Mimetophonic Windows (2015)

These widows four, arranged in line give views galore come rain or shine
A home, a church, an ivory tower, a proud pavilion full of power.
A daisy chain, materteral Bob, a complex pattern, just the job!
The water's wide, the desert's drier, on Scotswood Road the spire's higher.
You're bound to get a big surprise underneath the bridge of size,
And goblin buskers peep behind mimetophonic window blinds.

Mimetophonic Windows Cover

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Mimetophonic Windows is the fourth album of the Purple musical project, written and recorded between 2012 and 2015 (very slowly), in Prudhoe, Northumberland. There are four tracks, each with four sections. It is almost entirely instrumental, and musically it is melodic and evocative, spanning many different styles. While it most comfortably fits with the label "progressive rock" it certainly owes more to Mike Oldfield than to (for example) Van Der Graaf Generator, and encompasses blues, folk, reggae, country, jazz and many other feels. It is constantly changing, and in no way "ambient" - it is far too interesting for that.

The tracks and sections are:

  1. Munaar
    1. A View To The Bridge
    2. Sausage
    3. Banana
    4. Garden Tunes
  2. Ketchup
    1. Booty Bay Blues
    2. Civilization
    3. Mining and Crafting
    4. Still Alive
  3. JPC
    1. Alle-Allelujah
    2. When I Survey
    3. Sermon
    4. Prayer
  4. Pandon
    1. Different View, Different Bridge
    2. Complexity
    3. Lost In A Paperwork Desert
    4. Gannin'


Unlike previous albums, some of the sound effects used in this album were recorded by me. There are four exceptions:

The first is the sound effects taken from the computer game Minecraft. The use of these is in accordance with their asset use policy.

The second is the GLODOS voice clips taken from http://glados.biringa.com/

Thirdly a wind SFX used in Civilization, it is from Soundbible.com, License: Attribution 3.0 | Recorded by Mark DiAngelo

Finally, there is speech taken from recordings of sermons by David Holloway, Jonathan Pryke and Ian Garrett. These recordings are used with permission from Jesmond Parish Church and the full sermon recordings are available at church.org.uk.

There are another couple of voices featured, those of Sammy Hodgson and Anna Hodgson, my children.

Also, almost all of the instruments are played or performed by myself, with the exception of some keyboards in Garden Tunes, played by Lizzie Hodgson, and flute played on Still Alive and Sermon by Kathy Clegg.

All of the music is arranged by myself, and most is written by myself. Again, there are a few exceptions:

Baa Baa Black Sheep is a traditional tune, and a modified version of it appears in Sausage

One of the tunes in Banana is an adaptation of the Steptoe and Son theme tune by Ron Grainger

Still Alive was written by Jonathan Coulton, and is (C) Valve Corporation. I sought permission for it's use but encountered a communication brick wall.

When I Survey is a traditional tune called "Waly Waly" or "The Water Is Wide".

All artwork and photography is by myself

Produced and mastered by myself, with invaluable advice from Andrew Laidler

Mimetophonic Windows explained in depth

Mimetophonic Windows is the fourth album from Purple, and so naturally (for me) has four tracks, each of four sections, each of four minutes' length. It is the most personal of all of the albums so far, and is designed to effectively be musical descriptions of insights into four areas of my life - home, gaming, church and work. I have invented the word "mimetophonic" from "mimetic" - meaning to describe, mimic or represent; and "phonic" (obviously) meaning sound. Mimetophonic music is music that uses sound to paint pictures, like a lot of classical music. (This is in contrast with another new word of mine: "diegetophonic" - music which tells stories.) So these windows are windows to allow you to see into my life, but also to some extent the windows I look out of in these four areas of my life.

"Pandon" is about my home life and is centered around my home and family.

The first section, "A View To The Bridge" is a reference to the view from my house, which looks down over the Tyne valley, and incorporates the Ovingham Bridge. The track starts with the istinctive sound of traffic crossing the bridge (and a passing cyclist whistling). Musically, it is based on a bass-line. As it moves forwards the music sequentially gets diverted into different styles: free jazz, reggea, bluegrass and psychedelic. Each time when it has wandered too far the brass stabs bring it home.

