Dave Stafford, September 2010: For my next album, I wanted to continue to develop
the “fierceambient” genre, but at the same time, see if there were other places that
I could take looping.
One very important particular characteristic of “A Dream Of Red Mansions”, that was
a new addition to the sonic arsenal, was the appearance of a new kind of loop, “The
Strat Loop”. I had finally made a life long dream come true and purchased a Fender
Stratocaster, so I figured out how to make the ebow work with it, and used it on
a number of the pieces on this record.
Of course, the main difference, beside the totally different sound of the single
coil pickups (as compared to the trusty PAF – Patent Applied For – Dimarzio Humbucking
pickups on my Ibanez Destroyer) is the addition of the whammy bar, something I had
only ever had briefly, on one guitar, a Fender Katana, before, back in the mid-90s.
For most of my guitar playing life, until “A Dream Of Red Mansions” – I never had
a whammy bar guitar to work with.
This really is the best of both worlds then – if I want thick, solid ebow or guitar,
the Ibanez with the humbucking pickups, for a thinner, reedier sound, the Strat with
the single coil pickups – and, the whammy bar. How could I lose?
Some of the loops then have a completely different sonic “feel” than on previous
albums – and if you were to compare “A Dream Of Red Mansions” directly to either
of it’s predecessors, “Journey To The West” or “The Autoreverse Sessions”, you will
hear exactly what I am talking about.
On the latter two albums, all of the loops have a solid, dark, mostly bass-enhanced
ebow sound, which comes from the combination of the very large, heavy wooden body
of the Ibanez coupled with the humbuckers – but when you hear “A Dream Of Red Mansions”
– it has an altogether lighter, thinner sound to it, and also, to really bring out
the qualities of the single coil pickup and to accentuate this “difference”, I tended
towards modulation-based rather than reverb-based atmospheres on the record, so that
contributed to the radically differing sonic smack of “A Dream Of Red Mansions” when
compared to it’s predecessors.
So there are a LOT of loops played through choruses, delay modulators, flangers,
or phasers, and FEWER loops played into very large reverbs – and, there was the Strat
with it’s whammy bar.
It was my hope that by doing these things, I would end up with a record with a very
different character. I don’t know which of these, or if it’s all of these, things
made the difference – but when I listen to this – I know that I succeeded.
It should be noted, too, that this is the last record I made before I fell very ill
in late 2003. So when I listen back, I hear it as a place where I stopped – I had
been developing methods of looping based on certain, logical approaches, applied
in sequence - merging it first with acoustic guitar; then with circulations; then
trying to make it less ambient; fiercer; then trying to make it lighter; more modulated
than reverbed; and, finally, more active than ambient on this record. Trying the
next variation in a long series of different approaches to looping over a long period
of years - album by album.
Then, my personal train got derailed, and instead of continuing to develop different
looping styles, I pretty much just stopped, and, my next album, “all things being
equal”, was to be a “rock” album. So at this point in time, in 2002, when I was
making “A Dream Of Red Mansions” I was blissfully unaware of what was about to happen
In a way, even though I did release my next album in late 2003, it was really “A
Dream Of Red Mansions” that was my “last looping album” – because “all things being
equal” was really a completely different animal musically and thematically.
In the meantime, during the period 2008 – present, I have been developing new loops,
new loop styles, and recording, so over the next few years, I will “resume” making
looping albums, as well as non-looping ambient albums, and even rock albums – so
the threads that were temporarily dropped in early 2004 have now been picked up again
For the moment though, we have “A Dream Of Red Mansions” – a loop album like no other
loop album I had made to date.
Note: originally, the album contained 22 or 23 tracks. After a short period however,
I decided to edit this down, I was not entirely happy with the quality of some of
the pieces, so I removed several pieces, which then leaves us with the 18-track version
of today. This is far more concise, and presents the work in a much tighter, cleaner
way, so I am glad I made that decision.
