So on my next album the wonderful Jordan Brown of The Rube Goldberg Machine fame is gonna play some bass. To facilitate this, I just sent him the following:
“Imagine that you are adrift on the salt baked remains of what used to be your ship. The last fresh water ran out days ago and there’s no land in sight. You started hallucinating at some point in the last few hours. The sun has beaten and burned away what’s left of your reason, but you’re happy because you know at some point soon you will slip beneath the waves and breathe through the new gills you have grown.
Play the bassline you dream of, before you begin to swim”
So I’ve put up the Pay What You Want version of my new EP Black Water.
What’s that then?
It’s Black Water, but without the bonus track or the short story that comes with the £3.00 version.
Pay what you want? Can I get it free?
Absolutely, I would love you to get it for free, but you can pay any price you want. If you can pay great, if you can’t download it anyway.
How are you going to make money with this sort of attitude?
Well most people pay, but plenty don’t and that’s cool. I’m trying to build a sustainable long term audience of people who enjoy my music, so I want people to hear the music and enjoy it most of all.
I want if I can’t pay, what should I do?
Download it for free of course. If you enjoy it, I would appreciate if you told your friends about it. I hope you enjoy.
PS. EXTRA pay-what-you-want news.
My last EP, and The Steam Engine Murders and the Trial of Seven Bells John are both also available pay what you want. YOu have only one week left to get these however. So if you want ‘em, get downloading.
Black Water, my new EP, is out today.
You can stream it above and buy the full digital and physical versions here. A pay what you want option will be available later in the week which will allow you to download just the tracks without the short story or bonus track.
The full version comes with digital extras:
- The Murders at Ironbark, a short story that picks up several years after Seven Bells John and Coppertree last met (have you read the short story that came with Through These Veins?). It also explains what was going on at Ironbark in the title track from my second album.
- Lines Overheard at a Séance (2014): a new mix of a song from my first album Spinning the Compass. The séance in question was held to try and locate the bodies of some of Seven Bells John’s victims.
The main tracks from the EP:
Black Water. Seven Bells is thrown into the Black Water, a salt water lake near Ironbark. The near death experience and his subsequent rescue causes him to have a change of heart. Musically this one deliberately moves from creepy weirdness and 7/4 rhythms to something more melodic and steady, reflecting that change of heart. It ends with what I think of as ‘The Black Water theme’.
Nightfall. Years earlier, Seven Bells John was turned into a monster by The Harpy Dr Margoyles. Musically this one’s all drop d guitar and menacing drone notes. We all hunger for human flesh, right?
Moon in the Water. Musically sparse, this one tells of how Seven Bells is hunted and pursued.
Ghosts in my Dreams Recalling the musical material from Lines Overheard at a Séance, the last song on the EP has John finally acknowledging the ghosts that have been haunting him. This too ends with the Black Water theme.
Many thanks to Random Dent and Ash Surrey for the Bvox and percs, and to Joe Slatter for letting me use his photos.
A lovely bloke by the name of Rick Forster took some pics at a couple of my recent(ish) gigs:
Do you howl at the full moon?
Do you crave human flesh?
Nightfall is the second song from my new EP, out on July 15th. Have a listen here:
Seven Bells John is a character that has been haunting my songs for quite a while. In fact he’s obsessed me so much that he’s spilled out of songs and into short stories as well.
Who is Seven Bells John?
He’s a criminal, a murderer. He first turned up by name in the perfectly sensible song The Steam Engine Murders and the Trial of Seven Bells John, but his first appearance was in Lines overheard at a Séance on my first solo album Spinning the Compass.
The songs haven’t been released in chronological order however so here’s the low-down on which songs fit where in the saga of Seven Bells John.
Nightfall is chronologically the earliest song. It tells the story of Seven Bells John as he struggles with what Dr Margoyles and her husband did to him. Imagine running through a forest at dusk, craving meat and hating yourself for what you’ve become.
Can you hear it yet? Not until 15th July when the new EP is released.
Moon the Water
Moon the Water is a song from Seven Bells John’s point of view. Several years have passed since he escaped from Margoyles. He is once again forced to flee from his home, pursued by people who want him dead, but he does not care because he feels free. He has come to terms with what he is and knows what he must do – kill the doctor.
Lines Overheard at a Séance
Having exhausted the more orthodox methods available to him in his pursuit of Seven Bells John, Detective Coppertree turns to a medium. He and the parents of some of John’s victims ask the spirit world to help. When they ask for information on where the last bodies are buried this is what they hear in reply.
