I have produced a limited quantity of CD-Rs of my latest album Aspects and last year’s The Ministry of Machine Building. Both albums are presented in professionally produced quality gatefold packaging. They are available via the Merchandise section of my Bandcamp page, where I have also added remaining stock of my previous CD releases: Crossover, Back Into the Light and Traces. My music has rarely been available on physical format, so now’s your chance to get a copy!
Up Close, my new ebook project will be available for free download from the Blackpool Remembered website on Friday 29th April.
Following the success of Blackpool Remembered and Blackpool Revisited, I felt the need to keep writing and reminiscing about life in Doctor Who fandom. I wanted to expand on some of the things covered in my 2010 publication, Who, Where & When as well as opening up my personal photo archive from various Doctor Who events and conventions over the past couple of decades alongside other musings and a recent visit to Neil Cole’s Museum of Classic Sci-Fi.
Check back this time next week to wallow in a feast of nostalgia!
Aspects has been out in the world for just over two weeks now, and it has been streamed, downloaded and playlisted. As an independent musician working outside of the usual spheres, it is always so gratifying and rewarding to know that somebody in another part of the world has taken a moment to listen to my work.
Aspects was composed during 2020–2021; strange years for all of us. 2021 began with the tightening of pandemic restrictions, slowly followed by the (short-lived) hope that we would be returning to some kind of normality. A somewhat premature optimism, given the unprecedented circumstances. I had been working on new music at various points, for different projects – my vocal collaborations with Ren Faye, other potential collaborations and several tracks just for the simple love of making music.
I’ve often felt the best material often creates itself. Those moments when an idea for a piece of music seems to fall from the sky and comes seamlessly together, are the most satisfying – not because it doesn’t mean hours of toil, but because it is a fine example of creativity in action. It’s almost like some kind of magic. My normal process for recording an album is to begin with a title and concept, and work backwards from there. The process for Aspects was the complete opposite. Towards the end of last summer, I reviewed the music I had made over the course of the past year and discovered they all fitted perfectly together. I realised I had a solid album in the making.
As I worked on the tracks, I found various consistencies between them; common themes, moods and atmospheres. I had the music in mind when I took the cover photograph, on the west coast of Scotland in September 2021. I knew as I framed the shot, it was going to be the cover art.
Aspects is an album I am very proud of, both musically and from a production perspective, which is always the most taxing part of the process. It is an album for reflection and meditation; to allow one to travel in the mind and temporary escape the worries and uncertainties of the world around us. I had already set a release date when the dreadful, devastating situation in Ukraine unfolded. Although it felt insensitive to be releasing and promoting this project when a country is being destroyed – homes, families and livelihoods wrecked – but releasing the work or not wasn’t going to change what is going on. If anything, I might hope that anybody listening to the album enjoys a moment of escape and distraction.
Below are videos for Aspects and Breaking Surface
Creatives for Ukraine is an open platform for creatives from around the world to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine, via artwork. The idea being all submitted works are freely available to be downloaded and used in any way in order to support Ukraine.
I created a piece called Lament; a simple abstraction of the Ukraine flag on first glance, but on closer inspection, an explosion. Lament is now due to be used in a nationwide outdoor advertising campaign in Finland, as a show of solidarity and support.
If you are reading this post, ukrainetakeshelter.com is an independent platform connecting Ukrainian refugees with potential hosts and housing. Please share the URL far and wide – you never know who you might be helping.
My new album Aspects is released today as a digital download on Bandcamp and across popular streaming platforms.
Aspects was composed and recorded between December 2020 and February 2022. I wanted to return to my roots a little, with longer, flowing instrumental pieces with shades of dark and light. Aspects has a reflective and contemplative mood, but an overall tone of optimism. Music has the power to keep certain memories alive and fondly remembered times and places in check. Either as a listener or creator, music allows us to travel to many different junctures, and during troubles and worrying times like the present, that escape is vital. Why not take some time out for a journey…
My new album Aspects will be released on Bandcamp and streaming platforms on 25th February 2022.
Here’s a short teaser…
As the title suggests, the music explores various perspectives and viewpoints of life. We’ve all had cause to reflect or contemplate during the pandemic and as ever, when I’m not working on art, I channel my thoughts into music. As a self-taught musician, every album project is a learning curve, and along the way, new discoveries are made and processes learnt, as I become absorbed in the creation of an album. Aspects was composed over the course of the past 18 months and the result is a suite of tracks I’m really proud of.
I will soon be releasing a new instrumental album entitled Aspects – which I composed over the course of the past couple of years. The first track I’m previewing from the album is called Breaking Surface.
Aspects will be released digitally via Bandcamp and available on popular streaming platforms very soon – stay tuned for updates.
My latest cover illustration is for Terry Grimwood’s forthcoming SF novel Interference, which is will be published by Elsewhen Press. For this cover, Terry wanted to depict an alien world with a red, burning sun. The scene is within a city, which is made up of tall, curved featureless buildings.
I’ve recently been busy with some festive illustration with an Icelandic twist. My own interpretations of the thirteen Icelandic Yule Lads who, according to folklore, visit each night in the run-up to Christmas were produced for Reykjavik-based tour guide, Your Friend in Reykjavik.
The Yule Lads have their own gallery here.
I was sad to hear of artist Chris Achilleos’ passing yesterday at the age of 74. Chris was a renowned science fiction and fantasy artist, but most famous for his Doctor Who novelisation covers of the “Target” books in the 1970s. Chris’ distinctive cover art inspired a generation, perfectly encapsulating the stories, the essence of the show and the era.
My personal favourite is Planet of the Daleks. I first saw it in the junior school library when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I’d never seen a Dalek on the cover of a book before, and it blew me away. Not only was this a way into a story I had never seen (and at that time, there was no way of re-watching older stories), but studying that cover taught me how to draw Daleks and also taught me about creative composition and framing a piece. After seeing that artwork, even at the young age I was, I thought about drawing differently.
Until then, I had no idea there were Doctor Who books in the school library(!)… others followed! Chris’ covers were a way into the stories you hadn’t seen, and in the age before BBC Video releases were a regular thing, they were your only way of discovering past stories. They were also fantastic pieces of artwork in their own right.
Chris’ work continued to inspire me in my own science fiction artwork, decades later. Generations of fans felt a closeness to his work, because of everything those Target books meant to them as young fans, again growing up in the age before video or DVD releases and long before the internet. His absence will leave a dark hole in the worlds of fandom and SF&F art. Still working and as good as ever, it had been a pleasure to follow Chris online in recent years. He will be missed.