Willowbank Music

Michael Lawrence


'Philosophical concepts in marmalade.' These four words were in my mind when I woke one morning in the early summer of 2006. I had no idea what peculiar dreams might have brought them into being, but what I did know was that, combined, they made a title that just had to be used for something — and what better than a piece of music? Almost at once I started working on a composition visualised as a single piece of some length, in which all manner of phrases, sequences and abstractions (delivered by a variety of disparate instruments) would be loosely bound together into a fairly cohesive marmaladeish whole. Inside of a couple of weeks I had the piece I thought I wanted. It was almost twenty minutes long. I copied it to a CD and played it in the car on drives through the countryside, where it soon began to seem too involved, too muddled, disjointed and sprawling.

I set about refining and cutting it down, and produced a version, running to sixteen and a half minutes, which seemed to work better — until I once again listened to it in the car. It was still too long and wayward to sustain my interest for its duration. Back to today's equivalent of the drawing board then, to clarify and shear. During the cutting of this version I slipped some of the removed sections into other pieces, all of which focused — to my mind at least — on the physical act of early rising (including feeling groggy, hungover, longing for something intangible that might have been dreamt) and the colourful names given to many breakfast marmalades. The main piece was now just nine minutes long. I copied it to a CD, and although an improvement on its rambling predecessors, this version felt a little dull in parts, so I worked on it some more and trimmed a further minute or so off it. The result of that edit is the first track on the album. In addition to it, I now had nine short companion pieces, all of which seemed just the right length and no more convoluted than they needed to be.

A note about track 6. This is the only one of the shorter pieces that does not have a marmaladeish title. It was supplied (and promptly given to the piece I was working on at the time) by a heart surgeon when he informed me, after some tests, that I had an 'angina tendency'. Good title, I thought, especially when, the evening after I finished the piece, I developed prolonged chest pains that led to my being loaded into an ambulance and whisked to a hospital in the next county. I stayed there for a week, at the end of which time, following an angiogram, I was told that nothing could be found to account for the pains. I kept the title of the track, however. Like the title of the album, it felt too good to squander.

1. Philosophical Concepts in Marmalade

2. Coarse Cut

3. Old English

4. Organic Traditional

5. Blood Orange with Ginger

6.  Angina Tendency

7. Kumquat

8. Rhapsodie de Fruit

9. Laced with Brandy

10. Sharp & Bitter

11. Philosophical Concepts in Marmalade (extended)

Email me: wordybug@me.com



2007 - 2008  

To read about this album, scroll down.