I Am Not Your Heart
“I will show you what a little vision and a surgeon’s knife can do for you”
This song is Dr Margoyle’s manifesto. She is a surgeon-artist who reshapes her patients, giving them the bodies they should have had. This song is her at her most triumphant, before the fall she suffers in the short story that comes with the EP.
During that short story ‘The Steam Engine Murders’ Coppertree has the harpy Dr Margoyles in custody. In a desperate scheme to capture his nemesis, he uses her as bait for Seven Bell’s John…
So that’s a guide to the first half of the story. Part two will turn up soon. Ish.
Interestingly, Through These Veins continues to split opinion. People seem to think it odd, or object to ‘Without my Medicine’. Or my voice. Or both.
(To be perfectly clear, I am more than happy for people to express any opinion on my work, and both of these reviews are positive. I’ve had bad ones too, which I always enjoy because they’re a great source of quotes!)
Here’s a great quote from Kev Rowland: This music should be very carefully labeled, as take it from me this is not something that will immediately make the listener think that it is essential, and will more likely elicit the “this is awful, what are you doing playing this?” response. Luckily for me my brain is used to me ignoring my ears and playing music more than once, and the more I played this the more I got inside Tom’s twisted, dark and surreal world.
And from Diego at Progshine: The title-track closes Through These Veins (2014) very well. Initially, it starts with a little piano and it follows with a weird sounding guitar in a waltz rhythm. A really good and different track!
Sid Smith has been taking photos of rain on his windows for years. This year he decided to put ‘em up as graphic scores. This is what I came up with for two ‘movement’.
These are electroacoustic/acousmatic pieces, rather than my usual prog rock (Think Artikulation by Ligeti, a piece I loved when studying composition at Uni).
The only sound sources were a wine glass, my bathroom mirror and some water. These pieces are more inspired by the pictures than following them closely as a graphic score.
I’m not entirely sure what the difference between ‘pre-order’ and ‘order’ really is, but whichever is right you can now do it with my new EP.
Yup, that’s right, Black Water will be released on 15th July and you can now order yourself a copy. You can get the download, or the CD. You even get the first track straight away, rather than having to wait a month.
There will be extras with this, including a bonus track and a short story called ‘Ironbark’ (‘wait a minute Tom, wasn’t your second album called Ironbark?’ Yes it was. The title is no coincidence).
There will also be a pay what you want version available on release day if you’d rather that. No extras there though.
Here’s a third person press release thing I wrote about it:
Tom Slatter Releases ‘Black Water’, the second of 3 releases based on the same concept
In January 2014 Tom Slatter began work on his two EP, one album, steampunk-prog, concept project. 6 months later, and halfway through the project, Tom is keeping his head down and plowing forward in the hope that his creative vision is nearer to triumph than it is to madness.
‘Black Water’ is the second of his concept EPs, following on from ‘Through these Veins,’ an EP that contained songs about rogue surgeons, body horror and suspended animation. Realising that the first EP’s high concept, narrative songs might be a little too prog for some, Tom is trying a different tack with the new CD. He explains: ‘I tried writing some more confessional, singer-songwriter type songs. The idea was to focus on acoustic instruments and sing about my feelings. But I ended up singing about werewolves instead’.
‘Black Water’ is a collection of four acoustic songs detailing moments in the life of Seven Bells John, a character that first came to life Tom’s ten minute steamprog song ‘The Steam Engine Murders and the Trial of Seven Bells John’. The character was seen again in the songs and accompanying short story for Through These Veins, and has in fact been popping up in his songs for the last 5 years.
‘The fourth track on the new EP deliberately harks back to one on my first album and narratively speaking the title track from Black Water takes place in the middle of the title track from my second album, Ironbark. I’ve always been a fan of narrative music, like Operation Mindcrime by Queensryche, or Coheed and Cambria’s multi-album concept stuff, and these news songs really follow that tradition.’
Black Water can be pre-ordered from www.tomslatter.co.uk
Once the EP is released on 15th July, Tom will begin work on the full-length album that will conclude the series.
‘Blackwater’ will be released on Tuesday 15th July and will available in 3 forms:
The Pay-What-You-Want version
Tom Explains: Just the 4 tracks, no frills.
The Paid-For download version
Tom explains: You get the four tracks, plus a bonus remix of ‘Lines Overheard at a Séance’ from my first album and a short story that fits in with the EP.
The Physical version
Tom explains: This is the CD, plus the download, extra tracks and short story.