Biography and Discography Schools & College
BALLETIC TRANSCEND - Billy Currie 2013
Refine Billy Currie

1. Balletic Transcend
2. Springboard Activist
3. Grandiloquent
4. Pothole Pirouette
5. Dip
6. Back to the Head
7. Jump Spin
8. Unbounded
9. A Feint Idea
10. Etoile

All tracks written by Billy Currie
Mixed and Mastered by Billy Currie and Peter Dudley
Artwork by Mick O'Farrell

Here are my Facebook updates that I did when I was writing the music for Balletic Transcend. These updates were done on, or within, a few days of writing the music. Usually when I write about my music I have to think back a few months, or even a year, and try to remember where I was at. Here is something very close to the inspirational idea.

I did not have the titles when I wrote these updates so I have put the titles in so you know which track I am writing about.

All the Best,



February 1
I have three tracks now with a more developed percussion track. The one with Violin and Viola (Unbounded) is working out very well!
I am excited about this one. Thats just called track 7 at the moment. Track six (Pothole Pirouette) has a spacey Violin part. With old space echo. There is another Violin part that is all grunge, crunched up. They work together in a weird way. Track two (Springboard Activist) is working well with percussion. The textural piano part and the walking synth with 2 key changes can now, strangely, work together OR separately. It is very interesting what percussion does to the composition! I have been writing a piece that has two very contrasting piano sounds today. Early days. So I have eight ideas on the go now.
Its getting there! I am blown away with the percussion effect for track 7 ( Unbounded ). Very Very Exciting!

February 8
Worked hard on one track yesterday. (Back to the Head) It's a textural dance vibe. I wrote this in 2010 so it's been in my head for a while.
It is in a major key of G. There is a crunchy string pad going through it that is very happy.
The main fast moving line is from a Nexus synth. The lovely German creation. Peter Dudley faded in and out a bitcrusher effect that has given the piece even more legs.

February 26
Had a very good day in the studio today. Everything seemed to go so naturally well.
I played the Violin along with one slow track. (Springboard Activist) Didn't bother to record it yet. Just doubling the synth melody on one section then soloing freely on the other, one A min chord, section. A continuous 7th sounded interesting so I will probably start building up simple 2 note chords tomorrow. I may get a better feel for a Violin solo then. I played the piano for some time. The Ivory German D sounds good with some effects on. Clear and strong sounding. Not too spacey.
Suddenly after playing a while I got a melody straight into my head. (Grandiloquent) Recorded it immediately over this strong, epic sounding 4 chord thingy I have. I wasn't too sure about this track. Didn't really know what to do with it.
It was too good to throw away though. It had something.
This melody has really brought it to life. It's very up and clear.
The album needs a track like this so what a productive day.

February 28
Ended up doing a bouncing C on the Violin. A minor 3rd. The continuous 7th, a G, didn't really work. It's repetitive but has a warm Violin sound. (Springboard Activist) The key becomes ambiguous. Neither A Minor or C major.
Interesting. It sounds better soloing freely on the other section that has the doubled up synth melody. I will keep the melody back a bit.
Listening to the other one with the epic melody again. (Grandiloguent)
I like it! The melody is in single notes just below the string pad in pitch. I have tried it above in octaves while having the pads lower. As a variation.

March 8
Had a good week but quite tough. Started off with no real inspiration so got nothing much together with the music. At times like this I tend to practice and play the piano. I usually get ideas later. It did not happen this time. On Thursday I decided to confront a piece I had been avoiding since I wrote it last August. (Dip) A bit of an odd thing to do really when I was not feeling very inspired. Going against the grain! This piece came out as a short 16 bar entity back then. Really different. It is immediately troubled sounding. Dark, unsettled, agitated and desperate. I am intrigued by it as it is instantly all these things the moment it starts.
Back in August I had to stop writing and start preproduction and programming work for the upcoming Ultravox tour.
I have written more for this track now after many weeks. I replaced the string synth sound with the Violin. Two Violin parts playing in octaves. Deliberately mid twentieth century classical sounding. I just love to hear the clear acoustic sound of the violin when it comes in adding to the piano.
It is quite pulling as the first note is an open A string. What was alienating becomes a little bit emotional and human. I later added my CS80 weird string sound to it in consecutive octaves with a third. I know it sounds a little involved all this but it is just one of those tracks that has to be just right. It has such a unique feel. It is a fine line between steering it and allowing the music to find its own natural way.
I don't ever want to get too sure about music.
I also did some work on the track that has Violin & Viola. (Unbounded)
It was important to leave this one for a couple of weeks.
It is near completion now.
It just needed a few small tweaks with the form. Nearly ready for mixing now.

March 15
Had a great week working on the track with the epic melody. Track 4. (Grandiloquent)
I shaved it down a bit.
Needed another couple of sections. I ended up taking an idea from track 10, (Dip) which wasn't really working, (it did work eventually) and put it with 4 and it works well. I had to bring the key down from A minor to G minor. This idea is kind of light and subtle. That is why it fits I think.
The epic bit is so strong. They offset each other. It didn't go
back into the chorus section very well though. The keys were too similar. It didn't take off!!!!
Another idea that had been kicking around from track 2 (Springboard Activist) which I unsuccessfully tried in track 10 (Dip) fitted there. It had octave pianos with whole tone scales like some of the tracks on Transportation and it worked in A major with a sharpened 4th.
(I later used a synth for this part)
I will drop most of the percussion out on this section.
It now goes back strongly into the epic melody section which is in C minor with a flattened 7th.
It needed something a bit off the wall. I got it!!!!

March 25
Last week I worked, again, on Track 2. (Springboard Activist) This is the one that I put a bouncing Violin C on. A few weeks ago. This seemed to open up this section to the possibility of a Violin solo rather than the other part that had the synth melody. I got on and did the Violin solo. The solo has three Violins playing at the same time and the same rhythm. I found a very interesting effect that makes them slide down together, in unison, at the end of a sustained note. The three Violins are playing different notes like sound clusters. Sometimes quite dissonant other times just octaves. This is a Logic effect that just sounds brilliant with a Violin. This is over the textural, echoey piano part in A minor.

April 11
I have been working on the track which is dark and desperate. ( Dip) It engages me as soon as it starts. The last time I worked on it, a few weeks ago, I hit on this idea of moving the dark, lonely minimalist Violin section further in the piece and start it with a heavy synth riff with pounding electronic drums. I am back on it now. Experimentation!!!
It starts full on, then moves to the quiet, dark, desperate sounding Octave Violin section that has no percussion..
It's an interesting turn around.
These ideas are strange when they come.
Doing lots of percussion on the other tracks as well.
It's going good.

