Thalassocracy consists of songs that I (usually) perform unaccompanied, mainly of a nautical theme. They were initially recorded as unaccompanied performances in late 2006, after which the Art group Brown Sierra [ see: ] constructed suitable arrangements for each song, from which the three of us, in close collaboration, devised final arrangements over the subsequent 18 months.
As Brown Sierra don't do tunes, & I've kept my usual tendency of adding suitable harmonies in check, this is consequently an unashamedly "difficult" album, an experiment that includes field recordings, Musique concrete, and home made tone generators, the 70 minutes of which (consisting of four instrumentals, six arranged songs and one unaccompanied song) adding up to what is probably the most left-field album of traditional songs in existence! Nonetheless, it was not our intention that this release should simply be an exercise in experimentation for experimentations sake there are, after all, quite enough of those but rather that its should be an exercise in seeing what could be produced by the happy combination of two conceptual artists who have a knowledge and understanding of vernacular culture working in close collaboration with an expert in traditional song, who has a knowledge of, background in, and understanding of experimentation. As such we believe that in this release we avoid the glib categorisations of simply being seen as experimental, improve., traditional, folk, or neofolk.
The final running order is as follows with [i] denoting an instrumental, and [u] an unaccompanied song
01. HMS Advance [i] 2:47 02. Nancy of Yarmouth 7:05 03. Banks of Green Willow 5:18 04. The Good Luck Ship 4:01 05. Polly on the Shore 7:40 06. HMS Resolution [i] 3:37 07. Nelson's Death [u] 5:49 08. HMS Audacious [i] 5:23 09. The Captains Apprentice 5:33 10. The Dark Eyed Sailor 5:00 11. The Bold Princess Royal 5:20 12. The Bonnie Bunch of Roses 8:30 13. HMS Defiant [i] 4: 21 Total time: 70: 26
The CD was mastered by Hunter Barr at Retina II studios, and comes with a 12- page booklet of lyrics and exhaustive song notes!