Like Skylarking, Frequencies is another track that rested incomplete for about 18 months before I managed to finish it... I knew that if anything, it was going to be the last track of the album and had laid down the first minute or so but to me, it was sounding like a cliché late 90s/early 00s generic chill-out tune and that is definitely something that I didn't want but I didn't quite know where to bring it either... And so it remained untouched and under question in the tangled aural ball of loose ends that Disco Tree had become during 2016, the year I had expected to finish and release it... And so I commenced 2017 feeling as incomplete as the musical project I had taken on that was becoming more and more daunting, the finish line ever more distant.
At the beginning of this year, I met a beautiful stranger who became even more beautiful for many reasons to be discovered but one of the first beautiful things that hit was that he didn't feel like a stranger. I felt calm, safe, grounded... like I could trust him. We met on the night before the February snow moon and indeed it was snowing... Not the fairy-tale snow globe kind but the typical London kind of horizontal sleet that bites at your face as you try to walk through it. It was cold and dark outside but warm and bright inside the restaurant we went to, where he spilled stories over the table and I basked in the glow of his presence. He was not very old but older than any man I had dated before (they've tended to get younger as I've gotten older - not on purpose, just the way it's happened.) and therefore seemed wiser and he was also from a country where I haven't met many others from so I felt quite shy and a quiet curiosity came over me as I took him in but that was okay because he was perfectly happy to talk and I was perfectly happy to listen.
There was an automatic openness between us - as if we were catching up to compare notes after a long time rather than getting to know each other for the first time. We soon discovered a mutual love of electronic music and a past dotted with raves and fond memories of experimentation with hallucinogenic substances. This surprised me because he seemed quite conservative on first impression. He spoke of summers of his late teens/early twenties during which he took mushrooms every day and would wander out amongst the trees and into the countryside to explore for weeks on his own with a tent on his back. While he was talking, (and I'm not sure if it actually related to anything he actually experienced and I could have been blurring the details of what he was actually saying), I pictured a forest filled with shining lights and beams of colour and what he spoke about brought me back to my own experience at 20 years old in a faraway land when the trees whispered messages of universal wisdom, love and light as I gazed up at the stars beyond their protective branches from a garden hammock by the sea as I came down from my first (and only ever) trip... Trees have never been the same to me since.
There wasn't much time before he was going back to his country but we spent what we could together before he left and before I was thrown into the gruelling schedule of London and Paris Fashion Weeks through work... It was a few weeks before I had the headspace to return to thoughts of him or the music... And as happy as I was to meet someone I had a strong connection with, someone who actually made me feel something in my heart and soul, I also panicked at the thought of letting someone in because I hadn't finished my album yet and so I felt unfinished... inadequate... and rightly or wrongly, very defensive of my creative space and kept a firm guard over my inner world... Despite wishing I was more ready... open... in a different place... I don't think this bothered him too much anyway as he seemed way too grounded and practical to meet me even half-way on the dreams he inspired or perhaps he just wasn't ready for what we found at the time either. And so, I knew the only thing I could do was return to the music and finish this never-ending album, which had clearly become a block, rather than a flow, as it had originally been.
"Frequencies" was the most unfinished track at the time and I was determined to crack it the weekend after I returned from Paris in early March. As I returned to it, the visions I received during the first conversation with the man whose presence now lurked about my dreamscape, returned in full force and took me on a journey of love, colours and light, which I translated into the sounds that became the rest of the track. It is not about the man who inspired its new direction or completion specifically but it is about tuning in and tuning out of another person's energy... the trees... our surroundings... Everything emits a vibration on a different frequency. Who and what we connect with, near and far, is part of our journey and the result of our vibration and the echoes and space surrounding the harmonies and frequencies in this track are reflective of the external and sometimes unpredictable forces that affect all of this. Everything is energy, even thoughts and colours. Especially thoughts and colours. And sound, of course.
Because it is the last track I finished, it is probably my favourite one on the album (every track has been a favourite along the way as it became the latest one to be finished) and it had been my least. It is definitely a "last-track of the album" kind of track but I think it opens up one more journey... The last journey within the overall journey that the album took me on and I hope it will take others on a journey of their own too.
The irony was that it was by allowing love in, which I had feared might interfere with the completion of the album, that actually spurred me to finish the most unfinished track and I highly doubt it would have taken the direction it took without the inspiration I received from the new encounter. Frequencies might have been scrapped and replaced with a lesser fit or left in its initial generic chill-out form in desperation to call it finished. Of course, finishing the last track only marked the beginning of the overall finishing process of the album and that in itself was another challenging endeavour and is another story that involved the support of so many people I am so grateful to... But for finishing Frequencies, I will always be grateful to the man I met this year, who reminded me what it's like to feel love in its most instinctive, simple form. Like the snow the night I met him, it wasn't the stuff of fairy tales but it was real and it made me face my realities - how closed my heart was deep down (even to myself), how fearful I was about letting someone in and how little space I had reserved in my field for another person. He brought the concept of love down to earth and quickly back up to the sphere of dreams, frustratingly out of reach (and I did try) but also leaving me the space on earth I thought I needed to finish this all-consuming creative project.
It is a great relief to have finally finished the album and even though new music started coming through the very day after I fed Disco Tree into my distribution channel for its 11.11 release, I feel there is space now. The next time I'll be so much more ready because I've realised that the music doesn't have to stand in the way of letting someone in... It was a new thing for over two years and I think that the first album, like a first novel or first movie etc. is probably the heaviest and hardest thing to release because it is an amalgamation of so many personal things. Fears come up and you can stagnate along the way as blocks arise... Channeling music is just part of what I do now. Part of the flow, which is all that love, life and creativity should be.
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