April 19
I have finished track 10. The "dark and desperate" one. (Dip)
Monday I did my VAT. Great. Tuesday I wrote a new piece. It was like a bed to play Violin on. Like an exercise. Nothing great.
It had a huge spacey Omnisphere synth pad. (A Feint Idea)
The next day I liked it better so I decided to try it in the Track 10 idea. I was looking for a third part. I could wrap it up then, I thought. You are probably thinking that I am like a dog with a bone dealing with this track whereas THIS idea had ME like a dog with a bone.
The new idea fitted quite well. It went in from A minor to B minor.
This new idea, with the big pad, naturally dipped so it didn't feel right going in with a key rise. I transposed the whole thing to F sharp minor instead, repeating it in the original key of B minor.
That was interesting. It all went back into the heavy electronic drum section nicely. Finishing in A and starting the next section, which was in A, sounded good.
I kept having doubts though because the chords sounded like a Pink Floyd track.
I love the Pink Floyd though, especially those electronic bits in Ummagumma. I loved them much much more when I was 20 though! These chords I had were too derivative
I dumped this idea. I can always tell when I am getting near the mix stage. I start searching and mopping up ideas that I dropped a while ago. This is what I did on Thursday. To get more focused I tend to go through periods of dumping ideas. To get a clearer view.
I did this to track 5 because it persistently felt like an intro.
I couldn't move it on with another section.
I tried it in my track 10 "dark and desperate"piece and it fitted perfectly. (Dip) It starts in G minor. I kept its original tempo of 120 bpm so it pushes forwards when it comes in. The original piece is at 100 bpm.
This idea also ends in A (major) leading back into the heavy electronic drum section which is in A.
I would have thought that this key effect would be very UN dynamic but it works great!!!
It's been a productive week.

April 27
I enjoyed the sun last week. Musically I played some Viola on track ten. (Jump Spin) I have just two tracks with Viola. One, track 7, (Unbounded) has Viola and Violin working together but this is Viola on its own.
Legato notes on the bottom two strings. C & G.
The Viola is a fifth lower than the Violin and has a much bigger body. The sound is large with a kind of Rasp. The rasp of the Viola. Unique!
I started writing a new track with a very compressed piano sound. (A Feint Idea) Using the Waves plug ins compressor. The piano sound swirls, not unlike the beginning piano section I played on Ultravox's Distant Smile. Ha Ha Ha.
I am enjoying the Tai Chi meeting on Monday evenings run by my teacher Ian Orchin. This is for friends. It's not a group lesson from the major corporate gyms we have around here. I am a member of one of them though. I try to get there three times a week. It's bloody expensive so I would be mad not to!
I try to make sure I have time to fit in the MUSIC. Only joking. You can certainly get a clear head when you have been to the gym.
Very good for taking a candid look at the structure of a piece.

May 4
My writing is going good. A bit slow though. I carried on with the piece I started last week. The one with the overly compressed piano. Glassy and swirling. (A Feint Idea) I have written another section which is faster. Moving arpeggios with the right hand. Two chords that enable me to play a constant F sharp on the Viola. The reason I did that is because that note, on the D string, makes a great sound when I play near the Bridge keeping continuous pressure with the bow. It howls away up an octave and other overtones. Like a guitar making feedback. If you leave a guitar in front of the amp, turned up, it starts to howl up an octave! And then goes completely mental.
Fun stuff! The improvised Viola on the original idea sounds good also. It makes me want to do more and more. This Viola, made in 1933, London, by Georg Rost, is fabulous. The fellow went to New York and carried on making them in his 90's.

May 11
I have now completed the track I was working on last week. (A Feint Idea) The overly compressed Piano and Viola piece. Ne percussion. I wrote another part that makes you feel like you have been hit in the face when it comes in! This part picks up the track with,stark, sparse, anarchy. Sharp electronic percussion.
Cabaret Voltaire! I finish on a peaceful meditative piano melody. This part reminds me of the feel of Compassion. The track from my album Accidental Poetry of the Structure. It sings peacefully and quiet. I used quite a bit of volume automation on the Viola when I finally had the form complete.
The F sharp feed-back vibe needed to be faded in otherwise the D major 7th chord sounded OTT. A bit sickly. Its amazing how something like a fade-in can change everything on the fiddle. The producer Conny Plank was fantastic at sorting things like that out for me. Finding the place in the mix of the music for the Fiddle. His father was a Viola player. That is why he understood fiddles. It was a blessing to find someone that could work with them in Electronic Rock! I would certainly be working with Conny now if he was still around.

May 25
I have worked, this week, on a track I came up with two months ago. It was a quick, immediate idea that I did not work on further or think about too much. A swirling synth melody over a driving rhythm. On tuesday I started a new track. A blank page. My ninth piece. I am coming to the end of my album now. I know. I am keeping the writing momentum up so all my tracks keep a high standard. It is easy to drop the ball near the end.
This ninth track has a contrapuntal style melody between a synth and piano. (Etoille) Intermingling. The piano goes across the four four bar because it is four four then six four.
Its pulling around. I then moved to the Viola for a rhythm part. I have been doing that for the last three days of the week. I have recorded many different ideas. It is in D Major. A good key for resonating strings. I wanted it to work with just the Viola and drum machine then with the melody. At the moment it just works as an accompaniment to the melody. I have pulled the volume back a bit so it is more of a natural string texture in amongst the synth and piano.
It gives the track that rough stringy vibe.

June 1
After a Bank Holiday of lazing around I got started with my music on Wednesday. I did do Tai Chi on Monday evening though!
Wednesday I played the piano for a couple of hours. To loosen up. I usually get ideas after a while but I didn't.
No worries. I got my fiddle out! Played Violin along with track 6. (Pothole Pirouette) This piece already has two Violin parts. I was just enjoying it and eventually came up with extra parts.
Thursday I intended to record these new Violin parts but decided that it would make the piece feel too fussy and too classical sounding. I like it as it is. There is no rhythm on this track. I spent the rest of the day tweaking all the nine tracks. I especially worked on track nine. ( A Feint Idea ( The one with just Viola and Piano. I put the form together. It is extended now. I think I have one more little tweak to do next week.
On Friday I took the idea from Track 12 (Jump Spin) and put it with Track 11. (Etoille) Track 11 is the one with the Swirling Synth over driving electronic rhythm. Track 12 is the one with the big contrapuntal melody vibe. Piano in six four. Big European synth melody in four four. Playing at the same time! Viola being low pulse rhythm. I had to bring them both to 140 BPM and change the key of track 11 up to A minor from G minor. They work fantastic together!!!!
I love doing things like this. Very Exciting! I never thought of trying them together and then you just think, while in bed just going off to sleep, YES!!!! That could work! Messing with the keys in Logic is great fun! And so immediate! It is quite easy to do as well! The photo definitely sums up the week.

