Travel Without Movement happens to be my 100th Published Project (album, film, etc). It also happens to be the first time that I have worked with more than one person to bring the whole project together and the first time that I have worked with a guitarist in my own studio!
Jake Cropley: Guitarist – Jake and I have been working on Mixing a few of his projects. He saw me making Befell with synth guitars. I started a new album and initially wanted it to be different from the “guitar” sound of Befell but I kept being drawn back. I got Jake to put guitars on “Touring” and it was great but not where I thought I was going. Music being the thing it is, it knew better and guitar-like parts kept coming at me. Eventually with an album all but completed I asked Jake to bring his guitar over and work through my pieces. He had no real time to prepare anything, I wanted this to happen as in-the-moment as possible. Some things copied my existing parts but mostly I encouraged them to happen as they would – I tried to keep Jake out past his comfort zone. The results are almost the opposite of what I do and yet very complimentary.
Zongyan Hu: Cover Painting – I saw the paintings of Zongyan Hu through an online friend Jeff Levy who is her son-in-law. Zongyan Hu painted a series of images in her native Chinese style after an illness. They are very beautiful artworks and Jeff photographed the paintings and compiled them into a book “Footsteps on the Path to Perfection”. The moment I saw these paintings I knew I wanted one for an album but had no idea where it would feel right. It felt right partway through writing but I wasn’t sure how or why this very Chinese art was right for this eclectic record. Once I saw the elements come together in the pre-release video for “Touring” (below) I knew it was right all along. I feel very honored that Zongyan Hu and Jeff Levy allowed this use of her painting as I know they were somewhat concerned that it may not suit. It does. The clash of ideas is wonderful. Wonderful like a Zen monk’s broken & repaired teapot.
The Album Story
Every album has its story. As I said above, I initially wanted this to step away from the guitar-ness of Befell and be a lot more mystical and Buddha-like which I assumed would be more wacky synth sounds. I had a sense of the idea of us being able to step past the day-to-day world and move without leaving where we are in space. Not astral travel but more quantum. The music kept calling back to guitars and Jake ended up delivering just what the music wanted – even if the pair of us were sometimes confused at the time of recording. I had the tracks in an order that I thought defined the story but they were not happy there so I moved them about until they were happy.
- Through Imaginary Doors – asks us to step away from what we know, what we see as reality, and see what else may be there alongside us all along.
- Touring – is an odd one as it takes that idea of travel and uses some of the forms of Rockabilly or instumentals like The Shadows whilst being synth music at heart.
- Beyond The Moon – is based on the image of The Moon in Tarot cards. We have to have the courage to step off the rock we feel safe on to be able to swim to different shores and the wonders they hold.
- Resistance – is inevitable. Musically this one crashes into elements of Grunge and Metal for a strange middle section as we fight against ourselves.
- Standing In The Hang – is that dichotemy we feel when being called to a change but not willing or able to complete the step. In this journey we have worked out that we can travel but need the courage to know we are still who we are whilst learning that we are not who we thought we were.
- Finding The Beach – is somewhat unexpected perhaps as it is like Soft Jazz in the middle of a progressive record. I wanted that feel of Jazz Disco mixed with Blues. I love that I got to do something a bit like George Benson or Chris Rea.
- Being No Place Everyplace – ego tends to be all about defining ourself as being right here, right now. Quantum tells us that this is all illusion that reality is that we may be everywhere at once.
- Learning To Travel – started at the front of the album but wouldn’t stay there. Deciding to see the world differently is a huge step. Deciding alone is not enough, we need to develop skills.
- A Place To Rest – sounds like we seek to drop and be still. Maybe rest is completely different.
There are two BONUS tracks included in the album on Bandcamp that were things made around the same time. Simple Song was the result of a training video I made on songwriting. It ended up seeming so far outside of what I normally do I had to love it (if not from a distance). Jumping The Lines was a similar thing, It seems so cheery but just not right for the main album. Jake does not play on either of these but in among my making these, we co-wrote a song called “Falling Down In Love” that will be on his first full-length album in a month or so.