My music, part 3

by stephenpalmersf

To continue the walk down musical lane…

When I started my solo project Blue Lily Commission in 2000 the inspiration wasn’t just a love of world-music, it was the acquisition of my first synthesizer. So it’s rather ironic that almost all the recent albums have been weighted much more towards real instruments than electronic ones.

Collecting world-music instruments has become a bit of an addiction for me, but the beauty is that I have a far wider range of instruments to use for Blue Lily Commission than would otherwise be the case. About 10 years ago I was challenged by a fan to make an entirely acoustic album, an idea which intrigued me at the time, but which I didn’t follow up until 2015. The album was called Undrugged, in a play on the word ‘unplugged’ used to describe acoustic concerts. Soon, after recording a few tracks, I had the idea to use every instrument I owned. I wasn’t sure that would be possible, but eventually I realised it was – all 119 of them. And the album was immense fun to record, which I wasn’t expecting!

Some instruments that I buy I can’t play or don’t gel with, but 90% of them I do like and can play, or at least make sounds from. Some of the instruments I use to create strange or otherworldly textures – for instance reed instruments, many of which aren’t made in Western keys – but others, like my guitars, are for ‘proper’ playing. Other instruments I’ve used to make my own samples, as I generally prefer not to use commercially available ones. But the main attraction is the joy of trying new instruments from across the world.

Having had such enjoyment from making Undrugged I wanted to try it again, but, not wanting to repeat the format, I went for an orchestrally supported theme, resulting in the album The Undrugged Orchestra. A few fans have told me this is their favourite Blue Lily Commission work, with this a favourite track.