Dave Stafford, August 2010: With “transitory” behind me, and a series of looping
albums dating back to the early 1990s, in 1997, I wanted to do something a little
bit “different” for my next album, “1867”.
I’d been to another Guitar Craft course, which of course always has a profound effect
on both your live performance and also how you approach the recording studio.
The name “1867” refers to the particular model of Ovation guitar, the Ovation 1867,
that at that time, in 1997, the majority of Crafty Guitarists used. Since 99% of
the sound on the record was produced by the 1867, it seemed like the proper title
for the record when it came time to give it a name. So “1867”, it became.
I wanted to try and combine the best of all worlds – the beautiful sound of the new
standard tuning “Crafty” acoustic guitar; the sound of composition in the new standard
tuning versus the sound of composition in the old standard tuning; and…of course…most
important and most significantly – the sound of looping.
It struck me early on, maybe even before I had songs for the project, that this should
be “a celebration of the acoustic guitar and the joy of looping” and that’s exactly
what “1867” became. I wanted to combine that wonderful Crafty sound, and some of
the new compositions I was writing in the new standard tuning, and integrate them
with my own “looping” approach to music.
The tracks on “1867” are all done on the acoustic guitar save one, which has a single
electric guitar (energy bow) overdub in one version and a looped ebow in another
The tracks are also all loops – but in some cases, they are not just loops, but they
are songs that are created by quickly creating a loop, adding a second part, perhaps
adding a third part, and then soloing, live, on top of the resultant “instant backing
loop” to “complete” the song.
THE NATURE OF LIGHT
The lead-off track on “1867” is such a track, a composition that starts with a series
of four chords, that are played once slowly, picked, - not looped, as an introduction
– then, they are played again, this time picked at double speed – and the resulting
chord sequence is then looped. Immediately switching to overdub mode, a two-note
pattern is added that “fits” on top of the four looping chords.
Once through another round of chords, back to overdub mode again for another two
note picked pattern, thus building up the sound of the loop even further.
That loop (now consisting of one basic chord pattern with two overdubbed picking
parts) is then locked AGAIN, and the acoustic lead guitar melody is played atop the
running composite loop. The solo lasts for three full iterations of the loop, and
is completely designed and composed to “fit” over the layered composite loop – so,
it’s a “song”, but made up of three “loop pieces” and one long, carefully practiced
I remember quite clearly, that I rehearsed this one piece for about six weeks before
I even tried to record it. I felt I needed six weeks of “warm up” in any case, because
playing the acoustic is far more difficult than the electric, and to go in “cold”,
as I can and often do with electric guitar based records, was simply not going to
work with an all-acoustic album.
So “The Nature Of Light” was the first composition, and the track that was recorded
first, so, similarly to the way that “transitory” was recorded, I just kept going,
recording loop after loop, although in the case of “1867”, unlike “transitory” that
had no outtakes, there were many outtakes and alternate loops created during the
“1867” sessions – which turned out to be most fortunate when it came time to expand
the cassette version to the CD format.
The solo on “The Nature Of Light” was particularly problematic for me, I struggled
with it, but eventually I could play it well enough to make a decent take. I was
really just beginning to achieve some semblance of fluidity on the acoustic and in
the new tuning, and this almost-halting solo almost succeeds – at least well enough
to get me to the end of the piece. I can hear myself being careful, trying to keep
it flowing evenly, an almost impossible task given the structure of the song, and
this is one of the few lengthy solos that I “learned” completely – it’s completely
rehearsed, right down to the final picked notes that go off the top of the neck and
are therefore purposefully muted to bring the song to an end.
“Transparent Bell” comes next, and by contrast, was conceived, looped, recorded and
completed very quickly. A basic two-chord introduction is played, looped, and then
a melody/lead guitar plays over the top, moving down onto that bass string, showing
off the range of the new tuning. This is a very simple tune, and I think it profits
from the fact that it just…happened, and I allowed it to come together very, very
The end is the best bit, the backing loop is switched to a second, pre-recorded “ending”
backing loop, while at the same time, the melody changes to match this new chord
and new pace, and as suddenly as it arrives, the track is gone.
