About "Declination Of The Sun"
The summer album had to be the big climax of the series, so I've gone down a much more upbeat, dance-oriented, joyful route. I've let loose my rock and pop influences here, but there is also the odd moment of sprawling orchestral spaciousness here and there. To evoke heat and sun, I've used a lot of Hispanic and Latin sounds as well, including flamenco and Bossa Nova, alongside the heavy distortion on the electric guitars as well.
The tracks themselves are often influenced by places I've been while travelling, on holiday or otherwise, so the album has ended up being something of a personal collection of postcards from around the world.
Race The Sunrise
I composed this spontaneously, and almost completely, in one afternoon. I didn't have any particular place in mind, but was after a good strong piece to open the album, and represent the boost of energy that might come with the first days of summer after a difficult year before.
The introductory track was composed last, after the rest of the album, in order to segue neatly from "Violet Dusk", and set up one or two musical themes that could unify the album.
Volcano Island Ballad
This was inspired by various holidays to the Canary Islands, specifically Lanzarote and Tenerife. I remember experiencing a feeling of being lost on the Canary Islands, despite being accompanied by my family, because of the otherworldliness of the landscape, the fascinating artifacts and landmarks I came across there, and the constant presence of the shoreline - an emotion that I'm still not sure if I enjoyed or not, but which to me now is a quintessential aspect of foreign travel.
The Aestival Fountain
Still retaining a little classical influence, this was inspired by Venice, which I had recently visited a couple of years before. I was thinking vaguely of Italian operas and waltzes - there is a slight nod to Verdi's Nessun Dorma in the harmonies, while trying not to quote it directly of course!
An Asphalt Desert
This was inspired by two things:
Firstly by Egypt - I've always had a fondness for Egyptology, and I was lucky enough to travel there as a child.
Secondly, it was inspired more generally by the sensation of being faced with a long journey on foot through a city in baking hot summer weather, a situation I've found myself in more than once.
As the name implies, Pluvial is a rain song. Originally I'd meant for it to appear on Arboretum as an "April Showers" piece, and be much more acoustic. The album would have been too long otherwise, so I saved it and translated it into a more electronic, EDM-inflected summer piece. it's rare for me to take influence from dance music, but I found a few things in it that really fitted and were great fun to use - the beginning of the middle section I like to call the "Calvin Harris" moment.
The Waves Woke Me Up
Very often with composing, I find that I write something and have no idea what I meant by it, and then, after a lot of thinking about it, discover that I was subconsciously trying to say something quite specific. The main melody of this one came up while I was composing "Remember The Colours" for ARBORETUM. As I was working with it, I discovered that this was about adolescence, as that's just what it reminded me of. So I've framed it as a coming-of-age piece, with a beach on a summer evening as the backdrop.
I felt that, after so many quite long, energetic tracks, it was time to get something of a break. So I included this short one as a breather before continuing on through the rest of the album. The Lazy River in the title is specifically one of those rides in a water park that carries you on a slow current in a great loop.
The final outing for the "Something Woods" series, this time with Spanish and Latin classical influences. I swapped the theme itself into 3/4 time for a change, and molded it into something that sounds like a waltz by Francisco Tárrega.
Departures is about several things. I've designed it to serve as an evening wind-down track, and a valediction to the approaching end of summer. It's also about several summer goodbyes that I've experienced, including parting ways with friends upon leaving school and college, and goodbyes that I've shared with loved ones outside departures at airport terminals.
Wedding In The Sierra
The very last number of the series was, funnily enough, conceived before I'd even had the idea of the Seasonals at all. I composed it very soon after arriving home in the UK from the Sierra Nevada, where I'd just borne witness to the marriage of two very dear friends of mine. I was a standalone piece with which I didn't know what to do to begin with, but when the seasons idea came about, it finally had an ample home.
Greener Than Green
Summer has to turn into Autumn eventually, and the album still hasn't connected back to Autumnals. So I thought maybe I'll have one last big burst of summer. I also bring back a theme from the beginning of the album, and transform it back into "Green To Gold To Red", where the cycle begins again.