Back in the autumn of 2020, as I was preparing to release the Future Weather album, someone suggested I write down the story of how it came about and how I pulled the whole thing together. Then on release day, November 6th, my Mum died – she had been isolated in hospital for two weeks due to the pandemic.
In shock, I did a bit of promo on automatic pilot but – for understandable reasons – I didn’t have the stomach for music promotion and with no gigs planned due to lockdowns, I just got on with family matters and put the album to one side. Now, almost three years later, with a number of new projects out and underway, I discovered the following text tucked away in a folder on my laptop, I thought that I might as well publish it.
Future Weather, 2020. Here’s a deep dive…
From 2016 to 2018 I was occupied with side projects and Brynovsky took a back seat. It wasn’t until 2019 that I started working on a new Brynovsky album. Frustrated by not having finished any tracks for ages, with songs starting to pile up, I presented my album to a very reliable music buddy. His verdict was EP at best. I was deflated, but deep down, I knew he was right, the concept for the project was not executed well enough and I promptly dropped seven songs into the recycling. My mind turned to some side projects – songs that I liked that I had thought about releasing under another name – and I resolved to finish mixing all the songs I had and regardless of style, pick the best ones.
Back in 2011, I was on tour with The Congos with my dub band. I had somehow got the job of stage manager as well as support act on the hastily organised tour. I was glad to help; my band needed the exposure and I thought the experience would do us all good.
The Brynovsky dub band only really ever had one set and if we had kept going, some of the jams we used to play at rehearsals would have started creeping into the set. One favourite was a one-chorder, very rocky for us, with a high energy. The band wanted to put it in the set but we had no intro, structure or ending. We did play it a few times as a soundcheck and I could see from the reaction of the few people mingling around that it was a solid track and had legs. Ever since then I have been trying to turn it into a song and after a number of false starts, one day in 2019, I thought up some new words so the nameless tune could finally have its day. Thus, Future Weather (the song) was born.
Once I had decided to go for a proudly eclectic album, it all came together in a month or two. Four songs from the original album remained and the seven or eight dropped tracks went into storage, waiting for the lyric machine to come good. When I looked at adding new songs, the best ones were all based around acoustic guitar, an area that Brynovsky hadn’t really delved into before.
A few friends helped me to filter out the best and helped me to figure out the track order too. The opener and single, Ain’t Gonna Work, is an acoustic guitar based song which I made by re-recording a demo with my new mahogany topped acoustic guitar. Two other songs came together in the same way: Venus and Stony Ground. Stupid Rules is a remix of a 2017 master which also seemed to fit. Too Much of a Good Thing is more like acid rock with an Egyptian type melody, nothing like anything else I had recorded but I liked it and added it on its own merits.
As I was finalising the mixes I was stopped in my tracks by the murder of George Floyd. Sickened by the daily police brutality going on in the US, it triggered powerful memories of getting caught up in riots in London back in the day, seeing people trampled by horses and friends getting beaten up by cops. A song emerged from that on the piano, written in a couple of hours and recorded in 2 sessions, one to make a demo and a second to finish it off. Hope is the fastest song I’ve ever made.
Random facts: The solo on Ain’t Gonna Work was recorded with a Yamaha acoustic guitar with piezo pickups and a fuzz pedal. The bass on Hope is a programmed upright double and the solo was made by playing my melodica twice (in different octaves). The bass on Half the Wealth in the World is played on my four string bass guitar (strung B, E, A, D). Stony Ground contains no mandolins, they are double tracked acoustic guitars with a capo, but it does have a harmonium. Future Weather (the song), I call it dub rock, I don’t know what that means. Venus is an inexplicable song that has survived several years hanging about due do its hypnotic charm and ability to beguile and confuse. It is notable for its lack of attitude or rebellion and for the flute played by Lucy Button. Innocent Life was the foundation of the original project and is intended to be a welcoming and inclusive offering of solidarity for the downtrodden. Stupid Rules is about the rise of fascism in the 1930s – no, wait, the early 21st Century. Too Much of a Good Thing has a video of me dancing. Downwardly Mobile is a bit sad but so is life sometimes. Blank Page explains how I feel about life and the joy of creating something from nothing. A blank page could be seen in a negative light, but to me, I only see opportunity: the thing created represents the change that we all need. “Every morning is a blank page”. It’s not about amnesia, not so far as I remember…
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