THE LADY DOWAGER
One of a few tracks that had a particular energy bow melody, one that I find still
to this day to be piercingly beautiful, “The Lady Dowager” is one of a “series” of
tracks developed for the record.
A lush, chorus-treated batch of energy bows buzzes gently in the background, set,
not altering, constant – supporting the long ebow solo.
So I would have “pre-recorded” the backing loop, it sounds as if it were made up
of long, single ebow notes, but with a more major theme than similar “chord backing”
pieces from earlier albums. Also, the chorus treatment makes it sound bright and
lovely as well.
On top of this backing is that incredible ebow solo, a melody so full of hope, so
heartbreaking, that it still moves me to this day. Full of long, glorious notes,
sudden swoops up or down, aching bends, and long, incredibly quick runs up and down
the neck – I know that I spent a lot of time working on this solo, and I tried different
versions of it, with different endings, and then picked out the “best” ones for inclusion
on the record.
But, besides the backing track, which was pre-recorded and is just “running” in the
looper, this is a completely LIVE performance – I just sat there, and somehow, PLAYED
that beautiful ebow solo. Got to the end, managed somehow to end the live part proper
while at the same time shutting down the running loop with the volume pedal.
I can remember how it felt, when I knew I had done a good take, in retrospect, this
is, even though it’s really an improvised solo, this is one of the single most beautiful
“one-line” ebow solos I have ever played. It’s just excellent, and I am very happy
I also love the guitar’s tone – the sustain, the lovely short reverb when the notes
slide…the beauty of the long notes, how the tone changes subtly as the ebow is sustaining
the note. Melodically, too, this is so positive, so upbeat – it just feels good.
It’s a happy loop – and happy loops were never really my speciality.
Listen to the ebow note that starts at 1:34 – it just goes on forever – while the
loop supports it SO beautifully – and then, a tiny swoop down, and back to that heartbreaking
I should state up front, that this is one of no less than seven “versions” of this
loop, which I look at as being the “Dream Of Red Mansions Thematic Loop”, that appear
on this album. For the record, those are, as follows:
A set of three short songs, each with a different short energy bow solo, and different
“The Lady Dowager”, “The Lady Wang”, “The Lady Xing”
Two “loop only” versions with no solos whatsoever, but with different atmospheres:
“Ning Mansion” and “Rong Mansion”
One standalone piece, a mid-length piece, heavily disguised in this case, using a
very slow, very thick phasing treatment on the entire piece:
“The Bee-Teasing Pavilion”
Finally, a full length version, the jewel in the crown of the collection, an over
eleven-minute long version featuring a very long ebow solo that comes and goes in
between long sections of loop only – so, the same melodic theme as the three “Lady”
versions, but in an extended, very long, very slow, deliberate version:
This has to be the most extreme example of loop-re-purposing I’ve ever seen, but
in the end, it’s extremely effective, and it embeds a beautiful loop at critical
points throughout the record’s evolution, returning again and again, bringing comfort
and familiarity to the listener.
Now we return to the more familiar minor key tonalities of Dave Stafford, but with
a difference, instead of the bass heavy, thick ebows of the past, we now have the
thin, but solid, reedy, but strong, “new” ebows – again with a modulation-heavy treatment,
choruses being the new reverbs – the order of the day.
This loop features a descending motif, a very, very slow one, that is lead by very
high-pitched notes courtesy of the Digitech Whammy II pedal, which is still very
much in evidence, particularly on this record – the high pitch material responded
very well to being treated with modulation-type effects, so a “wash” of overdubbed
ebows, containing high pitched notes, sounds fantastic if you run it through a chorus
– which is basically what “Alpinia Park” is.
In this instance, the loop is left to speak for itself, no solo required, although
there are more solos on this record than on most. It’s always a difficult call,
whether you should “play over” a loop or not, and many times, I would make the decision,
as I did in this case, that the loop itself is so beautiful – that it doesn’t NEED
After the very major key, positive, happy first track, it’s a sombre contrast, but
it adds to the mood of the record, it brings it to a very real place, where sad moods
co-exist with happy ones. “Alpinia Park” is pure mood, so, so slowly drifting across
your consciousness, more about a feeling than a definite melody – a loop that the
word “atmospheric” could have been invented specifically for.
