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At Sea

At Sea
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Considering it’s theme, At Sea actually began life in the city, when I was staying with a friend in London. In the house was an accordion and over a period of a couple of weeks I recorded several sessions, just improvising parts, creating loops, layers and adding effects. I was well aware that accordions can get cliched very quickly, so tried to find interesting ways to play and record the instrument. At the time I had no idea what I would do with these recordings.

About a year later I did actually move to the sea - on the South Eastern coast of England, a place bright and breezy and where giant seagulls roam the shoreline like packs of wild dogs. The rest of the album was made here with the sea becoming a direct influence on the themes and music.

At Sea grew out of my walks along a particular part of the coastline. I took this walk at least once a day and over time built up a relationship with the sea, as if it were a sentient being observing me as much as I was observing it. Here I was trapped on dry land and the sea was another realm entirely, free from and uninterested in whatever dramas were going on in my world. It was this indifference, (which i’ve often found in nature but particularly with the sea) that became the main theme for the album- the unknown and the unknowable.

I had also been reading Virginia Woolf’s ‘To the lighthouse’ (Woolf lived and worked in this part of South East England) and I wanted to capture my own sonic version of her ‘internal narrative stream of consciousness’. I wrote text of my own, which was read by actor Lizzie Mcphee and recorded by Annie Needham. I layered the spoken word into the music with Lizzie’s voice a subtle guide for the listener, but one which never explains or reveals anything.

Back in the studio, I asked Aaron Martin to once again collaborate (we had worked together on my album ‘The Sound of Someone Leaving) and to be as freeform and experimental as he liked. Aaron recorded beautiful passages of cello that weave in and out of the music, although this time around Aaron’s playing is more illusive- layers of sound and hidden meaning.

And the title- At Sea- refers as much to the psychological state of ‘not being on stable ground’ as it does to the all consuming environment within which the music is set. - Phil Tomsett, November 2022.

Made by hand,

'At Sea' returns home with the ever popular 'Book Editions' series. Vintage books dissected, re-assembled and re-structured into book-bound CD covers...

Cellist, composer, half of From the Mouth of the Sun

Found tracks

Phil Tomsett & Aaron Martin - I Imagine
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Phil Tomsett & Aaron Martin - The Distant Noise
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Phil Tomsett & Aaron Martin - The Distant Destination
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Phil Tomsett & Aaron Martin - Sea Transmission 1
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Phil Tomsett & Aaron Martin - The Surface of Our Dreams
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Phil Tomsett & Aaron Martin - Sea Transmission 02
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Phil Tomsett & Aaron Martin - Island, Lighthouse and Windmill
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Phil Tomsett & Aaron Martin - White Shrieks
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Phil Tomsett & Aaron Martin - Sea Transmission 3
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Phil Tomsett & Aaron Martin - A Year of Living Painlessly
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Phil Tomsett & Aaron Martin - Far Then Near
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Phil Tomsett & Aaron Martin - Then Distant
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Phil Tomsett & Aaron Martin - You Are the Sea
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