by Ian C. Thomas of Busker’s Dog
Music ebbs and flows, back into time immemorial and forward into the unknown future. I was late to the party, learning instruments and theory as a self-funded young adult long ago.
After many years of compiling former band and personal demos for my own interest, I thought it was time to finish an album for release. Sea to City began with a bunch of “lost” songs from other abandoned collaborative projects and a cover concept. The songs seemed to join hands as a thematic collection, so I then wrote into the spaces, and painted the cover to go along with them.
Listen to the album while reading the text.
I’ve always created visual art and written poetry, and music completes that creative circle. The lyrics still often come first, entering into a creative dialogue with the evolving music. As I write musical pieces on piano, guitar, or saxophone, words and sounds seem destined for each another. An album is still a serious, defining statement, and Sea to City is a distillation of so much.
The name Busker’s Dog comes from a character in a comic strip I used to draw for a newspaper. It was clear that any album I made would be a musical project style creation (my favourite type of album). This form, pioneered by the likes of Mike Oldfield and The Alan Parsons Project, is now popular again.
With lead vocals from friends, family, and some of my musical heroes, the songs on Sea to City range in style and speak in their own voices. Wherever a song wanted to go, I went with it. Creating and recording was a process of saying yes to ideas, and pushing through potential roadblocks, both creative and technical.
The PreSonus Studio One recording software has been a dream to work with. My long term collaborators Darren Johnson and Stuart Cardell were often involved in adding musical parts, along with guest musicians on instruments such as violin, oboe, and double bass. It took all the spare time I had to get this done, persisting with the same songs and returning to work on them as a set, rather than becoming distracted by new material.
This is an album of dreamlike ebb and flow, alternating vocal and instrumental passages. The concept relates to that consciousness, connecting themes and ideas in both music and the painted artwork.
I recently heard Nils Frahm talk about the feeling at completion of a project – reaching that finishing point where it’s all locked down. Deciding to release the work can almost feel unnecessary. Now it’s finally out there, for listeners to form their own connections with if they so choose.