Elemental 2017

Suzy Johnson and I recorded the original ‘Elemental’ in 2005 as a birthday present for Mike, Suzy’s partner. Whilst the original version had its charms I felt it needed … revisiting. 

My aim was to soften the dance beat and lift the vocal a bit, making the whole song much more focussed on Suzy’s wonderful vocal, with light and space to breathe. The result is a somewhat mushy synthy pop song – the sort of thing I don’t normally do, but have nevertheless thoroughly enjoyed, both the first time round when recording with Suzy, and this time round, just doing a  quick, but I think effective, remix.

Music From Holy Vale

Dawn’s Magic
The Meaning Of Light
Rain Patterns
Island Heart
Time Will Bring The Sea
Music For Holy Vale
Island Heart (Vocal Version)
In Green

An hour long suite inspired by the elm wood at holy vale on the isles of scilly. Created with mandolin, recorders, piano, percussion and voice, and enhanced by birdsong from holy vale, and careful use of electronic keyboards and reeds.

Originally released on compact disc in may 1999. I still have a few copies left – if you would like one, let me know and ‘Buy Me A Coffee’ below to cover postage and packing.

I first experienced the wood at Holy Vale in the spring of 1995. I was immediately overwhelmed by the atmosphere, and sense of deep mystery and stillness that seemed to pervade the place – as wild and dense as the exquisitely twisted and gnarled trees themselves.

I find it hard to explain its hold over me – something about the absolute silence of the place when just a few miles in all directions around lies the awesome force of the sea.

The Woof

Probably the most annoying thing I’ve ever written, and that’s saying something. I’d heard Michael Nyman’s ‘In Re Don Giovanni’ and also a British Rail advert on the TV. This is nothing like any of those things. I was working with the extraordinary Sarah Bennett at the time, so I blame her.

The picture is of Gwen’s imprint on the frosty grass, and although this tune was written years before she was born it suits her down to the last … woof.

Breathing The City

Breathing the City
Breathing the City, Stripped to the Waist
Breathing the City, Naked

Breathing the City is an instrumental reworking of one of my first songs. The tune and chord progression have haunted me for many years so it has been revisited several times. This version is focussing on atmosphere, and was a conscious attempt to start embracing and experimenting with a wider pallet of sounds and textures – elements I had previously used in my theatre work but tended to avoid in songs and personal music.

The mandolin was an important link for me to the first 1979 recording – Swan plane – which I’ll put up in a bit


Waterwood got me back to making music after a few years out. My aim was to revisit some of my earlier songs and musical themes and look at them through the light of Pistyll Gwyn, the misty woody place which is now my home in West Wales.

The tune here was originally written for a piece of theatre at Dartington Hall School in 1985, which then evolved into a song called ‘Rat Race’ before becoming ‘Waterwood’. I do like this version, but I suspect I’m not quite done with this one yet …

The image is of Pistyll Gwyn woods, summer and winter. The beautiful woman is my mother, when she was a teenager – picture taken sometime in the late 1940s.