The Spark released 30th October 2016
The Alchymical Muse project Daniel and I have been hoarding for the last few years is ready to be unleashed into the cosmos. The album is called The Spark. You can find out more about it and listen to sample tracks here.
Although the album has taken a long time to see the light of day, the Alchymical Muse material came together quite spontaneously in a very short space of time, mostly recorded in 2009 with only Green Man being added later in 2012. It began when I drafted him in to work on my second album. The muses descended and gave us half an album's worth of astonishing material in the space of a few weeks, which was in addition to, and quite separate from, the other work we were doing.
The most significant factor in this new material was our combined voices. The first time he sent me a mix of the first track I thought "I don't remember singing that line there" before realising that it was actually him. So we shared the lead vocals on this album and weaved around each other with harmonies, choral chants, poems (our own and other people's), wordless lyrics and Gaelic lamentations.
Secondly but also very important was a desire to experiment musically, and outside the constraints of genre. Daniel is an innovative cellist and gets a range of melodic and percussive sounds out of the cello which I never imagined was possible. He also plays classical (i.e. nylon-stringed) guitar in a similarly holistic way and using exquisite modal scales. Throw my harp and 12-string guitar into the mix along with piano and keyboards (which we both play) and we had a sonic palette which enabled us to wander wherever our imagination took us. Every song was approached differently as a unique piece in its own right and there were no rules ... it all came by inspiration and alchemy.
The name Alchymical Muse arose spontaneously because that's what we called the project when it didn't have a name. The Alchymical Muse was the first song we made, so we eventually named ourselves after the song.