The Building of Better Worlds started on 2nd October 2017 in a cafe on Kirkdale. I was having coffee with friend and photographer Ben Beech, who did the cover shot of my last album, ‘Are We There Yet?’.
Ben was showing me a project he was working on, a series of photos taken in derelict situaitons in Japan (where Ben lives), Taiwan and China. There is a culture in East Asia of leaving empty, unclaimed and derelict buildings intact, subject only to natural decay. Ben has specialised in documenting this, and the resulting images resonated in my mind straight away.
Many of the images show what has been, what could have been and what will be. The duality of beauty and melancholia within appeals to me immensely.
I put it to Ben that it would be a new way to work - to choose an image and match it to a sketch I was working on. I knew in my heart this would work, but as is usually the case with me, I tend to work slowly, and I’m lucky that Ben had the patience to stick with the project!
The title of this album is a direct reaction to the world we live in, combined with a healthy dose of sci-fi utopianism - I’m an optimist who loves good sci-fi movies.
I discovered a concept within the album, but it wasn’t forced: It just kind of happened by itself.
I have to give massive thanks to my family for giving me the time to make this record. It has taken two and a half years of Dad hiding away in the studio and of being on tour. That’s (arguably) a loss to them of my presence in the household.
The same applies at the Hospital office. The fact, however, that not one single member of my family nor my colleagues and staff at Hospital ever complained to me makes me wonder if I’m needed at all. I’m the dad and the CEO though, so whatever, that’s irrelevant: they’ve got me whether they want me or not.
The most rewarding part of making an album is working with other musicians, and I’ve been blessed to work again with Elsa Esmeralda and Emer Dineen, and to discover and work with two more amazing vocalists, Bulgarian Goddess and Vonné. I also got to work with Inja on my own music for the first time. That was a real joy, particularly when we wrote ‘Time To Think’, featuring my own son The Secretary-General on the first verse (big up Stanley!). Finally, I reconnected with Cydnei B., a soprano singer who I worked with a lot in the early eighties on my early classical works. Cydnei, thanks for making the hairs on the back of my neck go crazy when you started singing!
Final thanks go to Steve Pycroft for bringing the twelve-year-old ‘FInal View From The Rooftops’ back from the brink, to Natus for providing real strings and horns, and to Whiney and Urbandawn for rescuing two tunes that were destined for the scrapheap!
I consciously allowed the schizophrenic composer within me to run free on this album, with hardly a glance towards the dancefloor. I do hope you one day get to hear the Dolby Atmos version. It sounds rather special in surround sound, whether in a cinema or club, or a home 5.1 setup. It’s also pretty decent in stereo as well, to be fair.
I am truly blessed to have the best record label in the world with Hospital Records, and to have the undying support of partner in crime Chris Goss and the whole team here at Hospital who have my back. Most of the time.
Thanks for reading this, and for listening to the inner workings of the heart and mind of an increasingly eccentric but happy 58 year old composer and performer.
AKA London Elektricity