In early October 2012 I received an email from Boc who saw my post I did on Sequester. I thought this was so cool, I mean you just never know who is looking at That Devil Music let alone it be someone you are writing about. I thanked Boc for taking the time to write to me about the posting.
In the mean time he gave me access to Sequester’s new album, Ancestry. Boc delivered again with4 new songs, A Feral Apparition, Niseag, Bonnie Dundee and Skye Boat Song. All four songs are very different in their own way which is something I really liked. While I enjoyed all four songs, A Feral Apparition and Bonnie Dundee really stood out for me. A Feral Apparition was total metal with Boc not missing a step. Bonnie Dundee is traditional Scottish folk music with a nice metal touch. Skye Boat Song is more of a ballad compared to the other songs with great piano and acoustic guitar playing. The variety of music between all of these songs made me wanting more. While it must be totally time consuming to just record one song being the sole musician after listening to the Ancestry EP, these 4 songs made me wanting more.
On Sequester’s website, Boc talks about the new songs on Ancestry (from September 22, 2012)
“So with the album coming out soon, I thought I’d do a brief summary about the songs and the album as a whole. As mentioned before, this is a Scottish themed album titled Ancestry, which is referring to the ‘Niven’ side of my family. With that in mind, I would like to dedicate this work to my granddad, Albert Niven, who cannot be thanked enough for all his support over the years.
If you recall, I was initially going to have two more tracks on Shaping Life and Soul, but instead decided to put those on hold for a future release. Not too much has changed in the gear used / recording set-up, other than the rhythm guitar tones (I used a bunch of different free amp sims by LePou and TSE– you guys are amazing, thank you!) , a different mic pre-amp (a Line6 UX2), and a few other plug-ins to help with the overall mix. Okay, let’s get started:
*Note, these times are estimates and may change by a few seconds once the final mixes are made.
1. A Feral Apparition – 8:20
This song is based off of an old tale that has shown up a number of times over the years by different authors and story tellers, and as such there will be differences depending on the version you read. For mine though, it is about a boy who visits his grandfather on Lewis, and the two of them discover the remains of what appears to be a werewolf. Later that night when the boy is alone, he sees and hears an apparition through the window that resembles the unearthed creature. Terrified, the next day they rebury what they found, putting the ghost to rest once again. The story I was directly referencing when writing my take was the one found in Terence Whitaker’s book, Scottish Ghosts and Apparitions.
The song structure used is a variation on the sonata form, like most of my music. There’s an intro, a catchy chorus, multi-riffed verses and vocal sections, a development section with various lead guitar licks, then the recapitulation and outro. So lots of ideas in one song, some unrelated, some connected using similar themes but with different textures. This is still my favourite way to write due to the number of possibilities that the form allows.
2. Niseag – 4:49
The Scottish Gaelic term for the Loch Ness Monster. I sing about the question of its existence, what it could be, sightings of the creature, and the inconclusive searches that have taken place over the years.
I tried something new for this one. There’s no intro or chunks of solo instrumentation; it kicks off right into the first verse, goes to a bridge and chorus, then immediately repeats itself. From there it goes into a lengthy instrumental section before repeating the opening parts one last time. This was channeling the type of thing Rush did with By-tor and the Snow Dog. I didn’t want to have any instrumental breaks or too many vocal sections– just a few catchy lines that surround a long instrumental section.
3. Bonnie Dundee – 3:21
4. The Skye Boat Song – 5:16
The last two tracks are traditional Scottish folk songs that I’ve arranged, sort of like how I did The Erlking or Three Ravens. Given their nature, the material I had to work with was just the simple verse- chorus- verse- chorus type of music; what I did was split that formula up with an original solo/instrumentation section for each, wherein I also introduce a theme/motif that connects these two songs. You’ll hear it in the solo for Bonnie Dundee, and the outro for Skye. To keep it interesting I made sure each verse had different textures as well, be it switching rhythmic patterns, guitar tones, the number of guitars being played, or writing a few extra riffs on top of the basic chord structure.
Bonnie is heavy/guitar driven with a short piano interlude that introduces the connecting theme, whereas Skye is more of a piano driven ballad with a brief heavy solo section. The aforementioned theme, later appearing in the outro to Skye, is done with an old acoustic guitar of mine– actually, the first guitar I ever owned. I think due to its small size, in addition to the old strings which I’ve never replaced, there’s a rather unique tone that was achieved… almost harp like. In any case, I think it sounds cool, and is a great way to close the album.
Here’s a wiki summary about the lyrics:
Bonnie Dundee is a poem and a song about John Graham, 7th Laird of Claverhouse, 1st Viscount Dundee who was known by this nickname (1648 – 1689).
“The Skye Boat Song” is a Scottish folk song, which can also be played as a waltz, recalling the escape of Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) from Uist to the Isle of Skye after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.
The artwork is a painting done by my awesome friend and former neighbor, Rachel Jackson; thank you again and again.
Well that about covers it. When the album goes live I’ll post the appropriate links here and on Facebook. Again, it will be released through Bandcamp and you can pay/donate as little or as much as you’d like. I do believe there is a limited number of free downloads per month, so if you find that you can’t grab it for free at any given time, you can try again the next month when they reset the counter; the donate option should always be available though. Anyway, I’ll see you all on October 1st!…”
You can check out Sequester’s new EP Ancestry by CLICKING HERE.
Thank you, Ryan…Ken