Monday, 17 February 2014

Walk and Wake

I'd not done any music seriously for a few years. In fact, I was pretty sure for quite a long time that I was done with it altogether, even though several tracks and noodlings in year-marked folders would say otherwise. After my experiences in Manchester and the death of my friend Chris I couldn't stomach it anymore. There didn't seem to be any point, or rather if there was one it ended in bad things and bad places.

Then my daughter was born. It wasn't some sort of soppy reaffirmation thing, it was more down to the fact she was almost impossible to get to sleep and so I spent a lot of time pushing a pram (sorry, "Travel System") through streets and fields. I started to get melodies or ideas going through my head and somehow found the time to get them down on the computer. I couldn't really make much noise as my only free time was when she was asleep, so everything was done electronic and on headphones. Vocals got done on rare times I had the house to myself, although at that time I was so scared of singing out loud it meant that I wouldn't do it unless the neighbours were out and there was nobody stood at the bus-stop over the road.

As I was writing I started going to the Open Mic night at the Lass O'Gowrie in Manchester, mostly to see a friend but also to play, and got to test out the songs there. That helped a lot, as it got me back to playing in front of people and gave me a bit of confidence.

Most of it was written in my head and then put into the PC. I became addicted to wavetable synthesis and messed around endlessly with that. Now I've gone back through the files I can see there was very little to it other than a wavetable synth, some drum samples and a lot of reverse reverb and delay. The one thing that really was an influence was the song "Special" by Mew. It was ostensibly an indie rock track, but the drums were 4 on the floor, with the drummer doing all manner of interesting things on the hi-hats to really make the song come alive. I started looking at that bland dance beat and seeing how much subtlety you could put into it by accenting it here and there and made a concious decision to use it was much as possible. It's got no more or no less depth than standard rock beats, so it seemed a good thing to explore, especially as I wasn't trying to make Dance Floor Filler music with it.

Lyrically I tried to push myself somewhere I'd never been before, and tried to write more story-based stuff. There's a few exceptions, like Sleeps and Walk and Wake, but mostly they're tall tales. I used the "Random Article" function on Wikipedia a lot, spammed my way through that until I found something I liked. Looking back there's a pretty strong theme of helplessness through a lot of the songs, a lot of them are about being somewhere dangerous, out of your comfort zone, and unsure what to do. Not to dissimilar from being a first-time parent then, if I was to psychoanalyse myself a bit.

So I've just finished the rendering process (only fools call it mastering) and I'm putting it back up online. I've tweaked things here and there, corrected mistakes and taken out a bit of mush. I've always said it's my favourite Lynskey album and after going through the process of sorting it out all over again it still is. I guess it's the first thing I ever did where I was really, truly just making stuff for myself and not trying to impress anybody. I really like how a lot of people dismiss it as it's Electronic stuff. So many people I talk to expect me to be there with a guitar slung around my neck and getting angry and shouting. Walk and Wake isn't an angry album. It's tender and unsure of itself, it's dark without falling back on cliches and aggression. It's of it's time, it's not just where my head was at, but what I could get away with. The people that do get it, really get it, and that's one of the reasons it's my favourite.

I'll be posting it track by track as I get it back online and talking about it a bit. Not because I want to get exposure on it, not because I want anything from anyone, but because I want to and I'm going to. At least Walk and Wake is the easy one, the others are coming back too, and they are logistical and technological nightmares to get back together.

so mind me
you don't know the road behind me
you might do someday if you find me
you're not to blame
i'm not the same as you