This is the first of three in a short series of descending motif loops, this version
is later joined by “Auspicious Shade Hall” and “Emerald Morning Hall” to create another
thematic undercurrent on the album, the “sad mood” undercurrent of these three loops
contrasted sharply by the “ happy mood” of the seven “Dream Of Red Mansions Thematic
Because I wanted to shake up the patterns, I wanted to include some extra pieces,
some very short pieces, that would “break up” the loops – to stop the record just
being an endless series of ebow loop after ebow loop after ebow loop. Not that there
is anything wrong with that – but I wanted something different for “A Dream Of Red
During the sessions, I experimented with new guitar sounds, and particularly with
what I could do using the whammy bar on the new Strat, so from those experiments,
came two short distorted electric guitar pieces, “Pinger” and “Yinger” (named after
two characters from the book, the classic Chinese novel “A Dream Of Red Mansions”)
and this is the first.
It’s a very distorted guitar, in a very odd, large reverb, and, it’s more “whammy’d”
notes than normal ones. It’s also incredibly short, so it’s almost over before it
It’s not meant to be a piece of music, it’s more a theme, a tiny melody, that makes
a brief, very, very textural statement – and then is gone, only to return again later
in the form of it’s sister piece, “Yinger”.
PEAR FRAGRANCE COURT
Another first, a piece of slightly strange sounding digital piano, something I had
not yet really played on record – and again, this is not so much a song but rather
another album theme, that appears, very briefly, and then is gone again.
The change of texture across the last three songs – from lush layered ebow loop to
distorted whammy guitar-in-space to sprightly tremolo digital piano melody – well,
I wanted contrasting textures!
This is just a happy little piano melody that I did several variations of, and then
used the “best three” on the record, to continually “break up” the loop pieces. It’s
partner pieces; “Happy Red Court” and “Seeping Fragrance Pavilion” are the “duet”
versions; whereas “Pear Fragrance Court” is the one “solo” version. I think these
very short pieces provide a really nice diversion too, between the rather more “serious”
BAOYU AND DAIYU
Now we have one of those aforementioned “Strat” loops, which, after many years of
ebow notes that did not shimmer or bend wildly, sounded and seemed so strange to
my ears, initially, until I became accustomed to it, because they contained “bent”
notes courtesy of the whammy bar. This piece was I believe inspired by a David Sylvian/Holger
Czukay collaboration, I remembered being struck by all the “bendy” loop-like material
in the background of their piece, so I tried to inject that same feeling into “Baoyu
This loop features a pretty “large” reverb room, and in that room, a lot of quite
busy melodies, including one REALLY strange one that recurs at regular intervals.
I like the way you just start getting lulled into the loop’s spell, and then that
high-pitched descending riff just pierces your attention again, it drags you away
– but then, a second later, you are right back inside this massive piece of music.
There are also some really beautiful whammy bits, shimmering high speed pulls, long,
slow, whole tone bends – a lot of different ways to whammy are present in the loop.
Even a Jimi Hendrix low string “murmur” whammy is back there somewhere, humming
away sub-sonically below the surface of the piece…
I think this sounds like no other loop I had ever done to date, it’s sort of like
a “junk loop” in that many different Stratocasters were thrown very quickly into
the piece, and then I just let it play – so it’s content was decided VERY quickly,
then, the atmosphere selected – then, it just…goes. So it was created quickly, on
the fly, and yes, maybe it’s a “junk loop/Strat loop”…but nonetheless, it has a unique
atmosphere that is all it’s own.
