Sound Bytes - listen before you buy
Where Birdsong Meets Aeroplane -
a solo album by Barry Wickens
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“Where Birdsong Meets Aeroplane” Something of the album's background.
This is a solo album by Barry Wickens.
Mainly features the violin and viola as part of alternative rock/folk medium, enjoying music where acoustic instruments meet electronica like nature meets technological.
The vocals, strings, guitars, piano, dobro, mandolin, harmonium and percussion all get used here by Barry.
“I got Stuart Elliott, the original drummer from the first Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel line-up to play on some tracks. He’s such a perfect musician in many ways, not only to work with but to be on the road with too. Stuart has worked with so many great names in our business apart from Steve Harley he’s recorded extensively with Kate Bush amongst others, I was thrilled he was able to contribute.”
1. One Horse Down - Barry Wickens / J Eoin 04:28
A song written in memory of Brian Aldwinckle, inspired by one line he’d jotted down, “One Horse Down”. He was a partner in the MacNamaras, a duo formed in 1994 after some fifteen years of playing together in various London Irish folk bands, including Crannog and Chanter.
Brian died of heart failure in November 2014, originally a singer from Belfast playing guitar, whistle and Bodhran to which I always referred to him as “the human jukebox of Irish folk songs”.
JEoin and I play together in the Irish group “Clann na Mara” a 3 piece spin- off line up of the duo, with Paul Gillieron on whistles and sax.
All albums MacNamaras and Clann na Mara recordings are available through barrywickens.com online store.
2. Desert’s Feathered Edge - Barry Wickens 04:46
This instrumental track begun with some cut up electric guitar rhythm flapping away constantly in the hope it would develop without additional percussion in a minimal way however the track developed with layers of Spanish flavor guitar melody and an alternative country sound, driving acoustic guitar and mandolin rhythm and electric slide guitar at instrumental choruses.
The title reflects the desert encroaching on human habitat and human activity, the irreversible cause.
3. Birdsong Meets Aeroplane - Barry Wickens 07:54
I’ve always been intrigued in attempting to make a musical piece of work a visual impression, like adding a soundscape to conjure up a picture in the minds eye. This is a work in two sections.
The first section has a soundscape background of violins spun through echoed delay to create a synth-like chordal pad with some piano motifs. This has a solo “electric” violin improvised as it’s main feature. There is a joining part using a field recording from Delft in the Netherlands when we missed a ferry home to UK; the Christmas market being dismantled, while bells of the church chime. The second part is a warm reassuring piece of violin and viola interplay ending in aeroplane landing announcements in Oslo.
4. Only Disconnect - Mike Reinstein 04:51
I met Mike Reinstein on moving to Brighton only to discover he once lived down the road from me when I was in Haringey, London. He writes fantastic amusing songs, in particular great children’s songs but when I discovered this dark and reflective adult song, I felt I could add something, especially in the arrangement. The song took on a new life as the track developed.
5. Violent Sun - Barry Wickens 07:05
Not much to say, other than again, perhaps a premonition of things to come as world temperatures rise. I used recordings of New Years Eve fireworks exploding recorded from an open window in my loft for the percussive musical sound design.
6. Tranz Elben - Barry Wickens / Brian Betts 03:43
I worked with Brian Betts (guitar) in the band “Immaculate Fools” from 1989 to 1998 and I’ve always found his work an inspiration to play off. We regularly write together still. I asked if he had anything lying around not used, to which he responded. This wild distorted guitar part which became the backdrop to this piece as well as took Brian’s inspiring title and a train ride to some insanity.
7. Glide - Barry Wickens / James Lascelles 03:30
I found a harmonium in the room we were later going to eat dinner before a 3-man acoustic show with Steve Harley in Dudelange, Luxembourg. We were due to perform in the auditorium of the music conservatoire there. I took the opportunity to grab James’s expertise at keyboard to record an improvised piece of slow-moving chordal ambience. James is part of the current Steve Harley Cockney Rebel rock band line-up and acoustic trio. He played lower register keys and foot pumped the bellows, me on the upper register keys. When I brought the recording into my studio, I loved the tension and release of harmonies and the warmth of sound. The piece was finished embellished only by adding a slow phase and reverb effects.
8. In One Mile Exit Left - Barry Wickens 02:31
This started off as an experiment in trying to loop my violin playing in an Ed Sheeran approach by starting off with some rhythmic pattern then laying up other parts. I wasn’t very successful, but I went with the flow of adding violins into one huge sandwich in the studio using my effects pedal board I use for live performance that either distort or send notes into bass registers. There is a total of 13 violin parts layered.