June 15
Finished Track 13. (Balletic Transcend) Work went very well on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I just seem to be on a roll. I composed two more sections for this piece so there is the fast moving Synth part moving in and out of the diminished plus a quiet and emotive section. This part has no rhythm. Sparse instrumentation. The piece starts with another new section that is simple and repetitive. Ambient. The fast moving Synth section is the main part of the track though. It returns at the end in a different key. There is a four bar melody in three - four time with a fast moving electronic rhythm doing a three bar four - four section long with it. They meet up every three bars of four - four time. It is not overly complicated. They just sound like they pull way from each other and then come back together again. It just gives a strange feeling that I like. It is not being overly clever for the sake of it. I am just thinking about the music.
I am very excited about the way the melody comes back at the end. The sparse section ends on an E diminished string chord. I could have gone back, very powerfully, in F minor but I decided not to do that. It sounded a bit obvious. The four bar melody starts on the fifth of the chord so I came back in B flat minor. F being the fifth. The melody starts with a very strong note. As it resolves the key is actually B flat minor. The plates of the planet seem to shift.

June 30
I had a very good day on Monday. I was still drawn to Track 13. (Balletic Transcend) It has an intro section then the big melody part. I decided, finally, that this big melody section was in six four time. Having a cycle running of three bars of four four on the percussion with a melody and fast moving sequence doing four bars of three four running concurrently was just too weird. It did not really help the Melody. The rhythm was accenting the wrong notes. It works well now!
The track then goes to a slowed down sparse section with just piano and strings. I decided to take the melody from this section and use it again in the earlier big melody part as a counter melody. It works fantastic! I only had to change one note. It sat so well!
I like it so much that I have dropped everything else out except these two melodies and the rhythm. It is very emotional. I bring everything back in later when it goes from A minor to F minor. That feels good! Very strong! The lower sequence sound is a typical minimoog sound and the top is a very spiky sound. They work well together. I do this type of mix arrangement at the end as well. It is definitely a case of less is more.
I spent the rest of the week practising the piano. I always need to keep doing that! I also worked on another project as well. I can't say much about that yet.

July 15
Hope you are all very well. I am working away still on what will be a ten track album. I have track 11&12 to complete then I will start to thing about titles. I have 13 tracks but 1 was used as an intro for 13 (Balletic Transcend). 3 was disbanded. 5 was used as a middle section for 10 (Dip). That leaves ten tracks. I do love this time of thinking about titles. Words. To feel the pictures that words conjure up in my mind and see how they connect with the pictures and emotions that my music creates. This is a picture I took of the beautiful landscape of the Totteridge and Mill Hill area. This is Lake Darland. Folly Brook flows from here. I named one of my tracks after the stream.

July 31
Hope you are all very happy and well!
This is a photo from way back in 1968. I am in there leading the Viola section, with the long hair. When I was at the Huddersfield Music College we did lots of concerts around the Yorkshire area. Not sure where this is though. The Bruch Violin Concerto is being performed here. My viola teacher is playing the solo violin part. This is a very emotional piece. We all had our hearts on our sleeves. If you look at my teacher, Herbert Whone, you will see his fantastic technique.
The bowing arm is producing power and pressure on the string without tension. You can actually see that from the photo! I spent four years trying to learn that from him.
Many a time I would be playing the music for him in my lesson and he would just suddenly grab my arm to demonstrate how tense I was. Being left handed my fingering hand was light years ahead of my right handed bowing arm.
If I had gone on to the London Royal Academy, where I managed to get a place, I am sure I would have got quite close to accomplishing this technique through the oncoming five years there. It was not to be!
I have a different type of technique now after playing in Performance Art groups and Bands for many years. I learned how to apply the bow, with pressure, near the bridge when I needed high harmonics and sometimes a screaming sound. It has become
my electric violin style. An electric violin sends out these harmonics in a much more powerful way! It is an exciting journey which I am still on.
I am working on the Viola at the moment to play on track 12. ( Jump Spin)
I am going to get two parts going then the Violin chorus lift comes in with the Bluesy type Proggy Riff. (I dropped the Violin part when mixing)

September 11
There is an excellent article in The Electricity Club. About my 2006 album Accidental Poetry of the Structure.

Here is the title of my new album.


Had a great day today with Dave Spiers. Great to meet Chris, his partner at G force, as well! The Oddity 2 looks & sounds brilliant. It has this amazing simple programming part, at the top, that allows you to add extra LFO's and ADSR's and lots more thingies to each slider. Changing what each slider can do. It has three filters mirroring the three different Odyssey's. Mark 1 Mark 2 and Mark 3. I still prefer Mark 2 but it is great to be able to have all three and mix them.
Adding the third oscillator is
mind blowing not to mention the polyphony.

Had a good chat with Chris (Chris Cross)
Enthusing about the set for the November gigs.

It's that time again!!!!!!!!!!

September 26
Had a very good day today starting the mixing of my new album. I am really tired. A satisfied tired. Peter Dudley who is mixing the album with me came over and we went through the whole album together in my studio. We have started mixing the first track.
It is going good!
BALLETIC TRANSCEND is the title of the album. I haven't got all the titles for the tracks yet.
They will come with the mixing. It is good to actually have the title of the album now. It usually comes later. Have all the mixing dates in the diary and sorted. We will finish at the end of the week. Friday 18th October.


REFINE - Billy Currie 2009
Refine Billy Currie

1. Soliloquy
2. Extremism
3. Supporting The Sky With Both Hands
4. Empty Stage Mantra
5. Beyond Our Own Skin
6. People Came And Laughed
7. Martyr Points
8. Bend The Bow
9. Love Signs And Triangles
10. Cycle There

Mixed and Produced by Billy Currie and Peter Dudley
All Tracks written by Billy Currie
Artwork by Mick O'Farrell
Recorded at Cloudy Hands Studio London

'Refine' is pure indulgence, presenting a depth of character that expands way beyond the base of a vast ocean. Containing superb moments of light and shade, there remains no shadow of a doubt that this is Billy Currie's finest output to date. A work of philosophical complexities and strong inner concepts, the ornate album artwork is the perfect pictorial representation.

"Soliloquy" is a vibrant description of flawless portraiture. The opening passage, an amalgamation of gracious violin and piano, gently entice, going forth to exhibit one of albums boldest tracks. Its power and glory is celebrated during outbursts of dynamic synth textures, enhanced with the discrete underlying melody throughout.

The vibrations of "Extremism" extend beautifully alongside a contemporary styled groove; the expressive instrumentation injecting a sense of adventure into what could be a sinister journey, before a more jovial destination is reached in "Supporting the Sky with Both Hands."