“Entmoot” now arrives, this was a very live, one-take, full-on looped improvisation,
where I basically built up many, many acoustic guitar melodies and then let the finished
loop play. A large reverb gives the track a strange, swelling quality, suggesting
the meeting of the ancient Ents in their ancient forest – strange creatures speaking
an even stranger language.
This is an odd piece, but I kept it in because of its unusual, bubbling character
– and at the end, just before the final fade, the entire loop is reversed, pans across
the stereo, and is gone.
YOUR TIMOROUS COURAGE
Only to be replaced by one of the most distinctive loops on the record, the absolutely
lovely “Your Timorous Courage” – I was working on a new piece, using a very lush
chorus voice on the Digitech TSR-24S, trying to compose a new piece of music – I
turned on the looper to capture part of it, and liked the resulting loop – so I opened
up the loop, and added in just one extra bit of melodic guitar, locked the loop again
– and that became the entire song.
The original chorus sound was left on it to give it the proper sonic character, but
I love the simplicity of this piece, and how it seems to float around and around
in circles, always returning, always circling back around – and the extra guitar
adds just enough fullness that it doesn’t sound too sparse.
This will always be one of my favourite tracks from “1867”, it was so unplanned,
a tiny captured piece of music, a quickly added overdub – and a song was born.
Next is “Raven”, which has one long loop, of a simple “folk melody”, that repeats,
perhaps every 30 seconds. That loop is played, captured, looped, and then, as the
piece progresses, “twinkling” acoustic guitars are overdubbed at particular moments
within the piece – with respectful silences in between during which the looped melody
plays away valiantly - these are overdubbed repeatedly until they reach a certain
fullness – then the loop is locked again, and is just allowed to play.
I find this piece to be strangely familiar, strangely calming – the “folk melody”
seems comfortable, it seems to bring us around home, while the “twinkling” guitars
try to take us up to the stars. Sombre, black, cold, but also peaceful, mysterious
- “Raven” could easily be the raven’s last flight of the evening, as he goes to roost
at night, at peace.
CONVEX EMERALD HALL
“Convex Emerald Hall” is one of a series of acoustic guitar loops created especially
for “1867”, it works in almost the opposite fashion to “Raven” – in this instance,
the “twinkling” acoustic guitar notes are the background, and the guitar melody is
the central point of attention.
A big, beautiful reverb room gives this version a lot of really nice space, while
the live, melody guitar plays wistfully over the top, questing, slowing, it’s excellent
because while the “twinkling” guitars are constant, they are outside time, so I can
play the melody quickly, medium, slow or very, very slow, and it makes no difference,
it just “goes with” the twinkling no matter what I do.
In this version, I remember specifically planning to play the melody at very different
speeds, which meant that even though the basic melody was the same, I could give
each iteration of it a very different character – because of course adjusting the
tempo of the melody meant that it “related” differently to the background in each
version – making each individual section far more distinctive than it would have
been had the melody been played at an even, constant tempo.
The lead guitar stops and the backing loop plays and plays, a tense silence-that-is-not-silence
while we wait to see what will happens…and finally the melody returns, playing apace,
carefully, deliberately, dropping notes onto the beautiful, sparkling background,
improvising a little this time, brighter, more positive, more definitive – then returning
to the straight melody, following the backing down and down, now growing quieter,
allowing the backing to swallow it up, slowing, slowing and then stopping completely
again, allowing the unadorned backing to pull the entire piece along.
The guitar returns again, incredibly, this nine minute piece is one long live take,
until the guitar suddenly anticipates the end of the loop by twirling quickly, mysteriously,
between two half-steps – signifying the end of “Convex Emerald Hall”.
