Debut album from Bristol based guitarist/songwriter James McKeown.
Tracks : 1 From NASA to None (05:24) 2 Dark Sky Park (03:00) 3 Stars (02:50) 4 Poachers Feet (04:29) 5 Bones (05:05) 6 Days Were a Joy (05:26) 7 Storm (06:13) 8 Mayfly (06:00) 9 40,000 Full Moons (03:45)
James McKeown is the guitarist in Bristol based luminaries Hi-Fiction
Science. Whilst their music is based around a unique blend of Krautrock,
Folk, Post-Punk and Electronic influences. James' debut album is an
introspective journey into quintessentially English lo-fi melancholic
Let's read what James says about his album !!!
"The songs are an outpouring of all of my thoughts and actions during something of an emotionally traumatic time in my life.
of the songs were already written, so I spent some reclusive late
nights and weekends laying down the recordings and mixing, here some
explanation of what is behind the music"
From NASA to None A
song about being stuck in a rut. Emotionally, chemically and not
helping yourself to break out of it. Musically I used live drums played
by Aidan Searle, the drummer in Hi-Fiction Science. A real Lo-Fi
technique as I got him to play along to a backing track, recorded them
live and then chopped them up to make a loop and overlayed an 808 beat
on the kick drum and snare.
I had been listening to some
'chillwave' hypnagogic bands like Washed Out and Ariel Pink and wanted
that vibe of blending the guitars, keys and vocals. Also went for a
synth solo rather than a guitar break which I wanted to sound like it
was a cross between Cocteau Twins, mid '80's Marillion (!) and The
Dark Sky Park An ethereal instrumental that
hopefully is somewhere between Durutti Column and Mike Oldfield - Fellow
Bristol musician, guitar virtuoso Robin Allender (Gravenhurst/Yann
Tiersen/Three Cornered Moon) compared it to Pat Metheny, which is very
complimentary although I'm not sure I've quite got the same level of
Stars This is a song about light, the
universe and astronomy. The way that the first astronomers were
considered to be heathens for suggesting other planets were out there
and that the universe was infinite. Stars die and time evolves.
Musically quite a simple song which uses a Mellotron. Except there is no
way I could afford a real Mellotron (who can ?) so this is a Mellotron
app mic'd up and ran through a Moog Analog delay. Nice. Almost has a
MGMT/Flaming Lips vibe about it.
Poachers Feet This one is
probably the oldest song on here being that it was a track that I first
recorded when I was stockpiling songs recorded on my 4-track around
1999/2000. Again I used the aforementioned drum loop technique with the
live drum samples. Came up with a quick funky locked in bassline groove
and acoustic guitar, which with the flanged vocal effect sounds a bit
like it could be from Pink Floyd's Animals album. The theme is the
poacher hunting and killing their prey - loss of innocence. I get into a
keyboard freakout at the end by running it through the Moog pedals
again and finally leading to the subsonic LFO outro that flows straight
Bones A simple song about a murder sang from
the perspective of the killer. Based on a news story I heard about a
girl who went missing after a night out in Bath. Her remains were
discovered recently near the M5 motorway and I expanded on this this
theme. Acoustic guitar/bass/vocals. That's it.
Days Were a Joy A
very personal song about past love and regret and a report of mentally
where I am. Really pleased with the harmony vocal end section as I am a
big fan of Curt Boettcher/The Millennium (particularly the 'Begin'
album) and his production so I tried to make it a bit of an homage to
that in the climax of the track also pleased with the hypnotic guitar
motif and the (slightly out of time in places!) fake xylophone keyboard
which all blend to give it a subtle psychedelic edge.
the famous Lo-Fi Mellotron technique and acoustic guitar, a song
directly dealing with breakup/breakdown of relationships. The vibe I
wanted here was a early King Crimson ballad. This was confirmed when
Keith - from Fruits de Mer Records - said that my voice had a Greg Lake
quality to it. It's purposely melancholic - as much of my music is -
slowcore and downtempo.
Mayfly This one is about a brief
ill fated relationship that I thought could work out but we both knew it
couldn't due to certain circumstances. April > May > June and
then it was over. I was gutted and this song poured out of me almost
like automatic writing. Really quite simple but I'm pleased with the
strong double-tracked vocal melody and the fluid guitar lines which were
initially recorded far too loud but I wanted to go with them as they
sounded good and subsequent takes seemed forced. Luckily the balance was
addressed in the EQ of the final mastering and is now all level and
40,000 Full Moons An ambient outro to wind
down the album. Lot's of delay and backwards guitar through out.
Originally I had a spoken word sample of Timothy Leary over the top
taking about dying and how he had opened the 'pandora's box' of chemical
experimentation that was first discovered over 40,000 Full Moons ago.
In the end I decided against it as it sounded too unsubtle and overtly
stoner/druggy. Having said that, it's a nice way to end the trip. Man.