Released: June 2022
Equipment: Waldorf Iridium synthesizer, Arturia KeyStep Pro sequencer
Eighteen months had passed before I released another album. Lockdown had thrown my regular rhythms into chaos, I'd moved on to yet another new job, and I'd left the band I'd been part of for many, many years. As part of a general lifestyle review I'd been letting go of instruments that I wasn't regularly playing and as part of this I'd decided to upgrade from my trusty Blofeld to its big brother - the Waldorf Iridium. I'd also traded in my BeatStep Pro sequencer for the more versatile KeyStep Pro.
The Iridium was truly my dream machine. A huge slab of a thing with knobs for all of the commonly used controls and a big touch screen for digging in to the vast array of other options. In addition to the Blofeld's wavetables it had four other synthesis types and everything was laid out in a way that fitted with how I like to work. The manual was a daunting tome but I hardly ever found myself needing to reach for it. And so I began on a new collection of tunes.
This album found me being much more adventurous with composition, using less conventional song structures and willing to step outside the bounds of the key. The tones are very much in PPG territory but with a bit more richness than was possible with the Blofeld.
Rubberball has a bouncy ping-pong sequence at its core with a slowly developing chord sequence around it. I like the mix of sparse & lush elements as it progresses.
Cascades starts with an echo-syncopated sequencer line before going through a series of 'scenes'. With no middle eight to break the flow it was inspired by my long countryside bike rides during the pandemic.
Smallchimes is probably my most well-developed song with the disparate parts neatly fitted together. One of my favourites.
Ghost waltz is another of my 'creepy dance' pieces. Some nice spooky chords & changes with a slightly ambiguous feel. Another favourite.
Async came out of the lockdown, reflecting the stop-start pattern of life and the general lack of consistent direction.
Downtime was a reflection on periods of enforced idleness, primarily at work but also in lockdown. There's a sense of relaxation & enjoying the ease but with an undercurrent of lack of motivation & lost time.
Tidebound has a sense of renewed optimism as I began to reengage with the world as the pandemic receded. There's a feeling of movement & emergence, especially in the middle eight. And the first use of sequenced percussion since the days of the Volcas!