James Bay by Triumphal Arches, new EP

Posted on July 16, 2012

Remember a little while back, when I told you all about my recent trip to James Bay?  If you don’t, you should go follow that link.  But either way, the salient point here is that the trip was a rather inspiring affair.  As I stood there on the rocks, with the freezing air rolling over the water, I thought to myself “remember this, you’re going to need it”.  It was a potent sort of place, and when some place, person, or event gets to you like that you have to take full advantage.  So I immediately set to work on a new Extended Play single entitled James Bay, and now I’m happy to announce that it’s done, and available for your listening pleasure.

James Bay EP. Triumphal Arches. Photograph by me.

I’ll say some things about it…  A while ago I got my hands on Destroyer’s Bay Of Pigs, and good god.  It’s just damned amazing.  I can’t say enough about it, really.  To my listening ears it’s an almost perfect blend of spacey electronics and rock music and something else I can’t quite name.  It’s really good.  Go listen to it.  It was described as ambient disco and I guess that’s as good a description as any.

Destroyer’s Bay Of Pigs

Then a little while after that I watched the documentary Scott Walker: 30 Century Man.  I knew pretty much nothing whatsoever about the guy, and so I was pleasantly surprised / terrified by his music.

His later work, post the poppy Walker Brothers, is so original and different that it’s hard to describe.  One adjective that is pretty much indispensable is “intense”.  Holy hell is it intense.  The man can sing something powerful, and his singing and super sparse arrangements amount to this sort of suffocating tension that’s uncomfortable to listen to, up to a point.  Watching the movie I wanted to turn it off at points just to catch my breath.  It’s definitely worth checking out, and I was left thinking that I ought to do something a little more ambitious with my singing, somehow.

These two things, then, were circulating around when it came time to make this record.  These and the previous electronic and piano works that I’d done, and so I set to it, working as fast as I could muster, so that I wouldn’t lose the impetus.  What I wound up with is a curious little collection that, I think, is a pretty decent synthesis of these various ideas, and I’m quite happy with it.

It’s probably a “challenging” listen, but really I have no idea.  There are some sparse electronic pieces with reverbed-out singing, and some more traditional rock and rollish type stuff.  Technique-wise, I sang quieter on this one than usual (or tried to), and conversely I also brought the vocals up in the mix considerably while turning down the bass and drums.  Some songs have no drums.

I’d be mighty pleased if you were to give it a listen.  It’ll grow on you if you do, I bet.  It probably sounds kind of weird at first.

Posted in: Music