Introduction to Digital Sleep
After months of work I’m really excited to release my debut solo EP, ‘Digital Sleep’. The sound of the EP is a fusion of classic Trance and House elements with modern Ambient textures and melodically driven EDM.
Most people know me first and foremost as guitarist so releasing a debut EP filled exclusively with dance influences and a serious lack of guitar might seem like a sudden change of direction. Over the last four months, whilst I was writing the EP, I was writing lots of electronic music at hours of the night when playing a guitar simply isn’t practical. There was something very liberating about writing without a guitar, it allowed me to start from an alien place and avoid my go to ideas. I quickly found the tracks that came out these session had a new and distinct sound from anything I’d written before.
As the EP’s title suggests most of the tracks were written in periods of insomnia fuelled by caffeine, stress or anxiety. As a result they have a very nocturnal feel to them. I would write at night and edit in the day to keep my editing process away from the creative process. Personally I still love listening to them late at night, especially on solo night drives when you can really crank them up in the car.
Here is entire EP on Soundcloud for your listening pleasure. Below I’ve written a little bit about each track in case you curious about the process or the ideas. That said put on some headphones and decide for yourself what you think they are about.
Track by Track
Sleepless – This was one of the first tracks that I finished in this new direction and it has a very pop influenced sound. It’s easily the most upbeat and playful track on the EP and felt like the perfect opener. I was working to create the sound of constant rising and building throughout the track. I love the piano arrangement as it has this old school house thing going on, and the octaves on the bass give this disco inspired feel to the final section and add some weight to the kick.
Rename, Replace – This was born out of the opening lead which is built out of three separate sounds, one of which it a glockenspiel sample. The heavy off beat rhythm of the side-chained pads really helps them thump of the kick drum. The overall mood takes the album down a little, in melody it’s hopeful and dance driven but the white noise and the pads really pull at a more melancholy vibe.
Submerged – This track looked set initially to be a pop ballad but at some point it organically became this half-time ambient track. I wanted to create this wall of sound that envelopes you when the beat drops. Not unlike those early 90’s grunge and alternative bands that would hit you with a wall of fuzz guitars. Definitely the darkest and most downbeat track on the EP which really plays with light and dark. The broken, fizzy sounding lead combined with the fuzzy bass is great, especially with all those low mids rumbling away.
Time Lapse – To close I really wanted something with lots of space that gradually builds in intensity. There is so much Trance influence in this track. Growing up in the UK during the 1990’s there was so much Trance on the radio and it’s feels timeless to me. I relied heavily on the arpeggiator and filter to transform the chordal elements in to this beautiful sweeping melody that’s is both driving and panning between your ears. The panned piano part definitely pulls from my love of minimalist composers.
I was really conscious that I wanted a cover that captured some of the city that I live in. The culture and landscape of Southampton is dominated by it’s role as the UK’s largest port town. At night the docks have this beautiful neon glow on the quiet industrial landscape and given the albums often melancholy digital sounds they seemed perfect together. The shot was taken late one Saturday night from Hythe by my girlfriend Lucy Atkinson. The final image only required minimal tweaking to adjust the colours and the light to the way the colours looked in that moment. Really captured the tone of the music, thanks Lucy!
Where to Buy/Stream it?
Hopefully now you’re itching to get your hands on a copy or at least give it a listen. The Digital Sleep EP is exclusively available to buy through CDBaby for $3 with individual tracks selling for $0.85 (plus your country’s tax, in the UK it came out at £2.99).
- CDBaby – http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/antonycull
- Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/antony-cull/sets/antony-cull-digital-sleep-2016
Thank you again for checking out my latest EP release, I’d love to know what you think of the tracks in the comment section below below. For up to date information about future releases please add me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Until the next post have an awesome time exploring the rest of the website.