In this particular guise, as “Ning Mansion”, we hear the “Dream Of Red Mansions Thematic
Loop”, this time, unaccompanied by any solo, in a lovely reverb atmosphere – and,
without the solos, it becomes, clearly, a different (yet already familiar) piece
of music. It slowly, slowly fades in, crawling into our consciousness, and maybe,
our ears are waiting for an ebow solo – but that solo never comes.
So if the three “Lady” tracks are short songs, based on a single loop, each with
a special, different ebow solo on top, then “Ning Mansion” and “Rong Mansion” are
it’s “loop only” companion pieces, stripped of all solos, they are clearly shown
to be a powerful, beautiful piece of music anyway – and for me, this loop is the
heart and soul of this record.
That the same loop successfully informs both “The Bee-Teasing Pavilion” and “Xiren”
is further testament to its power, but I also love it like this – simple, pleasant,
present, and like an old friend that returns again and again. It has a positive,
upbeat feel to it, which I believe is one of the most difficult “moods” to capture
when using an energy bow.
The loop suddenly stops, the reverb falls away quickly, and a spell cast, is quickly
HAPPY RED COURT
As mentioned above, this is the second version of, one of the duet versions of, the
somewhat strange sounding digital piano, but I really was delighted to finally have
a “grand piano sound” available, so “Happy Red Court” and it’s companions became
one of my first, tentative experiments with software synthesizers.
I like the innocence of the melodies, and the way the two melodies intertwine, a
short musical journey, where two spare, singular melodies wander and collide almost
I really think that these short pieces, while in themselves not stunning musically,
are a very important “part” of the whole experience of “A Dream Of Red Mansions”
– and having this tiny, happy interlude, with it’s tinkling, happy piano, is an important
textural change, a break from the endless ebows, and, it just goes to serve to make
the ebows sound even BETTER when they do return.
THE LADY WANG
And “return” those ebows certainly do. Over a lovely, light phase shifted version
of the “Dream Of Red Mansions Thematic Loop”, an amazingly bendy, flexible, beautiful
ebow solo floats, doing the most astonishing SLOW bends over the backing loop, and
in a very short time, delivering awesome amounts of beautiful melodic energy to the
One LONG, really LONG, slow bend brings the piece to a very sudden end, where the
loop is removed, and the ebow note comes to a sudden, shuddering stop. In one minutes
and thirteen seconds, that ebow solo has said more than a hundred 10 minute long
guitar solos could.
The three “Lady” pieces are all just different takes of the same short bit of ebow
melody, tried out using different effects and atmospheres, but this version just
takes my breath away. The ending is particularly amazing – could not have planned
it if I wanted to. This is just the way it happened, and, “The Lady Wang” is my
second favourite of the series of three.
THE BEE-TEASING PAVILION
Now, immediately following “The Lady Wang”, and strangely, having the SAME backing
loop, “The Bee-Teasing Pavilion” has SUCH a different atmosphere that you really
cannot hardly discern that you’ve just HEARD that same backing in the previous track.
A deep, very slow-moving, very thick-sounding phase shifter has been applied to the
entire track, including the ebow solo that has been laid over the backing, but the
treatment has basically mixed them together so tightly, that you can barely tell
the difference between the loop and the added solo.
While your ears are trying to figure just what on earth is going on – the loop begins
to fade, and is gone before any of it’s mysteries can be unravelled.
This is a most unusual circumstance, that I should absolutely explain – this track,
“Xifeng” (one of the principal characters from the book “A Dream Of Red Mansions”)
is actually, originally, taken from my 1997 album entitled “1867”. The reason it
appears here, on a 2003 loop album, is complicated.
I wanted to include the character “Xifeng” since she is one of the principal figures
in the story, one of my favourite characters, but the problem was, I had already
RECORDED a track named “Xifeng” for the “1867” album five years previously.
I didn’t know what I should do. Create a new track, and call it “Xifeng” – which
would be extremely strange and confusing. I toyed with that idea, discarded it.
Then I thought about recording a “new version” of Xifeng, but at the time, just
could not get into the musical space where I could do that.
