drum led album for quite some years. Jason Salmon is a brilliant didgeridoo player and lives in Brighton. I was lucky enough to meet him and this led to some very energetic new music, including for me one of the album`s high points `On the Chariot`. There are also 4 co-written tracks – 2 with David Glendining, and 2 with Arthur Hull, and I talk more about these in the notes for the album under the track listing etc. It is pleasing to feel that each of the tracks is a complete and strong entity, especially given that the era where the luxury of `filler` tracks has well and truly gone! Here is a video about this album:
On the live playing front, there have been a lot of gigs with Howlin` Blues this year, and not only these a lot of fun for me, but we are really gelling extremely well as a band. There is more about the band here and a list of our gigs, and includes video clips.
It was very sad in April to lose one of my closest friends. Grahame Gerrard, who has helped me mix many of albums, and been a phenomenal source of technical advice, died of throat cancer. His amazing sense of humour brightened many a day, and I miss his excellent and uplifting company. Sometimes it`s maybe not fully clear how irreplaceable some friends are, until they have gone.
New instruments are often great sources of inspiration offering ideas and starting points for tracks. This is especially true of the remarkable Korg Kronos. The quality of its sounds is phenomenal. See photo above. Featuring no less than 9 different engines to generate sound, touchscreen, and a solid state hard drive, this keyboard is the sum total of a lot of innovative thinking. Not only will I be enjoying exploring it in the studio, but have a flightcase for it, and will be looking forward to performing on it live, to which it is very well suited, especially as it incorporates a new technology that allows it to swap between sounds glitchlessly.