Hard Art

It’s past midnight again… I’m a sucker for punishment.  Ha ha!

So, have you checked out the new Eleventh Hour site?  www.eleventhhourinitiative.com

The new site has allowed me to push Bill a little more to the forefront when it comes to talking about the Eleventh Hour material.  I can now publish pieces from him and I think he’s quite enjoying it.  I’ve told him to wax lyrical about his involvement with the project and he has taken up the challenge admirably!!!  So… seriously, check it out.  He has been writing about the concepts that have influenced his contribution to the début Eleventh Hour Initiative album.  I will likely post some articles on the site about my musical influences and the importance of the album in the context of my musical life at a later date.  I shall let Bill take centre stage for the time being!

But… I will always be posting here.  And I do have things to say.  I set this site up as a place where I could share ideas about music and let people into what it takes to actually write an album.  A kind of ‘behind the scenes’.  That’s the thing you see… “writing an album”.  I don’t like to do things by halves!  I like to set myself a challenge and see if I can run with it!

I finished All Monsters and Dust.  I am working on the finishing touches for the whole ‘package’ of Eleventh Hour material (and I don’t say that lightly – there is a whole lot to do!!!).  But importantly… I am already a quarter of the way through the next Confession of the Whole School album.

The next Confession of the Whole School album will be an interesting affair.  For you see, in the past I have spent so much time refining my music. Refining my words.  Seriously, when I look back on past albums I can physically see the sheer hard work.  I have a box in the attic with papers from my time of writing the Alexi in Winter album. ( Hmmm…. Note to self, link to that album below now! )

I have pages of endless drafts of lyrics for songs such as Salt Cellars.  I had so much to say, and with such a narrow scope at that time.  The songs were focussed and the album was all the better for it.  But those songs were art.  And they were hard art.  And they were unrewarded art. But they document a time of my life and I am thankful that if I wanted to, I could play that album and hear a specific period of my life.  Those songs were so thought out.  They were complex and deep.  And most importantly, they were ‘proper’ songs.  They could have been on the Bends or on a Travis album or something.  You know what I mean?  Proper songs.  Acoustic guitar songs!!!  Singer songwriter songs.  They were of an age of fragmented Brit-pop.  The end of an era really.

There is a slight crossover with some of the early songs of what eventually became my first entirely solo album All Monsters and Dust.  You can hear it in a comparison between songs such as Love is Blind and Legend, Icon, God.  On the Eleventh Hour site I will likely, in the future, talk about similar ‘cross-over’s.  I talk about the Alexi in Winter period as being a distinct sound and a focussed set of songs.  Well… I feel similarly about the Eleventh Hour album.  It is an extremely specific, focussed set of songs.  But there is a genuine reference back to my Alexi in Winter period and, although I haven’t yet done it, I reckon listening to both albums back to back would be interesting.  But, as I say, I hope to go into detail about this on the other site.

This site is for my personal ramblings!  You may have noticed I like to ramble!  Big time!!!

So, Alexi in Winter was a very specific set of songs.  A collection of songs rooted in a particular set of emotions.  Rejection, anger, sorrow… mixed with a little bravado.  A very intimate collection of songs in a way.

All Monsters and Dust on the other hand was more scattershot.  This randomness was primarily due to the length of time it took to put together!  I went through a lot in those ten years.  The track listing takes you on a journey through my life.  The Comedy is Over dealt with similar issues to Alexi in Winter.  Fall dealt with anger and death.  ’50s Teen Flick dealt with yet another rejection.  The newer songs dealt with the aftermath.  Finally, Perhaps I’ll Kill You paved the way for a new album.  A new album with new rules…

And so, here I sit at 0039 hours.  Eyes stinging.  I know I ramble on about the same topics again and again but you must understand – this is like therapy for me!!!  And if my albums are diaries then this blog is the diary of a diary!

The point of this post was to say that the new album, (remember, I mentioned it a while ago!) is a departure from the Alexi in Winter days.  The lyrics are stream of consciousness. There are no pages and pages of corrected ideas.  I stand by what I now create… but I am unsure whether it is better or worse for its lack of discipline – for its lack of considered thought.  What I will say though is that this album will be my most adventurous.  It will not be a hit.  It can’t be.  It is too personal and too bold.  But it will be cohesive.  In its own way it will be just as cohesive as the Eleventh Hour Initiative album.  This next Confession of the Whole School album will be this current era of my life set to music.  I am so lucky in that I can be adventurous musically and commercially with the Eleventh Hour, and yet still hit you smack in the face with my solo material.  Bill wrote on our site about the importance to him that the general public ‘like’ our music.  I agree to a certain extent.  I… have  to agree.  It is important that people like my music.  And it is especially important that people love the Eleventh Hour Initiative.  It is a special project.  I would go so far as to say it is a magical project born of a magical situation.  While Bill is more modest, I am certainly the loud-mouth, and I say that my mix of ‘epic music’ with his ‘poetic genius lyrics’ stand head and shoulders above most music out there today.  I want the Eleventh Hour Initiative to succeed and I sincerely believe it deserves to succeed.  But… deep down, (and I will point this at my own music rather than the Eleventh Hour) – although I appreciate it is important that people like my music, I do not really care whether anyone likes my music.  ‘Important’ is one thing.  I mean, obviously some people have to like the music or serious questions would be surfacing.  Questions such as “Is it any good or am I just living a fantasy life like all the other people out there that think they have a voice and think that owning a music creation game on their computer makes them a “musician”?”.  I have had people adore my songs in the past.  Adore I say.  Ha ha!  Adoration does not change the spin of the Earth.  I’ll be honest… It changes very little.  I hold the majority of the general public in contempt.  They do not represent me and I do not represent them.  If you truly like my music – if you truly enjoy my music.. then you are a King.  Or a Queen if you prefer (you never know… there may be some women reading this.  Funny things happen at sea).  If you have enjoyed what has come before then you are going to love my next album.  I am making an album of white noise.  I am filtering the noise into music.  I am decimating the sound of 500 million explosions and picking out fragments of tone.  Pitch?  Ha ha!  I’m aiming for disorganised cacophony!  But with a strong narrative.  I will not be in character.  I will be talking directly to you.  TO YOU.  And if you don’t like what I have to say then you are going to despise the album!  Ha ha!  And, I know you should never begin a sentence with ‘and’.

Oh, and remember… always take my words with a pinch of salt.  ‘Cause you can never be sure when I have a wry smile on my face and a twinkle in my eyes. 😉


p.s. have another listen to the only song currently ‘out in the open’ from my next album.  Think of it as a sneak preview! I present, again, ACTION HERO!

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