Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Outward Journeys.


My new album with Jim Jupp of Belbury Poly (and John Foxx guesting on two songs) will be out on Ghost Box on November 3rd. We had a lot of fun with this record. As is the case with everyone I collaborate with, there are certain qualities, certain textures that only Jim could create; if you combine that with whatever it is that I do, you hopefully end up with something quite unique.

I think that’s about it, for my releases this year. There may possibly be a solo digital album on Cafe Kaput in December, if everything falls into place - if not, it’ll be a January 2018 thing. There will be another record in 2018, but I can’t talk about that yet.

For the time being, I’m just making a lot of music for the hell of it, none of it being worked towards any particular release - literally for the sake of creating and enjoying the process. Business as usual. We’ll see what happens.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Agri Montana available now.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Agri Montana released on Friday.


Agri Montana will be available from cafekaput.bandcamp.com on Friday. Below are the sleeve notes, to give some background to the album - above, Ian Hodgson's front cover artwork. The album also contains individual track art, with each new track incorporating art from the previous, to provide a sense of continuity.

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This album began as a fleeting idea that suggested itself, without much conscious thought. In July 2015, I spent a few weeks in a remote part of North Wales, with a couple of instruments and some recording equipment; not forcing any preconceived ideas, but rather observing what would happen (if anything) if I just let it.

Somehow, I made a connection between the Snowdonia landscape and that of the Austrian and Italian Alps. As soon as this connection was made, the ideas flourished. Flora and fauna, climate, air quality, farming methods and traditions, buildings and structures all played their parts and influenced the sounds and textures created.

I discovered a tradition in alpine farming; one that involved farmers making the ascent with their cattle, from the foothills to high altitude pasture, on a particular day in spring; beginning work for the season, with the cattle in situ throughout. Conversely, the descent being made on a predetermined day in autumn; again, with the farmers leading their cattle back to the low lands, to rest for the relatively inactive winter. This became the framework to which I built the album; the season of ascent and descent, with pieces describing the observations in between.

Whilst researching ideas for the graphic design of the album, Ian Hodgson discovered photographic techniques used by creators of alpine postcards, where by composites of images were made, with multi-layers of texture being superimposed on each other, sometimes to quite surreal effect; this fascinated me, as it seemed particularly analogous to the concept of multi-layering sounds to create specific textures.

The overall framework points to a sense of place, of geography, rather than time or any other reference. I wanted the music to exist as both ancient and contemporary, with its’ location being the primary identifier of the textures within.


Jon Brooks, June 2017.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Agri Montana - release date; 7th July.



Teaser video for the new album. Keeping it reel, as it were.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Autres Directions digital edition available now.



For those of you who would like a digital-only copy of Autres Directions, it's available now from my Bandcamp page. Hope you enjoy.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Autres Directions pre-orders open now.



Pre-orders are open for Autres Directions vinyl. Go to www.claypipemusic.co.uk to reserve your copy. I'm told they're already selling pretty swiftly.

Sold out at source, but keep an eye on the Ghost Box guest shop, also Transmission Wax, Monorail Music and Norman Records will have a few copies for sale within the next few days or so. Thanks to everyone who bought a copy, I hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Autres Directions




The latest news on my new album for Clay Pipe Music, Autres Directions; vinyl pre-orders will be taken from the 7th of April, with the release date of May 5th. As always, go to the Clay Pipe Music site for pre-orders and mailing list. On release day, there will also be a digital version available through my Bandcamp.

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I have a natural affinity with France, which seems to span a large proportion of my adult life. This album is based directly on experiences, feelings and emotions garnered from times spent fairly recently in Brittany and Normandy, on different occasions.

There’s a certain feeling, when you enter a rural French village on an Autumn mid-afternoon. It’s a slower pace of life than we’re generally used to; the Centre Ville can feel deserted, as many of the inhabitants are, ironically, away on holiday. As the village church clock tolls, it strikes home a simplicity, a purity of existence that couldn’t really exist elsewhere.

There’s a feeling of unabashed romance upon waking up in the early morning, opening a window onto a field of fog, as the sun hasn’t quite started to rise; with the only real movement belonging to a car headlight in the distance, making a journey to somewhere undisclosed.

Whenever I’m travelling, I take with me a means of recording ambience and constantly listen out for interesting situations where sound can be captured and transformed. Field recordings play a significant part in the tapestry of the album. The textures underpin, envelop and frame the work, adding a sense of context and grain.

I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted the textures and atmospheres to be on an equal footing to the melodies. The ‘wake up’ music which begins the album, I composed as a piece that could, theoretically, be played by a ferry company to wake passengers upon their early morning arrival into dock, over the small speakers installed in ferry cabins. To create the atmosphere, I took the recorded piece onto a ferry, bound for France, and played it back in the cabin over a speaker, capturing the playback with a microphone, allowing the sound and reverberant space of the ferry cabin to influence the ambience of the piece.

Other ways of bringing the ambience of situations into the recorded pieces involved playing back textures (that I’d created electronically in the studio) in various places (disused barns, country lanes etc) and capturing them again on a microphone and building pieces around those atmospheres. I also noticed that, preparing to leave the ferry, there were various metallic pitched drones that just seemed to hang in the air, combining naturally with idling car engines - these became music and it was from these distinct pitches that I added complimentary electronic textures around them.

I also liked the idea that various people that I encountered on my travels could be featured on the record. For example, the woman who owned a Boulangerie in one of the villages probably didn't realise that she would become part of a recording, but fragments of her voice can be heard, contributing a distinct texture.

All of this leads to, for me, an interaction between the studio and the elsewhere; bringing two distinct worlds closer together, to form an impressionistic aural painting that lives and breathes in a manner that hopefully puts the listener in a situation where they can feel these experiences in quite a tangible way.

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I also made a video painting for the track Lanverec. Shot and edited in Brittany, France.