Thursday, January 30, 2020


Yesterday, the very kind people at Bandcamp, and in particular the very kind Ari Delaney, included Crystalline in their Best New Ambient list for January! Which is very kind. You can read it all here:

Ari also mentions the vocals, which I thought I'd share a bit more detail on, as I thought it was kinda cool how they came about. They're from my partner, Sophie. She used to play and sing in Her name is Calla, and also does various live bits for people like The Anchoress and Maybeshewill. I wanted to add a few layers to these little ramshackle things I had half-recorded, so instead of making her sing the same few phrases again and again on everything, I invented the Sophie Phone Sample Bank Keyboard

I recorded her into my phone's voice recorder, singing each note seperately. Here's a screenshot:

I then did that very hi-tech thing of taking an aux cord out of my phone, popping an adapter on the other end, and then banging it straight into the Catalinbread Echorec pedal I had (it's since died, sadly) and had a few run throughs to see which notes fit the key of the song, then pressed record and played the phone voice recorder like it was a keyboard, and messed with the delay settings as it was all flowing through. Good, eh?

Anyway, thanks again to Ari and Bandcamp for being so kind.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020


As if you couldn't get enough of me and my music lately, there's a solo track I did for the awesome Whitelab records compilation Sleeplaboratory 2.0 available now. It's called Rewilding, and you can grab it (alongside the comp) here:

Sadly all the CDs have now sold out, so you'll have to make do with a digital :)

The whole album is based around music to help you sleep to, so I made Rewilding as subtle and barely-there as I could, but I think it's quite a nice little piece anyway.

Monday, January 27, 2020


Am looking to organise a tour in October, so if you think you can help out, please hit me up on

The set will be a little different from what it used to be, just a fair warning if you're after the 'bangers'. It'll be sadly without a lot of bangers. Banger-less, sans bangers, minus bangers, whatever you'd like to call it. It will, however, still be very good, but perhaps a bit more sit-downy. A bit more ambient. Lots of guitar and trippy atmospherics.

Anyway, if you're a promoter/ venue person/ band wanting to hook up, shoot me a line and we can try work something out.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

2010 tour

I think it's only fair that after the previous two blog entries, I dedicate a bit of time to the last early-days satan tour: 2010's jaunt around the UK and Europe. It was with Her name is Calla, a band who Sophie was playing violin for at the time, so we decided to join forces and hit the roads of Europe for 3 weeks. It was pretty tough, but we got to see so many nice places, and meet so many good people.

We also toured to promote the release of Heart Monitor, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this March. I think it was kicking around the same time as Arrivals, but we didn't finish it quite in time, so it had to make do with its own non-album single release later. The CDs were great, and we put a lot of effort into those, so if you have one: well done. Keep it safe!

Sophie during soundcheck in Manchester.

Life inside a tin can: the van en route to Glasgow.
Getting the projector sorted in Glasgow. Both bands had visuals I seem to remember.
Holy Trinity Church, Leeds. Used to play here loads.
Setting up at the Church.
Loading into the Lexington, London.
Calla soundchecking, no doubt mid-equipment failure.
The best view of England: leaving it.

Stuk in Leuven, Belgium. A great venue, but as we were late, we never got asked back to play.
Alright Belgium, what you sayin?
Sadly, I don't think this was anything to do with the Irish boyband.

A stop-off in rural France so Calla could play to a competition winner.

That morning's journey after about 2 hours sleep.

The original Heart Monitor CDs.

Setting up in Berlin.

A quick walk in Berlin.

A street with a nice name.

Why yes, this was our accomodation in Berlin, why do you ask?

On the road somewhere in Germany I think.

Loading out into Berlin's venue-du-jour, Schokoladen.
Ah yes, seems like a cracking venue for some emotive electronica. Welcome to Rostock.

Without doubt, Rostock was the scariest venue I've ever played in.
We left Rostock as quick as we could, and went back to Berlin to stay in the Rock n Roll hostel.

And so we had a day off, so we drank and ate.

...then we went to Leipzig, which was beautiful.

The venue changes name every year, apparently. Was 'Paris Syndrom' when we arrived.

Guess what happened to the van on the way to Frankfurt?

Bored, stuck in a field waiting for a mechanic to change the tyre.
Frankfurt was an experience. Got drunk on a boat after this.

A Denovali label showcase in a big power station somewhere. We weren't on the label at that point, so sat this one out.

The power plant was fun though.

Very eerie.
(the next gig was in Duisburg, of which I have no photos, but wasn't the best. We stayed in someone's house who someone else we were supposed to be staying with found online that day. Yeah, wasn't the best)

Back in the UK, the van broke down near Leicester, so we spent the night eating this, and getting a coach home in the morning.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Spokes tour

Following on from that previous blog entry about the MSW tour (who, incidentally, look like they're coming back - or at least doing something, if their Twitter is anything to go by...), I thought I'd do another one for the next big tour we did. This one was about a year or so later, in 2009, to promote Arrivals. It was our first album, so we were quite keen to get out and play as much as possible. We knew Spokes after playing a couple of gigs with them in the past, so were delighted when they asked us to join them on a little jaunt around England again.

Musically we were pretty different, but we got on with them and had a very smashing time. We're still friends now, and although Spokes isn't going anymore, the rhythm section (Matt and Johnny) went on to form Pigs x7, and guitarist Liam went onto form Rainer Veil, so they've done pretty well in the end!

Getting everything ready in the satan front room.
Setting up in Sheffield.
Spent the night here, which was quite nice.

Newcastle. Think we weren't supposed to play here, but did anyway.

What 99% of a tour looks like.

Matt & Johnny are big Toon fans, so we slept under Alan's watchful eye.

Night off, so me and Sophie got hammered and went to party.

Matt (now vocalist for Pigs x7) enjoys a breakfast.


Setting up in Preston.

Matt (of Pigs x7 fame) in a fridge, in Leicester.

Newly minted Arrivals promo CDs on a table next to Ricardo Villalobos in Fabric, London.

Last night of the tour in Leeds. Nice mood lighting.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

MSW tour

Back in May 2008, we did a tour with fellow post-rockers Maybeshewill. It was only five dates, around some particularly random English towns, but it was good fun anyway. It was our first ever tour, even though we'd been playing pretty regularly up until that point, but we'd never managed to stray too far from Leeds.

Anyway, here's a dive back into the vault for some satan memories:

The satan live setup in Newcastle
The perils of having to park vans in the UK

The Vic Inn, Derby. That's the toilet there on the right, just next to the stage. 

Jim from MSW discovers Drum n Bass after a gig in Sheffield

Loading in, probably in Leicester
Still getting the hang of this 'violin bow' thing in Leeds.

Me, most probably forgetting to switch a pedal on or something.
John MSW's makeshift pedal board.
Andy (L) and Robin (R) during soundcheck in Leeds.
What backstage actually looks like, Birmingham.
Merch on the table, probably in Sheffield?
The customary end-of-tour picture, Newcastle.