After persuading the outstanding percussionist Vince Vella to get on board with the project, I set about writing a track that would feature him on congas. Hoppy opens with Vince playing a Brazilian inspired rhythm. I am a great admirer of baroque music - composers Rameau, J. S. Bach and Purcell are favourites - and the bright, slightly inharmonic pluck of a harpsichord is a sound I love. The combination may seem incongruous, but in Hoppy and other tracks on the album, I blended this with the funk sound of the Clavinet.
Derwent reflects the electronic music that has inspired me. One example is Dorian Concept; his melodies and beats are so playful and his digital production full of human quirks. Derwent features some of the synthesisers that I have worked on in my day job in music technology research and development. I run my electric double bass through the filter in the Novation Bass Station II. The more digital sounding synths are an early pre-production version of the Ultranova, using its touch envelope trigger. The symbol like sounds are my recordings of hitting an iron garden rose arbour.
One of my first jobs was in the jazz department of a record store, so swing became ingrained in me. As well as the old swing band greats I was always playing the contemporary stuff of the time; I sold so many copies of Polar Bear and Acoustic Ladyland’s debut albums because I was obsessed with playing them. The melodic material of this track is all octatonic, a scale favoured by Stravinsky. He is one of my favourite composers; experiencing the ballet of The Rite of Spring is always a thrilling, spine-tingling joy. The slightly distorted trombone, played by Sarah Mann, jumps right back to the sound of Willie Colón’s Latin Jazz recordings from the late 60’s.