There is just over a month to go before my debut album ‘Palimpsest’ is released on 08/01/2016. In the run-up to the release I want to give a bit of background info about the different tracks, and how they came into being. Starting with…The Book of David.
Around two years ago whilst on tour, I was staying at a friend’s house in Cardiff when I woke up in the middle of the night, with a bass line in my head. It was most definitely being played on a harpsichord, with a finger click backbeat. So I sang it into my phone, nice and croaky, and promptly fell back to sleep. When I awoke and listened to the recording (after having a chuckle at the 3am quality recording) I realised that this was ‘The Book of David’. And so the album began.
This track is a cornerstone of the whole album, and indeed there would be no album without it. It is both true and imaginary, has happened and is happening, was written and is being written. In historical terms, David is the Son of Jesse, seduces Bathsheba, and is quoted by many musicians from Josquin des Prez to Leonard Cohen – so I think we are in good company. Indeed I originally thought the album may be called The Book of David – but American artists Dj Quik put paid to that – much to my chagrin, he released Book of David in 2011.
In terms of instrumentation, tracking down a harpsichord with zero budget is fairly tricky. After a fair bit of badgering, I was allowed access to a harpsichord at Prifysgol Bangor/University of Bangor, North Wales. It was one of the hottest days on the year, so I off trundled, ready for my 2 hour time slot. Of course on arrival, things had to follow a slightly different plan, due to a bit of a mix-up. The only harpsichord available was in a large hall where they were setting up for a final year recital in exactly 30 minutes. The harpsichord was untuned, and I had no time to check the position of the mic. So I recorded the three different harpsichord parts in 10 minutes, in a cold sweat, whilst the kind young chap who had let me in quietly continued putting out audience chairs in rows. If you listen very carefully, you might be able to hear him!