About Purple

Journalists, reviewers, broadcasters and bloggers: try the press pack

The Marketing version

With soaring melodies, luscious soundscapes and intricate rhythms, Purple explores the boundaries between the mainstream and the progressive. The expanse of the canvas gives the music license to explore; sometimes driven, sometimes mellow, sometimes contemplative, always original. Using intelligent structures as the contraints and challenges wherein creativity can thrive, pictures are painted. Pictures of fantasy, pictures of ideas, pictures of feelings, pictures of spirituality and pictures of whimsy.

And through all this runs a deep undercurrent of optimism, of the love of music and the sheer joy of creation.

Blending the grand visions of Tubular Bells and Octovarium with the melodic tones of Pink Floyd, Camel and Yes, spiced with elements of many styles from folk, rock, blues, classical, "world" and beyond, and realised with bleeding-edge technology, Purple is a one-man instrumental "musical project"

Yes friends, this is progressive rock. Not watered down, but the acceptable face of prog rock; accessible rather than extreme, still grandiose, still unashamedly self-indulgent, still complex and interesting, but not too demanding, not too esoteric, not too self-referential. To put it bluntly: it has tunes. This is what the die-hard proggers call "crossover prog".

The Real version

Purple is a musical project by me, Dan Hodgson. I have lots of different musical interests, and in the same way that product developers have different brand names for different groups of products depending on style, marketing and appeal, I have decided to use different brand names for different musical projects.

Purple is all about the music, which is instrumental and loosely falls under the genre "progressive rock". The concept is to make music which is complex and interesting and which follows no particular tradition, with definite structure and long evolving tracks, my own "Tubular Bells" if you like. The biggest challenges are to keep instrumental music like this interesting, and to create something that's worth listening to while imposing strict structural ideas and timing.

The music has all been written by myself, with obvious small exceptions of adaptations or hints at well-know tunes, and so far has all been "realised" by me, although I reserve the right to draft in other musicians in the future. It has been recorded at home using a PC and related equipment and software, and also mastered at home. It's incredible what you can do with a PC these days, my "studio" is a small bedroom.

I use the word "realised" above because neither "played" or "performed" fully fit the bill. There is a mixture of real performance with real instruments, either using a microphone, or with direct electronic injection (for example with electric guitars), and software instruments, either synthesised, or sampled from real instruments, which are performed by a recorded MIDI track - a set of software instructions determining note timing, velocity, duration and other effects like pitch bend. This can be captured from direct playing of an electronic keyboard, and edited to remove mistakes and improve the performance. Performances can also be directly programmed, but these tend to have a more mechanical feel. The process used for Purple is a blend between the two, neither purely programmed or performed. Even with the instruments most likely to be played on a real instrument (in my case guitars and percussion) there is no guranatee that what I played is what you get, I have been known to use editing techniques to tweak the placement of notes, and in at least one case changed the note being played.

Is this all cheating? Only if you think there are rules. It's no less cheating than most modern recordings, especially in the pop world. These are in no way live recordings, and although I can play several instruments, I cannot play everything that can be heard on these recordings on live instruments. In this sense I regard the computer itself as an instrument, the techniques of which need to be mastered. Even with this tool, I often wish that my technical musicianship and abilities could live up to my vision.