STAND UP AND WALK - 2001
1. Change Of Heart
2. French Viola
4. Ritual Bliss
5. Stand Up And Walk
10. Hatchback Mania
11. Santa Claus
12. Irish Widdershins
All tracks written by Billy Currie except :-
Ukraine Billy Currie / Warren Cann / Chris Cross
Vocals Suzanne Bramson
Produced by Billy Currie
Mixed by Billy Currie & Avril Mackintosh except Hatchback Mania Billy Currie / Micky Mulligan
Liberation Billy Currie / Tim Orford
Photography Paul Cox
Mastered at Advision Studio Brighton
Recorded at Hot Food Studio Notting Hill London
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.
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.
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 light-hearted 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 spacey synthesiser note the piece returns back to a variation of the beginning folky tune and ends with a rhythmic twist.
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!
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!!!!!!
Ambient use of the acoustic grand piano. While I still had it!
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.
Like a painting. Atmosphere music. High Viola with looped textural effect.
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.
Floating through a Christmas tree. Sparkling tinsel.
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!