Sunday, 29 August 2010

The meaning of life & death, being dumped and sleigh bells!

"Why don't you just call it an album then?" is a question that Greg, Andy and I have been asked a lot recently. I suppose the Far Skies Deep Time e.p is quite lengthy as far as e.p duration goes. That's not a bad thing though in these harsh times is it?

The Far Skies Deep Time e.p is not intended to be the follow up album to The Underfall Yard. I know it may be considered to be so because it has been released directly after TUY but as far as Big Big Train is concerned. It's not.

In our opinion the e.p contains some of our best work to date and it has given us the opportunity to stretch out and explore some different areas. It has been a highly enjoyable experience all round.

If you've followed my last two blog entries, you'll know that The Wide Open Sea is a supernatural tale, featuring a trace of the late Jacques Brel. It is merely intended to be a ripping yarn, a fantasy story and that is all. 

I would like to point out that we, Big Big Train have written this piece out of respect for the work and legacy of Jacques Brel.

The Jacques in our piece is a trace. I am not implying any religious connotations of any sort here. Our Jacques' situation in the piece does not represent purgatory of any kind. The Jacques featured in The Wide Open Sea is preserved in energy form from the intense life force of Jacques Brel, burned into and then suspended in the elements. Like a sophisticated recording, playing and replaying.

Jacques despite his suspicions is unaware of what he is. If you think this is an unfortunate and cruel condition to be in, then consider the predicament of our own human condition aboard this spinning rock, orbiting the sun. We may find comfort in spirituality, family, friends and to a lesser or greater extent, material things but we're really none the wiser as to why we're here - and what 'here' actually is in the larger context of .... 'what?'

Moving on then....

Brambling is a song that is as old as the hills. It is a song of life and concerns a certain rite of passage that sooner or later we all experience.

'And this wound that hurts you so,
Is the hurt you need to grow.'

I endeavored to give the lyrics an 'ancient wisdom' feel to them. It is a song concerning the first time we fall in love with someone and the inevitable heartbreak we feel when it ends. Although it pains us, it is this experience which helps us to grow emotionally.

British Racing Green is a song that Greg has had 'in progress' for ages. Sometimes that's just the way it is. Occasionally it's possible to sit down and everything will come together quickly. Other songs take a while to reveal their true identity.

Greg and Andy sent me the audio file and I set to work. I noticed the lyric points out that the song is set during christmas time.


Okay.... it's going to be a Big Big Train Christmas song then! Bring on the sleigh bells The Poole!

Andy 'The Poole' Poole,  David Longdon adding sleigh bells to British Racing Green
Aubitt Studio: Southampton: July 2010
Sleigh bells kindly loaned by my daughters.
Photograph by Amy Mumford

Don't despair regular BBT spotters, It's not going to be a happy christmas by any means. British Racing Green is a lovely tune. I added a bass part to the chorus, a choir, theremin, plucked strings, flute and delivered the vocal in a sighing manner. The end result sounds something like Prefab Sprout covering 10cc's I'm Not In Love, produced by Todd Rundgren

The e.p is being mixed as I write this post. Jim has (once again) done some great images for the artwork.

You'll not have much longer to wait until the arrival of Far Skies.....

Thanks for your encouraging comments you've sent in to me after reading my blog. I hope it helps to keep you all in the loop.




  1. Thanks for posting these notes. As a non-touring band, press coverage is limited, so the web provides great insight into the works in progress. I thought TUY was the best release of last year, and look forward to hearing more with the current line up. Best wishes for continued success.

  2. Gods, I am seriously excited to hear the result. Can't wait til it's released! Hopefully you can expedite a copy to New Zealand in appropriately speedy fashion ;)

  3. Hello Frank & Rusty,

    Pleased you like the notes and I hope it gives greater insight into the music.

    The BBT Mail Train will try and deliver your copy as soon as it possibly can.

  4. Ooo it's exciting I can't wait to get the E.P I'm sending an e-mail to check I'm on the mailing list :)

    Can't wait to hear the Theremin! Is it the one we were messing around with in the studio? It was painted green if I remember correctly hehe.

  5. Thanks for all those explanations. A looong time prog (and, as one is forced to add from all sides in these years of ours, "not only prog rock") lover I got to listen to the BBT releases since 2004 only this year. (Taken that I will see the band live one day, I could listen to songs before The underfall yard with your voice, hmmm....nice!)

    I don't mind a christmas song from Big big train at all....Not everyone remembers christmas as this time where people started to shout songs nobody of them liked at all^^. So at least I'm looking forward to this song too, very much so. And after reading your blog I started to listen to Brel more and more again. I am very curious how the EP will sound, and will order the day it comes out. Funny to listen to english boy wonders, gathering speed, the difference machine and the mighty TUY as new albums all in one month...