I left the problem alone for a while, for a few months while I finished up the rest
of the album – just set it aside, and forgot about it. I had planned on doing, or
finding, a “live version” of “Xifeng” to put into this slot – but, so far, I have
not done so. So in the end, I thought, OK, temporarily, I will just place a copy
of the “old” “Xifeng”, from the master of “1867”, into this slot, and I will replace
it with a live version as soon as possible.
And then, life got in the way. All my good intentions were for nowt, and now, over
eight years later, I still have the “temporary” “1867 album version” where I would
prefer to have had a different, preferably live version. Now that I am actively
working on music projects again, I will re-open this requirement, and hopefully,
at some point, a proper, re-recorded or live version will be placed here instead
of this track.
I hope to rectify that in future, however, having said that, the acoustic/loop piece
fits beautifully into “A Dream Of Red Mansions”, and, it brings one of its most important
characters into the fold, so how can this be wrong?
After the mysterious sound of the previous track, the bright, uptempo “Xifeng” is
really the perfect next step, and again, it adds yet another really unusual texture
– in this case, heavily looped acoustic guitars – into a record that is all about
texture. For the full information on the track “Xifeng”, please refer to the detailed
discography page for the album “1867”.
AUSPICIOUS SHADE HALL
The second in the “sad mood” short series of ebow loops, “Auspicious Shade Hall”
presents this distinctive loop in a very dry, slightly effected room, the ebow parts
are very real, not being over-effected or treated – so we hear how “Alpinia Park”
might have sounded without any reverberant effects being added to it.
I really like the “dry” environment, and often, when taking a series of two or more
different versions of the same loop, I would undertake the decision to just leave
the piece alone, do a version that is completely DRY, or one that has so few effects
on it that it might as well be un-effected.
This is one such take, and for me, the stark, beautiful, pure ebow sounds are almost
painfully beautiful. The very high-pitched notes, with their characteristic slow
manual vibrato – along with normal-pitched ebow notes, with differing levels of manual
vibrato, or none at all, all crowd into this amazing musical space.
Then, just as we are getting used to being there, we are ushered out, and back to
the familiar, happy theme of the album.
As if reassuring us that “everything is alright” the unadorned, lightly-if-any effected
“Rong Mansion” comes along, dispelling the sadness created by “Auspicious Shade Hall”
– driving it away, with it’s positive, upbeat feeling and major scale motif.
I really like these “loop only” versions – they present opportunities to present
what might be overlooked – just how beautiful the loop ALONE is. And in this case,
with it’s very minimal treatment, this loop STILL sounds amazing.
Just when it’s really getting under your skin – it’s gone. A very short reverb of
some description being used as the sole treatment, the sudden, beautiful ending is
one of the highlights of this piece – a spectacular ending to this beautiful loop.
SEEPING FRAGRANCE PAVILION
The third grand piano variation, another duet version, this time, much more intense,
the two singular parts really competing for attention – furiously unfolding, almost
racing for the end, but also working together, to create that happy mood and atmosphere
that keeps reappearing in the Mansion – due to the ever changing textures, moods
and construction of the various pieces.
So beginning with “Pear Fragrance Pavilion”, moving through “Happy Red Court”, and
finally, here in “Seeping Fragrance Pavilion”, we have a third, albeit very different,
“theme” running, the melodic piano themes, and when mixed in with the “Dream Of Red
Mansion Thematic Loop” and the “sad mood loops” and the experimental distorted whammy
guitars of “Pinger” and “Yinger” – what we have eventually is something like four
different themes moving through the record, with the very occasional unique piece.
One of those themes has seven representatives, another, three, another, two, and
another two, and so on – but what they do, is provide familiarity and comfort to
the listener – because each theme, when it returns, becomes more familiar as the
record moves towards its conclusion.
The second of the two short distorted electric guitar parts, “Yinger” is the very
slightly longer of the two, with some lovely double-echoing/whammy madness going
on, and I really like how incredibly intense the piece gets in such a short time.