THE TIMID GLOBE
“The Timid Globe” is the first recorded example of a solo circulation. (Please see
the entry for Dave Stafford “Circulation” for a full explanation of the solo circulation
process). It was an experiment; using a technique I had just conceived of one day,
that concept being I could play a Guitar Craft circulation, normally played by several
guitarists, by myself, by using the looping device to “play” the parts of the “other
For a first attempt, it’s not bad at all, sure, the timings are a bit strange but
I think that gives the piece a lot of charm, and I love the way the final loop turned
out. What you are hearing is the COMPLETED loop, so all the different “guitarists”
have played their “notes” into the looper, and it has faithfully recorded the entire
piece – which was built up over several MINUTES, adding one note, waiting for the
loop to go around, adding one more note, and so on.
So – the world’s first solo circulation – “The Timid Globe” is an integral and critical
part of the “1867” experience. I was to explore this format fully and in a range
of different ways on my next record, “Circulation” (please see the entry for Dave
Stafford “Circulation” for a full explanation of the solo circulation process) but
for now, this was the first of what turned out to be many to come, up until “The
Autoreverse Sessions”, since then, I have not attempted this rather difficult technique,
but I very much enjoyed working these unusual loops out, figuring out how to make
it work – and again, the Oberheim Echoplex Pro is really the star here, it’s the
one single piece of technology that really made “1867”, and looped circulations,
Setting up, counting out, recording and performing a circulation by yourself requires
a degree of concentration that I could barely muster even at my best, so to me, the
fact that I managed this at all is quite remarkable. I am not aware of any other
musicians who have taught themselves how to do something like this using a looping
device, possibly by now it’s happened elsewhere, but certainly back in 1997, when
I did my first solo circulation, it was a unique and unusual technique that brought
comment from both my peers and from reviewers alike.
BEARER OF GLAD TIDINGS
The next track, “Bearer Of Glad Tidings” is an actual song, composed of different
sections, some of which are looped – it was bits and pieces, ideas, small melodies
that I had but didn’t know what to do with – I can remember spending a few hours
constructing this, deciding what the structure was, getting loops made, selecting
the right atmosphere for the solo guitar, and then recording the whole thing, including
the very timely ritard at the end of the piece.
I particularly enjoy the strange, warped sound of the rhythm guitar in the main solo
section, which sounds so weedy and wind-blown, and then the quick-echo lead guitar
comes in on top of it and suddenly the weak becomes the strong, and the melody works
so very well with the thin, repeating chords.
The final climb up, the notes slowing down and the reverse strum down as the final
chord of the rhythm completes – and this lovely little piece has ended.
CONCAVE EMERALD HALL
“Concave Emerald Hall” is the next in the series following on from “Convex Emerald
Hall” – in this version, the reverb is immense, which “blurs” the sound of the backing
“twinkling” guitars in the most beautiful way, and when the new melody comes in,
also clouded in extreme reverb, the atmosphere is positively mysterious, as if we
are lost in a vast cavern, the melody guiding us through the beautifully confused
background, and then the whole thing just peacefully floats away on a sea of fading
In the cassette days, that was the final piece on “Side One” of the cassette.
The beginning of “Side Two” of the cassette, “The Wrong Door”, is another “song”,
composed especially for the album, it’s not looped, a strange delayed-harmoniser
voice is used on the lead guitar which makes it sound like two separate guitars.
An atonal riff is played, with strange pauses, then the pitch moves up, the pattern
moves up, and suddenly, the pauses are filled with various “noises” produced by,
uh, gently abusing the guitar strings, and then, a very fast riff repeats like a
broken record, leading up to a very quick, very strange riff that then brings us
immediately to a crash landing chord, a very dissonant and very final chord.
The entire experience seemed like something that might happen by accident, so if
for example you were lost and you accidentally opened the wrong door, for instance,
this strange series of musical events and near-atrocities might occur to you – so,
“The Wrong Door” was born.
