In 2015, aged 42, I finally bit the bullet and bought my first decent computer, a souped-up secondhand 2011 17” MacBook Pro, and started recording. New to Byron Shire (I’d moved up from Sydney in 2012, but I was jobless and I rarely met anyone save for my wife’s friends) and with my former musical collaborators in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Manchester, I decided to go it alone, and started downloading free drum samples and rediscovering how difficult it really is to play the bass guitar.
I won’t say it was easy, but the ideas came quickly, and soon I had the skeleton of an album and three EPs, made of mostly new tracks and a few which had hung on since soon after Shadow History. Then came the mixing. From Cottage Industry Recordings I knew how hard it could be, but this was on another level – of complexity, but also in terms of the sound I wanted. CIR was lo-fi, defiantly so; I wanted it to sound cheap, because I doubted I could make it sound any other way. But this time I was aiming for the stands, for the stars, for the kind of sound I’d always heard in my head.
The sound is dark, slightly discordant, like if Slint covered My Bloody Valentine, or so I hope. To tell the truth, the first EP, Same Stars Shine came off slightly too straight, I think, a little wooden, though I still maintain “Star Destroyer” is a kick-ass song (the 13-minute epic version, currently in skeletal form, especially), and the reprise, “Star #2 Falcon Falling”, currently available on second EP Better on Your Way, is already sounding better.
Gradually, Light Traveller is coming into focus. Of course the gear is entry level – as usual, I’m doing this on a shoestring – and it takes me hours upon hours just to reach the level you hear on these releases. But it’s funny, I feel as if this was what I was born to do. Not the production part maybe; that may never come naturally. But the sound, it’s like a return to my roots. Back in 1988, when I first picked up a guitar, I wanted to blend the Mary Chain’s “Sidewalking” and the Cure’s Seventeen Seconds, and that still seems a valid sound today, albeit with a sprinkling of metal and post-rock, just to acknowledge the passing of those thirty years.
Lost greatest hits