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Alternate Lands

by William Doyle

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I woke this morning to find you missing present in body but not in spirit and as we have all found spirit is all that counts Then by the afternoon there was no sign of you in the corporeal or the memorial Shaven head. Contact lens. Documents torn to shreds. A vapour trail of disgrace, the only thing that remained. How could you calculate a disappearance? How could you nullify our shared experience? Just how bad can things be to continuously flee the scene? What tore its way through your mind? And then, moreover, why? I still wait for a reply to the unanswered why.
Where do you go in your head? Which inner nation? Are you a disappearer? If so, what takes you into that liminal zone? What does it feel like? How do you leave behind home? How do you slip away? You are an imagining. As real as any natural, wonderful thing. Or maybe realer. You’re somewhere totally else. You have transitioned. A shadow as long as the life that is now in your possession. There are machines in your waking life and they were built to locate you, but they will never know really why this drab meadow at dusk has changed you. So take in all that you can, collaging all the remainders into new alternate lands, into elaborate chambers. Everything’s gonna collapse, save for the refuge buried beneath your synapse, nestled in brain cells. Only your inner nation is worth defending. Enter the fortress of mind and raise up the drawbridge behind you.
An apparition, an alignment of the mind, in a conflation of two places at a time, wherein lies a confluence of sound and temperature, a sense and scent that pulls you back to where the world creaked by without event. And where what fell into the window of your view, however brief, was all that was happening to you. No other truth. Soap operas on high road theatres. The dance of seasons as they alter. A tumble dryer rumbling. And then that moment passed as a moment’s wont to do. But by that logic, there will be another soon. A different set of circumstances, new seasons in different dances. An apparition once again.


Following the release of ‘Great Spans of Muddy Time’ in March, I’ve decided to release a new EP called ‘Alternate Lands’ on 26th November. The material on ‘Spans’ was largely left untouched in its crushed and saturated format, having been salvaged from cassette tapes after losing session files in a hard drive failure, whereas ‘Alternate Lands’ takes sketches first started on those same tapes and reimagines their potential.

Although these songs were crafted in the same time period as ‘Spans’, I’ve taken them in a direction that resonates with where my head is at currently, while also signposting to the way my sound is heading for the next album. Across the three original tracks here, the production is more full and direct than at any point in my career, favouring upfront vocals and solid rhythms as opposed to hazy atmospherics.

I also chose to include a cover of one of my favourite songs by Robyn Hitchcock, ‘Autumn Is Your Last Chance’. Hitchcock has always been influential on my music, perhaps more in spirit and feeling than as a touchstone for sound. My cover was recorded direct to cassette around the time of making ‘Spans’ and blends my love of Hitchcock’s compositions with the sort of sound world that people may associate me with.

As for the artwork, I wanted something that was conceptually similar to ‘The Floating Feather’ by Melchior d’Hondecoeter that we used for the cover of ‘Spans’. Further delving into the archive of the Rijksmuseum revealed a painting of shocking compositional similarity by the painter Herman Henstenburgh, favouring lighter pastel shades instead of the dramatic contrasts of d’Hondecoeter’s work. This distinction seemed to mirror the relative lightness found on ‘Alternate Lands’, altogether offering a different vision of the same psychic landscape.


released November 26, 2021


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William Doyle London, UK

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