And now for something completely different – Sid Smith’s String Quartets collaboration.

Sid Smith has been taking photos of rain on his windows for years. This year he decided to put ’em up as graphic scores. This is what I came up with for two ‘movement’.

These are electroacoustic/acousmatic pieces, rather than my usual prog rock (Think Artikulation by Ligeti, a piece I loved when studying composition at Uni).

The only sound sources were a wine glass, my bathroom mirror and some water. These pieces are more inspired by the pictures than following them closely as a graphic score.


Black Water – New EP available to pre-order

I’m not entirely sure what the difference between ‘pre-order’ and ‘order’ really is, but whichever is right you can now do it with my new EP.

Yup, that’s right, Black Water will be released on 15th July and you can now order yourself a copy. You can get the download, or the CD. You even get the first track straight away, rather than having to wait a month.

There will be extras with this, including a bonus track and a short story called ‘Ironbark’ (‘wait a minute Tom, wasn’t your second album called Ironbark?’ Yes it was. The title is no coincidence).

There will also be a pay what you want version available on release day if you’d rather that. No extras there though.

Here’s a third person press release thing I wrote about it:

Tom Slatter Releases ‘Black Water’, the second of 3 releases based on the same concept

In January 2014 Tom Slatter began work on his two EP, one album, steampunk-prog, concept project. 6 months later, and halfway through the project, Tom is keeping his head down and plowing forward in the hope that his creative vision is nearer to triumph than it is to madness.

‘Black Water’ is the second of his concept EPs, following on from ‘Through these Veins,’ an EP that contained songs about rogue surgeons, body horror and suspended animation. Realising that the first EP’s high concept, narrative songs might be a little too prog for some, Tom is trying a different tack with the new CD. He explains: ‘I tried writing some more confessional, singer-songwriter type songs. The idea was to focus on acoustic instruments and sing about my feelings. But I ended up singing about werewolves instead’.

‘Black Water’ is a collection of four acoustic songs detailing moments in the life of Seven Bells John, a character that first came to life Tom’s ten minute steamprog song ‘The Steam Engine Murders and the Trial of Seven Bells John’. The character was seen again in the songs and accompanying short story for Through These Veins, and has in fact been popping up in his songs for the last 5 years.

‘The fourth track on the new EP deliberately harks back to one on my first album and narratively speaking the title track from Black Water takes place in the middle of the title track from my second album, Ironbark. I’ve always been a fan of narrative music, like Operation Mindcrime by Queensryche, or Coheed and Cambria’s multi-album concept stuff, and these news songs really follow that tradition.’

Black Water can be pre-ordered from

Once the EP is released on 15th July, Tom will begin work on the full-length album that will conclude the series.

‘Blackwater’ will be released on Tuesday 15th July and will available in 3 forms:

The Pay-What-You-Want version

Tom Explains: Just the 4 tracks, no frills.

The Paid-For download version

Tom explains: You get the four tracks, plus a bonus remix of ‘Lines Overheard at a Séance’ from my first album and a short story that fits in with the EP.

The Physical version

Tom explains: This is the CD, plus the download, extra tracks and short story.

Confession – I’m not much of a music fan.

It might be heresy, it might be a dangerous thing to admit, but I am not much of a music fan.

There are acts I like. I’m always going to want to hear the new King Crimson, or Iron Maiden, or whoever. If concert tickets for acts like that were still sensibly priced I’d go see them as well, but I don’t regret missing them.

I also don’t feel the need to own every CD, or DVD. I don’t own any band t-shirts.The CDs I do have are poorly treated, the vast majority still in boxes since I moved house more than a year ago.

I have no desire to collect artefacts related to my favourite acts. I don’t care about their biographies or whether I’ve got everything they ever released.

(The exception is those independent musicians who I follow. I have the latest Matt Stevens, Simon Godfrey, Mike Kershaw albums, to name a few, but that’s me supporting an indie artist and it feels different to being a ‘fan’ – though I’m not sure why or how)

So do I not listen to music? I listen to it all the time, and I try to make it music I don’t know as often as it is work I’m familiar with. But I listen like a musician. What works and why? How can I take these ideas and incorporate them into my own work?

When I see a live act, it makes me itch to get on stage myself, and so can be a frustrating experience at the same time as entertaining.

There’s no such thing as background music – if I can hear music it becomes the foreground. There’s always a tune in my head,and it’s usually a tune I’m halfway through composing. Music isn’t something you collect, or listen to, or watch, or write about, or discuss.

Music isn’t something I listen to. Music is something I do.