Inspiration and thoughts behind the making of Vanaprastha
Vanaprastha was inspired by so many different events, changes and progressions it's hard to pin down anything specific - though I guess relocating from the UK to Germany was pretty huge and then starting a family. I would also say that learning more about plant medicine, Veganism, meditation and yoga on the Island of Koh Phangan in Thailand was really progressive for my creative process. Then teaching in a Waldorf school, gardening and engaging with Optimistic visions of the future via people like Ben Gorzell and Daniel Schmachtenberger has been humbling. But mainly I see creative energies flowing from my family, mindful engagement with nature and the books of Peppa Pig.
Retiring to the Forest
The title Vanaprastha literally means "retiring to the forest" and is the third stage in the Varnashrama system of Hinduism. It represents the third of the four ashramas of human life, the other three being Brahmacharya, Grihastha and Sannyasa. This is my first solo album, the music serves as a release from an old way of life where for many years I was lost and found in the woods of rural Hampshire, England.
Whilst making this album I was also creating a record with my wife. Our music as Ampersand is a collage of experimental pop catharsis that incorporates chaotic and often physical percussive elements that wash against colourful melodic textures. It is quite overstimulating and dramatic - so recording Vanaprastha was a kind of antidote to that process. The music on Vanaprastha is deeply layered and mediative. The mix I have made here is kind of the opposite. I curated it around the beginning of lockdown 2020 (whilst working on Vanaprastha). In the evenings after putting my daughter to bed I'd walk in the fields behind our house listening to these songs and remembering a time when life was so free I would seek danger to make it more exciting. This is my soundtrack to changing forms of freedom and gratitude to the luxuries we enjoy everyday.
A mix by Alex Smalley
'Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence'
MJ Guider - Lit Negative
Call Super - Puppet Scene
Greg Fox - Preponderance
Skee Mask - Calimance (Delay Mix)
FORMA - Descent
Jon Hopkins - Form By Firelight
Blanck Mass - Lung
Flying Lotus - GNG BNG
Holly Herndon - DAO
Raime - This Foundry
Oliver Coats - Bambi 2046
Rayographs - My Critical Mind (The Haxan Cloak remix)
Colin Stetson + Sarah Neufeld - With The Dark Hug Of Time