I was never sure about it, but listening now, even with the odd string noises and
so on, I think it’s a fine representation of dissonance, humour and the possibilities
for composition that the new standard tuning gives us. It seemed a great way to
start the second side of the cassette as well, something that has an element of fun
BETWEEN THE POLES
The next track is “Between The Poles”, which is very much influenced by the acoustic
guitar sound that groups such as Genesis, and guitarists such as Anthony Phillips,
developed in the early 70s, in the early years of progressive rock. In particular,
by a track called “The Cinema Show”, from the Genesis album “Selling England By The
Curiously, this Genesis song comes up again and again in conversation, between Bryan
Helm and myself, and other Crafty guitarists, and I know for a fact that this song
not only influenced “Between The Poles”, but also had a direct impact on the sound
and the way the acoustic guitars play against each other in The Dozey Lumps songs
“Caithness” and “No One Expects The Spanish Inquisition”, and in other Crafty compositions
It’s mostly coincidence, of course, but I keep hearing echoes of “The Cinema Show”
not only in the work of Bryan Helm and myself, within The Dozey Lumps’ repertoire,
within my own solo repertoire, and occasionally as well, within the repertoire of
the League Of Crafty Guitarists, The California Guitar Trio, and many others. It’s
just a particular style of acoustic guitar picking, where two or more guitars play
against each other, usually I two different time signatures, a six against a four
or similar. In 1973, Genesis released “Selling England By The Pound” and many, many
guitarists, some who ended up in Guitar Craft circles, were potentially influenced
You could also cite Roy Harper, or many, many other examples - this Genesis album
being the one that influenced me personally (as well as “The Geese And The Ghost”
by original Genesis guitarists Anthony Phillips) and it was “The Cinema Show” which
Bryan and I were semi-consciously referencing when working out certain picked sections
of certain songs. If we were playing “Caithness”, and I said “do the Cinema Show
part” - Bryan would know which part I meant immediately.
“Between The Poles” starts with a basic loop of a slowly picked note, and then other
notes and figures are gradually added, creating a descending melodic motif, while,
strangely, at the same time, as the piece is being developed, it’s also fading away
– as if it never quite made it into the world. I find it to have a lonely, wistful
sound to it, which is probably due to that sad, descending melody sitting so carefully
atop the constant, slow looped guitars.
Next up is “Xifeng”, named after one of the prominent female characters from the
classic Chinese novel “A Dream Of Red Mansions” that I was reading at the time. A
bold, major scale composition; this piece for me is one of the most satisfying on
the record, and it’s a joy to perform. This is one of the few Crafty pieces that
I continued to perform live, and I still play this occasionally to this day.
It’s a live loop with a very specific construction. I begin with a cross-picked
four-note chord, creating a short loop of myself picking that chord, then, I lock
the loop while at the same time, switching immediately to “Overdub” mode, I play
another cross-picked four-note chord, higher up on the fret board, a “harmonising
chord” shall we say, atop the first, and lock the loop.
That creates the bedrock basis of the piece. Then, comes the first melody, which
is laid carefully atop the pair of looped chords. This quick, four note melody repeats
endlessly until the end of the track. The loop is locked again. Once I had determined
the melody here, that goes atop the looped chords, it was adding this very simple
but hypnotic melody that really brought this composition to life - now I was really
Then, the solo melody guitar comes in, playing basically, various C major scales,
in various configurations and turnarounds. During the first section, these take
a generally ascending form, a sort of lazy climb up the scale, or, later, ascending,
descending, starting in the middle of the scale, and going either way, they climb
and wander around the consistent, driving musical heart of “Xifeng” – that powerful,
persistent, melodic loop.
Later on, some of the melodic, climbing melodies get looped into the piece, play
for a while, and then I remove them using the “Undo” function of the Oberheim Echoplex
Pro, so that’s a case where I temporarily am adding an extra layer of guitar onto
an already dense piece of music – in this case, that allows me to “harmonise”, and
play higher-pitched C major scales in unison with existing looped scales, or melodies
- or, in opposition, climbing up when the loop is descending, and vice versa. By
temporarily adding in loops of the lead guitar melodies, this then gives the illusion,
a few minutes into the piece, that a group of perhaps 7 or 8, or even more, guitarists
are working on the piece.
So the Oberheim allows me to create a virtual “group” of acoustic guitars, two are
playing a picked chord, one is playing a basic melody, and between one and seven
soloists enter, stay or leave the piece as appropriate. It helps to imagine it this
way, so I can build up or reduce the intensity by adding or removing virtual “players”.
