Learning to Swim Album

 'Learning to Swim' is my new album released today by the 2020 label/project. Between January 2020 and January 2021 the label has released 20 download albums (one every 20 days) Each album features 20 tracks and each track is 20 seconds in length. In terms of the number of tracks this is an album; but in terms of the length, it only covers one side of a single. The snazzy cover was done by David Barrington. You can see more of his work here.....

https://dbarrington.com/

The 2020 project is the brainchild of Neil Stringfellow who records and releases music under the name Audio Obscura. You can check his mus here....

https://audioobscura.bandcamp.com/


You can listen to and buy 'Learning to Swim' as well as the other 2020 releases at....

https://20x20project.bandcamp.com/album/learning-to-swim

The album comes with a pdf which contains an interview with me about the album. In addition to that, I present here a track by track breakdown of 'Learning to Swim'

1. Make Art!
A militant sounding instruction to 'Make Art'
2. Learning to Swim
The title track.Rock!
3. Oh Blimey (It's Rachel Riley!)
An ode to Rachel Riley, the numerically inclined 'Countdown' girl.
4. Spirits in Asia 
A short paean or parody of the band Japan. Sort of 'Visions of China' for the price of a stamp.
5. I Want to Be Able to See My Reflection on that Floor
A blast of noise.
6. Heaven Can Wait
This one is possibly a sketch for a proper song one day. I asked my friend Stefan Melzak to send me some synthy AOR. He sent me a four minute track. The song I used as reference was a soppy ballad called 'Motor of Love' by Paul McCartney. Not Paul's best (or mine!)
7. Jesus (Back in My Life)
Religious zeal.
8. Return to Childhood
A wide eyed number similar to 'Jesus (Back in My Life) 
9. Writers Block
It Doesn't exist!
10. There Goes Rover
One of those spontaneous numbers that came into my head as I was walking a dog.
11. Frogs
There ain't much I can add to this.
12. Peter Don't Like It
A duet with my mum about my dad who doesn't like much about much.
13. Rock n' Roll Toothbrush
The most rock n'roll number on the album
14. I Only Popped Out to Get some Pritt Stick
I will advertise any product as long as it's something I regularly use.
15. On Desks
Inspired by the stillness in offices. And by the Mecano like office buildings just off Denmark Street in Central London..
16. What I Really Need Now is a Dapol Dalek
This song could have been better. I used to have several Dapol figures but never had a Dalek. Maybe I'll get my Dalek now. Sounds more primitive that the Radiophonic Workshop.
17. I Believe in You
Guest appearance from Alvin and the Chipmunks.
18. Everyone's gone to the Pub
The only guitar number ('Rock N'roll Toothbrush uses a Uke) Just as well as I can't play guitar really.
19. Everybody's Dreaming
The lyric is an echo of the words from 'Above the Rooftops' from 'Christmas Night: A Radio musical'
20. Make More Art!
A reprise of the first track. 


Ten Years of www.patrickwray.com

 Yes, this humble site is ten years old. Since then it has attracted over 80k visitors (a fraction of them may have been actual people I'm told)

It first emerged at the end of 2010. The design is the same as it was then. I guess you could say I'm a creature of habit. Thank you to all those who have visited over the years.

As we head toward 2021 I take this moment to look back on a few popular posts from the site.

Bjork Inspired T-shirt (2016)

From 'Perforated Eardrum' Book published 2019.

Ballet: Lockdown Art (2020)

Dalek Kids (Published in Celestial Toy Room (2013)

Wonder Woman T-shirt (2016)

Tay Art (2014)

The Flood that Did Come published by Avery Hill (2020)

Scene from 'The Old Man of Haworth (2015)
http://www.patrickwray.com/2016/02/the-old-man-of-haworth_16.html

The Better Idea Comic (2012)

ICU on Telephono 1986 (2017)

Countdown (2018)



The Flood that Did Come 2020

 As visitors of this site may have spotted I published my first proper graphic novel this year with Avery Hill entitled 'The Flood that Did Come' It could be the perfect Chriistmas gift for that dystopic, apocalyptically inclined friend of yours.

Collected below are links to as many reviews as I could think of as well as some other stuff. 'The Flood that Did Come' is available from all good bookshops as well as The Avery Hill site....

https://averyhillpublishing.bigcartel.com/category/patrick-wray















https://averyhillpublishing.bigcartel.com/product/the-flood-that-did-come-by-patrick-wray-pre-sale#:~:text=A%20story%20of%20struggle%2C%20childhood,writer%20and%20musician%20Patrick%20Wray.

Broken Frontier Review

https://www.brokenfrontier.com/patrick-wray-the-flood-that-did-come-avery-hill-review/

''a wittily eccentric and darkly comedic affair''

Comics Review

https://www.comicsreview.co.uk/nowreadthis/2020/08/31/the-flood-that-did-come/

''Simple, breezy and chilling to the core, this tale of resistance and capitulation is made all the more effective by Wray’s cunning choice of art style and faux children’s book feel. ''

Comics Beat

https://www.comicsbeat.com/indie-view-the-flood-that-did-come-came-just-at-the-right-time/

''All in all, it’s a peculiar book with a peculiar presentation, which obviously makes it stand out from just about anything being released these days and which is certainly its major charm.''

