Space Cowboys Under The Sea Of Japan

SpaceCowboysUnderTheSeaOfJapan_Booklet_300_FrontOur third album, Space Cowboys Under The Sea Of Japan was released to the unsuspecting world on December 7th, 2015.  Previously grunge/alt-rock, we expanded our sound with the creation of CowProg-SpaceFunk for these songs.

Tracklisting:

  1. Village Of Dolls
  2. Deep Within The Sea It Sleeps
  3. The Oyster
  4. Corrupted Tranquility
  5. Snow Bones
  6. Seahorse With no Names
  7. Clementine
  8. The Noise
  9. Fractions Of A Fish
  10. Electric Eels
  11. I Heard You Calling But Alas I Did Not Answer
  12. DogZilla Versus The Under-Sea Bass

(Yes, 12 tracks rather than 13!)

Where, I hear you ask, can you get this wonderful music?  Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, Microsoft, Amazon, eMusic, Tidal, SoundCloud, and probably some other places.

Friday the 13th again

ThirteenFor the last few years.  Since we reformed after our 13 year gap to record the 13EP (SoundCloud), with Dark Moon – the missing 13th track from the first album.  We’ve tried to release the new stuff we’ve done on Friday the 13th.  I missed the target this year (hands up, it was me).  I could probably have done it, but wasn’t paying attention.  Space Cowboys Under The Sea Of Japan will be out in December.  You can stream it now from SoundCloud though.

Flesh Reunion, the last album, is in the stores.  Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, or Spotify.

We’ve already mentioned the 13EP, before that was the long ‘hiatus’ as musicians call it, and before that was HowManyDevils1 (on SoundCloud).

Of course, after we release the 13EP on Friday the 13th, we were blatantly copied by Black Sabbath with their album called 13.  I do suspect they stole all our marketing effort which is why their album charted and ours didn’t.  (Surely three men in their 40’s in Yorkshire would be more popular than 4 men in their 60’s from the Midlands).  We took revenge though, by making Halfway There sound a little like them…

Clementine

SpaceCowboysUnderTheSeaOfJapan_Booklet_300_FrontWe’re onto the last track. Clementine. One of my favourite tracks on this album. A story of revenge, and cowboy type stuff again. With a laser. One of those tracks that we could keep adding and adding to to make it an epic multi part master piece, but is best left as is. A simple tune and story telling lyrics.

I recorded my little guitar part for the end separately at home. The rest of the song was all done at Pete’s. I think the vocals fit pretty well in this tune and it has a definite style about it. If we were getting a mini set together this would be one of the tracks I’d pick. This and I Heard You Calling.

Maybe cowboy grunge rock funk is our new style? Maybe it’s going to be the next big thing? Maybe we’re ahead of our time?! Maybe the next album will be totally different? Who knows?

Us.

Disgruntled (we’re bringing that back BTW)

SpaceCowboysUnderTheSeaOfJapan_Booklet_300_FrontCorrupted Tranquility. That’s the next track. It’s another song of two halves. First half is funky-tron. Second half is still funky actually, but also a bit more rocky perhaps? Personally I found this one the hardest to sing. We tried so many different singing styles (15 I think) and Rob chose the best for the final mix. I think it has come out well. The original idea came about from a little funk riff I played to Pete and Rob and it grew from there. The chorus sounds mellow and sublime. Again, bass matches the song 100%. The vocals for the 2nd half were improvised from reading unused words from ‘the pile’. I love the effects on the vocal at the end slowly building distortion. The ‘bit crunch’ on the drums brings everything to a head. Lovely build up. Everything works AND we use disgruntled, twice.

Enjoy!

Deep Within The Sea It Sleeps

SpaceCowboysUnderTheSeaOfJapan_Booklet_300_Front…is the title of the next track. A little story of an unknown force waiting in the depths of the ocean to unleash its power upon the world.

This is probably the most rock type track we have written. Very powerful. Very strong melody hooks. Brilliantly written and played solo section. Solid bass lines that lead and enhance the songs flow. I tried to write some lyrics to match the powerful style of the song and I think I managed.

I can’t remember what gear I used on this. Probably the Gallan Strat style guitar. Certainly the analogue phase and over drive. I think the vocals we used were the second maybe third take? I know the style changed slightly from the original recording. Whilst I was recording the vocals on the final mixes of these tracks I was trying to be mindful of my breathing. Listening back I think it helped project the words clearly and added to the power of the sound of them in general.

The drums slide along nicely and the marching type pattern for the verses contrasts the slowed rhythm of the chorus.

Job done.

Bass, the final frontier 

SpaceCowboysUnderTheSeaOfJapan_Booklet_300_FrontDogzilla versus…

This song is a expression of bass riffs against a giant Dogzilla. We asked Pete to play a few riffs along to a couple of patterns. Mixed them up a bit and then added some effected recordings of Pete’s dog to the mix as Dogzilla. The idea is of bass defeating Dogzilla and saving Tokyo(?) perhaps? OR is it symbolism representing our darkest selfish urges (Dogzilla) being kept at bay by the relentless pounding of day to day life that moves and darts in different directions (the bass).  No, it’s just bass versus a big dog monster.

Enjoy!

