I don’t think that any of us will ever forget this pandemic and it’s endless lockdowns and I doubt that 2020/2021 will be remembered with too much nostalgia. AMI is the consequence of my own lockdown project with a couple of friends. The truth is, musicians are compelled to come together and perform and the pandemic has drastically reduced our ability to do so.
I am proud of my studio setup. I currently have access to some £25,000 worth of orchestral and other samples giving me the ability to write in any style using any combination of instruments, from a solo instrument to a 200 piece symphony orchestra. Add to that my more “quirky” samples and I pretty much have all the bases covered. All sat there, gathering dust, unused and pretty much unloved.
I had noticed that many of my friends and colleagues were producing the most wonderful “lockdown projects” and I began to wonder whether such a project would work for me. I didn’t want to write another solo album and was, like my colleagues, desperate to work with other musicians. So, out of the blue, I contacted my dear friend Steve Stewart (soprano cornet player extraordinaire) and asked if he’d like to do a piece for me. Happily, he agreed and plans were made on what to write and record. Steve further suggested that we bring onboard Rachel Hickman, a classically trained mezzo soprano with a beautiful voice and an incredible two and a half octave range!
I’d never written for a solo voice and the challenge was exciting. Bringing Rachel into the project changed its direction completely and I began to consider something more substantial. It wasn’t lost on me that the 20th anniversary of 911 falls this year and I decided to do an album to accompany a film about that tragic day.
Recording remotely, we managed to record eight tracks with a total running time of 49 minutes. From it’s “Vangelis” style opening through to it’s blistering Celtic Blessing finale, Steve and Rachel performed brilliantly throughout, creating an album that I’m very proud of. It’s still at the mixing stage and we plan to release it around the time of the anniversary (with the movie) so keep an eye out for that.
I don’t plan to stop here. I can think of a hundred musicians who would sound awesome in an alternate soundscape and I would be proud to work with and write for them. This was the main reason for creating AMI and I look forward to bringing these albums to you.