The fractals and Earth images used on my album cover for Purple Electric Violin Concerto were my idea; I bought some high-resolution black and white fractal prints from a research physicist , blew them up to wall size, and made them into a mural in my room, which the cover photo was taken in front of.
The Mandelbrot set is the classic illustration of Chaos theory; a simple repeated mathematical process, the iteration of z > z2 +c, produces an infinitely complex structure which contains many similarities to forms found in nature.
My music is produced in a similar way: by looping a phrase, adding a harmony to it, re-looping it, adding another part, and repeating the process over and over to create a complex sound with an ‘organic’ feel to it – a sort of aural fractal. That’s why I’ve used different fractal designs on nearly all of my album covers. While recording ‘Love of Hopeless Causes’ with New Model Army at Parr St. studios in Liverpool, I met and fell in love with my future wife, vocalist Denyze D’Arcy, who had previously been signed to Sire records with the Walkie-Talkies (featuring Mission guitarist Wayne Hussey!)
We rented a chalet by the sea near St Ives in Cornwall, visited lots of stone circles, and co-wrote and recorded our first album as a duo, ‘Fly Before Dawn’, on which Denyze sang some of her songs and I played all the instruments.
We released it on our own label, Wingspan, and toured it around the UK, building up a large following by playing Arts centres, rock venues, HMV stores and the Whitby Goth Festival!
This was followed by the ’2020 vision’ CD in 1998, (the title track of which was produced by Mansun producer Ronnie Stone), and a second UK tour, during which we supported Killing Joke frontman Jaz Coleman at the Occulture Festival in Brighton.
Twenty years on from Purple Electric Violin Concerto, the album is as relevant today as when it was first written; the nuclear threat that inspired it has diminished with the fragmentation of the USSR, but the world’s madness continues in new guises; global terrorism, economic recession and the inexorable rise of Simon Cowell and his television talent shows!