The second section, "Sausage" is inspired by my son. It starts with a tune I made up for his amusement, which I have been known to "sing" as different animals: a chicken, a cow, etc. This time instead of animal noises I use different instruments, including a stylophone! There is a section of my son talking saying "fabawab" repeatedly and we finish with a modified version of Baa Baa Black Sheep which sings the praises of a local ice cream parour: Wheelbirks. This is the first time that singing has appeared on a Purple album.

The third section is "Banana" and is inspired by my daughter. Once again we have some "fabawab"-ing, but we also have her singing a song she learned at church holiday club. When she has finished a brass band comes in with a tune I wrote called "grizzly girl". When she was a baby, this tune was known to have a magical effect on calming her down. This then becomes a song called "Captain Barnacle" the tune of which is cheekily stolen from a certain TV sitcom.

The final section is called "Garden Tunes" and features folk tunes that I wrote over a summer period while fiddling with my mandolin in the garden. These three tunes in order are "The Beech Grove", "Daisy Chain" and "Bob's Your Auntie". This section features the first ever playing on a Purple album by someone apart from myself - my wife played the melodeon sound.

The second track "Ketchup" is all about my gaming life - video games play a large part in my leisure activities. Each track is based on a specific game which has taken up large amounts of my time over the last few years.

"Booty Bay Blues" is performed by a band of 3 goblins and an ogre from World of Warcraft, by the name of "Frankie Goes To Stranglethorn". It's not often you hear blues mandolin.

"Civilization" is a more cerebral offering, and a tribute to Sid Meier's classic series of games by the same name. In the game you guide a civilisation as it develops over the ages, and the music represents the development of music through the passage of time too - fairly selectively I admit.

"Mining and Crafting" is based on Minecraft by Mojang. So strongly based that it uses lots of sounds from the game. Anyone who has played the game should instantly recognise these sounds.

Finally, "Still Alive" is a song which I didn't write, it was written by Jonathan Coulton, and is the end credits song for the amazingly brilliant game "Portal". It features the flute playing of my mother-in-law.

The third track is all about my church life, at Jesmond Parish Church (hence the title "JPC")

The first section starts with ambient sound recorded in the church before a service, with music building up behind. After a short intro from the vicar it launches into the tune of a song that I wrote called "Alle-Allelujah", which has been sung a few times in the church.

The second section is another tune that is not one of mine, a folk tune known as "Waly Waly" or "The Water Is Wide". It is also sometimes used for the hymn "When I Survey".

The third section is a snapshot of sermons from the church, featuring the voices of David Holloway, Jonathan Pryke and Ian Garrett. It also features the flute playing of my mother-in-law.

The final section is about prayer, and designed to represent two relatively common feelings while praying - the first is that brick wall feeling that you can't get through and you feel like nobody is listening (and features the literal sounds of me attacking my bathroom wall) - the second is the amazing feeling of being in the presence of the Almighty God. There is no other feeling like it.

Finally, the last track is about my working life, and is called "Pandon".

The first section, "Different View, Different Bridge" is named after the fact that my work office window also has a view of a bridge, this time a footbridge over Newcastle Central Motorway. It is a much less inspiring view than the one at home. This features the same bassline from the first section of the first track, but slowed down.

The second section "complexity" deliberately harks back to the progressive rock days of the mid-70s and specifically is inspired by Emmerson, Lake and Palmer - being an organ-led, weird-time-signature, noodling-around kind of thing to represent the complexities I have to deal with at work.

The third section is about paperwork. All jobs seem to come with it these days, and sometimes we feel like we are getting lost under piles of it. This section echoes back to sections from previous albums, all solo sections, all about being lost in deserts.

And finally, the last section is "Gannin'" and is about my commute. The name is a reference to the fact that I commute down the Scotswood Road as made famous in the song "The Blaydon Races". Getting home in time to pick up the kids, or to make tea, or sometimes both, can be a bit of a rush, and this section is deliberately frantic in feel to reflect this. It is actually a song I wrote several years ago for a previous band, that went by the name of "guilty". Finally we are back to the sounds of traffic over the Ovingham Bridge, and our anonymous whistler.