I had an interesting discussion with my brother recently about inspirations for writing albums. He offered the notion that you need to travel and experience to be inspired to write creatively, otherwise you are creatively trapped in the limits of your own immediate world. He suggested that prisoners for example would make the worst album writers. I’m not so sure… It’s an interesting premise but it seems I’ve taken the opposite route with this album and may explain why it’s becoming so difficult to write.
‘The Man Left in Space’ is very much about insular matters, isolation, boredom, the rewards for aspiration, achievement and whether success makes someone more fulfilled. The result of success, it seems, is to sometimes collect failure… As the title suggests, the concept is played out against the backdrop of a futuristic journey into space with many historical references to the race for space in the 60s. I’ve been doing a lot of background reading too, and the biographies of some of the protagonists of the golden era of space exploration is providing a rich vein of lyrical inspiration.
The theme is also providing a rich source of musical influence, including more than a nod and wink to David Bowie’s Space Oddity for the title track although uncharacteristically for the prog genre and for me, it’s really a love song. Greg Spawton from Big Big Train has recently provided a stunning bass performance on ‘The Vacuum that I Fly Through’ which also features the eerie electric guitar work of Matt Stevens and thundering grooves of Nick D’Virgilio. Steve Dunn and Lee Abraham have also contributed some fine bass noodlings to lift ‘Aspire Achieve’ and ‘Beautiful Treadmill’ respectively.
Currently on the go is a collaboration entitled ‘The Good Earth Behind Me’ with Simon Rogers from Also Eden, and as with our previous collab ‘On Which we Stand’ on WAHDID, it is astounding me how creatively you can work with someone in a remote studio with the umbilical link of Dropbox and email. Musically, the album is nearing completion but there are some decisions to be made lyrically, and performance wise and I suspect unsuspecting musos from far and wide will soon be receiving distress calls to come and assist. Time is the biggest threat at the moment or more accurately, the lack of it to dedicate to completing the album. Hopefully having completed the writing this month, mixing will start abound in September.