This is turning out to be quite a year for Cosmograf. February saw the release of TMLIS which has exceeded all my expectations in terms of critical acclaim. I was even nominated for a PROG award, as well as the album getting great reviews in the progressive rock press.
The new album scheduled for release in Spring 2014 is now all written and about to go through the exciting phase where I start asking guests to bring the whole thing to life. Once again I’ve been blessed to be able to add Nick D’Virgilio to the cast, and the gods of prog have aligned, allowing his incredibly busy schedule to afford me a tiny window to add his talent on the drum throne.
This week also sees the release of English Electric Full Power from Big Big Train featuring a track called ‘Seen Better Days’ which features yours truly on backing vocals.
This is a Big Big deal for me. I first became aware of Big Big Train when good friend and Cosmograf collaborator Steve Dunn put me on to ‘The Underfall Yard’. I remember being totally bowled over by the sheer workmanship of their craft as well as beguiled by their musical depiction of a bygone era.
I first got to meet Greg Spawton and Andy Poole due to the kind courtesy of Rob Aubrey, sometime after WAHDID was finished. We soon hit it off with a lot of common ground between us, including a mutual appreciation of curry. A few months ago Greg asked me whether I could add some backing vocals to a track they were working on. It was big honour for me, especially given I was accompanying one of the most talented vocalists ever to come out of the progressive rock scene, David Longdon. It’s a brilliant track and a stunning double album. Check it out here http://www.bigbigtrain.com/main/shop
‘Full Power’ also includes another track called ‘Make Some Noise’ where the lyrics speak about that time as a teenager where you you were mesmerised by the bands of the day and left wanting to emulate your heroes by starting a band with your mates. Once infected, that energy never really leaves you, although it inevitably get’s suppressed by the needs and practicalities of life. Thankfully for me a growing disenchantment with the corporate rat race, reignited all those old urges. In middle age I’m still as captivated by the noise the band makes it when it all comes together as I was when I played in first band at aged 15, albeit now it’s the magic created in the studio environment that excites me most. My aforementioned schoolfriend Steve who was also in that same band at aged 15 shares the same condition and is currently putting together a new band, Colourflow. After all these years our circumstances have inexorably changed but our energy and enthusiasm for music is undimmed. Steve will also be playing bass on a track once again on the new album. It would feel odd not to have him there.
So tonight I’m sat here preparing for my drum session tomorrow with one of the world’s best session drummers, and reflecting on last night, where I had dinner with all the members of Big Big Train, Steve Thorne, and Rob Aubrey discussing our respective projects. I said to Steve Thorne that I had to pinch myself sometimes to make sure it was real…. Luckily I didn’t wake up and hope I don’t for some considerable time. 😉
In the words of my friends at BBT. It’s time to ‘Make Some Noise’.