1 Seven on Five refers to the bassline which starts in 5/4 while the drums are in 7/8 but at a different speed so the bar lengths are the same. The guitar and banjo then start is 7/8 but there is a lot of syncopation to bring the timebases together. It's based on a technique invented by American composer Conlon Nancarrow who composed extreme ragtime on the player piano. Also a homage to Wes Montgomery and Bela Fleck of course
2 Bring over my Fender is a duet with my brother Andrew on drums. A looper is used
to perform the second guitar and bass parts in real time.
3 Brian Wilson Fantasia uses orchestration ideas from the Beach Boys Pet Sounds and Smile sessions. For example, the two ukeleles at the start are based on the intro to "Wouldn't it be nice" which was originally played by Lyle Ritz and Barney
Kessel. I also sing 6 vocal parts..........
4 Voodoo Surf imagines the legendary meeting between Jimi Hendrix and Dick Dale;
the main theme pays homage to Dale's quirky modal melodies.
5 John Cage was described by Arnold Schoenberg as "not a composer but an inventor of genius" and this piece uses four of his inventions - the "prepared piano" (a piano treated with items like rubbers and bolts between the strings to change the sound) on the intro, detuned radio as a sound source, metal objects immersed in water to bend their pitch and randomised assembly of samples; all invented by Cage in the 1940s!! The time is basically 6/4 but the tempo shifts from bar to bar in keeping with the randomisation........The recording also features baritone guitar.
6 A Steamy Day(in London town) features Laura Taylor on vocals and Len Hurst
on tenor sax.
7 Black Messiaen imagines a combination between the composer's organ improvisation, a heavy metal band and a Gerry Mulligan style jazz combo.
Like many of Messiaen's ideas, it begins with birdsong.
12Angular Banjo refers to a line in Aja by Steely Dan - the link is that my tune is pretty angular and also has some trombone lines and changes which pay homage to Becker and Fagen.
9Monkstruck is a banjo tribute to Thelonious with plenty of chromatic lines and syncopation.
8 Snakebox Oddyssey is the name of a road trip across Africa by my photographer friend Paul Close (who took the shot on the album cover). It was written for the opening of an exhibition of his photos taken on the journey, hence the African feel in 12/8 time. It features ukelele and African tabla as well as banjo and classical guitar.