The track Pale was conceived as an exorcism of sorts, having found myself in a dark place and needing to rid myself of the intrusive thoughts that were haunting me. I thought an exorcism was needed. Not knowing any friendly vicars at the time, and it being illegal to go outdoors at the time, I decided to do it myself, using music.
It was written around the core of a dead song, one that had, like some ancient failed star, gone supernova and all that remained were embers. And it was also written around listening endlessly to three other tracks, Today by Talk Talk, Numb by Portishead and the gorgous Euponium Dream by Rustin Man.
While growing up, I was obsessed with Talk Talk. There was this track, Today. I always wondered if there was some element of Jung in the work. “Today, it’s a dream away” to my admittedly strange mind being a mirror of what Jung considered to be that “cursing of a faithless world”.
“Not consciously, of course for consciously he is engaged in bewailing and cursing a faithless world that recedes further and further into the distance. Rather, it is an unconscious factor which spins the illusions that veil his world. And what is being spun is a cocoon, which in the end will completely envelop him.”Carl Jung
It had a line I thought was total genius. I thought Mark Hollis said “Pale Lipped Lucifer”. For years, I took that with me as, what I considered to be one of the finest insults of a narcissistic sociopath the human race had ever conceived. And, having recently suffered at the hands of the same, I thought is was the perfect time to try and do something with it.
Then the internet happened and, in a moment of weakness, because I have a rule of never looking at lyric sheets for some reason, I looked up the lyrics. And found it wasn’t there. He sang “Belle Malissima”.
This then triggered a long obsession with creating a song that could take that line and concentrate that acid rage I felt into something that did the line justice, as it turned out I’d accidentally written my favourite ever lyric.
What became the beginning and end of the track were created from a dream I had of what seemed to be a past life. I had just been married and was dancing with my bride in the 1930s, there was a beautiful 78 on the gramophone as we danced in the warm spring sunshine.
It seemed to be a ray of sunlight in an ocean of darkness. I woke up and sketched out the song I heard using Mellotron patches, then used a vinyl plug in to create the ambience of a 78 rpm record, warps and pops and scratches and dust. Then I went back to sleep. Then the song was lost again for some time. Submerged below the waves, like a wreck on the ocean floor, waiting for the oxygen of a low tide.
What became the middle of the track was created some months before after a three day long Boards of Canada listening binge. I could not stop, and still can not stop, listening to their work, particularly Tomorrow’s Harvest, it’s woozy badly clocked arpeggiators crawling their way through some sort of electronic graveyard, seeking relief from oblivion. I had a Roland Juno 6 that was also slowly dying, but in interesting ways, I refuse to “fix” it, and that became the core of it, barely alive. It’s working title was “a little bit dead” after a play I was watching at the time
This was made into an unholy single track, then sent to the then new other half of Unknown Replica in Italy, Augustine, aka Sara Baggini, the utter genius of vocal art, who turned my thoughts and a line of lyrics into something spectacular, the collapse of the dead star into a super massive black hole.∞
“Projections change the world into the replica of one’s own unknown face.”Carl Jung