In The Works: Sleeping States
In the first of a new series, Markland Starkie - the one man maestro that is Sleeping States - gives Ragged Words a detailed look into the follow up to 2007's wondrous These The Open Spaces.
I've been on this album for a little while now, although I put it off as long as possible. Not because I don't want to do it, far from it, but because I get bored of staying with the same set of songs rather quickly and so I thought if I don't write any until the last minute then they will be as new to me as possible by the time the albums finds its listeners. The last album I made (my second) was already quite old to me by the time it came out. Maybe a year or so after it was finished. Not that I was over it completely or anything, but it was a different experience for me, especially as I self-released my first album about two weeks after I'd finished it, selling it at shows, whatever. Whatever.
Anyway, I digress. So, yes I'm currently in the middle of recording - I've been doing it at home here in Bristol and at my drummer Rose's house. She lives in a National Trust forester's cottage in a wood outside of Bristol. So it works well because although there's no soundproofing, there's also no one living nearby to get annoyed by us hitting it. It's taken a little longer than I thought it would, mainly because of fitting it in outside my job (I work on a research project), but it's coming together well I think.
The songs themselves, well there will be nine or ten on the record eventually. The albums are getting progressively smaller in terms of song number I suppose (14, 12 respectively) but the songs themselves are getting longer. It wasn't intentional (well, maybe it was, I actually seem to remember a while ago that it would be fun to write an album of nine longer songs, though I had forgotten that again fairly quickly, until now) but I think I've just been loosening the structures a little. There's more of a linear progression from the last album than, say, the last EP, which came out more recently and was quick and fun and loud. This one's rather more considered I suppose, which is possibly as I've spent a lot of time by myself over the last few months since I moved from London to Bristol. Which has felt like a luxury I'd almost forgotten about. But yes, I bought a few new things to record with recently - a couple of new microphones, a pair of reasonable monitors, my first (I know) laptop, a new copy of Pro Tools. However, I also recently reclaimed my old Tascam cassette four track recorder, which I had lent to a friend maybe three or four years ago and for whatever reason had not managed to get back until now. So at the same time as getting a bit more hi-fi with the expensive mics and stuff, I've also rediscovered the joys of cassette recording. To be honest, it never takes much, there's just something romantic about tape hiss. So I've been recording parts using that, and playing with them, stretching out or slowing down the ribbon and feeding back into the session, and so on.
It will be finished in the next two weeks or so. It will be out in the next six months or so, on Bella Union in Europe. Oh and I'm also working on the artwork with an artist called Charlie Woolley (http://www.davidrisleygallery.com/Past/woolley.htm), which I'm very excited about. It doesn't have a name yet. I'm still a bit fuzzy on the song titles too, if I'm honest. But I'll get there eventually.