“Rhythmically charged synthesizer music that harks back to the halcyon European electronic music era of the ‘70s and early ‘80s.” – Textura Magazine bit.ly/19v71gI
"The synths are charged, loose with the scorching smell of burning electricity and the dirt of the ages" – A Closer Listen bit.ly/1eJfjUh
"Definitely a brilliant and promising debut effort which needs our full encouragements. A great discovery, warmly recommended." – Igloo Magazine bit.ly/1dJRsCV
"When you blend nutritious Vangelis synth, Robert Rich ambience, and cyberpunk elevator muzak, you get what William Gibson must have been shooting for when he wrote Neuromancer." – Vice Magazine (Au), Vol. 11 No. 10
“Aphex gets a job at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in the 80s. In a good way.” – Richard Lord, music journalist for the South China Morning Post
“Reminds me of the Vangelis ‘Albedo 0.39’ album I mastered back in ’76. I'm enjoying this project.” – Denis Blackham, Skye Mastering
“Some really nice sounds in this” – Stephen Mallinder, Cabaret Voltaire
My job was relocated from central London to west London -- a route I was no longer able to cycle. Suddenly my daily commute was a long, direct Tube-train journey from East to West London and back again. Mile End to White City is an unbroken, subterranean stretch of London Underground’s deep-level Central Line.
There is something grimly powerful about being transported in a sweaty, rattling, claustrophobic metal train deep under the surface of the Earth for an hour a day in 100 year old tunnels. I decided to use this dead time to create tracks on my iPhone.
I set myself limits: I restricted myself to only composing, editing and producing tracks during my daily Mile End/White City commute and did not work on the music at any other time. All sounds were created using the software synthesiser on my iPhone. No synthesiser presets were allowed. And no samples were used except vintage electronic percussion. Additionally, the iPhone track sequencing software was itself restrictive: I could only use four instruments at a time. The whole album project took around two years.
Ultimately, this was not about documenting the sounds of the Tube — I did not use field recordings of the Underground. And this is not intended as a soundtrack to a journey. This is something looser and more open.
But I was curious if the music reflected the experience of riding the Underground or if it was more escapist. Creating sounds and composing music in an environment where the noise regularly exceeds the volume levels of a pneumatic drill is not ideal — there is a subtlety to the music, but a kind of loud subtlety. So the result is, I think, a bit of both: atmospheric escapist soundtracks forged in the deafening industrial clatter of the Tube.
2013 marked the 150th anniversary of the London Underground.
The Central Line was opened 27 June 1900.