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Dark Water & Crystal Skies (2021)

The starting point with "Dark Waters & Crystal Skies" was effectively the bones of my concept for the second Long Earth album. Where the first had "the death suite", this would have "the water suite". The Dark Water section follows the theory of water running through everything - from the romance of sun soaked holidays to the mundane of washing the holiday clothes on return. Most importantly, And So It Begins... features a tape recording made by my late dad of waves lapping and seabirds on the island of Soay back in 1975. It was lovely to digitise it and include it.

A pretty cathartic and sometime dark album, DWCS let me explore a number of demons (and exorcise them) following the breakdown of my marriage in 2017. The Goodbye Note as an example showed me in a really dark place but realising that, at the end of the day, life, my kids and family were the most important things and a reason to live. This one also features my late mum singing in the Dunblane Cathedral choir from 1976 (digitised again) and the same church bells that rang on the day of my wedding in 1992. Again massive pride, my amazing daughter Christie provided the piano line running through this track.

It's dedicated to all those who helped me through some bloody dark times and came out the other end. Additional thanks to my mate Kenny Hunter who stepped in to contribute some incredible keyboard lines. Also to Deni (my Safe House) for helping make sense of the early days. Most important - MASSIVE thanks to my soulmate, buddy and recurring partner in crime Iain Wilson for his immense drumming skills but also production input and supportive chat. The two of us are like musical brothers.

There's a wee bit of roughness to the production as this was the first full scale work - and by God there were a lot of instrument tracks to produce - on my new Presonus Studio One set up.

Track Notes:

The Day The World Turned
Written in 2018 after what was most definitely the closest and most scary chapter in my life. I woke the following morning, saw the sunlight and thought "Y'know no matter what, each day brings a new opportunity to write a new chapter". Or a song!
Long Road
There were a few songs I wrote following Fiona leaving in 2017. This was one of them, life very much felt like a very long road when you're travelling it alone. Think I must be a frustrated biker though as this (and The Call by Long Earth) are very much desert highway themed. The road goes on but I'm a bit further down it now.

The Goodbye Note
Title says it all.... I wrote this entire lyric in the space of a dog's walk - I'd just had enough... But then, I changed it from minor to major in the last bridge as a negative to positive. Featuring Christie on piano, mum in the Dunblane Cathedral choir (1976) and the Dunblane Cathedral bells. It's actually, in reality, a goodbye to negative feelings!

Dark Water Pt. 1 And So It Begins....

This one was inadvertantly born in 1975 when my dad took his wee rubber dinghy out from Tiree to the neighbouring Isle Of Soay to record the waves crashing and seabirds overnight. I digitised it and it became the start of the Dark Water suite.
Dark Water Pt. 2 How Did It Come To This?
Written from the perspective of a woman returning from the romance of a sun soaked holiday and facing the washing all the holiday clothes. Water can be romantic but, within days, turn back to the every day mundane.
Dark Water Pt. 3 Under An Azure Sky
We're on holiday here! The excitement, the romance, the sun, the waves, the wine - all to a eurobeat rhythm. I also wondered whether distorted guitars could be used on a kind of fast trance type track - think they can. Production credit also goes to Scott who helped me at demo stage - he reckoned the heavy beat was too intense from the start so I came up with the recorded alternative. Oh and Kenny Hunter channelled his inner Billy Curry.
Dark Water Pt. 4 Dark Water
Now this one actually happened! Fiona, Scott and I were in Crete in 2015 and as we were walking back from Hersonosis to the hotel I saw a couple in an embrace in the ink black water of the ocean. This is a male / female conversation in instruments. Love the bass synth on my MiniNova synth which is more Moog Taurus than Moog Taurus!
Dark Water Pt. 5 Paint The Sky With Colour
Originally this album was going to have a cover of Kim by Steve Hackett - but then I thought "No covers" (avoids copyright too), so I wrote this wee instrumental. It's inspired by the colours of the sky at sunset - actually when I was walking the dogs, not a Grecian beach, but I won't tell anyone if you don't.
Dark Water Pt. 6 Whirlpool's End
The completion of the Water Suite. Water is eternal, it just flows through everything in life - from the romance of a whirlpool to the vortex of the kitchen sink. Round and round and round we go....
Safe House
This is truly my song for Deni! When our individual worlds were ripped apart in 2017, we clung to each other like limpets to rocks - communicating constantly every day. I then used the nuclear war analogy (a traumatic break up IS a psychological nuclear war), Deni was sincerely the Safe House and a huge reason I'm here today.
Night Perfume
The song that never was!!! LOL! I actually assembled this from pieces / fragments I had in my studio and looped them for a kind of Blue Nile feel - complimented by a lovely Rhodes & sax line by my good friend Kenny Hunter. The lyric was written about the beauty of a night-time walk in summer when people's gardens just seemed to be exploding with fragrance, mingled with imaginary perfume from bedroom windows. As Marilyn Monroe once said when asked what she wore in bed "Just Chanel and a smile".
L'Amour & You
I was driving home from work one evening and thought "Wouldn't it be really poncey to write a song with French in it?". So here it is! Being serious, it's dedicated to a very special friend who made me feel human again in late 2017 when I was in every respect haemorrhaging!

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