Back in 1993 I set myself the challenge of composing some music in a style that I hadn’t really explored before as my output up till then had been in the electronic music and prog rock genres. One of the challenges I set myself was to draw on the influence that Bond composer John Barry had had on me since first hearing his music back in the early 1960’s onwards. Many ideas and fully formed tracks were committed to tape but then left on the shelf whilst my attentions turned to recording “Continuum“ and then “Matrix”.
I never expected the unreleased music that I’d composed back in 1993 to ever see the light of day but like many unusual synchronous events in my life, in 2005, over a decade since those ideas and tracks were composed, Dreamfast Cinema in Chicago, USA signed me up and “The World Over” album featuring many of those 1993 compositions, was released in 2006.
That could well have been the end of that particular musical route but by then I’d become the keyboard player in the Ra band and as if it was meant to be, the drummer Dai Rees also happened to be a huge fan and admirer of the music of John Barry! When I told him I still had unreleased material in the archives he proposed writing lyrics for some of it and lo and behold the idea was born to release another album to follow up “The World Over”.
Here’s a track by track breakdown which also includes thoughts by lyricist Dave Rees:
CONTRACT OF A KISS (feat. CAYMAN ILIKA)
I composed this in 2011 and the melodic line covers quite a wide range and I was blown away with Cayman’s performance as it’s a major feat to pull off, especially that last long held note a’ la Shirley Bassey!
Dave: I often wondered what the girls who ended a Bond film with him thought of Bond when he went onto another adventure in the next film. So here are my thoughts on what a jilted Bond girl might think of him!
UNDER COVER OF NIGHT
An instrumental track composed in 1993 and along with all the other unreleased tracks on this album from that year I can’t believe that it’s now over 20 years old!
NOW OR NEVER (feat. BRENT MILLER)
Another track composed in 1993, this fuses various influences ranging from the Canterbury prog rock scene style intro section featuring viola to the John Barry-esque jazz sections.
Dave: A song I wrote about my wife Carole expressing thoughts and feelings that I and many other men I think sometimes leave unsaid.
THE SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES (feat. CAYMAN ILIKA)
Yet another composition from 1993 that hasn’t been released until now. Harmonically I recall being very pleased with it’s unusual chord progressions and modulations which help to shift the mood from light to dark and back again.
Dave: I wrote this about listening to the brilliance of John Barry throughout my life. How he could capture moods so brilliantly and how much I still love and listen to his music even though he’s no longer with us.
This was one of those fortuitous moments as this is a first take improvisation from 2011 when I had no specific image or mood in mind so basically what you hear here is just is as it first appeared out of the ether. Featuring strings, harp and flute, the melodic line also formed the basis of CONTRACT OF A KISS which was composed during that same session.
CONTRACT OF A KILL
An instrumental version of CONTRACT OF A KISS but with an added dramatic second half that with percussion and electronic effects builds to a climax before falling away to some subdued horns.
IF ONLY I’D… (feat. BRENT MILLER)
Part composed in 2001 and developed in 2004 this is a nice slow ballad and I cheekily put a little Bach reference at the end. Dave’s lyrics throughout are excellent and I think these are particularly outstanding.
Dave: A song about regrets when you get older and wishing you’d made different choices earlier in your life but now its too late.
TUNNEL VISION (feat. JERRI ROBERTS)
This infamously started life in 2006 when cult LA film director Damon Packard invited me to provide some music for his film “Space Disco” but having recorded several demos and versions unfortunately they were deemed unsuitable. Nevertheless I thought it was a strong melodic track and Dave fell in love with it when he heard it. Dave also suggested I lengthen the track which to his credit made it even better.
Dave: I wrote this with contributions from Phil Friend based on our book ‘Why are you pretending to be normal?’ Its about a person with a disability expressing their thoughts to either a partner or manager at work who isn’t supporting them in a way that works for them.
Another unreleased track from the proliferation of 1993, a moody instrumental featuring piano, strings, flute & cor anglais.
THE GIRL WITH THE SUN IN HER HAIR (SUNNY GIRL VERSION)
Written by John Barry as an instrumental for the 1967 Sunsilk advert, this is the version that only appeared as a flexi-disc back in the day. Rather than do an interpretation I’ve attempted to stay as true to the version as possible albeit my version is in stereo and there’s no vinyl clicks(!)
OUT WITH A BANG
The first section is based on the SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES before going into a dynamic action style passage featuring electric guitar, synth sequencer backdrop and wailing brass all ending with a reference to UNDER COVER OF NIGHT.
LIVE FOR TODAY (feat. CAYMAN ILIKA)
The album had the title “Live for Today” yet there wasn’t a track called that so I put my mind to composing the music for such a track. It was Christmas Day 2013 and as soon as I was at the keyboard I spontaneously played the melody and chords there and then. Moments like that always shock and surprise me and send shivers up my spine because it’s as if I’m simply being a vehicle for a piece of music that has already been created by someone or something else. The melody line also seemed to suggest lyrics to me and with my wife Linda in mind, I jotted down the lyrics. It’s tragic and ironic that words I wrote for Linda now seem to apply to me as I wasn’t to know her time here was nine months later to be over, but I take comfort in knowing that she heard it before she passed.