New art, Novacon 49 and Mutate promo

The science fiction gallery page has been updated with the addition of two brand new pieces of artwork, Simulacrum and Into Battle.

These two pieces plus many others will be part of my display in the art show at next month’s Novacon – the UK’s longest-running science fiction convention. This year’s Guest of Honour is writer Mike Carey, perhaps best known for The Girl With All the Gifts. If you’re going, do drop by the art room and say hello!

Finally, here are two promotional videos for Mutate:

Album release teaser:

Mutation – full length video

Mutate – out today

Mutate, my new album of cinematic, electronic instrumentals is out today in digital format from the following websites:

Bandcamp: thelightdreams.bandcamp.com/album/mutate

8-track digital album (MP3, AIF, etc) comes with a 9-page PDF booklet plus 50-minute continuous mix of the album!

MusicGlue: musicglue.com/the-light-dreams

8-track digital album in MP3 format

Listen to Visitant on SoundCloud:

Mutate: Out Friday 20th Sept!

One of the biggest revelations for me over the last decade, was discovering that I can create the kind of music I have always wanted to make, from the comfort of a home studio. “Studio” feels like a bit of a grand term, given that everything is contained within my Apple Mac (then again, I do work in my home studio where I also do illustration/artwork). But to be in an age where we can have access to such wonderful production tools and the ability to self-publish work online, is simply fantastic.

There are obvious pros and cons to this kind of setup – whatever you are publishing. Making music is a very personal process. I make the kind of music I like, with the hope that likeminded folk out there might enjoy it too. But there does come a point when you’ve heard your own work too much, and the obvious things no longer stand out. That’s usually when I’ll ask a couple of people for feedback. For me, the mixing and tweaking process is usually a more time consuming process than composing the initial tracks.

However, the final challenge is knowing when to step back; to declare it complete. This thing you’ve slaved and toiled over for months – is it ready? Really? I find that point often comes instinctively, and it is then that you have to stop fiddling with it. Too much fiddling, and you risk overworking it (I’ve been there many times!). Even so, there is always a moment of doubt and there will usually be things you want to amend or revisit later – and sometimes I do. But it is always a slightly unsettling moment, prior to hitting that “publish” button.

And that is what is going to happen this week.

Since January, I have been working on Mutate – an 8 track album of dark electronic instrumentals.

Mutate will be available from Friday 20th September via my pages on Bandcamp and Musicglue

More details will follow… meanwhile, here in full is the opening track, Underground.

Mutate – album preview #1

I have spent a large part of the last six months working on my new instrumental album, Mutate. Now it is time to present some brief previews of the first four tracks.

For those of us whose lives are soundtracked by music, we remember moments of discovery and musical revelation and all other manner of minute details, which are somehow important to us – especially those songs or albums that made a certain impact at the time never fail to evoke certain feelings.

It was with this in mind, that I approached Mutate. I returned to my musical ‘roots’ in a sense, listening again to many albums that had a profound affect on me, and the kind of albums that originally made me want to make music.

However, my own music needed to go somewhere different, so I set myself a specific creative parameter for the new project, which was to – wherever possible – only use sounds that I haven’t previously used. This meant getting rid of old favourites and ‘comfort zone’ instruments that I might normally use for my early demos ideas. This would make me think or work in a new way to achieve the very specific sound, style and atmosphere in mind. I usually have a number of potential titles to work backwards from, but this time, the final upheaval of my normal working process starting work without titles, and seeing where the music went.

Album preview #2 will follow soon, along with cover art and release info… stay tuned here or follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

“Mutate”

My next album project is nearing completion, and will be called Mutate.

Mutate will be released in digital format via Bandcamp, hopefully with a limited CD edition following later in the year.

Watch this space for further details, but meanwhile, here is a brief taster.

New album – first teaser!

I have been working on a new album pretty solidly over the last couple of months, and it is now starting to take shape.

For this new project, I wanted a darker, grittier sound, and I decided to avoid using any previously used sounds, where possible in order to create a fresh sonic landscape.

Here is a brief taster of three current works in progress. Stay tuned for further updates!

Shoreline of Infinity’s Soundwave Podcast – Episode Two

Edinburgh-based science fiction magazine Shoreline of Infinity‘s recently launched podcast, Soundwave (to which I lent my music!).

Last summer I recorded an extensive interview with the Soundwave host RJ Bayley, discussing all aspects of my work and interest in science fiction and beyond. A genuinely great fun hour of conversation! We conducted the interview via Skype, which accounts for my echoey room… but echoes aside, we discussed so many things, including synaesthesia, artistic influences and creative processes.