The ornamental and flamboyant "Empty Stage Mantra" flaunts its body, drawing attention to the unconventional & atmospheric string enhancements, before the piano style shows a warm affection towards `Quartet's' "Cut and Run." "Beyond Our Own Skin" grants an uplifting freedom, completed as it edges into a movement that becomes busied, erratic and heroic.

"People Came and Laughed" is a scene of serenity, promptly switching to a beat driven swing of seduction, further enhanced with lustful keys. Bridged with celebratory sounding synth swirls and crashes of atmospheric improvisation, it's complemented with a vivid digression to the most beautiful naked piano - all before the tracks final climax.

"Martyr Points" is driven by a catchy ostinato, before breaking into those classic sounds that could easily have emerged from the Ultravox/Visage backwater; yet somehow manage to flow from a fresh natural spring rather than a recycling plant. The violin solo is one of the most engaging flashbacks.

Emulating a creepy cold presence of spirit with its gentle chimes is "Bend the Bow," constructing its own ghostly tune - each note decaying in such a way that lends a darker side to every lurking shadow.

Billy Currie is a virtuoso who continues to seek new forms of conceptual expression. The unrivalled quality that is 'Refine', is set to ensure that demand for Billy's highly prized originality shall not be diminished.

Refine is a grand result and wonderfully produced - expect a full-bodied unveiling of distinguished and intellectual musical illustration.

Jus Forrest


Accidental Poetry Of The Structure - Billy Currie 2006
Refine Billy Currie

1. Accidental Poetry of the Structure
2. Williams Mix
3. Skips of a Chopped Head
4. Krakow
5. Idee Fixe Movement Three
6. Matsang River
7. Hall of Impressions
8. Folly Brook
9. Compassion
10. Listening to Strength

All Tracks written by Billy Currie

This is a powerful, extravert, electronic album. Billy experiments with amp distortion, not just on his Synthesiser sounds but also with the Viola. The synthesiser called the Minimonsta appealed very much to Billy using it for bass on the first track “Accidental Poetry of the Structure”, and for soloing on the second track “Williams Mix” and many other places. The third track “Skips of a Chopped Head” has a hyper, building, three four time, nightmarish feel, climaxing with Billy speaking within the track while his Viola playing screams out! Various piano sounds and parts come together for “Krakow”, the fourth piece, with Billy using pizzicato Viola. A reggae influence creeps in. He is obviously having fun with this track! His time at Island records must have had some influence on him.

Billy says that the fifth track was influenced by Steve Martland. That will be the fast, syncopated rhythms I think. Much piano soloing on this track. A very free feeling. The sixth piece all started from Billy taking the end few notes of his solo from “On Broadway”, the live version he performed with Gary Numan. Billy hadn't listened to that solo for years but on doing so thought the improvised melody, that he comes out with right at the end, could be utilised for a completely new work. Here it is, very joyful! By the seventh track the listener is reined in a little to experience a more quiet and sometimes peaceful music. The quirky feel of these last four tracks is very attractive. Reminiscent of his “Stand Up And Walk” period. Billy's unique Violin playing now comes to the fore. The eighth track called “Folly Brook” is named after a beautiful walk that Billy takes between Totteridge and Mill Hill, north London, which passes through a lake in the woods. “Compassion”, the ninth piece, is really made up of a very warm, shimmering Violin sound with a lonely piano part. This is about compassion for all the suffering in the world. Billy uses simple ingredients of Synthesisers, Violin and Piano to a mesmerising effect.

Billy says:-
“The title ‘Accidental Poetry of the Structure’ is about the creative process of composing the music. When I write I usually have two or three ideas on the go. Differing colours and emotions. It is only when I work on the structure that the sparks start to fly and accidental to this process of structuralising the piece the musical ideas come to life and speak! The poetry of music is accidental to this creative structural activity”.


STILL MOVEMENT - Billy Currie 2005
Refine Billy Currie

1. Waving Hands in Clouds
2. Simultaneity
3. Afterglow
4. Apocrypha
5. The Waves Look Sleepy
6. Standing Still
7. Highfalutin
8. The Other World
9. Stately
10. Deflect Downward
11. Step Forward To Seven Stars

All Tracks written by Billy Currie


Billy Currie is well known for his contribution to the group Ultravox and the studio project Visage playing Keyboards and Violin.

Billy first started playing keyboards at the Huddersfield Music College back in 1965. Piano was his second instrument. He was there to train to become an orchestral Viola player but things did not quite work out like that!
Piano became a very interesting tool for him as a way to hear the harmony he had to compose for lessons and a means to see fully what was going on while reading scores. All the notes were there on the keyboard! Billy was a natural string player but loved this elevated view of music the piano gave him. He was impressed by the classical electronic composers of the recent times like Varese and Honegger but also liked the more spacey contemporary music from new composer Terry Riley, especially “Rainbow in Curved Air”. His music had a very spacey organ sound that was a bit like a current sparkly synthesiser version of an organ sound.

Billy managed to secure a place at the London Royal Academy of Music in 1969 to take his next step to becoming an orchestral player but took a sharp left turn. He was invited into a band and grabbed the opportunity. This band, based in London, called Springbirth then Company Roadshow had a strong leaning towards blues and Jazz but with a rock edge. The drummer had played with The Graham Bond Organisation. Improvisation was the way. Billy played Electric Viola and six string bass guitar with a line-up of Vocals, Guitar, Sax, Drums and Hammond B3. The Hammond was an amazing instrument for Billy to experiment with when the band were not around. He loved the way Pink Floyd used it as well as Jimmy Smith. The boffin roadie for the band used to look after Hawkwinds strange oscillator synth so Billy got the chance to sit in his workshop playing with this weird synth all night.

Billy left this band after a year and worked with the Tim Buckley styled song smith Jeff Starrs who later, after Billy moved on, did two albums for Virgin with his band Interview. This was a time when Billy, playing piano, started writing very emotive songs, with Jeff on vocals. They had a few big gigs supporting The Strawbs so Billy experienced the serious thrill of playing a grand piano up on stage. It was at this time that Billy worked with the amazing Mellotron. It belonged to the the Strawbs. Billy was invited into Pye studios, London, to produce a young female vocalist and so got a chance to use this instrument, that had great string sounds, on the sessions.

Ultravox was the next band that Billy joined in 1973. Billy was still considered an electric Violin or Viola player first and it took a year for him to move into the position of keyboard player. The first keyboard Billy bought was a bland sounding Crumer Electric piano. This was just good enough for gigs and worked fine for the rehearsal writing process. Billy loved writing using the keyboard as he could see what was going on with the structure and harmony.

