Schism – the second album

Schism

Schism is available now.

This is my second album. Written over the last five years, it is a more diverse and also a darker album than Empire and Dust. As well as the neo-classical elements that will be familiar from my previous work, there are harsher industrial sounds and dark ambient passages.

This album wasn’t easy to make. The oldest track dates to before the release of Empire and Dust, and the others were created at various points over the last five years. Over that time my techniques have changed a fair amount. And my desire to create something harsher than Empire and Dust led me to experiment with more aggressive electronic sound manipulation. That meant that when it came to putting the tracks together into an album, each track had its own palette of sounds and fitting them together into something cohesive was a challenge.

Difficult as it was, I think the end result is more interesting for being the product of that struggle.

You can get the album on Bandcamp. I’m very grateful for your support.

Schism to be released 31 October

cover My second album, Schism, will be released on 31 October. It has taken over five years and hasn’t been an easy process. Indeed, I had thought that the album was almost finished two years ago… but I was wrong. After Empire and Dust I wanted to create something harsher, and I’ve had to push myself to learn how to do that. While I don’t expect to ever be entirely satisfied, I think that with Schism I’m on the right path.

You can hear a preview from the album on Bandcamp, and you can also pre-order it there. Please know that your support is always very much appreciated.

The Fall of the House of Usher available now

The Hands of Ruin soundtrack to The Fall of the House of Usher is available today. I’ve been very happy with how this first attempt at writing a soundtrack went, and I think it stands up as a piece of music even apart from the film, so it’s a pleasure to now give it a release of its own.

You can get The Fall of the House of Usher on Bandcamp.

Thank you so much for all your support.

The Fall of the House of Usher to be released on Bandcamp

The Fall of the House of UsherEven though it was made some years ago, I’m still rather proud of the soundtrack to The Fall of the House of Usher that I made in 2012, and I’ve wanted for a while to give it its own release. This is a modern soundtrack to the 1928 adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s story by American avant-garde cinema pioneers James Sibley Watson Jr. and Melville Webber. While there are a few things that I might change if I were to re-write it today, I think it does a good job of capturing the atmosphere of melancholy and dread in the film, and I think it also stands as a good piece of music apart from the film.

Many thanks to Malwina Chabocka for creating the wonderful cover art for this release.

The release date is 15 March, but you can pre-order The Fall of the House of Usher on Bandcamp now. Thank you for your support.

Lot in Sodom

Some time ago I announced that I was working on a soundtrack for Lot in Sodom, a 1933 avant-garde silent film. After slightly longer than I’d expected, it’s here.

James Sibley Watson and Melville Webber’s silent film, Lot in Sodom, tells the biblical story of Lot, who is visited by angels and instructed to leave Sodom before it is destroyed by God for the sins of the Sodomites. Watson and Webber were pioneers of avant-garde film-making, much influenced by German expressionism. Lot in Sodom takes an experimental approach to telling the story and makes use of a variety of innovative visual effects, including superimposed shots and shooting through prisms.

The soundtrack was written in 2014 and 2015. I wanted to create something that would support and emphasize the mood of the film. And it seemed fitting to write a soundtrack for this film in particular, having previously made one for their 1928 film, The Fall of the House of Usher.

The soundtrack is available to buy on Bandcamp.

Iudicium

I’m happy to announce the release of Iudicium, the new Hands of Ruin single. The story of this release is a long one. Back in 2010, as part of a challenge to myself to write five tracks in five days, I surprised myself by coming up with a track that made use of a palette of sounds that were unusual for me: starting with a base of darbuka samples and a droning sound made from slowing down a vocal sample, I came up with a track with a distinctly middle-eastern feel. I thought at the time that it was a strong track and I was proud of it, but I didn’t have anything else with that sort of sound so I didn’t really know what to do with it.

A few months later, encouraged by the success of this track, I tried to come up with others that made use of the same palette of sounds, but it’s one of the strange things about making music: sometimes I make all the right steps and a track can come together very quickly, but often I struggle for a long time and don’t succeed in coming up with something that I’d be happy for other people to hear.

When I met the artist Malwina Chabocka, we decided that we’d like to collaborate, combining my music with her visuals. While she was in Poland and I was in London I sent her my early version of Iudicium. She responded with some visual ideas, and once we were both together in London we put them together into the video. It was our first attempt at animation, and it took a lot of trial and error to put together. Next time we do something like this — and we do have some more ideas in the pipeline — we’ll do it very differently. Nonetheless, we’re proud of what we achieved.

At some point during the process, we decided to make life a bit easier for ourselves by shortening the track. The original was eight minutes long, but we cut it down to five for the video.

The other two tracks, Sententia and Absolutio, were two of the attempts to replicate the success of Iudicium. I’m happy with them now, but they took a lot more work and a few false starts before I got to the point where I was satisfied. In particular, it was only last summer when I had a bit of time to work on music while on holiday in Poland that I introduced the manipulated vocal samples from a recording of Rachmaninov’s The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom into Sententia that give it the character it has now.

So this release collects both the video and original versions of Iudicium, along with Sententia and Absolutio, plus the video itself. I hope you enjoy it.

Empire and Dust – the new album

It’s finally here! Two years in the making, nine tracks of dark, cinematic, martial neo-classical music: The new Hands of Ruin album, Empire and Dust.

Those of you who have been following along on Soundcloud or who have seen the previews on this blog will have heard some of these tracks already, but some of these tracks are being presented publically for the very first time.

I’m making the album available on Bandcamp initially, but I’ve already started the process for getting it onto Spotify, iTunes, Amazon and a number of other places, so expect to see it on those within the next two weeks.

By the way, I promised myself that when this album was released I’d treat myself by buying a copy of Absynth and making some bleepy electronic music for a while. But there are a few interesting tracks that didn’t make it onto this album, so I already have some ideas and material for the next Hands of Ruin release already up my sleeve.

I hope you enjoy the album.

Subterranean

Hands of Ruin - Subterranean

My second EP, Subterranean, is now complete. It’s noisier and more ambient than Falling Light. I’m making it available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license. Listen here or download (32Mb zip file).

And if you’re wondering what happened to the first version of Subterranean Flames, that will be released soon on a compilation with some of the artists from the Independent Dark Electronics group. More on that when it happens.

Creative Commons License