''an Enid Blyton dystopia''

https://daredevilsandwarriors.com/2020/06/21/waiting-for-the-floods/

Solrad 

https://solrad.co/britannia-doesnt-rule-the-waves-ryan-carey-reviews-patrick-wrays-the-flood-that-did-come

''Granted, that may be a fairly qualified endorsement of The Flood That Did Come, but it’s in no way an unenthusiastic one. Quite the contrary, in fact. For those with sensibilities broadly considered to be “off-kilter” and who enjoy seeing tried-and-true themes explored via new and interesting artistic methodologies, this book falls somewhere between a clever, largely successful experiment and a truly innovative, borderline-”outsider” art. ''

''Dick and Jane by the Seashore''

Comicon.com

https://www.comicon.com/2020/09/12/dick-and-jane-by-the-seashore-the-flood-that-did-come-reviewed/

Artlyst Interview

https://www.artlyst.com/features/patrick-wray-graphic-storytellers-comic-creatives-conversation-jude-cowan-montague/

Signals from the Hill Podcast

http://www.holdfastnetwork.com/signalsfromthehill

Trailer....





Radio Waves Album

 I release a new download album entitled 'Radio Waves' this Thursday. The album collects together various works created for radio. These include 'Clapton Pond: A Radio Musical' (2018)and 'Christmas Night: A Radio Musical' (2018). These are presented in their entirety with any notable songs also appearing separately.

There were a few things I couldn't include for technical reasons such as two tracks from a Dexter Bentley Session I did in 2017. The album also features a new song entitled 'The Bad Stand-Up'. I also unearthed a demo from 2009 of the track 'Simon' which is the original basis of the 'Clapton Pond' musical.

Any profits from the album collected before the end of January will be donated to Hackney Winter Night Shelter https://www.hwns.org.uk/ I chose this organization partly due to it's Hackney connection to 'Clapton Pond' (Clapton is directly next to Hackney)

All details of the album are here....

https://patrickwray.bandcamp.com/

Here is what I said about 'Clapton Pond: A Radio Musical' back in 2018.

http://www.patrickwray.com/2018/03/clapton-pond-radio-musical.html

Here is what I said about 'Christmas Night: A Radio Musical' back in 2018.

http://www.patrickwray.com/2018/12/christmas-night-radio-musical-on.html

Radio Waves cover. Image originally from 'Clapton Pond' promo shoot.

'Christmas Night' promo pic. Timings relate to original broadcast.





Sudden Sway Article in Record Collector + Mike Alway Interview

I have an article in the new Record Collector Magazine on the eighties art pop/post-punk/unclassifiable band Sudden Sway. It is a short piece for a section called 'Under the Radar' I had planned a much longer form article but various obstacles got in the way, but hopefully this piece will serve to shed some light on this much overlooked band.

I interviewed legendary A&R man Mike Alway for the piece as well as Jon Wozencroft from Touch who did the sleeve design for 'Spacemate'. Both provided insightful comments and it was really interesting to speak to them. Printed below is the full interview I did with Mike Alway.


                                                                       Mike Alway


1. Am I right in thinking you discovered the band?
 
I can't claim to have discovered Sudden Sway. They had released three records even before I made contact with them. The fact is that I read what was written about them and discovered, to my delight, something wholly unclassifiable and extraordinary. 

 
 2. What did you like about them?
 
In the early 1980s much rock and pop had reverted to the primitivism of the 1950s. A dark place where are creative and conceptual gestures were considered "pretentious". In short, Sudden Sway shared my belief that the rules were there to be ignored and that anything was possible. To that extent were on the same wavelength.
 
3. Any memories of working with the band and/or leader Mike Mcguire?
 
Mike is a giant. Striking. Handsome. extremely intelligent. A remarkable person. Some of what motivated him was highly intellectual and at the time beyond my comprehension. I felt that this did not matter. I didn't care so much about the philosophical side so long as the tunes were there. I saw them as musical Dadaists with sweet melodies and Mike's remarkable voice. 
 
4. Do you think the fact they were difficult to pin down may be why they are largely forgotten now?
 
They are a genre in themselves. They stand I suppose as a blueprint for a pop future that might still be possible if you were to take their attitudes apart and reconstruct them. 
 
No doubt one day, people will look back at To You with Regard and exclaim "How did we miss that?!"
 
5. They were signed to your Blanco Y Negro label. My understanding is that this was a label on which WEA hoped to capture the post-punk , indie market and Rough Trade hoped to have some pop. This all suggests there were a few people around who thought Sudden Sway could have some hits. Is that a fair observation? Were there great expectations for them commercially?
 
We convinced Warners that Sway could do anything. That the sky was the limit and we were sincere in that. 
 
6. Why do you think they never really broke through despite some big labels behind them etc?
 
'Sing Song' and 'Spacemate' were conceptual art statements. Had I stayed with Blanco I would have asked the group for hits on their own terms and fought to have Warner release them.
 
I have always believed that you can change everything with one record.



Art Installation Edinburgh 1987 (Photo courtesy of Alan Laing)
                      

Courtesy of Alan Laing
 


Promo Shot (Early Eighties)
                                                          
'Space Mate' LP
                                                                     
Peel Sessions EP
                                                            



 

 

Happy Halloween 2020

 Here is my annual Halloween inspired pic. It depicts cult pop group The Shaggs who recorded the song 'It's Halloween' which was featured on their classic LP 'Philosophy of the World'





'Drives Me On' song on 'Heart' by Painted Romans

 A song I co-wrote with Norwegian  singer songwriter Mats Davidsen who records under the name Painted Romans appears on his new album 'Heart' released today as download and limited edition CD.

The song entitled 'Drives Me On' was written for the Davidsen and Wray 'My Big Idea EP' which was released in 2016. Any hey, the song didn't quite fit into the style of the EP (which is also available as free download on Painted Romans bandcamp page) and it has been reworked to spectacular effect for 'Heart' The song also features Roxy Dunn on backing vocal.

As well as this song, the album also features seven more brilliant tracks that may appeal to fans of The Cure, Depeche Mode, China Crisis and Painted Romans!

You can listen to and buy the album here.....

https://paintedromans.bandcamp.com/