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WILLIAM DOYLE

William Doyle

Springs Eternal

    Serving up art-pop for the anthropocene, Springs Eternal is the Mercury-nominated, critically acclaimed artist William Doyle’s most ambitious and most playful creation to date. Taking a panoramic view of the ecstasies and agonies of life in the 2020s, the record asks how we exist as fragile flesh and blood – our hearts beating and our minds racing – in an unprecedented, almost unimaginable time of runaway climate destruction and technological expansion.

    Springs Eternal presents a strange and thrilling cast of characters – from cowboys to castaways – who just might be Doyle, once or twice removed. “Most of the songs are in the first-person, but rather than being autobiographical, I was trying to imagine hyperreality versions of myself,” Doyle says. “What if decisions I made in my life had resulted in the self of each particular song? How many degrees of separation am I from those realities? It’s a frightening thought, and frightening thoughts often make for good songs.”

    Across 11 tracks, we hear from narrators teetering on the precipice of global disaster, heartbreak, addiction, indoctrination and mental illness, until they pass into the great unknown. The lyrics, by turns earnest and ironic, upfront and allegorical, are paired with infectious melodies and often outright swagger. Co-produced by indie superproducer Mike Lindsay (Tunng, LUMP) at his MESS studio in Margate, we hear the siren song of the sea washing around pulsating electronics and stirring instrumentation, featuring contributions from musicians Alexander Painter, Genevieve Dawson and Brian Eno.

    A recurring theme of water and flooding runs through the record, alluding simultaneously to the global climate crisis and the deluge of overwhelm these parallel-universe Williams are experiencing. “It wasn’t until we were mixing the record that I realised how many water references there are,” Doyle says. “I guess there’s a fluid border between our inner selves and the outside world that allows things to flood in, in unstoppable or perhaps irresistible ways.”

    Springs Eternal is the next chapter in the William Doyle sonic odyssey that began with his incarnation as East India Youth (Total Strife Forever, 2014; Culture of Volume, 2015) and developed under his own name, producing the critically acclaimed records Your Wilderness Revisited (2019) and Great Spans of Muddy Time (2021). Alongside his own output, Doyle recently produced Anna B Savage’s celebrated debut album A Common Turn (2021) and plays in Orlando Weeks’ band both live and on his upcoming record.

    TRACK LISTING

    Garden Of The Morning
    Now In Motion
    Relentless Melt
    Soft To The Touch
    Eternal Spring
    Cannot Unsee
    Castawayed
    Surrender Yourself
    A Short Illness
    A Long Life
    Because Of A Dream

    William Doyle

    The Dream Derealised - 2022 Reissue

      It’s nearing a decade since William Doyle released his Mercury Music Prize nominated debut album, Total Strife Forever, as East India Youth in 2014. A year later, he had toured the world and was releasing his second album, Culture of Volume, but it would be another four years before Doyle returned with his third full album, and the first official release under his own name. The dizzyingly ambitious Your Wilderness Revisited arrived in 2019 and was followed last year by the artpop masterpiece, Great Spans of Muddy Time.

      In the years between leaving the old project behind and re-emerging under his own name, Doyle self-released a string of ambient-leaning albums, The Dream Derealised, Lightnesses Vol I & II and Near Future Residence, which are now to receive a first vinyl pressing via Tough Love as both a highly limited four LP box set, titled ‘Slowly Arranged: 2016-19’, and as separate albums.

      The Dream Derealised is a collection of nine abstract, lo-fi pieces that were recorded during the summer of 2016, when focusing on creating them helped guide Doyle through a “difficult period of anxiety, panic and a regular dissociative feeling called derealisation.” At the time, doing something creative in a quick and immediate fashion felt vital to Doyle, carrying him to a new place: “I’m releasing them now as a cathartic measure, and as a message for others who may be going through difficult times themselves. What I told myself at the time, what I can tell you now: You are not in danger. You are not going insane. You are not alone.”


      TRACK LISTING

      1. Seeing Spectral
      2. Everything Tilted
      3. Flexford Looping
      4. A Silence Of Vision
      5. Derealisation LKX
      6. I No Longer Knew What To Do
      7. Field Open Wide
      8. Don’t Get Carried Away
      9. All To Be Footnotes 

      William Doyle

      Lightnesses I & II - 2022 Reissue

        It’s nearing a decade since William Doyle released his Mercury Music Prize nominated debut album, Total Strife Forever, as East India Youth in 2014. A year later, he had toured the world and was releasing his second album, Culture of Volume, but it would be another four years before Doyle returned with his third full album, and the first official release under his own name. The dizzyingly ambitious Your Wilderness Revisited arrived in 2019 and was followed last year by the artpop masterpiece, Great Spans of Muddy Time.

        In the years between leaving the old project behind and re-emerging under his own name, Doyle self-released a string of ambient-leaning albums, The Dream Derealised, Lightnesses Vol I & II and Near Future Residence, which are now to receive a first vinyl pressing via Tough Love as both a highly limited four LP box set, titled ‘Slowly Arranged: 2016-19’, and as separate albums.

        Lightnesses Vol. I & II sees Doyle create what we might understand as true ambient music – that is, music intended for the background that wasn’t composed as such, but allowed to blossom out of the setting of some rules and parameters, played by sounds he created and then resampled. The deceptively simple, droning pieces are unlike anything Doyle has made before or since. “During their creation I’d often take photographs of the light coming in through the windows of the two houses I lived in during their creation. I’d post these on social media and they became quite popular parts of my output. This music was intended to accompany those visuals. The first volume’s photo is a double exposure of the sun shining in on my notebook and my hand, whereas the photo for the second volume was taken in Joshua Tree Park, California as I saw our tail lights illuminate one of the trees.”

