A passion for 90s UK electronica teamed with bluegrass beginnings makes Innes’ new album Bits interesting, intricate and eclectic listening; in other words, anything but boring.
With a thirst for knowledge (his influences range from Radiohead to WWII documentaries), a satirical slant (Donald Train series is a must listen) and DIY approach (writing, recording, producing – you name it, Innes does it), Innes’ music is a melting pot of sharp wit and endless creativity. In true Innes style, he even had an out-of-the-box song-writing process for Bits.
“For this record, I had to detach myself mentally while coming up with the ideas for songs. I did this by watching YouTube documentaries about WWII and learning German. I sat there in the studio with headphones on listening to German or watching documentaries while my hands did whatever they wanted on guitar or mandolin.”
Learning German to write a record? Now that’s next-level dedication. With so many ideas coming together to create his latest musing, we asked Innes to take us on a track-by-track tour of the album. Here’s a peep into the mind behind the music…
‘BITS’ TRACK-BY-TRACK DESCRIPTION BY INNES
- Green Morning
A lone banjo and distant drum usher you into an explosion of colourful sound. Rhythmic chopping fiddle provides a conveyor belt of groove for slide guitar and searching violin, ultimately collapsing into bits.
A dream. Sailing on a delicately finger-picked woody guitar, where mountains are tall and strong, oceans deep and soft, clouds of cotton wool shroud you with a calmness you haven’t felt since the womb. Cymbals clash and Radiohead-like chords add to the sense of unease as you realise you are trapped – but what the hell. It’s nice here.
- Alles Klar
What’s it like to be German? I don’t know – but I guess (in my very narrow view) that it might sound like this – ordered, industrial, efficient. Chopped up guitar pitched up and down sit on a backdrop of an industrial techno beat, with a payoff in the mandolin driven chorus, revealing a happy sense of belonging and security. Not to be taken seriously.
Imagine everything that makes you feel good could be distilled into one thing – a perfect tincture of feel-good dopamine release. Melancholy guitar and sweet violin against a simple spacious kick drum loop accompany clear harmony vocals, wooing you into its dark centre – where everything is taken back. With bells on.
- How Many
Arguments. We always have them, we always say the same things. So why not sing them, in an unusual time signature like 5:4, with meaty, evolving electronic bass line, Radiohead-ish guitar chords and things that whizz from ear to ear?
- Way Up High
A distant echoing kick drum begins a dreamy journey into a soundscape littered with filtered, manipulated and mangled vocal, guitar, mandolin and dobro loops. The track gradually evolves and resolves, building to a synthetic climax before drowning beneath filtered layers of sound.
- to 9: The Donald Train Parts 1-3
Donald Trump, eh. I mean, Donald Trump. Written when he was still candidate, this jokey Banjo driven techno romp starts with an electronic voice proclaiming he’s on the Donald train so he ‘knows who to blame.’ It seemed ridiculous at the time. Part 2 sees the mandolin take over the lead, punching out a stream of notes like a machine gun, with an evolving, creeping bass that gradually rears up and swallows everything, to be reborn in Part 3 in a Kraftwerk inspired reprise.
Burial-esque heavily distorted synth dominates a barely audible electronic whisper, creepy but reassuring, in this moody album finisher.
Grab your copy of Innes’ latest album Bits via his website HERE. If you’d like to see this musical maestro in the flesh, you can catch Innes at Retro Bar this Friday night, 16 June from 7PM (FREE ENTRY).