Book Of Small Hours

by TA Walker

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about

A year in the making, I feel "Book Of Small Hours" may be the album project over which I have taken the most time and care, since I started recording in the early-1990s. I have long had a "progressive-rock" thread running through my work, and for this album I decided I wanted to pull it out and make a whole new garment out of it (as it were).

This is a completely solo home recording on my part, and I produced the majority of it on an iPad (using instrument, audio-processing and recording software native to that machine) before transferring the material to a Mac for overdubbing and mixing. I feel "mobile" computers are becoming ever more capable for serious music-production, and I hope this album serves as a demonstration of what is possible at this point in time.

Attentive listeners may notice the odd subtle musical reference (and for that matter, a couple of pretty UN-subtle ones!) to the artists who inspired me in this particular genre, for which I hope you may indulge me - I felt I needed to get this one out of my system! In particular, I have harboured a desire for a long time, to write and produce an "epic" track - the type which would have occupied a whole side of a vinyl LP in the days when they "ruled the roost". I have finally achieved my ambition here, so if nothing else, I no longer "have" to try it again!

So, from an iPad on my lap in a holiday-home, to the final letting-go of the mix, here is my "Book Of Small Hours". May you get out of it, at least some measure of what I poured into it...

Best wishes,
Tim @ Sidingsound, April 2015

credits

released 12 April 2015

Written, arranged and produced by T.A. Walker for Sidingsound Productions
T.A. Walker performs: Acoustic 6- and 12-string, electric 6-string and lap-steel, EBow and bass guitars; voices; guitar, keyboard and touch synthesisers; electric dulcimer; glockenspiel; electronic drums and percussion
SOFTWARE USED:
Synths/instruments: ARP2600V, Modular Synthesizer*, Galileo Organ*, EVB3, Super Manetron*, AM Pro SoloVST, iSEM*, iMini*, ES1, iVCS3*, DR-OM*, Samvada* (* - iPad; others on Mac)
Processors: JamUp Pro XT, BIAS, Crystalline, Vio, Moog Filtatron
Some synth programming by Tim, with a LOT of presets...
Recorded by T.A. Walker at Sidingsound I and II and on the Sidingsound Mobile, England, between April 2014 and March 2015
Mixed by Tim at Sidingsound I, spring 2015
Cover art direction and photography by Tim, with illustration by Tim and Naomi Walker

Thanks to my family (especially Joy for encouragement, love and space, and Naomi for the same, plus her wonderful contributions to the cover art which really caught the mood!); the terrific folk at the iPad Musician group on Facebook for constant help and inspiration; all the musicians whose work has inspired me over the years; and you, for giving this baby of mine a chance...

(c) 2015 Tim Walker

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about

TA Walker UK

Guitarist/multi-instrumentalist, composer and songwriter, often with unashamedly "prog" inclinations. Influences include Anthony Phillips, Phil Keaggy, Mike Oldfield, Daniel Lanois, Bill Frisell, Paul McCartney, Martin Newell, Peter Hammill, etc., but will listen to anyone who can play decent guitar and/or write fine songs. (And others, too, if they're really good. Of course.) ... more

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Track Name: Sands
The sleeping sands surround us
Before, beneath, behind
The only pathway to be found
Follows us upon the ground...

We look to the horizon
And pause beneath the stars
Descendants of a promise made
A past fulfilled, a future laid

And sands fall from overhead
To gather in the glass
Each one a jewel beyond a price
But time shall surely pass...

A glance exchanged, intention shared
Into the shifting sands ahead

To trust in your direction…
Track Name: Castle
You're looking out from the walls
Expecting armies at dawn
Hurl themselves at your castle ramparts
The sudden rush from below
The strike you dreaded one day
By the setting sun, tear your world apart

This was your sanctuary
Under a banner of blue
Children played in safety by your entrance
Your kingdom now under siege
The trebuchet at your gate
Poised for destruction from a distance

Each quiet sunset just brings
Another night to endure
For sure, the reckoning you fear comes later
The helplessness that you feel
Perhaps the hardest to bear
Just watch and pray for mercy's favour
Track Name: Hold You Back
You always live as if
There's no such word as "no"
I'm learning I should never let
"Never" into conversation
Oh, for a moment to explain why
This road may not be the one

Perhaps the weighted scales
In balance, for the best
Balloons may fly off into space
Or tethered to the earth
A flight suppressed
You'll have your time to soar
Not past the point of no return

If I ever hold you back
I see the forest's glowing eyes

The track we took is lost
In distance and in time
But further from the start we've come
Than ever I thought possible to climb
Through uplands in the sun
To the stronghold in the air
Though mists surround the peak
The summit path will lead us there

If I ever hold you back
I see the step into thin air
Track Name: Bridge Of Crows
As the August sun sets over the hills
The night of all nights now descends
I strain my eyes across the silver stream
Where light and infinity blends

There, gradually, a silhouette forms
The bearing and grace of a queen
Now she and I, reunited once more
But for the river between

[chorus]
Magpies and crows, come fly from all sides
Carry me back to my love
We’ll meet on the bridge, stars below and above
My one and my only, my bride

The shining white way that kept us apart
For one precious night, lights your face
The morning will part us for one more long year
For now my world is your embrace

Tomorrow you’ll follow the sun to the east
I must take the opposite shore
I’ll herd my flocks while you weave tapestries
Until the day we cross once more

Magpies and crows…
Track Name: Oceandrop
One tiny
lake forming
The tarmac bows
to catch the flow
One short span
of damp time
The surface leaps
The deep lies still

Drops in the
ocean
currents to ride
around this sea
Shore to
far shore
still the giants stride

Waves from all
directions
intertwine
A flock disturbed
Dive deeper
to cracked stones
and single cells
who know no hours

Drops in the ocean...
Track Name: Book Of Small Hours
(I) PROCESSIONAL

[instrumental]

(II) LEAVE IT ALL BEHIND

That never-ending summer
Was nothing of the sort
I'd barely downed that lemonade
And we're back in class once more
Those weeks of sun and rockpools
Feel like a long-lost dream
That melted down in the autumn rain
Like a seaside trip's ice cream

[chorus]
Leave it all behind (x3)
Tomorrow waits for you

So many circuits round the sun
And somehow I remain
To ride the rodeo of life
Aboard the ages' train
Wiser heads than mine have talked
Of starting guns once missed
A day to lie and catch the rays
I won't cross off my list

Leave it all behind...

(III) THE GETAWAY

[instrumental]

(IV) GOLDEN AGE

Doors that never bolted
Cricket on the green
Of our imagination
The kitchen sparkling clean

Present, past and future
Not what they used to be
Stained-glass windows of the mind
Colour memory

Yearning for a simpler time
Of tea upon the lawn
The golden age they long for
May bring a golden dawn

Uniformly-shaded streets
Of pure conformity
No need for bolted doors, when minds
Gave up their liberty

Yearning for a simpler time...

(V) LEAVE IT ALL BEHIND (REPRISE)

Much further down the runway
The bird still taxi's round
Oblivious to the years long past
It should have left the ground
Now stranded by the crosswinds
That rake the landing path
Time to dream of flight with friends
Or share a tale and laugh?

Leave it all behind (x3)
Tomorrow waits for you