Disorganised Cacophony

Hello.  Firstly, apologies.  I have neglected my duties here and I’ve probably lost a few ‘Confession’ fans in the process.  However, I have not been idle.  No no no.  I have been putting full effort into promoting my side-project with Bill Ryan – “The Eleventh Hour Initiative”.  There is no way you can have failed to have noticed this as I have basically pasted the banner on every available surface.  If I could I would have come into your houses, slapped some wallpaper paste on your flat screen tvs and stuck the damn posters right there in front of you.  You can’t escape!  Ha ha!  Buy the Eleventh Hour Initiative’s debut album, “Escapism”.  It’s really, really good.  Would I ever lie to you?

So, back to the day job.  I am Confession of the Whole School.  I have mentioned that I have been secretly beavering away on a brand new album.  Well… it is nearly finished.  I have about 2 songs left before I will seal the deal, but for the moment I think it’s safe to at least admit the album’s potential existence.  The final 2 songs will take some time to record so you have ample opportunity to buy and devour the Eleventh Hour album!

You are my dear fans.  The intelligent, forward minded who read and listen to me.  I just wanted to let you know where I’m at right now.  I’ve bought up a lot of vinyl.  Tonight I have been listening to “Highway to Hell” and “The Bends” on vinyl.  Proper, already dusty vinyl.  And I have loved every second of it. I have also been watching a lot of great films.  No, I should rephrase that… you don’t just watch a film like “Taxi Driver”… you absorb it.  You take inspiration from it.  I take inspiration from everything to be fair, but never more so than from albums and films of this calibre.  I may just post some reviews up soon and share my opinions on some of these pieces of art with the world.  For that’s what they are.  Whether it be Bon Scott’s rough edged, double-entendre tongue or Scorsese’s majestic, filthy grime.  Every second is uplifting.  Even the downs are reinvigorating.

The new Confession of the Whole School album is to be titled “The Galton Detail”.  There!  I’ve said it!  It’s out in the open now.  The secret’s power has been diminished somewhat and the element of surprise has been destroyed!  Ha ha!

Here is a taster of  what to expect from “The Galton Detail”.  It is a track called “Disorganised Cacophony”.  Enjoy.

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. 😉

Goodnight.

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!

All Monsters and Dust is released!!!

Click this link to buy!   http://confessionofthewholeschool.bandcamp.com/

Okay fellow Confessioners… the day has finally come.  The day I have banged on about for a long, long time.  I have released All Monsters and Dust.  You can click on the music link at the top of the screen and buy it.  Go on, you know you want to.  Wouldn’t the sound of ten years of effort go down well on your Ipod?  The answer, in case you’re struggling, is yes.  Ha ha!

I know I’m like a broken record when it comes to this ‘record’ but it is the end of an era of my life.  When I started recording All Monsters and Dust I was in a completely different studio.  Many of the earlier songs such as The Comedy is Over and Double Click … Delete document a totally different time of my life.  I was a different person back then.   I had just disbanded Alexi in Winter and I was starting a journey as a solo artist.  Now, although many of my projects up to that point had in reality been solo works, I was still surrounded by talented musicians and producers to help me realise my imagination.  With Confession of the Whole School I chose to take on the all-encompassing role.  To write, play and produce all my own music.  Not only that but also to create the artwork and all marketing material.

As the recording of the album progressed I then changed studio environment as I moved into a flat.  ’50s Teen Flick is the main product of that time.  I like the sound I achieved on that song and the lyrics are very much a diary entry of that ‘middle period’ of the album.  I was quite disillusioned and although I still believed that music was my outlet I also felt that no-one would ever want to listen.  For that reason ’50s Teen Flick will always have a place in my heart.

The final period of the recording of the album took place in my current studio.  My dad and I built this studio.  You can see pictures of it on this very site on the top menu somewhere.  The latter era songs, for me, are summed up by the song which I actually decided to make the opener of the album.  The Last Gasp.  It is an important song for it allows me to escape the baggage of ten years.  I came to the realisation that a lot of the things that once made me angry are no longer of any concern to me.  I am a free spirit and no one has held me back.  No one has stopped me accomplishing anything.  For you see everything is still out there for the taking.  The lyrics of The Last Gasp reflect this.  In fact, the Last Gasp and Perhaps I’ll Kill You are a neat little double act as they represent both a ruled line under the past and an indication of what I can achieve in the future.  Both songs map out a plan of action for forthcoming material.  They point a direction.  Yes… they point a direction.  A direction I have since expanded upon with Action Hero… but All Monsters and Dust laid the foundations.  A move from strict indie pop to ‘no boundaries’ flight of fancy.  Listen to the album as a whole and you will hopefully get an appreciation for the decade it took to make.

Oh… and I promise the next album won’t take 10 years!!!  🙂

The weather is sweet

Sitting here on a Sunday morning.   Flexing the fingers in anticipation of writing a piece of text that is going to inspire you for the week ahead.  … no such luck!  Ha ha!  I have been taking a break from music – just a handful of days.  It has been fulfilling in its own way.  I have been producing tracks like a machine and it is always wise to take a step back and survey the accomplishments.

