Roll as a Hexagon
Roll as a Hexagon is my first full-length album of original songs. It was recorded over seven years, initially as a sporadic side project to whatever else I was doing at the time, but it became my main focus over the past year. The songs were mainly written between 2011 and 2017, although there are two older songs - from 2001 and 2009 - included as well.
As most of the first people I've played this to have mentioned, this isn't like anything I've ever released before, and for the most part wasn't what they were expecting a solo album from me to sound like AT ALL. Most people know me from a background in folk music. There's still something of a folk influence on this album, but folk has never been my only interest, and this album goes more in an alt-pop-prog direction than anything I've released previously.
Most of the songs are underpinned by a keyboard instrument: there's a wide variety of different keyboard sounds, including piano, electric piano, clavinet, organs and synthesizers. As you might expect, there's some viola and violin too, but in addition there's an equal smattering of accordion, recorders, bass guitar and drums.
I originally imagined the album to be in two halves - a Side 1 and Side 2 - but in the end decided that was silly, because nobody is going to actually be turning over a record in the middle since I haven't done a vinyl pressing. However, the first section is perhaps more introspective and more concerned with personal relationships, and was written earlier; the second was written more recently and is a little more outward-looking.
The digital download comes with an illustrated lyric book in pdf format. There's also a print version of this available, and there are physical CDs too.
This is a solo album, but would not have been possible without the myriad and wide-ranging input of Tom Drinkwater, who not only mixed and co-produced it but also played drums and half of the bass guitar parts, told me whenever I hadn't quite finished writing the songs yet when I thought I had, taught me which microphones sound best on what, taught me how to sing better, painstakingly tweaked the synth sounds so they were just right, built the amplifiers and cabinets that the synths were played through, and even built the microphone pre-amps used for recording it all.