Ultravox signed to Island Records in 1976 and went in the studio to record there first album. Billy used the acoustic grand piano, wurlitzer, string machine, organ and clavinet. Bits and pieces really to get the job done. It was the sounds coming from the Mini Moog synthesiser that blew Billy's mind. Brian Eno was co producing with Steve Lillywhite and showed Billy how to get some sounds from this great instrument. Billy co wrote “Slip Away” with John Foxx (Vocal) and the Mini Moog worked very well on this track. It also worked on “My Sex” an experimental track written in the studio.

The Arp Odyssey synthesiser was the choice for Billy. He felt it sounded more raw and emotional. Billy immediately started to experiment and, as well as using the instrument to make electronic rhythms and sometime violent effects, developed his own solo sound. The sound had a vibrato made from the LFO sounding like a very intense Violin. This seemed a natural way to express himself being a Violinist. There is a good example of this solo sound on the Gary Numan live version of “On Broadway” 1979. The Oscar arrived in 1984 and Billy started using this more reliable Synth instead of the Arp. Chris Huggett and Paul Wiffen, the English Guys that made it,  modelled the first preset sound on Billy's Arp lead sound. This solo sound can be heard on the track “Ukraine” from Billy's “Stand Up And Walk” album.

With “Still Movement” Billy has, in his own uniquely creative way, mastered the new Virtual versions of his trademark synths, the Arp Odyssey and the Oscar, to make a very crisp and powerful Synthesiser Album, drawing from his considerable experience.                                             
The new version of the Arp is now called the Oddity and the new version of the Oscar is now the Imposcar. Both have new features for Billy to experiment with, for example polyphonic sounds. Only two notes at a time could be played back in the early days of Ultravox. “The Other World” is a track from “Still Movement” written using a Billy Currie polyphonic sound from the Imposcar. This sound is on the Billy Currie Signature Sounds called High Float. Please use phasing.

One of the other Billy Currie trademark sounds was the huge, almost religious in its intensity, string sounds he created from the magnificent Yamaha CS80. He used this sound on the Ultravox track “Hymn”.

Standing Still” from “Still Movement” goes into this area using a CS80 sound from the Atmosphere virtual synth.
Billy uses many other synths on this album, as well as the Violin, and has moved forward taking things up a couple of notches from his previous album “Push”. Its a Billy Currie Synthesiser Album. Eleven beautifully crafted tracks created with passion!


PUSH - Billy Currie 2002
Refine Billy Currie

1. Stand Like a Balance
2. Step Forward
3. Swimming in Air
4. Kissing the Shame
5. High Climb
6. Into The Space
7. Why Do You Hang On Me
8. The True Transmission
9. Theremin
10. Cross Hands
11. Rollback

All Tracks written by Billy Currie

"PUSH is a very positive move into Dance and Viola Granular Synthesis experimentation. Some tracks on the PUSH album are fast moving with very driven synthesiser sounds. Tracks like "Kissing the Shame, "Step Forward" and "Into The Space". Billy has included his original ARP Odyssey. "High Climb", "Swimming in Air" and "Cross Hands", on the other hand, are very soft and playful.

Billy has continued pushing the boundaries for electronic use of the Violin and Viola. There is a couple of very wild Violin solos on "Into The Space".

The use of the Granular Synthesis programme enabled Billy to play the Viola while sampling the instrument in Real Time so as to create an interplay between the two. Tracks like "Stand Like a Balance" and "Why Do You Hang On Me" have that certain inspirational freedom while using cutting edge technology. The results are staggering, totally unique!"

"A good return to his 'electronic roots' in many ways"
Rob Ayling Voiceprint


KEYS AND THE FIDDLE - Billy Currie 2001
Refine Billy Currie

1. Memories Don't Go
2. Sojourn
3. Tekapo Blue
4. Sisters And Brothers
5. Leap
6. Metronomic And Rising
7. Enchanted
8. Passage To Possession
9. Upswing
10. Break Down My Door
11. Riding White Horses
12. Happy Valley
13. Spirit Of Her Spirit
14. Quiet Words
15. Clean Stones
16. Gloat
17. Playground
18. Away

All Tracks written by Billy Currie

This album is a mixture of new music (including the film soundtrack "The Fragile Skin" plus Spirit of Her Spirit, Gloat, Playground) and a choice of music I wrote after the Ultravox "Ingenuity" album (Sisters and Brothers, Leap, Quiet Words, Away, Clean Stones) before embarking on the "Unearthed" project.

I have also included "Tekapo Blue" that was supposed to be part of the "Transportation" album. (This track just did not seem to fit on the Album at the Time, probably because it is quite Spiky and Hyper). When you hear it I think you will agree that it is FUNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In February 1983 I started work on a Solo album. Five tracks were written and recorded but none were released and the album didn't get finished. (Memories Don't Go, Sojourn, Break Down My Door, Riding White Horses, Happy Valley). All these tracks are here on this Album featuring Steve Howe, Hazel O'Connor, Toby Anderson and Russell Bell.

Memories Don't Go. This song was rehearsed at my place, in Notting Hill, on my Art Deco baby Grand Piano. The piano didn't sound particularly great but being in that white room had an inspiring affect on me. I wrote the Melody and Chord structure for the Ultravox song "Dancing With Tears In My Eyes" (Which was heavily influenced by the Michael Röther album that Conny Plank gave me) in that space. The Studio at Scorpio Sound (London) had a really huge grand piano that sounded great. This is a very Moody song, very much of it's time. I like the way the Vocals and Piano are very close. We rehearsed it quite a lot. The tempo moves naturally. The piano is one take, with the fast little bits Overdubbed. Simple song combinations like Piano and Voice or Viola, (or Violin) Guitar and Voice are very appealing for me after working like that a lot. e.g.. With Jeff Starrs "Interview" and John Foxx "Ultravox". (see biog) The end speed up section has triggered SynClavier strings (e.g. behind the Arp solo in "Hymn" Ultravox) with the Synth Melody being a Yamaha G.S.1 sound that I spent Six hours programming in Hamburg. Thank you Yamaha! I used this sound on "Mine For Life" (Ultravox Quartet album), "Lament" (Ultravox Lament album). The G.S.1 was an expensive brute of a Synth (I had mine given) that was in a smart wood finish, designed to appeal to the American Church market (weird). Lots of Organ sounds. It was the first to have sounds on cards (like the Hole in the Wall for getting money from the Bank). A digital Synth like that in 1982 was ahead of it's time, unfortunately not very reliable in a very Sweaty Concert Hall. The notes used to Stick! That went down well.