In the mind, of mankind, you will find, a hope that binds…

SpaceCowboysUnderTheSeaOfJapan_Booklet_300_FrontElectric Eels is the next track from Space Cowboys Under the Sea of Japan that we’re looking at. This is another one of those random ideas that sprouted into a full track. Three basses at some parts. No real lead guitars. Weird lyrics that at first listen don’t seem to make sense. I tried to make them seem odd but (with any luck) if the idea is explained then the words start to come alive. It’s really an anti-consumerism song. About how everyone at some point is drawn into the thrill of buying stuff that is not important at the end of the day. How we put significance on things and objects and forget that there are people on this planet who have far less than ourselves and that if we took time to remember this then perhaps we wouldn’t feel frustrated that we don’t have an iPhone 26 or a BMW M62.

Musically this is the first (and only) track that we used my bass multi effects on. There is an over drive noise, a bit distortion and a didgeridoo simulator(?) in there. Also, we used the bass effects for some lo-fi vocals as well. Which I love! The drum patterns have some nice little noises and oddness about them. There some phased clean guitar on here (I think it’s the Dot I’m playing. Rob kept a log of which instruments were used for each track). Everything ties together really well. Weird song that is totally out of our usual spectrum, but works perfectly.

5/4

SpaceCowboysUnderTheSeaOfJapan_Booklet_300_FrontOf course we would write a track in 5/4. It’s only logical and of course it’s a track about fish. What else would it be about? Pete. It’s Pete’s fault. He’s to blame. Totally and utterly Pete’s fault. And a bloody good idea it was too. The fish theme fitted because of the nursery rhyme that starts 1,2,3,4,5, once I caught I fish alive. But obviously we can’t have anything about life in this track, so it’s got death in it. ‘Send him a death letter’ is Pete’s influence. I also count to five. (Took hours of figuring out and writing.) Then I list five parts of a fish.

This track is really only a filler. The idea was to have a couple of tracks to bridge some gaps. Little fade in/out sections, BUT I think this one works on its own. It’s quirky. It’s random. It’s not in 4/4. It’s in keeping with the album concept/theme. Enough said.

10 missed calls…

SpaceCowboysUnderTheSeaOfJapan_Booklet_300_FrontI Heard You Calling (But Alas I Did Not Answer) is the next track on the list. I love this track for its colour and complexity. It is the track that has had the most work thrown at it but in the end it was certainly worthwhile.  The intro has layer upon layer of vocal harmonies. Some pitch shifted, most with a dollop of reverb mixed into them. The intro is in 13/4 (I think) and is based around a melody/riff (what is the difference?) I came up with. It starts off with clean(ish) guitar and builds till the distorted guitar is prominent, and then everything falls away again leaving just the distorted guitar and an atmospheric phase+reverb background guitar.  The second part, I think was from a bass idea from Pete. This bit is far more aggressive. Like a musical punch to the face. It kick out from the intro and sets things up for the verse. I added a bit of floating trem wobble to this hiding away in the back ground. Next is the verse riff and vocals. The vocals pretty much follow the riff, although the guitars here move to 5ths at different stages. It was tricky to match the pitch towards the end of each line hence the reduction in volume. Next up is a Pete inspired 7/4 section. Kind of dreamy and surreal. There is some phase guitar on here to add to the flavour. Rob did an amazing job with the drums on this section also.  It really feels so screwed together and original. I could quite easily commit to a whole album of this type stuff. I believe Rob recorded his guitar parts after the initial track was committed so he’d be best placed to guide us through that process. The lyrics were started with Pete’s idea (which is also the title) and for a while there was only one verse. The second verse was written when we were firmly in the realm of progressive rock, hence the noticeable tint of poetry (kinda) to them. I’m pretty sure this track has the highest guitar count of any we’ve done to date.

I Heard You Calling is probably the only track on the album which doesn’t have partner. Most others seem to have another track to sit along side it, but this I think sits on its own. Maybe Deep Within The Sea I Sleeps is the closest one to this in terms of direction mainly due to the sounds used. The vocals or concept aren’t really matching. There was a lot of listening to King Crimson around the time we wrote this. Even the guitar effects if bought for this album suited the style. (Analogue is the past AND the future!)

(Skip to the end) Hope you enjoy it. When you eventually hear it. Either free on SoundCloud or purchased from all good online music stores.

See! Horse! Seahorse!! 

SpaceCowboysUnderTheSeaOfJapan_Booklet_300_FrontSeahorse With No Name. Good song title. Inspired suggestion from Rob. Well played sir. This track has a cowboy feel to it. It’s weird we have this vibe on the album. Given how the music sounds it seemed obvious that the song needed a cowboy story to go along with it. I put three ideas of a story to Rob and Pete and this was the winner. The story of a guy who was courting the sheriffs daughter. She was a private dancer (a dancer for money), her dad didn’t approve. You get the idea. (And you’ll be listening to the song when you buy the album). It obviously has to mention the sea in it at some point so it starts on a boat.

My lead guitar was take number one, then edited about to match a structure (there wasn’t an error where I went to a chorus to early to remove as well, honest!) and I think the vocals were the first take after some practice runs. This song isn’t really in my singing comfort zone at all and because the vocal overlaps the end of chorus to verse change, it was a challenge to know which direction to go. I think it works and I’m proud of the result. Pete mentioned that he thought it was the best vocal recording I’d ever done. Cheers dude! Yippee!

Rob was the creative force on this one and, although I wasn’t 100% convinced at the time, suggested the ‘oms’ as backing vocals. He spent some/loads of time mixing and effecting them and POW! They fit and enhance the track perfectly. Good call Rob!

Id like a video for this track. I picture an urban cowboy being followed through various locations by a camera. Taking in the sites of modern life. Living his life eternally trying to find a replacement for his lost love, September. I may even buy a cowboy hat and get ‘her indoors’ to film me walking around for a bit. See what comes of it.