Hello! My name is Tom Slatter and I write the sort of music you'd get if Genesis started writing songs with Nick Cave after watching too much Dr Who. If you enjoy it you can sign up for more by entering your email address below.
How best to conceive of the structure of a piece with no verse or chorus? It depends on the piece but in the case of Beyond Astronomy’s Reach by Emmett Elvin, I would suggest you imagine this:
There are two ostinatos. One is in 7/4 and centred around a descending F minor patern, the other is in D and in 6/4. The first is an anticipatory shade of light blue, the uneven rhythm making us feel unsettled. The second is a menacing angry red storm of building tension.
Two colours: 7/4 blue and 6/4 red. This piece moves between those two colours, using deft and insightful instrumental choices to pick out the textures and gestures within the broader swathes of colour.
We start with a drum beat in seven, with the rhythmic drive coming more from the cymbals, jazz fashion, than it does from kick and snare.
A loop of piano and wind gives us that descending F minor pattern, building up over a F note drone the crescendos deliciously into the first rendition of our 6/4 ostinato. And it it is a thing of beauty. Honking brass and wind stab out the bass line while everything else builds up a layer of chords that reach a massive crescendo before giving way again to light blue 7/4 again.
Here the ostinato is joined by some lovely melodic F minor stuff before we get a second verse of the 6/4 ostinato. This time the main rhythmic material is provided by the acoustic guitar with the same chords building up around it. The drums take a short break, as do the stabbing bass instruments from the last time we heard this melody. The drumming here is ace.
Bass comes back in and we get a lovely electric guitar solo over the same backing. The guitar solo gives way to an equally good piano melody as the backing loops again towards the final tight, stabbed ending.
There are lots of pieces based around ostinatos. Beyond Astronomy’s Reach felt ever so slightly reminiscent of Mars of Holst’s The Planets, not because they share any material but because they both contain a rhythmic ostinato around which massive, menacing chords are built.
Bloody Marvels is a bloody marvellous album and this piece is ace.
So here’s the next couple of episodes of the podcast.
Which is about the villain of the piece. Well, one of the villains. More than that, it includes remixed versions of two songs from the ‘Through These Veins’ ep. I was never happy with the mix fo that, so I thought I’d see about fixing it.
And episode 4 which is about a town called Ironbark:
I’ve decided to do an acoustic gig to launch the new album. Here’s the blurb:
Having hoodwinked an actual record label into releasing his latest album, Fit the Fourth, Tom Slatter has now decided to bully his friend and family into sitting through an evening of his music. You can come and listen too.
Tom will be performing an acoustic set in the Chapel at St Margaret’s House, Bethnal Green, London. It will include songs from the new album and others that tell the story of ‘Seven Bells John’ who has been haunting Tom’s music for the last five years. As it will just be Tom and his acoustic guitar you won’t be forced to endure those self indulgent solos that he puts in the studio version of his songs.
Between songs Tom is likely to tell bad jokes and complain about Martin from Bad Elephant records who now writes all his publicity material.
Tickets are free, but strictly limited in number. Doors at 7:30pm but you can turn up earlier and enjoy the marvellous food and drink at the Gallery Cafe.
You’ll be able to buy a copy of the album too, if you want one.
Opening act TBC
You can book yourself a free ticket at this link. It’s small venue, so while the tickets are free, once they’re gone they’re gone.
Ahead of the release of my next album, Fit the Fourth, I thought I’d tell the story of Seven Bells John in chronological order. That way you might understand what half the music on the new album is about.
This one starts with some dodgy voice acting (I did my best!), followed by a bit of the story and the track Nightfall
My new album, Fit the Fourth is now available for pre-order in CD and digital formats.
CD pre-order from The Merch Desk
Digital pre-order from the BEM sales site
The album is to be released on 1st June 2015 and while you’re waiting for it to arrive check out the single, ‘Some of the Creatures Have Broken the Locks on the Door to Lab 558’, released as a pay-what-you-want download single on the BEM site today
My new album Fit the Fourth will be released in June. Here’s a PDF of the press release. And here’s what my record labels PR department (ie. a lovely bloke called Martin) has to say:
Bad Elephant Music
TOM SLATTER – ALBUM RELEASE DATE AND ARTWORK
Bad Elephant Music is proud to announce that ‘Fit the Fourth’, the new album from respected singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tom Slatter, will be released on June 1st, 2015.
Tom weaves complex and fantastical stories throughout his music and this new album is no different. Dark deeds and dangerous characters litter the narrative, including the continuing tale of Seven Bells John. The story of this menacing character and the vivid steampunk world he inhabits has been interwoven throughout Tom’s music from his first appearance on Slatter’s debut album ‘Spinning The Compass’. With ‘Fit the Fourth’, John’s journey comes full circle with his eventual fate revealed in twenty-minute epic, ‘Seven Bells Redeemed’.
Aided by bassist Jordan Brown on two songs, Tom has produced another stellar tale with deliciously sinister leanings illustrated, as ever, with Joe Slatter’s inventive visuals.
Fit the Fourth will be available directly from Bad Elephant Music – http://music.badelephant.co.uk/ – and other selected outlets from 1st June. Pre-ordering will be announced shortly – and keep a look out for more surprises!