Released: May 2024

Equipment: Waldorf Iridium synthesizer, Arturia KeyStep Pro sequencer


By the time I completed Migrant I was back into the swing of composing & recording and it felt natural to carry on and see what new ideas emerged. The Iridium's control interface made it (relatively) easy to create new sounds & patches and I'd started to push further into areas of sound design that I'd not touched on before. A collection of new songs began to assemble.

My way of working went through quite a change this time around. In the past it took me quite a while to assemble the initial 'backbone' track - the sequencer line that held the overall song structure together - after which I would progressively fill out the rest of the instrumentation & arrangement. For this album the first tracks came much more quickly, partly (I suspect) as the song structures were generally simpler but also as a result of my greater ease & familiarity with the Iridium's controls & capabilities. But then I'd often hit a wall on adding the first overdub, ending up relistening to the raw sequencer track for days before deciding on what more to add. This was rather disconcerting at first (had my Muse deserted me?) but after a while new ideas would emerge, often coming in a rush that would complete the piece in (fairly) short order. In overall terms I wasn't spending much more time on each track but my subconscious was clearly trying out some new methodology, which was fascinating to observe.

I continued exploring new (to me) areas of the Iridium - new wavetable tricks, beat-synched modulation, compression effects, and combining multiple synthesis methods. As on Migrant I used a lot of dynamic stereo placement and washes of chorus (I still miss the Leslie effect) giving a similar 'spacious' feel to many of the tracks. The end result is an album that is recognisably 'me' but has a bit more sonic variety & novelty than the previous collection.

Bitmask starts things off with a bleepy sequencer pattern over an echo-syncopated bassline. Some nice dynamics between the smooth washes of texture over the choppy rhythmic elements.

Halfwaking was inspired by a period of ill health and broken sleep. There's a sense of disorientation with unexpected changes & uneven repetition while the regular pulse of the sequencer continues relentlessly onwards.

I began Inertial in a very Kraftwerk-inspired style, attempting to keep it relatively stark & uncomplicated. Over time it developed in its own way but the verse still has that Man Machine feel to my ears.

Lamentations is based around a slowly modulating sequencer line with just a couple of melodic & textual elements on top. The name was inspired by the idea of formalising an emotional experience into a shared ritual. I really like the way this one turned out.

Tracker is another piece with a very repetitive sequencer pattern over a syncopated bass, the 7/8 rhythm pushing it along with a hurried feel. The name came from early sci-fi TV where a tracking device would always have a pattern of flashing lights and a multi-tone signal.

Tranquility base is a gentle piece showing off some of the Iridium's sweeter tones. The name comes from the Apollo 11 moon landing site.

Homestretch is based around a marimba-style rhythm pattern that provides a steady base for the song. I particularly like the chord sequence for the middle eight.