But it’s not all about me – you’ll also hear narrative from other Shoreline contributors. Episode two is available to stream and download now.

https://shorelineofinfinity.podbean.com

Introducing “Soundwave” – the new science fiction podcast

I’m really happy to have been involved in Soundwave, an exciting new science fiction podcast from Edinburgh-based publication, Shoreline of Infinity.

The Shoreline of Infinity magazine has gone from strength to strength, recently winning the British Fantasy Society Award for best magazine/periodical, and the next step in this creative and collaborative journey – which champions new and existing writers, artists and more – is the launch of this podcast.

I have been interviewed for a future edition of Soundwave, but my initial involvement was the production of the intro and background music.

Episode Zero of Shoreline of Infinity’s Soundwave can be heard here.

Music for Time Travel!

It is getting to that time of year where we start to notice subtle signs of the change of seasons ahead, and a reminder of how quickly time passes. The passage of time, and indeed the concept of time travel is a regular theme in my music.

I’m pleased to offer 25% off each of the following albums using the discount codes shown:

Crossover (code: august1)
Back Into the Light (code: august2)
Timeshift (code: august3)

Codes redeemed at http://thelightdreams.bandcamp.com and are valid until midnight on 31st August.

Whether you’ve previously bought one album or several, I really appreciate your support. Thank you!

thelightdreams25

Twenty!

Last week, I published Prototype, my 20th independent album release via Bandcamp. This feels like a milestone of sorts, so I figured it was a good opportunity for a look back over my musical journey.

I first started making music as The Light Dreams in 2006. I had no musical training whatsoever – I didn’t know if I even had any musical ability. I had simply spent so many years as a music fan, soaking up influences, that it felt like time to regurgitate that influence and see what I could shape it into. Over the next 18 months, I made a lot of demos and album ideas, learning as I went. They were raw and rough, but I knew where I wanted to go. I’d share them online for feedback, and that spurred me on to keep trying.

I wasn’t interested in writing songs or playing live. I wanted to make instrumental music. A kind of audio equivalent of painting. I still maintain that the creative process is the same for both; one uses sounds, the other uses colours. And both allow your mind to wonder and escape to other places.

In the summer of 2007, I made what I consider my first real album, Into the Light. Thanks to the previous year’s exploration and experimenting, my own sound and style was finally defining itself. In contrast to the optimistic soundscape of Into the Light, I was also interested in exploring darker, heavier, electronica – which I did with Mechanical Drive, in 2009. With that album, I felt I’d accomplished everything I could (I was wrong) and decided to focus on developing my science fiction artwork.

Creativity is like an itch which needs to be scratched, and in 2012, the musical itch returned. I bought some new equipment and soon got back into making music, with a renewed vigour. I called the resulting album Inferno, and felt I had made something that might be good enough to sell online.

In a 1996 interview, David Bowie said something along the lines of: If you’re really turned on by whatever it is you are creating, there’s bound to be other people out there who will like it too. As with many things, Bowie was right. It’s absolutely true. This has become my creative mantra for art and music.

Having looked at the options available to independent musicians, Bandcamp was the platform to offer what I was looking for. I joined, and published Inferno as a digital download – and it sold! Encouraged by this, I also published Into the Light and Mechanical Drive, before focusing on my next project.

Around the same time, I was invited to become honorary musician for The Initiative for Interstellar Studies (I4IS), a new organisation keen to promote its mission via the creative arts. This gave my music a second home and also the chance over the following years to work on a series of space travel-themed albums – perfect for my style of music – that I published in association with I4IS.

Every album was a learning curve. With each project, I would learn something new on the technical side, whilst improving my playing. Each album would often better the previous. Being purely independent, there is no pressure or deadlines to hit, other than my own. In a sense, I started treating music the same way self-publishing authors work, putting out one or two new releases each year to keep momentum and interest.

The contrasting dark and light themes continue through all my work, with album concepts including time, dreams and space travel (many of the same themes you’ll see in my artwork).

Making music also offers a different creative channel to my primary work of digital art and graphic design. It’s often nice to have an album project on the go at the same time as I’m working on a book cover or a personal piece.

More and more artists – amateur and established – are going down the independent route. As with self-publishing, The Internet has given our music the chance to be heard in all parts of the world, without needing a record label, and technology has allowed us to make professional quality music from the comforts of home without expensive studio time.

I like the way Bandcamp operate, and they’re an ideal platform for new and independent artists and especially for those niche genres of music such as my own.

I never imagined I would have a discography, and the simple fact that other people like it enough to buy, has kept me motivated. I appreciate that support enormously.

What’s the point in making art if nobody else gets to see or hear it?

Explore The Light Dreams’ discography at: thelightdreams.bandcamp.com

Any comments or questions welcome!