Having agreed on a potential release with Colin (Castles in Space) I decided to make an album very deliberately, rather than create a bunch of tunes and simply see how things evolved. I never usually consider things like track length, so it was a compositional challenge to come up with two sides of a record. Subsequently I feel like this album is quite a focused set.
The whole album was made of live recordings using semi modular and modular synths. Overdubs were only used very sparingly.
Excursion and There’s No Point Running
Both were originally set to far more rigidly motorik beats. Considering how influential it has been on me for half my life, I have made surprisingly little motorik music. I have used beats so sparingly in my solo music over the years that I was quite thrown by this approach and for a while I questioned myself. However, it laid down a good marker for the project, with the upshot being that I wouldn’t limit myself and would go wherever an idea led.
It just so happens that these were the first two pieces I made for Eternal Return. I am pleased with the energy that they give the opening of the album. I am also pleased that I developed things beyond straight motorik beats. I couldn’t see the point in making directly influenced music. After all, the spirit of bands like Neu! was always to push things forwards.
I rarely write a piece of music with a set plan that I have made in advance, but I did here.
This piece was based on Arvo Pärt’s Tintinnabuli compositional style. I find it really hard not to laugh at myself for that level of pretentiousness, but it is the truth, so what can I do?!
I am way more into grabbing bits of an idea and running than studying things in depth, so this is a horribly bastardised version of Tintinnabuli. However, I have always loved Arvo Part and his influence on this whole project was never far away.
I made about 5 versions of this piece before it settled. It was something more like a post-rock style tune at first, when the overall project was still finding its feet. I am very happy how this turned out, it was a series of happy accidents really, which is why I named it This is This. It also happens to be a nod to a comedian/writer who is very influential to me.
This was a huge turning point in the album. Having had some feedback on the first submission of the track list (thanks Colin!), I changed my mind of the tone I was looking for – I wanted something warmer and uplifting. The influence for this is quite self-evident and I am very attached to this piece. I often miss the opportunity to make music that it directly life-based in the way that a singer songwriter would. This piece is the heart of the album.
Probably the most obviously kosmische piece on the album. This really was just born out of a single live jam. It is the most representative of my way of working over the last few years. The difference in approach here was keeping the piece to 6 minutes when my usual instinct would have been to make it more like 26.
Made at the same time as Our Zack, this piece developed into the fitting closing and title track. The album had been first drafted to end with Way Beyond (now a bonus download track) and this proved too heavy. My conclusion on Eternal Return as a concept is a positive one and I think that this piece captures the sprit really well.