Later still, I want the piece to begin to return to a quieter, less dense state,
I just begin “undoing” the latest parts that I had looped, revealing that persistent,
sticks-in-the-brain melody that is part of the rhythmic bedrock of the piece.
At the same time, while I am gradually reducing the virtual “number of guitarists”,
I am also slowly INCREASING the level of reverb on the entire track.
If you just heard this track, you might think – ah, that’s a group piece by someone
like The League of Crafty Guitarists. It’s certainly modelled on how a piece arranged
for a dozen guitars might sound – but the key, of course is, that it is just myself,
with one guitar, one looper, and it’s one, utterly live, single-take nine minute
I am very proud of “Xifeng”, and I feel that this piece is at the heart of this record,
that it shows clearly the intent I had, of creating a world where many, many acoustic
guitars work together to create a beautiful “acoustic” plus “looped” atmosphere,
that is simultaneously hypnotic and musically rewarding.
As the song begins to slowly fade, we hear fewer and fewer overdubbed guitars, and
the sound of the original loop becomes more and more apparent, while also, the reverb
level is still changing, we begin to feel that we are now in a large cavern of sound,
as the song slowly drifts away and fades from our consciousness.
Until the final notes finally exit, “Xifeng” remains a powerful musical presence,
a joy to perform, and has also become a live performance staple for myself ever since.
It doesn’t get much better than this - to be able to be a “mini-Crafty-orchestra-of-one”,
and handle the solos, rhythms and melodies of an entire group of players - by yourself.
Now we move onto the piece entitled “Night Feast”, which is another reference to
the novel “A Dream Of Red Mansions”, this piece uses a long delay sound on the Oberheim,
which is auto-panned quite quickly as well, which gives the piece both forward and
lateral motion – the delay makes the high speed acoustic guitars propel forward,
but at the same time, the auto-panning delay sound from the Digitech TSR-24S reverb
really adds to the unusual atmosphere of the piece.
As it progresses, I start to capture some of the patterns in the looper, and at the
same time, continue to play “live” along with the running loop. I play several variations
of a sort of flying, descending pattern, injected and re-injected repeatedly into
the piece, and then another less-often repeated figure, which just descends quietly,
pulling the music in a different direction.
After a few minutes getting the loop established, I begin to actually improvise a
solo, alternating with new, rhythmic, picked material to increase the density of
the loop – after a while, the piece seems to take on a life of it’s own, and just
gallops along, shifting, ever changing, but also, somehow, strangely constant.
Then, I lock the loop, and let it play. Perhaps occasionally playing a figure or
a small improvised melody, but now beginning to just let the loop, which after all
is extremely dense, intense and complex, carry the piece for a while. This is the
longest track on the record, and because of that length, and the fact that for some
minutes, the loop plays, unchanged, your ears seem to begin to deceive you, the sound
“blurs”, or the rhythm seems to change even though it really isn’t changing or hasn’t
changed. Long form loops, because they present repetition in a different way to a
shorter piece (or at least, in the ears and brain, repetition seems to be processed
differently for longer-duration loops), - long form pieces often seem to aurally
“shape-shift” the longer they go on.
Your brain begins to hear patterns in the music differently, different patterns during
different sections, and your mind begins to play tricks on you - is THAT note the
beginning of that figure...or is THAT the starting point and it actually ends HERE...it
is a very strange phenomena indeed. And it becomes much more apparent when listening
to, or creating, loops that last a considerable amount of time.
I am also apparently manipulating the feedback level of the loop, because as the
piece progresses, parts of it do become more and more indistinct, and that is due
to intentionally lowering the feedback level, letting the piece decay, and then recapturing
that decayed version, letting it loop a while, then repeat…
Of course, this isn’t a technique I employed often, because what it means is, you
“lose” the original piece, and you can’t go back. So only occasionally, when I was
very happy with a piece, might I make the irreversible decision of reducing the feedback
level. It has a fantastic effect, and it is fascinating to listen to a loop gradually
lose all definition, lose volume, lose clarity, and just dissolve into a lovely “blur”
of muted memories and musical memories, all tinkling away with determination in a
tiny space somewhere, almost non-existent, but all still fighting for their own survival.
