"When it hurts we return to the banks of certain rivers” - C. Milosz, I Sleep a Lot (1962)
Luxury Alone is a collection of songs made over a four-year period of uncertain times in different rooms in various homes. Four years, in an order something like this:
In those early days when we knew it could not continue, everything simply stopped. Falling to pieces in that empty room of memories. You were my window to the world, and this notion went deep. Everything familiar had dissolved, or fell away, on the outside and in.
Fetishizing love and death in anthropomorphic songs that no-one would ever hear. A hundred songs. Phrases repeating themselves: “kiss the canal like an old friend”; “I crave to be near water”; “my soul lay down”. And a swimming pool cover with a dead weight sinking in the centre, cocooned in brilliant blues.
Trying so hard to be new, or anything, I drew your face on to mine and cried from one eye (ref. ‘Heaven’s Hounds’)
A new home with an old friend, then another... Some loved, most left. I began to write very close harmonies, sets of my voice, trying to create a feeling of community, but it wasn’t real (ref. ‘Mirror’). A night left lying in the snow in the middle of the road, complete resignation to the sky, and then, nothing. All ones and zeroes, no space for colour (ref. ‘Binary’).
Suffering with derealisation, anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember. Watching life happen as a spectator in a silent body, eventually not knowing how to behave like myself, or anyone else (ref. ‘Chalk Scrawls’). My entire body vibrating like a tuning fork, that constant sound in perfect isolation.
For a while I lay on the floor of an old lady’s house in Woodford where I grew up, eyes closed, a student to the autogenic process. Guiding me through instruction, calming crisis points with repeated mantras: “My heartbeat is calm and regular” and “I am at peace”. New ideas to affect a change, any change (ref. ‘Calm’).
I became close with the work of Daido Moriyama, Robert Ashley, Eliane Radigue, Yasuaki Shimizu, Gareth Williams, Horoumi Hosonoe and always Ryuichi Sakamoto, I began to recognise a new identity, mapped in the details of every song. A hundred more songs. Recording with Kristian, building a new band around me, and obsessively experimenting through the whole process (ref. ‘Fantasy Image’).
Abstracting personal, private issues I began removing the emotion in the vocal delivery and instrumental parts. Contrasted with synthesiser pads heavy with emotion and pushing an idealistic fantasy, somewhere between real and non-real. Trying to connect with something, to feel a tenderness whilst distorting sincerity.
All this music is how I felt in the world. I eventually choose to learn to mix the record myself, design my own fantasy image and then have that world disappear.
Luxury Alone is hundreds of songs down to just ten