| January 11, 2013

Current Projects

Fusion Orchestra 2

Currently my main focus is Fusion Orchestra 2. FO2’s a progressive rock band that Colin Dawson and I formed from the embers of a blues rock band we used to play in together. When that band split, we both felt we wanted a change in direction. I was quite keen on exploring a more progressive direction and Colin had, in the 70’s, been in a progressive rock band called Fusion Orchestra. We started learning the old material more for fun than with any intention of playing it live, but it became clear that we also worked very well as a writing partnership and soon it seemed inevitable that we would want to do more than muck around in private.

Fusion Orchestra 2 was so named because neither of us wanted to be trading on the old band’s name, but it was clear that with half our material being from Fusion Orchestra’s back catalogue there was a strong connection. The new material we write tries to retain the flavour of the original band without being overly constrained by it.

It’s been a turbulent project with an almost farcical number of personnel changes in its early days. Added to that, our stage footprint and choice of material means we can’t just play the usual pub circuit so gigs aren’t as frequent as we’d like. When we do play a show though the positive response we’ve been getting from old fans and new makes all the effort it’s taken worthwhile.


Marcus Taylor’s Broken Parachute

Broken Parachute is a studio collaboration with an old friend, Marcus Taylor. A year or two back he sent me a couple of guitar tracks asking whether I could add a hammond line. I ended up sending back several keyboard parts and some backing vocals and later he asked me to do the lead vocals too. From that starting point Marcus has now written an album’s worth of material which has progressed in a similar sort of way. Outline versions are recorded by Marcus in Canada, sent over here for the addition of keyboard parts and re-recording of vocals and then Marcus mixes the results.

It makes a refreshing change to be very much a session player rather than the more normal case where I am usually strongly involved with the writing, recording and mixing. There’s enough of a free rein in composing keyboard parts that I don’t feel stifled, and yet I don’t have to do the hard work of making it all sit together afterwards.


Solo Stuff

My own stuff is a scattered, chaotic mix of styles and ideas and so far I’ve resisted (or perhaps failed at) involving other musicians. It makes it a lot more work (even just for simple reasons like the amount of traipsing back and forth between control room and drum kit that’s involved) but it gives me satisfaction that the end result is exactly what I imagine, to the limits of my abilities.

I’m vaguely grouping it into three different albums: a straight(ish) rock/pop songs album, some piano ballads and instrumental duets, and then the Patchwork Cacophony progressive rock album. If I ever manage to finish recording everything I’m expecting it to open with the (instrumental) Sketch of a Day at 15 minutes and finish with Dawn Light which is half an hour in nine sections, with vocals. In between I have one more long track and a few shorter instrumental things figured out.