Like its companion piece, it’s also incredibly short, again - almost over before
it starts. The ending is incredibly intense – like the engines firing full blast,
then suddenly cutting out – sporadic, failing – gone.
After the lovely, innocent, happy duet that appears just before this, the dark, mind-numbing,
reverb-shattering whammy guitars are like a giant breath of heavy metal/fresh air,
a COMPLETE mood change, a wake up call – and then, back into the dream...
The dream that is “Xiren”, which for me is a true highlight of the record – that
lovely ebow melody that informs the three “Lady” piece, is here, re-enacted in long
form, with slow, beautiful variations, across almost eleven and a half minutes of
“that” loop, the remarkable, positively-charged “Dream Of Red Mansions Thematic Loop”.
First, the loop just plays. A lovely, short, repetitive pattern. Finally, the first
ebows arrive, tentative, hesitant, playing just one or two notes – but this time,
so deliberate, so incredibly SLOW – as if the melody is timid, it doesn’t want to
reveal itself at first, but eventually, it starts to come out of it’s shell, even
going through some high-speed rolling riffs at one point.
The ebow overdubs are more of an adjunct to the loop rather than actually solos –
they help, they assist, and they build the mood even more than the loop itself does.
Positive reinforcement from both the loop itself and the melodic ebow solos.
“Xiren” is the full version of the piece of music that permeates this album, we catch
glimpses of this melody, different variations of that melodic theme, in the other
pieces, particularly the three “Lady” pieces, but “Xiren” is the holistic, complete
version, that brings us the full experience, and also, because it has time to develop
properly, it’s also the most complete and satisfying version of the “Dream Of Red
Mansions Thematic Loop” – and perhaps, well, tied with “The Lady Xing” because of
the amazing ending of that version, for my favourite version of this most central
theme to the album.
And in terms of the book, “A Dream Of Red Mansions” – of all of the ladies, it’s
“Xiren” who commands the most mystery and power, so it is fitting that hers would
be the best and proudest version of all.
EMERALD MORNING HALL
This to me is one of the saddest, most moving loops on the record, I enjoy it in
all of its incarnations, but this one is possibly my favourite. Something about
the tone of the looped ebows in this particular reverb environment, a beautiful sustaining
quality – and in particular, the very high pitch notes seem so clear, so present
– drifting in above the clouds of ebows that populate the centre of the piece.
Atmosphere and still more atmosphere, this piece is very straightforward in terms
of what it contains, just a slow, evolving, gradually descending motif, nothing drastic
or sudden, a very deliberate descent into an ever-descending cycle of….descent.
Each slow, slow wave of sound, like a slow pulse, reaches your senses so…deliberately,
in such an unhurried manner, and then, after wave after wave of sound, the piece
slowly wanders away into silence.
This then, the third in the “sad loop” trio, “Alpinia Park”, “Auspicious Shade Hall”,
and now, finally, “Emerald Morning Hall” – here is the last version of the “sad loop”
theme, to be followed immediately by the last version of the “happy loop” theme…
THE LADY XING
Now we come to the final representative of the “Dream Of Red Mansions Thematic Loop”
which in some ways is my personal favourite out of all the thematic variations, because
of that amazing ending – that note that just hangs on for dear life, even after the
backing track has long abandoned it – and then still so firmly resolving the piece,
saying in essence “the end is HERE”!
It’s a note, and an ending, that makes a statement, that says, “this melody is so
free and so flexible that it can leave the confines of the song itself, yet still
exist as it’s own, unique entity”.
It’s a short version, there isn’t much time – but the time is well used. The melody
ebow, sets up the ending, gets you ready for it, with a very long, slow, deliberate
melodic climb down the scale – ending on one long note, then dropping to the final
note – which is held just long enough, it’s out there alone, since the backing stops
at the end of the penultimate long note – so the final one has to go it alone, but
does so admirably – seeming natural and beautiful at the same time.