As this occurs, near the very, very end of “Night Feast”, I then reversed the entire
loop, and then continued to fade it out until the very, very end when the last muted
notes finally disappear forever.
THE NATURE OF LIFE
The next piece is “The Nature Of Life”, this is part of a three song series that
began with the first piece on the record, “The Nature Of Light” and continued with
one of the bonus tracks from the CD version of the album, “The Nature Of Hindsight”.
“The Nature Of Life” uses the same looped backing track that the lead-off track uses,
but instead of the acoustic guitar melody, that melody is replaced by a single energy
bow guitar, playing into a beautiful reverb, and just ever so gently sitting atop
the acoustic loop, quietly suggesting a new melody, a new feeling, to what was previously
an all-acoustic track (in it’s first incarnation as Track 1).
This version is so ethereal, so incredibly delicate and fragile, and, the entire
track has also been run through a Phase Shifter, with a super-slow speed setting,
so it auto-pans very, very slowly back and forth across the stereo field.
The addition of the energy bow, which is the first appearance of an electric guitar
of any sort on the record, also signals what WAS the ending of the original cassette
version – so that was meant to be a continuous experience – you start with “The Nature
Of Light”, play both sides of the cassette, ending with the beautiful ebow variation
version, “The Nature Of Life”…which, if you turn the tape back over, loops you around
once again to where it all started – “The Nature Of Light”.
After that sudden, perfect ending, when this lovely variation comes to an end, that
then signals the arrival of the bonus tracks, which as was the practice then, were
added when the album was re-mastered for CD release.
First up of the bonus tracks is “Inverse Emerald Hall”, which is the third variation
of four, of the series of which we’ve heard two different versions so far, this,
an altogether darker vision, with a strange, octave down melody guitar, with an odd
delay that makes it seem even more ominous. The track isn’t long, it makes its musical
statement, builds its atmosphere, and is suddenly gone.
There is a real advantage in being able to add bonus tracks at a later date, originally,
I was constrained by the 60 minute limit on the cassette, so while I recorded four
or more variations of the “Emerald Hall” pieces, I could only initially choose two
for the finished record. That situation stood for a number of years, until the advent
of the CD, and at that point, I could then select and add in, in this case, two more
variations of one of the main thematic loops on the record.
In the case of “1867”, I am particularly glad for this boon of being able to add
back in what HAD to be omitted due to format limitations. The expanded “1867” is
a far, far better record than the “forced into 60 minutes” version was.
THE UNBORN GLOBE
“The Unborn Globe” is our second bonus track, and is an outtake/variation of “The
Timid Globe” – while it is admittedly, perhaps, somewhat rhythmically uneven, I felt
that it has a certain charm, and as these were my very first, tentative, primitive
attempts at solo circulations, I was just excited to have more than one that I could
include. “The Unborn Globe” is simply a different take of “The Timid Globe” that
was not included on the original cassette version of the album, but was restored
to the longer CD version.
I am again glad that both of these early attempts at the solo circulation form are
now available, they provide contrast to the more developed solo circulations from
the “Circulation” album.
EMPTY EMERALD HALL
Next is “Empty Emerald Hall”, which is simply the backing “twinkling” guitars loop
from the original “Convex Emerald Hall”, with NO melody (hence the name “Empty”),
mastered using a different reverb, to achieve still another atmosphere – again, a
dark variation on a theme, but with the melody removed so you can experience the
beauty of the backing loop unadorned.
I developed the practice of sometimes including unadorned “backing tracks” because
it had been done so effectively by Robert Fripp on records such as “Let The Power
Fall” where we hear the Frippertronics loops only, but the solos that were played
at the performances themselves, are not actually included on the record.
This made me realise, which I would have and did eventually realise myself anyway,
that sometimes, the backing loop, stripped of solo or melodic information, can be
MORE beautiful and/or moving than the “completed” version that contains many, many
layers. This is an excellent example of the “less is more” principle that as time
goes on, I find to be more and more true with regards to composition - or in looping.
