• Astral 03CD
  • Released: 1st September 2004

1. Oxygum 6:15
2. My Father’s Force Field 8:00
3. Kristian Birkeland 2:12
4. Alpine Sketchbook 5:26

All songs written by Paul Simpson (Copyright Control 2004)
Produced by Henry Priestman at The Gossamer Dome, Ynys Mon and mastered by Mike Cross at Ten Pin Alley

Produced and engineered by Alan Holmes at The Palace Of Popular Culture. Anglesey , N.Wales on December 6 th 1999
Mastered by Nick Halliwell June 2004
Dark brown chuckle on Oxygum by Ben
Artwork – Russ

Sleeve Notes : It’s two degrees below freezing when I arrive at Bangor railway station after a 7 a.m. start from Liverpool’s Lime Street. Alan Holmes picks me up in his hearse and drives me the few miles to Menai-Bridge and his home recording studio The Palace Of Popular Culture. The Palace is a huge long low-ceilinged log cabin; its tongue and grooved walls are lined with shelves groaning under the weight of a lifetime’s collection of vinyl. Alan is the sort of musical obsessive that owns an original German Music Factory copy of Monster Movie and everything ever recorded by Peter Hammill including Firebrand. I’ve been suffering from a touch of flu for a few days but decided against cancelling this session as it has taken forever to organise and Alan has booked time off. After a ritual pot of sparrow bone tea we knuckle down and get seven tracks recorded in six hours. Considering I’m making it up as I go along this isn’t bad going. We are doing the whole album on a dual-keyboard 1960’s organ that bears the name of the Welsen President and an ancient Mini-Pops Junior drum machine. The tracks are being recorded on an ancient 4-track reel to reel machine, so we have to be ultra creative. It’s going well but by teatime I have a raging temperature. Unwisely I agree to accompany Alan and his wife, poet Zoë Skoulding to a reggae sound system held in two small rooms beneath Bangor University. It’s fantastic; I haven’t heard vintage reggae this good since Eric’s back in early 1977. It’s not surprising to learn that tonight’s d.j.s were great friends of the late great Roger Eagle and I spend most of the evening dipped in sticky majoun. Back at the house I’m given a bed in the spare room at the top of the house. It’s so cold that steam is coming from my lips. Even with all my clothes on in bed and mummified under 4 heavy blankets I shiver and cough through the entire night. When morning finally arrives I’m dying. Unable to carry on, Alan and Zoës lodger Huw kindly rings the train station for departure times and shortly after Alan drives me to the station. I’m wrecked. Listening back to the abandoned session almost four years later, it could be the early recordings of a no budget Harmonia or a big budget Industrial Domestic. Fortunately only four pieces of the original seven survive.

Thanks for flying air Skyray..Paul Simpson.

Liverpool England September 2004.