by Dave Skipper
1997/98 was a pivotal time for me, my first year at university. That was when I was introduced to the world of the Ozric Tentacles, wonderful purveyors of British psychedelic-ethno-space-jam-rock! They opened my ears to the unique and exploratory dimensions of bizarre electronic synthesiser sounds, and I’ve never looked back. They remained among my prime musical inspirations for many years, and along with the mad alien-techno of Ozrics alumni Eat Static were single-handedly responsible for ensuring my shift from exclusively guitar-based music into strange and hybrid musics centred around (or at least vitally incorporating) analogue synthesisers. All of my pre-Japan and pre-noise albums I made involved the pursuit of new electronic timbres, combined with angular electric guitar excursions, coalescing into progressive but recognisably musical forms.
Following my debut album Essence in 2003, I gathered together remixes from various artists of that original material into the 2005 follow-up, Convoluted Substances (subtitled ‘Strange Remixes of Dave Skipper’s Essence’). Subsequent albums Brainwaves (2010) and Hints of Metamorphosis (2011) developed and deepened this trajectory. All of these albums are available for listening and purchasing (both digitally or physically) at my BandCamp page. Maybe I will tell the stories behind the albums another time, but I want to pause at the artwork for 2005’s Convoluted Substances…
All of the artwork for Convoluted Substances was drawn by my old school buddy Chris Cox. I have a secret archive of sketches and associated drawings that he made at the time that we might put online sometime, but here I just want to share the special poster artwork that we created to go inside the CD case. The storyline (penned by yours truly) is a metaphor for the process of creating the album, and at a higher level is a metaphor for the concept and motivation of exploring the world of strange sounds. My ‘descent into noise’ (as it might be viewed!) has been little more than a deeper excursion into the wonders and mysteries of extreme sound.
Although a lot of my writing on this blog is somewhat deep and serious, I like this cartoon for the reminder that there is a tremendous degree of joy and playfulness (and danger!) to be had in contemplating the weirdness and meaningingfulness of sound. So, here is the first published episode (albeit not Episode 1) of, ‘The Intergalactic Rummage for ALIEN CREOSOTE and Other Convoluted Substances…’