So I have a new demo – and a bit of departure for me – I actually appear in the video playing live. To be honest I’m not a huge fan of appearing in videos – I just feel so self-conscious having images and videos of me “out there” on the internet. The song is a bit on the long side at 8mins, and already I’ve trimmed it down to less than 5 minutes to play by cutting some verses – which works better in a live setting. In away the ‘shorter version’ is stronger because it “gets on with the job”. But I’m leaving the demo as is rather than re-recording it. I don’t want to say too much about what the song is about, as I think often detracts from a song than add to it. One word about the title/bridge “Oh the mercy” that was inspired by watching the film “The Mercy” it tells the story which tells the story of the failed round-the-world sailing challenge undertaken by “Donald Crowhurst” – as Donald’s journey starts to unravel he starts to lose the plot – which is seen in his maniacal diary writings – the last words he wrote before his death was “It is the mercy”. In the film, Donald begins to hear voices through his radio, even though it was by then broken. In my song “The Mercy” is like a false angel that comes to you, making promises that won’t be honoured.

Despite the reference to the sea/seals and sailing – I was struggling with an abstract concept to hang this song on – so with depth breath I plugged in the webcam.


Featuring in the video is my new musical widget – a Shruti box courtesy of the shruti box company.

I first saw one of these being used by Iona Lane at Bishops House – she operated hers with a foot pedal which allows her to play guitar whilst having a drone sound playing in the background. I was fascinated not least because if you can’t see the cable to the shruti box it looks like a like a breathing living creature – like one of those uncanny Victorian automata. Sonically, my Shurti notes are C-D-E-F-G-A-C on the lower notches, and the sharps are on the upper notches

There’s another ambient noise you will hear in the background – which is Aeropads by Aerospace Audio – they have a rather expensive (and only available in the US) pedal. I opted to buy the £20 app for the phone which I can use for playing along acoustically, or Bluetooth to a speaker or amplifier. I’ve been using them for a couple of months. One interesting impact of the harmonium, Shruti and these “ambient pads” is the “space” they create – they sort of slow down guitar playing and make me tease out notes because there’s something “going on” there’s less “pressure” to fill the air with sound from the guitar.