I am currently awaiting vocal files from Bill for what will likely be the final track of the Eleventh Hour album.  It is a track which may well take you by surprise – especially considering the two we have just worked on.  But I hope it will be a pleasant surprise.  Apple pie and custard on a spring day.

2011 will be a year of getting things into order.  Getting the Eleventh Hour album “escapism” into a shape where we can pin down a release date.  And I do of course still plan to make the Confession album “all monsters and dust” available too!  These plans won’t stop me working on new material in the meantime… but it is certainly important to note that 2011 will be a year of “attempting achievements”.

I’ve been soaking in some great films recently.  I feel that great art brings about great art.  In the past, certain films have inspired me to write great songs.  More in the Alexi in Winter period to be fair… but it does also creep into my more recent work.  My current desire is to achieve what I have always stated is my aim in music – cinematic pieces.  As I have said before… I’m not talking about film soundtrack work – I’m talking about pieces of music that put flesh on the bone.  Music that aspires to more than a 3 minute blast of pop.

So… I watched Raging Bull three times this last week.  What a guttural punch of a film.  Beautifully shot and disturbingly realised.  Tremendous acting, direction and cinematography.  Absolutely epic.  It is certainly not a film for everyone.  It is not a film about boxing.  It is a film about jealously and obsession.  Pretty hard to watch at times.  But like I said… it’s all there to be ‘soaked in’.  Better to flow a Raging Bull than a Transformers! Ha ha!  Then I watched A Matter of Life and Death.  Wow… I’m ashamed to admit that I’d never seen it before.  But what a film.  Deep.  And very, very sweet.  Another film to absorb and digest.

I have some crazy ideas for new music.  But I’m putting it all on hold.  It’s a nice day and there’s gardening to do!  Ha ha!

Lo-Fi Allstars

I took up a challenge a few days ago.  The challenge was to use a given set of lyrics and write a “lo-fi” song.  Lo-fi typically means a song that is recorded on the most basic of equipment.  A good example these days would be a song sung into the sound recorder on a phone.

Although I understand the given definition of lo-fi, I tend to disagree with it.  For me, lo-fi simply means lacking polish – whether intentionally, or through lack of equipment.  See, the thing is, over the years many so-called “lo-fi” bands have spent a lot of money-making their music “lo-fi”.  You could say that a song like Territorial Pissings on Nevermind by Nirvana is “lo-fi”.  But are we talking sound or money?  Hmmmm.  Difficult subject, difficult argument.  Anyway.. to cut a not very long story even shorter… I used the given lyrics and produced my “lo-fi” song in a couple of hours.  I came up with the music really quickly and sung the lyrics through just the once.  For me, and I stress, for me, this song is lo-fi!  Ha ha!  (**** it’s so not lo-fi 😉  ****)

This song is not part of any album.  It is just a quick throwaway recording for a project someone on Soundcloud has put together.   The lyrics have indeed been written by that Gentleman.  His name is S2a (Extinction of the New Dinosaurs) and if you are into spoken word stuff and anything with touch of punk then take a trip to Soundcloud and have a listen to his work.

As the lyrics are not mine I cannot be held responsible for their content.  I warn you in advance … there is a lot of swearing!!!


Elbow Grease

My manifesto!  Ha ha!  I’ve been breaking the rules today.   Okay… here’s the story.  I am currently working on a song that is becoming more than “just a song”.  It is a beast of a piece.  And the more I tinker the more the beast is snarling and lashing to get out of his cage.  I still have him trapped in the cage at the moment – but seriously, I can only keep him in there for so long.  The caged animal.  Prowling.  Shifting back and forth.  Put in a less obtuse way, I have simply written the longest song of my career.  It has waves, movements – like a theatre piece.  It has a chorus or two.  It could almost be an entire album rolled into one song. In fact some of my favourite bands have had albums that are only twice the length of this song!  Ha ha!  I think this song is going to split opinion BIG TIME!  Some will love it some will hate it.  I gotta say that the me of a few years ago would perhaps have fallen into the ‘hate’ camp.  But the me of now is fully behind this song.  It is as epic as I can get without actually hiring the Albert Hall and finding 500 tramps to play the spoons.

Okay… breaking news.  This new song is going to be called ACTION HERO.  There… I’ve said it.  I have to complete it now.  The game is up and the secret is out.  There is a new song and it is called ACTION HERO!  Hey, maybe I’ll even include that exclamation mark in the title.  And, actually… it looks pretty cool written in capitals.  Like someone’s SHOUTING it!

ACTION HERO!

So… there you have it.  This song will either confirm your confidence in me – or make you believe that I’ve lost my mind, lost my sense of credibility.

You gotta understand see.   I have written my fair share of pop songs.  I have written songs that ‘should’ have changed the world! 😉  Ha ha!

Now I gotta write some just for me.  Whether any of you are interested in coming along for the ride is a whole different matter!!!

And I shall update you soon about how you can actually get your hands on my debut album All Monsters and Dust.

This has been a most exciting 12 months.  What with the Eleventh Hour and Confession of the Whole School I have been writing prolifically.  Not just that though… the important thing is I’ve been writing the best songs of my career.  Listen to the two albums back to back and you are hearing some serious time and effort.  It has all been worth it.  How crazy would it have been for these songs to never have existed – just because I may never have bothered to put the effort in!  A bit of elbow grease.