Hi there everyone, its been a while since the last blog piece was written and published. A lot has happened since then, not least some refurbishment to the Lionheart. But that is beating stronger than ever now and while the studio computers are having some TLC, I've decided it's about time I began releasing the backlog of material i have been recording myself.
Soon to come will be the début Lionheart EP as well as a couple of Lionheart/Revelation Sound collaborations. But in the mean time, I am launching Full Cycle Project, a new name for the more experimental, electronic/dub tinged music I have made over the years. There's plenty to get out there and I'm starting off with probably my favourite piece of music I've produced so far, a track called 'Solstice'. This piece germinated on winter solstice (thus it's name) when singer Liza Kelly visited the studio at its original location in my apartment on Blarney St. in Cork City for a day of song writing. Several ideas were dreamed up that day but it was this one, with its unusual time signatures and serene atmosphere that captured our imaginations.
Over the next year it seemed to attract the ears and imaginations of other musicians that visited the studio. Regular musical companion, guitar maestro and at that time next door neighbour Niwel Tsumbu heard the edited Jazz drum loops and came up with a sublime bass line that really glued the rhythm section together. Tanzanian sax player Andelie, who was visiting during the Cork Jazz Festival the following autumn (he played with Sumu and Jazmu at the festival, the bands Niwel and I played in) and wanted to add sax when he heard the track. This transformed Solstice into another place altogether! Taking the string motif I had writen as a starting point for a beautiful Alto and Soprano sax hook, Andilie then provided two amazing improvised solos. I'm currently out of touch with him but would love to reconnect so he can hear the finished product.
Over the next few years, the track would occasionally be worked on when i wasn't working on other artists projects or writing new material. I did extensive editing... it started out nearly 30 minutes long, with two really long sax solos, so it took a while to whittle it down to its current 12 mins, which is still a long song but it needs the time and space to make its journey. Catriona O'Horan added violin and viola to the programmed sampled strings, giving that touch of realness to them that can be hard to replicate. And then in 2012, with the studio computers having been upgraded with UAD pluggins that emulate vintage recording equipment, i was able to mix the track to a standard i was happy with.
Since then the track has been in storage while i was focusing on the Lionheart reggae project and other life curve-balls thrown my way. But now is the time to clear out the hard drives full of material and release them to the world. This will be the first of many digital releases. I have no plans for a Full Cycle Project CD as yet but maybe a compilation might be gathered in the future.
One last note, the artwork design I chose out of a selection i had designed features a beautiful picture of my mother, Francis Appleby, when she was a young woman in the 1950's. There's a connection between her and the track as she passed away on winter solstice the year before to the day the track was initially written. So she was of course definitely in my mind when we wrote the song and Liza was aware of that too. It feels like a requiem to her in many ways. The picture and the positioning of the text also remind me of the monochrome record sleeves of the 80's Manchester band The Smiths, not a bad thing to pay homage to in my book.
Follow the link below to the Full Cycle Project BandCamp page to stream and maybe purchase the track. For more news on Full Cycle Project, Lionheart releases and other recordings happening at Lionheart Productions, sign up here for regular blog posts or find the relevant pages on Facebook. Enjoy!
Full Cycle Project @ Bandcamp - Purchase 'Solstice'