Wednesday, 06 October 2010 10:27
The haunting new Nine Stones Close album, entitled 'Traces' was released in November 2010. The album comes housed in a digipak CD case with an 8 page booklet featuring the stunning artwork and imagery of Ed Unitsky (The Flower Kings, The Tangent, Unitopia et al).
Back in March 2009, strange planetary confluences were aligning. Or it was the Marillion Weekend, Port Zelande, Netherlands. Adrian Jones (Numb, Lie Big) had blagged a stall (well, a table) to give away and promote his first solo project; Nine Stones Close - 'St Lo' to a captive audience. One of those captives was a certain Brendan Eyre (Riversea) who struck up a hangover comparing conversation, which moved onto musical anorakisms and suchlike. The two swapped cds and vague promises of staying in touch. Wobbly lines and fade forward to many months later, and an email from Brendan asking Adrian if he would be able to contribute a guitar solo to a Christmas song Riversea were recording for a compilation cd. The chemistry that was born from that collaboration ignited a chain of events; Brendan, unknown to Adrian, sent a copy of the song that would become 'Falling to Pieces' across to Marc Atkinson (Mandalaband, Riversea). Marc wrote some lyrics which fitted astonishingly well, and sent the rough version off to Adrian. From that moment, the whole project took on a new direction; the jigsaw came together.
In January, Neil Quarrell was pressganged; introduced by a friend as useful contact, he soon grasped the task and enthusiastically joined in. With a long history of bands and gigging, his experience and versatility were valuable; plus he lives in the Netherlands and is able to be on the same land mass. Neil is currently custom building a new guitar for Adrian, which is nice.
By Christmas 2009, the main pieces had been mapped out and demo'ed; emails and files were flying across Europe. The project was beginning to look like a tangible prospect, and not just a delusional hobby in a sad mans spare bedroom. The relief of having an actual singer meant Adrian could stop worrying about being tone deaf and concentrate on those guitar solos instead. In between, there was a charity single for the Haiti Earthquake Fund . bereavements and many other set backs and problems shared between everyone; delays that perhaps gave the music time to breathe, and focussed some of the lyric writing.
At no time in the recording had Adrian met Marc face to face, nor had all 3 been in the same country together, yet the songs kept on growing, each person adding another dimension. By April 2010, the last song, 'Reality Check' had been written, but it was not until August that the last vocals had been added (Thicker Than Water). The torture of mixing began. The first cd, St. Lo, had been relatively easy to mix, but with keyboards and vocals from an external source the process was an added challenge. Thanks to Brian (www.jamzor.com) and his patient advice, the final mix was done by the end of September. Step away from the monitor.
Themes of loss are universal; loss of innocence and youth; loved ones and things. Money, hair and sleep once you have your own children. Things left unsaid and undone, or that should have been. Fleeting moments you try to hold onto when times are not quite so good, special memories that surface to comfort you when you least expect them. None of us are immune.