Sojourn. This was written in the Studio. The electronics nut that I brought in to work for Ultravox was a friend of mine from Huddersfield ( Yorkshire ). I financed him to develop a Sequencer that would change the Pitch (V.C.O) of Analogue synths. Me and him generally took care of any triggering sections, especially on the Visage " The Anvil" album e.g.. "The Damned Don't Cry", "Again We Love" etc. I had grown a bit bored of just triggering and really wanted to (in musical time) change the pitch as well! The ones on the market were a nightmare to use and very unreliable until the Steinberg programme came along in 1987! Like "Transportation" I composed a form and bed for Steve Howe to add his parts. Classical Guitar and The big-bodied Gibson are used.

Tekapo Blue. Toby plays a nice Jazzy organ solo in this. The form is like a simple song.

Sisters and Brothers. This piece was influence by John Lennon's "Imagine" and other simple piano parts he composed for his solo work. He was a genius.

Leap. It Leaps.

The Fragile Skin soundtrack:
Part 1 Metranomic and Rising - this short (low budget) Horror film was all about suspense. That's really why I enjoyed it. The challenge of holding back. Less is more (so to speak). Viola is the instrument that supplies the chill. It did in my Ritual Theatre days (see biog) and it does here. You can listen to the music without having to know the story but here is a simple idea of it for extra pictures to your imagination. The scene is: - Young girl arrives at large, creepy house. Remember the classic film "The Haunting".
Part 2 Enchanted - Scenes of exploring the House. Remembering playing with her X lover in the countryside. Large bright rooms, sensing danger, climbing stairs, discovering someone else's clothes, sensually feeling and touching. (I'm wearing someone else's clothes again). I try to get impressions through the Viola sound paintings. The Mix of Orchestral sounds,Viola, the resounding bass synth sound. Timing is important as I resolve to a rumbling low C. It's now going to get nasty.
Part 3 Passage to Possession - I wanted to keep the suspense with very minimalist music. The girl is attracted to some force and heads down into very dark rooms. When the music gets lighter with relief, ( the solo Synth section much later ) that is the time when the Witch that is following her appears as her X lover. Temporary relief for the girl. The music after that magnifies exactly what is going on in the Film! They kiss, she turns back into the Witch she is. The Viola solo starts pleasant then turns evil showing this. There is a chase until the Witch finally gets her. I use the fast Orchestral vibe for this. With weird Synth sounds so it wasn't too clichéd. The Film was a bit Hammer Horror really, but it was exciting to do.
Part 4 Upswing - Even though the Witch is now in a crazy party scene, full of freaks, wearing the skin of the dead girl (Having pulled it off with her teeth in a Black Ritual), I decided to offset the film by getting sad, emotional and heart-pulling with the music (While the dialogue is screaming). This relationship between the music and the picture had a particularly vile effect, exactly what I wanted. Introducing a repetitive rhythm carries the film to the End.

Break Down my Door. The backing track for this was recorded on my 16-track tape machine at home, then copied on to 24-track tape at Scorpio Sound Studio. It was the second track I wrote with the developing new sequencer. Guitar from Russell bell who I met in Tubeway Army (Gary Numan)

Riding White Horses. This was the start-up of my Solo Album. The whole studio to myself. FANTASTIC!

Happy Valley. Slowing down into this happy valley. G.S.1 melody line. Using the Sequencer to push it along.

Spirit Of Her Spirit. This sensitive track started with the Violin loop. Flanged Violin on the top melody line.

Quiet Words. I chose this title because the track seems to speak with calm words. With the tone and attitude of someone talking to you.

Clean Stones. Simple Synth world. I like the bass!

Gloat. Angst! Not so simple. Paranoia never is.

Playground. The beginning part is a reworking of this odd timing idea. I had come up with the idea a few years earlier but left it exhausted. I discovered a new more laid back approach. Easy feel to acoustic Violin

Away. I am at the top of a tree. It is five thirty in the morning. I love Norfolk.


UNEARTHED - Billy Currie 2001
Refine Billy Currie

1. Cathedral Climb
2. Whatever Glows
3. Transparent
4. Unearthed
5. Polished By Bare Feet
6. Running Through The Years
7. Scattered Soul
8. The Great Incontestable Stars
9. Routes

All Tracks written by Billy Currie

Unlike the other two previous albums this one was entirely scored out. My feeling and direction where that I really wanted to get to the actual notes of a composition, keeping the sounds to orchestral, with synthesisers to offset things. The piano found its way in but there is still a minimum amount of sounds being used. The orchestra is such a fantastic palette that I never felt confined.

CATHEDRAL CLIMB was the first track I wrote, you can tell by the way I lunge in like an over excited kid, creating huge and dramatic sections. I played violin & viola in the college orchestra (a long time ago) and because of my experience and understanding of the various string sections, I was able to go right to the opposite side of the spectrum for the second piece in the work.

WHATEVER GLOWS This piece is quietly confident with muted strings chugging away and a simple relaxed piano melody. The form is like a song.

TRANSPARENT was written in the middle period of the album where I felt like I was at the highest point of the creative process! I was confident with my new tools of work. It was also midsummer. I love the sax, and the rhythmic parts gave a humorous quality to the track (pulling the beat around). The beginning is like a pop song until the strings enter with a romantic melody that I tried to use in Ultravox, (at the "He's a Liquid", "Touch and go" and "Mr. X" time - late 1978) but it did not get finished! A folky string melody comes in later and works with it. This melody was a computer happy accident, notes played in one at a time, not the thing I would come up with sat at the piano. The harmony is a lot to do with the Bradford born composer Delius, this is where the title Transparent came from: - Light shining through! I very much admire the man. There is a reprise of Transportation in the piano solo which you may notice.

UNEARTHED. This was written second from the last and in the Fall. I wanted to get the music straight out of my head and on to the score page. I don't remember ever getting near the keyboard. This track is very classical influenced and has touches of the Brahms "Tragic Overture" about it. I have a fond memory of playing the Tragic overture in Harrogate (Yorkshire, England) when I was at music college. The textural middle section has a Mellotron sound sustained through it. Again I used little bits of synth to unsettle things. I started this track the morning Princess Di died. I came to my studio in Notting Hill Gate (more Ladbroke Grove but close to Kensington Palace) and the whole place had such a numb and depressed atmosphere. I found myself working alone in this huge warehouse on Sunday. I started to exorcise the whole sensation out! All quite intense and strange. Read into the title what you want!

POLISHED BY BARE FEET. I was reading Jean Cocteau's diaries. He was in the Greek Islands travelling around and he used the phrase Polished by Bare Feet to describe the state of the entrances to the old Greek ruins. I loved it!

RUNNING THROUGH THE YEARS. I enjoyed playing this live. An intense track resolving at the end to a soaringly high melody! Working deeply within the "Logic" computer programme I created some spacey rhythmic music of a textural & experimental nature.

SCATTERED SOUL. This is a simple piece moving continuously from happy to sad. The repetitive synth rhythm moves the piece deliberately towards Kraut - Rock. The string melody in the sad (minor) section is like a synth solo from my ARP ODYSSEY synth days with ULTRAVOX.

