The new album Alterations is now available (see the buy/donate? page for details) with several tracks available as freebie downloads from Soundcloud. One of these is a song called You Don't Need Me To Tell You That and it features the lovely Ellen Jakubiel and Matt Crutchlow, both previous vocal collaborators (E on The Death Of Copyright and Decidedly Dumb; M on Waiting For Green).
I recently made a video for the song... Hey, with colourful hand puppets lying around, who wouldn't?
Another of the freebie downloads is a rather more sinister number entitled The Up Shit Creek Blues, sung by the wonderful Alexandra Howlett (previously heard on Ascendant's closing track Luco).
The concept of lip-synching the song while being transformed into drag and then a zombie was one I had a long time ago, thinking it might capture the mood of the song and look quite striking, whilst not being stupidly difficult to film (famous last words...).
Knowing the superb make-up artist Ian Massa Harris (www.facebook.com/circlecreatif) was a good starting point, and together with his colleague Jae Pii Goldie (www.jaepiigoldie.com) they were able to engineer a stunningly disturbing transformation. Jae did the drag section, Ian the zombie, and it was all filmed by Simon Bennett (www.simonbennett.tv).
We had to film it at half speed in a complete take (this was take 3 of 3) in order to give sufficient time to Ian and Jae to do their thang. This made the whole process feel curiously intense and David Lynchian-esque, and made timing a few of the lines rather awkward, though post-production audio/visual sync issues proved more awkward still.
All in all though, I think it's scarily fine, even if I had never smoked before and don't intend to again! (THAT definitely wasn't my idea...)
Nothing Impossible EP
Reminders, Remind (counterpart song on Alterations to Nothing Impossible)
Digital release 6th February 2012, through Bandcamp and all the obvious online places.
This release was originally intended to include a further melancholic Scandinavian pop cover in the form of Robyn's 'Dancing On My Own'. Being too clever by half, I decided to incorporate the melodic theme from another unrequited love song ('Getting Away With It' by Electronic) and the finished result was a thing of great beauty; a waltzing piano/string number with a strong hint of Yann Tiersen.
However, because of publisher or writer greed - I'm not sure which - in being unable to agree a profit split, that hasn't proved possible, and the upshot of this is that I'm not allowed to let anyone even listen to it online now. (No potential profit, y'see?) Another great triumph for the music industry there.
It has been replaced by a previously unreleased electronic song called Good Money, brought bang up to date with lyrics about the financial crisis and the boundless greed behind it. Strangely appropriate in the circumstances, I feel.
The whole EP can be heard on Soundcloud RIGHT HERE.
There's something fishy going on in the multi-coloured undersea world of card and random household objects. Will the little pink fish ever find his friend again? Only one way to find out...
As with the video for The Death Of Copyright, this has been created entirely by me hunching over a table into the small hours in the name of art. There may have been alcohol involved.
The Death Of Copyright EP
Digital release 11th July 2011, from all the usual online suspects (emusic, iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby etc)
The Death Of Copyright
The Day Before You Came (pretty bleak ABBA cover)
Headlonging (Stretched Out)
The Forecaster (counterpart song on Alterations to The Death Of Copyright)
Listen to the whole EP on Soundcloud by clicking 'yes please'!
Wordy video created by my fair hands over several increasingly late and inebriated nights.
This melancholic neo-classical song-cycle owes as much to boundary pushing acts like This Mortal Coil, Kate Bush and Rufus Wainwright as it does to 19th/20th century composers such as Faure or Bryars. The arrangements shimmer with romantic textures while the songs themselves contain strong undercurrents of rock, folk and cabaret. Ghostly fragments of themes found elsewhere on the album introduce each one, melding the work into a near-continuous whole.
The lead vocals are performed by a loose collective of immensely talented vocalists... And me. I only take the lead on one track, Zero, partly because it has immense personal significance, and partly because it was easier to sing than all the others!
Various track edits can be heard on Jango, last.fm, Soundcloud, Myspace and the like. Better still, you can hear the whole album beautifully streamed from start to finish at the entirely satisfactory Bandcamp, which also sells pretty much any file format you might desire (and physical copies). Take that, iTunes.
Alternatively, you can hear it streamed in full on Spotify. However, that does mean putting up with adverts for travel agents and bingo websites, which wasn't quite part of my artistic vision. I may yet create an album with fake adverts included, just so that the listener can play 'spot the real ad!' on sites like Spotify.
But then again, I may not.
Here's a track from Ascendant called Zero:
And another track called Weight (feat. Bryony Lang)
And here's a choreographic interpretation of the opening track, Waiting For Green (feat. Matthew Crutchlow). It's a contemporary dance duet by choreographer Eva Perdiki, filmed by Rosaleen Donnan at The Place, London. The dancers are Alice Murray and Jack Burton.
This conveniently unavailable album originated in a set of live vocal/piano demos recorded in late 2001. These were then fleshed out with strings n things over the following months; Penegal came from this original session. Take It From Me and Executors were recorded separately in 2002. All vocals are by Mark.
Take it from me