“Empty Emerald Hall” is one example of this concept, and I think if you compare the
four versions of the loop, there are strong points in all of them, but this one has
a unique beauty all its own that the other three version are perhaps, robbed of,
simply because they have melodies added on top of their loops – thus obscuring the
underlying beauty of the loop itself.
THE NATURE OF HINDSIGHT
The final track is what has ironically become my favourite on the album – it was
originally not included because I really didn’t want any electric instruments on
the record at all, and I had already “broken” that “rule” by allowing “The Nature
Of Life” to become the final track on the original cassette, with its single, energy
bow melody done on electric guitar.
“The Nature Of Hindsight” is a variation on the variation – it’s again energy bow
electric guitar instead of acoustic melody lead guitar, but this time, the energy
bows are supported by some beautiful loops that got woven into the take as it progressed,
I would overdub pieces of ebow as I played along to the piece, and by the end, achieved
the lush, lovely haunting atmosphere that is “The Nature Of Hindsight”.
As on several other distinctive pieces, I am once again running my energy bow guitar
through that special MIDI continuous controller pedal, and the ebow driving into
that harmoniser creates the most beautiful sound, which of course also gets captured
into the loop, so a very simple ebow part, and live loop, sounds very, very full
The title is self-evident, and in the original CD liner notes, I alluded to the fact
that this piece should never have been omitted from the original release, but thankfully,
now, it’s restored to its rightful position, the closing piece of the expanded CD
version of “1867”.
“The Nature Of Hindsight” is another piece that continued to and continues to resonate
with me, and I still perform it live and for fun to this day, as it’s a relatively
simple set of loops to set up, and is a very nice piece to improvise to, especially
with a looped energy bow – it just lends itself so nicely to soloing.
So now, rightfully restored to the record from which it never, ever should have been
omitted (hindsight being 50/50) “The Nature Of Hindsight” brings the revised, improved
“1867” to a perfect close.
The beauty of the track appearing at the end is that, while on the original cassette,
Side A started with “The Nature Of Light” and Side B ended with “The Nature Of Life”…now,
in the full, expanded CD/download version, the record starts with “The Nature Of
Light”…halfway through, that theme returns in the form of “The Nature Of Life”, and
then finally, full circle, the haunting energy bow and loop beauty of “The Nature
Of Hindsight” not only brings the theme to a beautiful closing, but it also leads
right back around to the opening track of the record – just as it did in the cassette
version, only now, we have three versions of the central album theme instead of two.
A fitting way to end the album that is indeed, “a celebration of the acoustic guitar
and the joy of looping” – in this track, I absolutely experienced and felt joy that
is very, very hard to find in this world, and you can hear it in the final track
in particular – it just works.
The original intention of the album being a continuous theme, “linked” by beginning
and ending with a piece that is two variations of the same song – that intention
and aspiration is still supported, and in fact, if you put your CD player or iPod
or audio device on repeat – the moment that the album finishes, and “The Nature Of
Hindsight” fades away – immediately, it all begins again as Track 1 starts to repeat,
and you then move back to the all-acoustic version, “The Nature Of Light”.
The bonus feature being really that you also get the original ending version, embedded
near the end of the record, so the theme recurs in three different positions within
the album sequence, each of the three distinctive, different, and still, track 1
and track 18 are linked together and if played on repeat, allow this record to revolve
endlessly, with no apparent beginning or end.
Such was my intention, in any case. Of all of my late 90s output, “1867” (and its
follow-up, “Circulation”) have probably garnered the most positive comments, and
some of the reviews of “1867” were extremely complimentary and favourable, which
makes me believe that I must have been doing something right ! !
For me, it made a real change from the “ordinary” loop albums I normally made, it
was a project that was specific and achievable, and once it was completed, I felt
very satisfied with the results, and moved immediately onto my next project, 1998’s
“Circulation” – which was actually totally and completely inspired by the solo circulation
method I developed during the recording of “The Timid Globe” for “1867” – so from
that standpoint you could say, that “1867” was the actual impetus for the entire
“Circulation” project – so, the linkage continues.