THE GREAT INCONTESTABLE STARS. Why a title like this? Who Knows! Strange intuition maybe! I think the title may have come from the spaced out feeling this track can give. The percussion, bass guitar and strings move so fast that it becomes mesmeric. At the gigs I chose this piece to make long improvised Viola solos in the quiet breakdown sections. This was done over the low G of the cellos (like the beginning) or the high minor 7th of the Violins. I worked on bringing out quite loud harmonics not too dissimilar to feedback Guitar!

ROUTES. This is about grabbing the creative energy and bringing it under control and to a conclusion. There is a pure joyous & joky section just before the slow down into the anthemic end. (sorry about the Jimmy Hendrix bass riff but I had just been to see Nigel Kennedy do his Hendrix concert) I love these uplifting, warm, glad to be back home, endings.


STAND UP AND WALK - Billy Currie 1991
Refine Billy Currie

1. Change Of Heart
2. French Viola
3. Liberation
4. Ritual Bliss
5. Stand Up And Walk
6. Urkraine
7. Requiem
8. Jam-boree
9. Crisis
10. Hatchback Mania
11. Santa Claus
12. Irish Widdershins

All Tracks written by Billy Currie

This, my second album was also written and recorded in my own studio in Notting Hill Gate. I was full time manager of the studio and made this album in down time. (When no one was using it) I did a deal with the engineer where he got some free studio time if he worked with me on my album when I needed his help. Unfortunately my house and studio had to be sold in 1990 even though the studio was a successful business. (Life eh!)

When I came to "Stand Up and Walk" I had a very different view of my life. The album is more introspective - while inviting the listener in. I started to feel more for the natural sounds of the Violin, Viola and the acoustic grand piano. I began mixing technology with naked expression. I seemed to have developed a new (more relaxed) look at time, spacing and communication of feelings. Being alone was the way for this album and probably for the first time I was ok with that.

CHANGE OF HEART. Very organic sounding, mostly Viola, Female Voice, and orchestral Strings and Cymbals. I flit between four - four time and three - four time and then resolve out at the end. In the middle I play solo Viola over a big, emotional, orchestra vibe.

FRENCH VIOLA. This childlike track started with the synth bass line da dum dum da da! which is from a French pop song (at the time) that gradually slowed right down at the end with the vocal sounds of a couple making love! Remember it? The Viola and Violin melody came while jamming around on top of that. The melody is major ninth based in F major. The second part of the melody (and the synthesiser voice bit) is a melody I have had in my head from when I played it in the orchestra at college! It is a high Viola part that I loved. I am telling you this because sometimes that's how it works, having a melody stored up for years and then finding the place for it. It was in E. The phrase had very expressive notes for the Viola. I remember pouring my heart out and thinking at the age of sixteen that this is what my Viola teacher means when he says WITH FEELING! The composer was a nineteen-century Romantic called Franck. The simple form is like the childlike songs that I wrote when in the band Visage. Remember Mind of a Toy. French Viola has got the developed little extra turn around section at the end. The "Penguin Cafe Orchestra" influence is there again, in the fast moving line. After working in bands and writing songs for so long, I am more than happy to use that experience for composing simple form pieces.

LIBERATION. This is a deliberate attempt to compose a filmic orchestral piece with a strong visual flair. This piece takes the listener on a journey. I am playing most of the strings on Viola and Violin. The folky, rhythmic Tippet style beginning takes you up onto a plateau where I play around for a while. I do not think I would have had the poise to do this on Transportation. This whole plateau section takes part in a very lighthearted chord structure with sparse and gentle percussion (wood blocks, finger cymbals etc.). The Viola playing at the very beginning displays my style, developed through years of Classical and Band work, creating a whistling effect is something I discovered from playing electric Violin near the bridge (Barcus Berry, Fender, Fishman etc.). It is much more pronounced with an electric Violin and I made it my sound. The Viola solo at the plateau section is very playful, there is one little bit that sounds like laughing. I decided to keep it because it made me laugh and used to crack Avril (one of the engineers) up! The next section is where I got the title - Liberation from; it is my own Russian Revolution with strands of Englishness. A weird combo, but it seems to work. These musical influences sit in my head for years before appearing in some strange form. The fast tremolo string scales are very intense! After a long spacy synthesiser note the piece returns back to a variation of the beginning folky tune and ends with a rhythmic twist.

RITUAL BLISS. A funky rhythm in the chorus. A simple song form again. Lots of Viola. Chilled out! I like the moving Viola line in the chorus and the Velvet Underground influenced verse. The improvised female vocals are cool also.

STAND UP AND WALK. I felt that the naked expression of this music really did capture my inner soul. Few ingredients, just Viola, Piano, backing Vocals and Synthesiser Strings. A simple mixture of Classical and Blues. I am proud of this track - with all its rough edges!

UKRAINE. This track was actually intended for the Ultravox album (but did not end up on it) that was recorded in my studio in 1985 - 86 called Uvox. Warren Cann (of Ultravox) has control of the percussion and Chris Cross (of Ultravox) plays the Bass Guitar. Conny Plank produced the album and stayed at my house for the project. Lovely man! Such a great pity he died, in 1987, of lung cancer. I used the English made Oscar synth for the solo in the middle. This sound was devised specifically for me to replace the old ARP Odyssey sound that I had developed in Ultravox. The Oscar was more reliable, especially for live work. The sampled bass drum in the rhythm track belonged to Rick Wakeman. My driver (who I used to work with in Ultravox and before that worked for Yes) brought it in to my studio. It looked like something from a brass band, all painted up for one of Rick's solo concerts. Well we found a use for it!!!!!!

REQUIEM. Ambient use of the acoustic grand piano. While I still had it!

JAMBOREE. I found this very interesting to put together. When I worked with Eno on the first Ultravox album in 1976 he told us a bit about how he made albums purely from tape loops rotating at differing lengths (extending all round his flat). Influenced by these ambient albums of Brian Eno I used the sampler instead of a tape machine and sampled my Viola looping it in a similar way. I then used that as a bed to put a dance groove around.

CRISIS. Like a painting. Atmosphere music. High Viola with looped textural effect.

HATCHBACK MANIA. The rhythm is split three three two three three. A series of different rhythmic melodies interwind. There is a very eerie sound from the old German made PPG Waveterm. It creeps in like a ghost.

SANTA CLAUS. Floating through a Christmas tree. Sparkling tinsel.

IRISH WIDDISHINS. A decider to an exit stage right (or is that left). No sampling here mate! Once this track gets going it runs away with itself in a fast moving, uplifting and unsettling way. I like the screeching of the Viola bow against the bridge. The lights are blinding me!


