As you know, there haven't been many regular Andy Murkin albums released during the period 2010-2016 - just two, in fact, Axe (FORT 16, 2011) and Holiday on Devil's Island (FORT 17, 2012).
However, here at Fortspring we have not been idle: work has been focused on the four Special series albums, Decade (FORS 01, 2012), From Aardvark to Zebra/Goodbye Finisterre (FORS 02, 2013), Devil's Island Discs, Anniversary Reissue (FORS 03, 2014) and A Walk in the Park/The Birds and the Bees (FORS 04, 2015); ambient/electronic pieces released on the Specials, and on the GENRE series albums Yelling Dimensions (FORG 19, 2015), Ambient VI (FORG 20, 2015) and Ambient VII (to be released, 2016); piano pieces using instruments specially created in Apple's EXS24 soft synth, the 'Broken Piano' and the 'Reverse Piano', appearing on Holiday on Devil's Island and Piano Music (FORG 17, 2012); and guitar-based tracks for a potential follow up to Axe.
The Fortspring release schedule for this period is completed by the collection Protosynthesis (FORG 18, 2012) and Sampler II (FORG 21, 2014).
The tracks on this album consist of ambient/electronic and piano pieces not used on the albums mentioned above, guitar tracks recorded for the uncompleted Axe follow-up, plus a couple of oddities created during this time, but not finding anywhere to be released.
1. E (Murkin) [2:44]
Named simply after the chord, beloved by all guitarists as the purest expression of the mystical force of their instrument. Here, the mixing of the sound with a clap of thunder illustrates the God-like power just waiting to be unleashed. Would have been the opening track of the Axe follow-up, as originally envisaged.
2. If I Fell (Lennon/McCartney) [5:34]
Recorded at the same time as Axe, this track didn't fit the main criterion of that album that the tracks should be entirely live. This one has live guitar, but a pre-recorded backing track.
3. Guitar Improvisation #1 (Murkin) [6:13]
This one, though, is entirely live, recorded using an effects patch I created using the program Pure Data and called the FXBOX. This uses a Korg NanoKontrol and a custom-made foot pedal which I made based on a repurposed Game Controller PCB. The only post-processing is editing for length.
4. 3 Pizzas, Lee (Reverse Version) (Murkin) [1:37]
Created using my EXS24 Reverse Piano instrument.
5. Broken Piano Fugue (Fast) (Murkin) [1:14]
6. Broken Piano Fugue (Slow) (Murkin) [1:51]
These two tracks were created using my EXS24 Broken Piano instrument.
7. Sheep May Safely Graze (Reverse Version) (Bach) [5:13]
Another one using the EXS24 Reverse Piano instrument.
8. Orchestral Suite from Skyride (Murkin) [15:46]
I enjoyed putting together the Orchestral Suite from Caravan (released on ODZNENZ, FORT 15, 2011), so I decided to do another one, using the orchestral material from the track Skyride from Bits & Bobs (FORT 09, 2006)
9. Zoot Allures (Zappa) [4:23]
Another guitar number, recorded for the Axe follow-up.
10. Devil's Island Loops (Murkin) [11.35]
An Ambient/Electronic piece, created with the 'Black Widow Sample Player', another of my Pure Data patches. This enables 4 short samples to be played back simultaneously and manipulated automatically, or manually with a a joystick/throttle controller, as used in an aeroplane simulation game.
1. Lotus Feet (Take #7) (McLaughlin) [8:50]
Take #5 was released on Axe, this take, recorded just a little afterwards, is
slightly shorter, but with a longer eBow solo.
2. Guitar Improvisation #2 (Murkin) [10:09]
Another live improvisation using the FXBOX, this time with some external effects, in particular the EHX Alterego, which provides the background drone.
3. Sunflower (Hubbard) [13:40]
A guitar track recorded for the planned Axe follow-up.
4. Slow Motion Auto 1 Edit (Murkin) [4:56]
An Ambient/Electronic piece, created with the Black Widow in automatic mode.
5. Broken Spy Song (Murkin) [0.48]
6. Spy Windsynthing (Reverse Version) (Murkin) [8:23]
These two tracks were created using my EXS24 Broken and Reverse Piano instruments.
7. A Salty Dog (Brooker/Reid) [8:56]
Recorded for the unfinished Axe follow-up.
8. Earith Lock (Murkin) [8:02]
A final Ambient/Electronic piece, partly created with the 'Black Widow', but the beginning of a new Soundscape-oriented style, distingushed in three ways: 1. I record the source material myself; 2. The pieces are closely related to the place where the material has been recorded; and 3. Much of the source material is used without processing.
Hermitage Lock in Earith, Cambridgeshire is unusual in that it passes underneath a main road. Hence this piece begins and ends with the sound of traffic; in the middle portion of the piece the natural sounds are affected as the boat waits in a tunnel beneath the roadway for the water level to rise and the lock gates to open.
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