Spinning the Compass is 5 years old!

Five years ago this month I released my first solo album, Spinning the Compass.

I had not planned on ‘going solo’ at the time. I was still doing silly things with Comrade Robot, and at the time that was my main musical undertaking. But as part of FAWM 2009 I had written a few songs that seemed to fit into a steampunk theme, so on and off over that year I put things together.

It just so happened that independently at the same time, Joe was also doing some steampunk models, particularly his ‘Oldroid’ models, so there was a ready made set of photos and ideas to use as artwork.

Spinning the Compass is about body horror, bad dreams and machines that get in the way or substitute for real love. Mechanism talks about love gone wrong, I Still Smile about latex and rubber alternatives to human contact, the title track is about being lost in a contracting world that doesn’t make sense and threatens to disappear.

Nevertheless, it is to me a happy album. It was recorded cheap mics and even cheaper software, and I didn’t really know what I was doing. It received my first bad review in which it was referred to as ‘an experiment too far’ (and a few good reviews too) and I learnt a hell of a lot from making it.

It is also where the Seven Bells John saga started. One of the songs from my next album was written at the same time as Spinning the Compass, and Lines Overheard at a Séance is most definitely part of that narrative. Indeed if you’ve heard my most recent EP, Black Water you will have heard the musical echoes of this in ‘Ghosts in my Dreams’ .

Five years ago it was released, accidentally kicking off a solo ‘career’ that so far has encompassed three albums, a few EPs and lots of fun.

Over the next 9 days I’m going to do a little daily post about each of the songs on the album.

You can get it for free here, if you’d like a digital copy.