        TRACK LISTING

        Disc 1)
        1. Aisles Of White
        2. Number Of Harmony,
        Disc 2)
        3. History Of Change
        4. Winter Of Fullness

        William Doyle

        Near Future Residence - 2022 Reissue

          It’s nearing a decade since William Doyle released his Mercury Music Prize nominated debut album, Total Strife Forever, as East India Youth in 2014. A year later, he had toured the world and was releasing his second album, Culture of Volume, but it would be another four years before Doyle returned with his third full album, and the first official release under his own name. The dizzyingly ambitious Your Wilderness Revisited arrived in 2019 and was followed last year by the artpop masterpiece, Great Spans of Muddy Time.

          In the years between leaving the old project behind and re-emerging under his own name, Doyle self-released a string of ambient-leaning albums, The Dream Derealised, Lightnesses Vol I & II and Near Future Residence, which are now to receive a first vinyl pressing via Tough Love as both a highly limited four LP box set, titled ‘Slowly Arranged: 2016-19’, and as separate albums.

          Near Future Residence is music for an imagined place based on real ideas; the soundtrack for an ecologically sustainable housing development somewhere in a not-too-distant future Britain. The eleven instrumental pieces here come from a place of optimism, imagining a future that is based on cooperation, community and ecological urbanism. It's music intended to sit in this imagined environment rather than impose upon it, similar in principle to the function of Kankyō Ongaku (Japanese environmental music). The ideas contained on Near Future Residence laid the groundwork for - and can be seen as a companion piece to - the album Your Wilderness Revisited, released to critical acclaim in 2019. Doyle explains how the pieces “were composed in entirely generative ways using samples of instruments, synthesisers and field recordings I've collected and developed throughout 2018. In generative composition, rules are set and parameters are chosen and then put into motion, the results constantly changing and surprising.”

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Flexford Forest Community Choir
          2. Cadence Gardens, 2026
          3. Sightings At Tangmere Close
          4. Music For The 3rd Floor Atrium
          5. Rose Building Improv Group
          6. Next Door’s Granular Band Practice
          7. Hocombe Astral Projection Society (Abridged)
          8. New European Optimism
          9. Derwenthorpe Rainwater Harvest
          10. Municipal Harmonics
          11. Near Future Residence

          William Doyle

          Great Spans Of Muddy Time

            It’s nearly a decade since William Doyle handed a CD-R demo to the Quietus co-founder John Doran at a gig, who loved it so much he set up a label to release Doyle’s debut EP (as East India Youth). Doyle’s debut album, Total Strife Forever, followed in 2014, as did a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize. A year later, he was signed to XL, touring the world and about to release his second album – all by the age of 25.

            After self-releasing four ambient and instrumental albums, Doyle’s third full-length record – and the first under his own name – Your Wilderness Revisited arrived to ecstatic reviews in 2019: Line of Best Fit described it as “a dazzlingly beautiful triumph of intention” and Metro declared it an album not only of the year, but “of the century”. Just over a year later, as he turns 30, Doyle is back with Great Spans of Muddy Time.

            Born from accident but driven forward by instinct, Great Spans’ was built from the remnants of a catastrophic hard-drive failure. With his work saved only to cassette tape, Doyle was forced to accept the recordings as they were – a sharp departure from his process on Your Wilderness Revisited, which took four long years to craft toward perfection. “Instead of feeling a loss that I could no longer craft these pieces into flawless ‘Works of Art’, I felt intensely liberated that they had been set free from my ceaseless tinkering,” Doyle says.

            “The album this turned out to be – and that I’ve wanted to make for ages – is a kind of Englishman-gone-mad, scrambling around the verdancy of the country’s pastures looking for some sense,” says Doyle. “It has its seeds in Robert Wyatt, early Eno, Robyn Hitchcock, and Syd Barrett.” Doyle credits Bowie’s ever-influential Berlin trilogy, but also highlights a much less expected muse: Monty Don, presenter of the BBC programme Gardeners’ World, Doyle’s lockdown addiction.

            “I became obsessed with Monty Don. I like his manner and there's something about him I relate to. He once described periods of depression in his life as consisting of ‘nothing but great spans of muddy time’. When I read that quote I knew it would be the title of this record,” Doyle says. “Something about the sludgy mulch of the album’s darker moments, and its feel of perpetual autumnal evening, seemed to fit so well with those words. I would also be lying if I said it didn’t chime with my mental health experiences as well.”

            Great Spans of Muddy Time is a beautiful ode to the power of accident, instinct and intuition. The result, however, is far from an anomaly: this celebration of the imperfect album is one that required years of honed craft and dedicated focus to achieve. “For the first time in my career, the distance between what I hear and what the listener hears is paper-thin,” Doyle says. “Perhaps therein reveals a deeper truth that the perfectionist brain can often dissolve.”


            STAFF COMMENTS

            Barry says: There has been a significant stylistic change in Doyle's output since his early material as East India Youth, and every single note oozes with the intellectual construction and well placed melodic sensibilities that will ensure his place in the musical landscape for years to come. 'Great Spans...' is a wonderfully rich and fascinating journey, and one that rewards with each further listen.

            TRACK LISTING

            Side A
            I Need To Keep You In My Life
            And Everything Changed (But I Feel Alright) 
            Somewhere Totally Else
            Shadowtackling
            Who Cares
            Nothing At All

            Side B
            Rainfalls
            New Uncertainties
            St. Giles’ Hill
            Semi-bionic
            A Forgotten Film
            Theme From Muddy Time
            [a Sea Of Thoughts Behind It]


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