The 19 Sounds To Tap Into Reality

MKCD005 2004CE

...or play individual mp3s from the track list on the right.

Four things you need to realise in order to understand The 19 Sounds:

1) It was largely written in 2003. The "War on Terror" was well under way & the world had started to resemble a parody of an X-Files episode. I wanted to write about this directly, but didn't know where to start.
2) 2003 was a long, hot summer - & it was the first time in my life that I've ever really enjoyed that sort of heat.
3) I was listening to an awful lot of Captain Beefheart. At his weirdest.
4) Magic Mushrooms were suddenly back on the menu again, legally available from our local market.

Under these circumstances, this was the first time I'd ever recorded, engineered & mixed an entire album. We'd just finished the (no-longer-available) Natural Freak album at Lancaster's Musician's Co-Op; I wasn't entirely happy with the results, but it had certainly been an educational experience... we dropped the old drum machine & started sequencing drums & synths on the laptop, which we were able to get to sound far more natural & realistic thanks to some randomised quantization & decent wavetable synthesis. This made us sound more like a "real band" than we had previously...

But it all has this weird, shifting, hallucinatory heat-haze quality to it. It's quite the most psychedelic music I've ever recorded, from a production point of view; & the Beefheart influences came to the fore in the shifting, clashing rhythms that characterise this album. Add in some cut-up lyrics & an awesome software-based guitar amp, & the results were far & away my proudest achievement at that time.

& no one got it.

Various people outside the band listened to it, some even reviewed it, but their comments all seemed based on the last, & least comprehensible, half of the album. Dan Rathbone commented at the time that had we bracketed tracks 7-16 together under the heading "The Long Dark Noodle Of The Soul", it would have been a little more apparent that this album was half "proper songs" & half entertaining experimentalism. He was dead right too.

Beefheart, the Silly 'Cybin & the heat had sent me off into a world of my own, & this album is avant garde in a big way. Between the angular, argumentative songs & the prog-influenced instrumentals are songs without words, songs with words that make no sense unless you realise that the person writing them is trying to avoid big, painful topics; & even, in one case, a track in the form of a script for a non-existent play.

So bear this in mind when listening.