The final character from “A Dream Of Red Mansions” – “Baochai” has a unique sound
and a very unique mood.
A single ebow starts us out, immediately joined by another, and another – and then
we are away.
Heavily processed, this is a complete, from scratch, full live loop – so a long form,
start to finish loop creation as opposed to a captured fragment of a “completed”
loop as many of these pieces are, it’s just lovely to hear more and more of these
delicate, unbearably fragile ebows piling up one atop the other, until a picture
begins to emerge…
High-pitched ebows begin to appear, pulling the piece upwards from it’s already lofty
sound base, and moment by moment, “Baochai” becomes more and more dense as well,
fuller, starting to blossom and flow.
Repetition starts to get inside our head, we hear the oldest melodies returning now,
but very quickly, the new contents become part of the loop and therefore part of
our experience. I would say that the mood of this piece falls somewhere in between
our “happy loop” and “sad loop” themes, perhaps “bittersweet” being the best single
term to describe it.
It’s also very fragile, delicate with strands rather then clumps of notes, so it’s
density is achieved through different means than some loops – somehow, all the pieces
fitting together to make a unified whole even though there are gaps in the construction
– it still works, it still resonates with it’s own unique musical ebb and flow.
So, with “Baochai”, a unique, live, standalone piece, the musical journey that is
“A Dream Of Red Mansions” comes to an end.
“A Dream Of Red Mansions” was the last of it’s kind, it would be many years before
I made a full album of loops, in fact, I haven’t really quite done so to date. Now,
in 2010, I do have new loops in the can, and several in productions, so there is
a lot of raw material for the “next looping album” which will probably not emerge
until well into 2011.
Unfortunately, due to the events of 2004, this is the last in an unbroken series
of loop experiments stretching from 1992 to 2002 (and most of the way through 2003),
from “Voices From The Desert” to “A Dream Of Red Mansions”, which encompass a wide
variety of approaches to both guitar and to looping, concentrating heavily on loops
of all descriptions - mostly loops of energy bow, rather than picked, guitar.
Not forgetting too, that this string of looping albums ALSO encompassed the production
and participation in Bindlestiff, where I did an entirely DIFFERENT series of loop
experiments, running precisely concurrently with my solo career – so from 1992 through
to 2002, from “Early” in 1992 to “Enlighten” in 2002 – so really, between solo records
and band records, I am actually on approximately 17 loop albums of one type or another
– I produced more than 12 solo albums during that period, and Bindlestiff produced
seven, and a couple of my solo albums could not really be called “looping” albums
even though they did have loops ON them – but that’s a massive number of very different
and diverse “loop experiments” made in an almost unbroken stream in a ten to eleven-year
I would have gone on, made more “loop” albums, but when I fell ill in late 2003,
the next project I worked on turned out to be a rock album – then, I did not really
produce and recordings of note between 2004 and 2006, until the modest EP “The Machinations
Of Heaven” from 2006– which contains basically two loops and four other compositions,
some including loops – so hardly a “looping” album, nor a true successor to “A Dream
Of Red Mansions”.
However, there will be, either in late 2010 or early 2011, a follow up to “A Dream
Of Red Mansions”, the “next level” ambient album, and that record was actually recorded
in 2009 but has just not yet been mixed, mastered and produced. Tentatively entitled
“sky full of stars”, it hopes to pick up where “A Dream Of Red Mansions”, unfortunately
and against my will, I had to leave off the unbroken string of ambient/looping albums
and bring that ten year period of creativity to a temporary end while I sorted myself
So after a seven year absence from the world of looping, it’s with a great sense
of relief and anticipation that I am looking forward to releasing the long-awaited
follow up to “A Dream Of Red Mansions” – and hopefully, that will be the start of
many more to come – in fact, the beginnings of a second looping album have already
been recorded, so perhaps, albeit at a slower pace, the string of looping and ambient
experiments will now resume, and continue, unabated – long may they live!