The ideas for “Travel Destinations for the World Weary” came from several places in a way that lead to an inevitable conclusion. After Post-Human I intended to write something a bit more New Age in feel like The Body Pool or Mountain & The Lowlands but the Muses had other ideas. In rough order this is how I came to write a record about out-of-this-world travel destinations:
- There was talk in the forum I frequent about creating juggernaut sounds from lots of wiring, like in the old days of Moog Modulars. Being me I had to experiment and soon I had some big scary sounds.
- The book I was reading had the heroes go to Venus where the atmosphere would crush anyone on the ground not in a special suit. People lived in floating cites high in the atmosphere (til someone cut the cable and one came crashing down). Seems like a silly place to live but it is the nature of humans to want these sort of experiences.
- The next book I happened to have interstellar tourism as part of the plot. People would go on luxury cruises to see spectacular events like Super Novas or asteroid strikes (a few even got engineered).
- Most of the girls at the day job were talking about travel; where they bin, where they were goin’, how they lived for the next trip…
Once I accepted that this is where the record wanted to go it flowed pretty well. The sound is not what I expected as while the main ideas could have been delivered in a New Age format that sort of vibe didn’t fit with my sub-plot. What I got was a mix of New Age and Dark Ambiance sewn together. The album title came early as it really described what I was making.
- The Deep Deeps: Imaging hanging alone in space, nothing around you. The ultimate in tranquillity. Once the notes were written I needed an extra something to spice up the otherwise minimal structure. It struck me that a set of cymbal samples provided by Giles Reaves would be perfect, and they were as they brought a darker 70’s sort of feel which I loved. Interestingly a friend felt the high notes near the start seemed like seagulls. How apt as this is the shore of a journey.
- Helium Clouds of Saturn: This piece started early, when I still thought I was writing a New Age feel about floating in magical places. There are elements of that in here but really it is too dark for that. Using the piano sample came about as someone in the software forum was saying there was a problem with the recording of the sample set. There wasn’t but I did find a patch I liked. For some reason I decided to spice up the patch with overdrive. I wanted the hammers of the piano to be over-loud.
- The Chromosphere of Vulca 19: Planets are made from all sorts of things. What if one had an atmosphere of metal.
- Hunters of the Hydrogen Peroxide Seas: This started as an attempt to convey whale-like creatures under the frozen ice of Jupiter’s moon Europa. I soon realized that these creatures were not so benign, more like sharks really.
- Sky Temple of the Monoxide Dragons: Dragons don’t exist, but if we go to enough strange places we may well meet creatures reminiscent of Chinese dragons who are fully intelligent and build temples in the sky. Question is how they take to our appearance in their sacred air.
- Halo Jumping Jupiter: High Altitude, Low Open parachuting is considered cool. A video game got named after it – and yes I read one of those books around the time too. Imagine if you were to freefall into Jupiter’s thick atmosphere. Heartbeat pounding in your throat as you start and then accepting the feeling and learning to fly (fall) in that environment. Ultimately though Jupiter is not a place you would ever survive.
- Total Immersion Diving in the Caledonia Diamond Seas: Some scientists have postulated that it is entirely possible that another planet could have seas of liquid diamond. Science fiction has divers able to submerge and breathe the oxygen in water; no need for tanks or even suits. Sounds like the perfect place to propose. During production the track had a slightly Scottish feel hence the Roman name for Scotland.
- Sunny Mercury Days: Mercury is the closest planet to the sun. With a day that is effectively 176 Earth days and temperatures around 400°C it seems the perfect place to get a quick tan.
- An Evening In Arcadia: For anyone who watches Sci Fi they know that places like Arcadia always have a darker underside. By now I was clear that the pretty places I was dreaming up were really all a one way ticket. Is that high note at the end something sweet or a scream. The machines winding down underneath give a clue.
- Venus Sojourn: One of the big scary sounds I made sounded like the heavy Venus atmosphere idea so it was saved for when I started to write again. Oddly by the time I got back to that file it was lost but it didn’t matter by then. This piece has elements that are quite pretty but under (or should that be above) it all is the crushing, toxic atmosphere.
- Chlorine Bay: This was written before I actually started writing an album and where the theme actually took shape. I had the piece on my drive and didn’t love it. Someone was talking about early digital synths, that mid-80’s sound, and wanted to know if the main Reason synth Thor could capture it (they thought it couldn’t and I said it could). I quickly re-voiced the piece and it developed a rather astringent sound that feels like bleaching the bathroom (which I think I had that morning). In need of a quick name to post I grabbed Chlorine Bay, as though it was a nice place to go have a swim in this pretty bay full of green bleach. Initially I meant to either drop this piece or re-voice it as it really wasn’t New Age or even easy on the ear but this really is the holiday destination to send unwanted family members.
- Safaria: I wrote this knowing it would be the final piece on the record. There was no great story to this piece which started with a slight House feel but it does feature some hand drum loops that lift it into the interesting. The drums and openness made me think of Africa and going on Safari in a Land Rover.
- Last Adventure: This is an idea I have worked with a few times and love. There is s a simple loop which repeats and so gives a restful sense. A final rest.
Venus Sojourn & Chlorine Bay may be a bit challenging so don’t feel bad if you just can’t get your head around them. You may remove these two tracks and the album will still flow and be an acceptable length.
The album has five out-takes which as usual are attached for those who purchase. Most are up-tempo tracks that wanted to be written but in reality I always knew wouldn’t make it to the record. I tried to incorporate them into the running order but it just wasn’t meant to be.