“Leaving” was one of the simpler tracks on the album to make as it came fully formed. Technically it was one of the last tracks I made on the album however I already knew how it was going to be composed as soon as I started to think about “Made In Japan”.
The track features a synth melody I recorded on the last night I was In Tokyo but mixed with a field recording I took of the last train ride In Osaka to the airport. Our flight from Osaka back to Manchester was at 9:20 In the morning so the train journey must have been early morning between 5-6am. I remember vividly the feeling of the stress of trying to find the train on time in the early morning with all our luggage slowly ebb away once we were on the train as the dawn turned into day.
We were all tired so most of the group were having a nap on the train or sitting quietly so I decided to take out my recorder and just leave it on for the whole train journey.
As the recorder was on I reflected on the holiday itself how much I had wanted to do it for many years and was mixed with both a sense of achievement but also loss as it was all coming to an end. These were the same feelings I had on the night before we left Tokyo so I thought the field recording and the synth line would work great together.
I found a segment of the train recording that worked well and aligned with the track and added some reverb to it to wash it out a bit. In some sections it turns the trains breaks into an instrument itself almost sounding like horns in the background of the track.
The only thing I did to the OP-1 was layer it multiple times and treat each one differently with some pitch shifting and EQ to give it a bit of width on the spectrum and stereo field.
The track ends with the train pulling way from the station on towards the airport and with that the end of the album. Looking back on “Made In Japan” with some distance I’m really happy with how it turned out. My original aim was to create an “audio scrap book” of a dream holiday but after finishing the album it feels like it did a lot more. Traveling to Japan marked several large changes in my life. Moving onwards and upwards in my career, and starting a relationship with my future wife all happened around this time period. It very much felt like I was moving into adulthood with more responsibility and obligations for myself and all my friends. The long nights and weekends of sitting in the studio working on music on my own and with my friends seemed to be growing fewer and further apart. When I listen back to the album I can hear those conflicting emotions throughout.
For me “Made in Japan” isn’t just a reflection on a single holiday but my life up to that point and the further I get from the album the more that means to me. I hope those of you who have given the time to listen to it get your own feelings from it and it will mean something to you weather that reflects my experiences for not.
Now the whole album is on Youtube I will use this as an opportunity to move on from it for a while. It’s been a shame Covid-19 has stopped me performing it live, maybe the future will allow that to change. I did record a live performance on Youtube for anyone’s interest here.
I’d like to thank Mark Chadwick for his advise, skills and help on the mixing and mastering of the album and being someone to bounce ideas off. Finally I’d like to thank all the people who have listened to “Made In Japan” and told me their thoughts. Hopefully it won’t be another three years before I have out something new for you to listen to.