My first collection of music published on a physical format.
When I made Dronez and the period of time directly leading up to its publication was the most difficult of my life thus far. I had just finished my University degree (barely) & education as a whole, ended a 7-year relationship and was effectively homeless.
Despite this, or maybe because of it, my first collection of music was more-or-less ready for release. The album liner notes read “…Dronez is a culmination of the author’s fascination with stretching and spatial manipulation of audio. The emotional intensity of Dronestasy and True Grit counterbalances the calming environments of Frahmbient and Peace With Birds to achieve a complete psychoacoustic experience. For this reason, we advise Dronez is enjoyed in one sitting. “
I was severely unwell during this period and only now find myself coming close to feeling 100% again. The myth that artists produce better work when they are unhappy is just that, a myth & a terribly damaging one at that.
Hugeyes – The album opener starts with a very soft bed of blended string-based instrumentation put through a vocal convolution reverb. Essentially meaning that it’s a sound which was placed inside an unfamiliar or impossible space, in this case, it’s the sound of a variety of pianos run through the vocal characteristics of a human mouth.
This slips surprisingly into a distorted drum beat, one made entirely of artificial sounds. Unnaturally low kicks bounce back & forward as extended snaps slap along and a field of static is propelled forward. I wanted this dichotomy of natural & artificial elements to be both disparate and also synonymous, as this was how I felt.
True Grit – Is the soundtrack & reaction to a poem written by Joe Kriss. The poem – to me- is about being in nature and the overwhelming response it can elicit. I tried to convey this through my use of spatial swelling and in the wide palette of sounds & instruments sampled in the recording.
Dronestasy – This was one of my first major accomplishments in sound design and remains one of my favourite pieces I have made. I was trying to evoke the feeling of full-body pulsation I had felt so very strongly at the end of my first experience with ecstasy. Laying in bed not listening to anything except my own heartbeat and imagined 4×4 drum beat that had been the predominant force for the past few hours. I realised not only could I hear my blood flowing through my body but I could feel it as well.
Peace with birds – Is a more-or-less closed environment. Made at a time in my life when I felt I could no longer listen to music, for fear of associating it with how awful I felt. I would take walks to calm my mind and listen to small things which pleased me, like the sound of tree leaves in the wind and bird sound. During this period I made a wide amount of aleatoric (randomness in nature) recordings, which I would find myself returning to at varying instances when I wanted to elicit that feeling of natural stillness.
6000w – Or 6000 words by tomorrow is an illustration of how I was feeling, pressured. I was struggling heavily with depression, anxiety & invasive thoughts and university deadlines. I made this song when I had a 6000 word essay due the next day, I should really have been concentrating on that but instead decided to use that urgency in this piece.
This song is preceded by the much earlier ‘3000w’, which as you can guess was made under similar circumstances. Probably my least favourite on the album due to how ‘scrapey’ I feel it sounds now.
Frahmbient – This is an ambient reworking of a song by Nils Frahm, I made this immediately after hearing the album ‘Screws’ for the first time. I clearly remember how powerfully the entire album was from start to finish. It instantly compelled me to make music again and I needed to emulate how it made me feel. I recorded the sound of ‘You’ playing into the room I had first heard it in and began layering it back onto itself. (you can even hear the church bells & the birds tweeting from outside my window, a beautiful natural addition I decided to keep in). From there I worked with more convolution reverb and various other filters to separate layers and generate a few different versions. This is certainly the best take however, exhibiting the careful solitude of the original piece whilst still displaying an overwhelming feeling of peace.
Ideasthesia – The final track is a record of where I was then, a sound excerpt from my final university installation.I have written & spoken about this in length elsewhere but as a summary: The piece itself was a meditation on the melding of sight & sound, pairing colour groups with sounds & vice versa, these are sonic excerpts taken from the installation blended into a narrative experience.
This album is available to listen & purchase via Interworld Media: