Murder and Parliament – Pre-orders open now

My new instrumental album, ‘Murder and Parliament’, is available now for pre-orders. You can stream the first track, ‘A Scattering’, right now.

Here’s the Bad Elephant Music announcement:

MURDER AND PARLIAMENT – PREORDERS AVAILABLE NOW
Bad Elephant Music is excited to announce that preorders for ‘Murder and Parliament’, the new instrumental project from Tom Slatter, are now open, ahead of a December 8th release.

Think you know Tom Slatter? Think again! Murder and Parliament’s instrumental soundscape showcases a side of Tom that may surprise you.

Enlisting the talents of Alun Vaughan (bass guitar) and Chrissie Caulfield (violin), Tom has realised this vision of layered, complex but tuneful noise. Make no mistake: this is a rock album, fitting neatly into the BEM instrumental zone also occupied by the likes of The Fierce & The Dead, The Brackish and The Bob Lazar Story.

”The songs on Murder and Parliament have been running around in my head for a decade or so,” says Tom. “And I can’t wait for other people to hear them too.”
‘Murder and Parliament’ will be released on December 8th, 2017.”

I’ve also made a couple of videos explaining the project:

The Sunday Bootleg Episode 42 – Simon Godfrey

In the new episode of my podcast the following things occur:

  • I remind us of the origin of the insect creatures and what they’ve been up to
  • I have a chat with Simon Godfrey about Simon’s musical adventures and our mutual problems with our record label boss, David Elephant.
  • I play Simon’s song ‘Tea Head’ from his album of rarities and obscurities ‘The Black Back Archives Volume 2’
  • I tell a little story about what I got up to after my last meeting with the evil label boss, David.

You can find more of Simon’s music at: shineback.badelephant.co.uk/

Sunday bootleg episode 41 Abomnium

Episode 41 of the Sunday Bootleg.

I’ve decided to include more interviews with other people and bootlegs from others on the podcast.

This week:
-An interview with one man extreme metal band Peter Watkinson about his band Abomnium.
-True facts about the war between Tarquin’s City Boys and the metal insects
-True facts about what it’s like being signed to BEM and how different Peter’s label boss is to David Elephant.
-Some heavy metal, including a demo track that Peter and I did together two or three years ago, and a track from Abomnium’s latest album A Hollow Path.

You have been warned.

Gig report and the end of ‘phase 1’ – The Underworld Rally 2017

I didn’t know what to expect from a biker rally. My entire knowledge of biker culture comes from the TV show Sons of Anarchy, so I assumed there was a real danger of being killed by people with unconvincing Irish accents.

More to the point, are silly songs about aliens and tentacles and steampunk shenanigans really the sort of thing to play at a biker rally, even if it is the chill-out Sunday afternoon acoustic session? Might we get booed off, or worse?

It was with a slight sense of trepidation that Gareth and I headed into Sunday’s gig at the Underworld Rally 2017.

I headed up to Nottingham, where Gareth lives with his better half and my dog Charlie on the Saturday evening and we headed off for a very pleasant drive up to the rally which was taking place in Preston, finally turning in to the entrance to the venue, a farm somewhere quite a way from civilisation (being a lousy Southerner, I of course regard the interior of the M25 as civilisation and everything outside it as a bleak, desolate wasteland).

A lovely chap greeted us and gave us wrist bands. There was a woman with a baby at the welcome table with him. We drove in, still nervous, only to find a nice little group of people listening to the opening acoustic act, who was performing under a tree.

It turns out bikers like their rock music and a great many of them were wearing Iron Maiden t-shirts. I was obviously going to like them, wasn’t I? The event even had its own beer, a pleasant, rather wheaty affair. Apart from the bikes, which I have no interest in, this was the perfect event for me.

Gareth caught me off guard, hence the smile. I apologise and will make sure I stick on brand in all photos from now on.

We were performing outside in the shade of a tree and an old carved statue of what I think was supposed to be a native american. It was the afternoon of the third day of the rally and the acoustic acts were the chill-out section before the final evening.

We were last on and played a pleasant little set to about 40 or 50 people. It Is interesting, the different audiences you play to. This gig was definitely a mixture of some people paying attention and some hanging out in the sun with the music as background. Which is fine, and presents a nice challenge for us as performers. Can you find the peolle who want to listen and engage with them, can you win some more round? We had some nice little chats with people afterwards, so I think it’s fair to say we did okay.

