It’s been a bit quiet around here recently hasn’t it?
Well the truth is that at the start of this year I had no real plans to make an immediate start on a follow up to Eleven. But, as I’ve done all my life, in the downtime from working on the Headlock single in January, I found myself sitting at the piano.
After a while I started recording whatever came into my head during these short sessions and a few weeks later I realised that I had a very rough skeleton of a new Mr Fogg record.
Since I started making electronic music in 2004/5 – and I was already late to the party by 30 years – it has grown to become the pre-eminent sound in music – both in small clubs and on mainstream radio. When I started performing live a year or two later I was well outnumbered by guitar bands and I took a perverse pleasure in being the only person on the bill without a guitar on stage.
8 years later, laptops are almost more popular than guitars and while I have always seen electronic music as an opportunity for innovation, it now seems to have been reduced to a sort of shorthand. Sound way outranks musical content.
So, when I was recording these little piano sketches with no particular goal or target, I found myself taking immense pleasure from the sparseness and imperfectness of the sounds I was creating. And when I decided to bite the bullet and record the songs for a new album, I made the decision to try and produce and mix it myself, using acoustic instruments wherever possible.
As a result, the last several months were spent on location recording the piano, strings, church organ and brass that make up most of the record and in the studio tearing my hair out trying to do those wonderful sounds justice.
Of course, I’m much too weak to have completely eliminated electronic instruments from the album, but it feels like a whole new world of possibility to be able to focus on what the notes should be in the first place rather than which sounds should be playing them.
Now, this isn’t a release announcement – there’s a lot of work to do yet – but I just wanted to let you know that while Facebook, Twitter and this website may remain quiet for a little while yet, that is very definitely not the case off line. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last 8 years it’s that making and releasing records takes a lot of patience. But as soon as there’s something to announce, you’ll be the first to know.