TRANSPORTATION - Billy Currie with guest Steve Howe 1988
Refine Billy Currie

1. Airlift
2. Traveller
3. Transportation
4. Rakaia River
5. India
6. Perfect Flight
7. Over-Soul
8. English Home


This is my first solo album and was a fantastic experience! I had overseen the building of my own studio in the converted basement flat of my house in Notting Hill Gate and was ready to now do my own thing. I didn't just rush into it, because I felt I first needed to make music with some musicians who had a different angle on things (this was in 1987 when Ultravox had just disintegrated). I wrote and recorded three songs (I will release this stuff later on an album of unreleased music from that period) with the keyboard player Toby Anderson and percussionist Kadir Guirey. Toby worked in the band Curiosity Killed the Cat and both worked in Funkapoliton. One of the songs had vocals by Helena Ferrari, (she later sang on Traveller from my solo album) another of the songs called HOUSE, which was as it says - House Music (the new thing in 1987). This was dance music moving very fast and repetitive. The third song was called High Concentration - a very happy, funky song with Helena on vocals. The two differing keyboard styles and harmonic leanings of Toby's and mine began to start working well together. The third song was a very bluesy song called God Damn It's True sung by a guy called David Ogilvy. As well as being emotional and soulful it had a chorus that made you want to tune - in and sing along. Again the combination of mine and Toby's keyboard playing and Kadirs percussion really made an interesting fusion, Romantic Funk YEAH!!!!!
I need to inform you of this preparatory stage so you can see how the tracks like Perfect Flight, Traveller, Over-Soul, from my album, came into being.Tekapo Blue, one of the tracks that Toby and I did together, did not end up on the album. Listening to it now, I really do not know why.

AIRLIFT. This was the first track I started work on. The form is like a roller coaster ride. Climbing up at the beginning, with the feeling of expectancy becoming more intense, (my sampled sax solo has nuances of blues) then WHHOOOOOSH you're off! The ethnic - type rhythm speeds it along. On this album I used Hans Zimmer's Fairlight synthesiser and his engineer, so it seemed only natural, as Hans was a friend, to play it to him. He gave me some good feed-back! (Hans was moving nearer to his big break in films and played me this amazing orchestral track he had just completed). The main melody section always felt a bit lightweight and it wasn't until I met Steve Howe again (I had done some studio tracks with him in 1983, soon to be released) that I got it sorted with a grainy Stratocaster sound playing majestic chords (Very Ultravox). My studio was full of keyboards - PPG, Oberheim, Oscar, Prophets, Wave Station, Roland D50, Akai sampler (12 bit), racks of DX7's etc. sometimes Midied in a chain and run from the first Steinburgh music computer programme. This was 1987 and the bloody computers crashed all the time! When Steve came down to work with me he had about thirty guitars. Brilliant! We could hardly fit in the studio. Someone said that The 80's where a time of excess - really?

TRAVELLER. I had the spacy melody for this, and the groove. Steve came up with the middle section - Crazy Classical sounding. Helena's vocals are luvlie.

TRANSPORTATION. The working title for this was "A Hoofers Way to Heaven". Hoofer is the American word for Tap Dancer. (In case you did not know) The rhythm, in the middle, is made up from a real live tap dancer that I sampled in the studio. The stone tiles made a great sound when he danced! I had the form completely laid down, then I asked Steve to play over sections. We had a great time choosing which guitar to use. I have a fantastic memory of the Steel Guitar banked in whole tones and then getting them to flip over. (The top note going to the bottom and the low note going to the top etc.) This is hard to describe; you will hear it for yourself. I was listening to George Gershwin at the time and the influence on my piano playing is clear! Debussy was an influence as well.

(Mountains to Seas). This track was very demanding, harmonically and structurally. It is a set of four variations with a bridge section between each one. Everything develops in size as it moves along. The title comes from the idea of snow dropping (very light piano beginning) onto the mountains, (the southern alps) then eventually coming down across the (Canterbury plains) plains in huge overflowing rivers and out to sea! Rakaia River is in the south island of New Zealand, a place I travelled to while making this album. The first two variations, on the melody, are a Classical and Jazz mixture. Gershwin and Debussy are an influence here. The third is very intense, filmic and emotional, with a funky groove overflowing into the fourth variation where the rhythm changes to a laughing triplet beat. This is a crazy, celebratory, "Sergeant Peppers" (complete with sound effects) type ending. The bridge section is like an electronic version of NEU (the early seventies German band that the producer Conny Plank turned me on to). Simple - but hits the spot.

INDIA. In 1985 (when I built my studio) I put a band together called "World Service". Ray McVEIGH (a guitarist who lived round the corner) introduced me to Derek Forbes of "Simple Minds". Ray had just finished with "The Professionals", Paul Cook and Steve Jones (from the "Sex Pistols") and Derek had just left "Simple Minds". Ray Weston, who I later worked with in "Humania" joined on drums. We actually started making an album in my studio but the Ultravox album "Uvox" interrupted that! The guys wanted me to quit Ultravox and go with "World Service". It was obvious that Ultravox was already in a mess, but my heart still lay with it even so! It was an intriguing sound we made and a privilege to work with the man who made "Simple Minds" sound so cool. My whispering voice sample at the beginning was the PPG Waveterm (8-bit sample). The Oscar solo (at the beginning) is midied with a Prophet 900 sitar sample. The end riff is very PPG.

PERFECT FLIGHT. This track is where the Toby, Kadir and me combination really works. I solo over a very spacy, soulful, sexy intro and then a funky drum rhythm smashes in, bringing a simple, happy melody with additional Spanish Guitar from Steve. This track gets continuous airplay in America even though it is just a small amount. A D.J. out there really loves this track.
And so do I!!!!!!

OVER-SOUL. Steve Howe, Toby Anderson and me getting on down yeeaaahhhhh!!!!!!!!! OooooWwwwww

ENGLISH HOME. I actually got my bloody Viola out for this one! Complete with whistles and harmonics. Steve plays sustained notes on a black Gibson Les Paul (sounding a bit Robert Fripp) over my Holst stile pizzicato Fairlight stings. A very Anglophide ending with Steve on acoustic guitar. I put a strong feeling of that weird band "The Penguin Cafe Orchestra" in this. I heard one of their records for the first time and I was totally knocked out by their originality and good vibes! So much so that I couldn't get them out of my head. I am always interested in music that blurs the line between Classical and Rock, Dance, Jazz etc. That's what I am doing. I had a fairly strong classical upbringing but it doesn't stop me from having freedom to move around. I put classical influences into Ultravox; mixed with the other guys it became something new and different.

This album was very technology oriented and, in retrospect, a bit over the top! But I think it is a very positive album; reaching out, very full and extrovert. Enjoy!