So it was a pleasant gig, the fourth as a duo and the end of what I’ve bern thinking of as ‘phase 1’ of gigging.

What’s phase 1? It’s the proof of concept phase where we answered the questions does this duo thing work? And can Gareth and I work together? The answers appear to be ‘yes,’ and ‘yes.’

What’s phase 2? Phase two is where we book gigs strategically and really put some effort into building the audience.  This may involve a banner of some kind.

 

More podcast, whether you want it or not.

No-one asked, literally no-one, but I’m doing it anyway. I’m recording more episodes of my podcast ‘Tom Slatter’s Sunday Bootleg’.

If you don’t know what that is, it is a podcast wot I do on a Sunday that has a ‘bootleg’ recording of some sort and a true story about recent happenings. As an example, here is story about the true things that happened to me at last year’s Prog awards.

I’m not going to apologise. It is fun.

The next new episode will include a true story about what I stole from The Horns in Watford, and I why I gave it back.

IronBark song by song – Watermen’s Square

What’s it about?

Watermen’s Square is about some watermen on the Thames who dredge up an evil rusty twisted metal skeleton, take it back to the the Watermen’s square. Once there the executor turns up and claims it. Terrified, they hand it over.

Watermen’s Square is a real place in Penge, South London. Here’s a picture:

In reality it’s just an exceedingly pretty collection of houses built for the Freemen and Apprentices of the Watermen’s company who worked the Thames and associated waterways. It stands out as an incongruous bit of architecture in an otherwise kinda dull urban street.
In my song, it’s where the watermen drag the huge misshapen iron skeleton that eventually becomes the hulking body of the Miser’s Triumph.
It ain’t a happy place.

Its the middle song from the Miser’s Will, and possibly my favourite. It hangs somewhere in the middle of lullaby and horror story and the one I enjoy singing the most.

The Writing Process:

Watermen’s Square started heavier than it sounds now. I had recorded an instrumental Alice in Chains rip-off with the melody played by several harmonized guitars. A rough version of this was hanging around on my harddrive for about six months until I got the point last month where I needed a third song in the Miser’s Will and didn’t know what to do.

So I dug out this Alice in Chains rip-off, calmed it down, and there it was.

The Recording Process:

It took forever to record the vocals for this. So long and so frustrating a process was it that I ended up writing several entries of a diary about my singing voice.

Mostly I got there in the end.

Inspired by/Blatantly steals from:

Alice in Chains acoustic stuff.

__________

If you enjoyed this post, why not support an independent artist by grabbing some music here

You can download a free ep here.

You can also join the mailing list for instant access to a free song and a to get regular updates about releases and gigs. Click here for the mailing list!

IronBark song by song – What The Orderly Saw

The Miser’s Will II: What the Orderly Saw

What’s it about?

The second song of the Miser’s Will is from the point of view of a hospital orderly. He witnesses a doctor cutting a brain out of a body, placing it in a jar and then trying to diddle the man who hired him to do so. He is killed, as is the orderly.

The Writing Process:

This is connected to the first song musically both in terms of the arrangement, at least to begin with, and the minor arpeggios which aren’t a million miles away from the Cartographer’s Tale either.

Here’s the original demo. As you can hear, it was pretty much fully formed by the time I recorded it:

It’s through composed, the music changing to follow the story, and most of it turned up pretty easily. I’m not the sort of songwriter who slaves over songs, constantly editing and rewriting. I much prefer to let things simmer and stew at the back of my mind until they come to fruition of their own accord. What the Orderly saw obliged me by doing so very quickly. As we shall see, some other tracks on this weren’t as easy to write.

The Recording Process:

There’s some actual live percussion in this! Most of the percussion on Ironbark is programmed drums and sound effects. What the Orderly Saw has real tambourine and Djembe as well.

There are also lots of messy synth sounds which I recorded with my trusty Sonuus G2M midi converter.

Inspired by/Blatantly steals from:

Black Holes in the Sand by Gravenhurst, the poem ‘There was an old woman who swallowed a fly’ and a couple of Opeth numbers

__________

If you enjoyed this post, why not support an independent artist by grabbing some music here

You can download a free ep here.

You can also join the mailing list for instant access to a free song and a to get regular updates about releases and gigs. Click here for the mailing list!