Long Earth comes from a wide, diverse but interconnected background. When we started out we agreed at the first session there was no agenda and the music would be a complete blending of all our influences.
Through The Void This track was originally going to be the album closer, much like Duke’s Travels / Duke’s End or Los Endos but it seemed to fit most comfortably as the “opener” to the album. A Mike instrumental, this is slightly futuristic and is the ultimate link with the Long Earth series of books.
The Source title track of the album and the first which was a complete welding of ideas. Mike had an almost complete musical idea which we all worked together – but it welded perfectly, even down to the rhythm and timing, with a lyric Neil had written. This is the first of Neil’s view on how no religion should be deemed right or wrong over any other. Hopefully trying to negate any differences between people. We all bleed the same colour after all.
First Steps another Mike instrumental based on the Long Earth story – we’re moving off on the journey through the Long Earths and a nice segue into the next vocal track.
The Call one which goes back to Gordon’s days in Abel Ganz – this was his soundcheck number. To update it and make it firmly a Long Earth track, Neil asked Gordon where he’d like the lyric theme to go. He reckoned a never ending road kind of song so, as a lot of the album is quite dark, he decided to make it quite an optimistic, Bob Seger-ish road song with eagles, desert highways and motorbikes. A nice relief driven by Gordon’s inventive bass.
Invisible This song goes back to the album launch of Abel Ganz – Shooting Albatross when, as Neil was going to the gig, he walked up a lane in the city centre of Glasgow. With a fertile imagination, he had a vision of a young girl who had been assaulted and left for dead. This also features an appearance by Alan Reed as our BBC newscaster. This track also sees the return after 30 odd years of Ken’s amazing drum programming first witnessed on Kean On The Job and The Dead Zone. Another hark back. This was also Gordon’s first outing on fretless bass.
Above & Beyond A gorgeous Mike segue from the first part of this mini concept into the next. The girl dies, the spirit starts its journey…
Ghosts So our reluctant heroine has now started her journey through the void and is trying to come to terms with what she has experienced.
Her Ghost In The Fog The final part of our 4 part trilogy. Our heroine has now come to terms with her death but is now looking back and reassuring all those she left that she’s still there, just on a different step through the Long Earths. Fundamental law of physics is that energy cannot be created or destroyed, merely transferred. This applies to human energy and life force. For some reason this track took about 9 months to work out, endless rearrangements and it was almost dropped a few times. It was worth the perseverance as it turned out well.
Where Is The Laughter Strange beginning to this song. Neil was driving to work one day and saw a youngish woman standing at a bus stop in the rain. She looked like the weight of the world was on her shoulders – maybe it was. Her hand was clutching that of a small child, a child who had not a care – catching raindrops on her tongue, dancing in puddles – and he thought “when does the joy of childhood become extinguished by the reality of real life?”. Sad really. Neil created this as a hippy, trippy, Alice In Wonderland kind of thing as an embracing of when things were easy. This was another track that was unfinished when we went into the studio, Gordon came up with the reverb and bass line on the day and it stuck.
Children Of War The political song! The origins of this go back to a solo album Neil did around 2007, ably assisted by Iain Wilson. The lyric was born during some middle eastern war where the enduring image he had was that of a father sitting in a bombed out pile of rubble with his 5 kids, dead, lying in shrouds around him – and a translated statement of pretty much “well, that’s just the way it is”. He was then horrified by the sensational acts in the likes of Afghanistan – and finally drew a comparison to the Vietnam war. Wars are only ever driven by religion, greed or power – nothing else. They are completely pointless without exception and the real victims are the Children Of War.
The Deafening Silence Another song by Gordon which was played live by Abel Ganz but never recorded. It is a great hooky track! Going back to the beginning, the concept was the album could be called “The Girl In The Red Dress” – the lyrical rewrite happened very early on in the life of Long Earth and is basically a story of relationship breakdown, isolation, insecurities and descent into madness.