Early this year I was delighted to be approached by Norah Lorway to contribute a release to her netlabel Xylem Records, specialising in Ambient and Algorithmic music. I was just about finishing RPM2013 and was also planning a major studio upgrade! The weather was also turning colder again…with snow forecast just about everywhere!
The studio upgrades were to Ableton Live 9 from live 8, to a new 64 bit laptop (I base my studio around laptops rather than desktops). Equipment ordered, the first track recorded was Sine Waves, which was based on an idea I had on my HD for a while.
The new computer arrived, Live 9 64 bit installed, Max 6.1 installed. Only snag in this set up was I also like Csound, and unfortunately nobody has written a csound~ external that supports 64 bit, so the old laptop stays in the studio, running csound, which its perfectly happy doing. This is one of the most synthetic of my albums of late, though I use extensive use of Granular sampling, there isn’t much in the way of field recordings, apart from the church bells on Shopland, theres a huge amount of FM synthesis from Csound, Abletons Operator, and several patches of mine in Max, only a couple of tracks make use of old school analogue subtractive synthesis (Sine Waves, Cold and Soft)
By this time in mid March it was getting very cold indeed! This was giving me very musical ideas. I resisted sampling ice cracking and the sound of fresh snow being trodden, but concentrated on my response on all the cold, whiteness and greyness. The cold rolled on past Easter, the weekend before was very snowy where I live, and I took the above pictures.
The coldest tracks to me Shopland, Soft, The Naze all came from around this time, The Naze featured a sample of David Reinstein (A friend) vocalising down a trombone, which I granular sampled, as did the title track “Thin white layers over earth colours” which came directly from the photographs I had taken. FInally the weather got warmer and I brought the album to a close, and here it is:-