Outer Planets & Other Stories

Pointless Beauty is as much a concept as a band. Alongside the quintet / quartet there are many other approaches that are better approached as either a solo artist or in short term collaborations. Outer Planets is specifically an ambient expression and below that you'll find other stories that that needed to be told but don't quite fit anywhere else. 

Outer Planets II (2021)

Narrative Soundscape

Outer Planets II (2021)

Narrative Soundscape

Al Swainger's Pointless Beauty - Outer Planets
"Spiritual sustenance in these somewhat dispiriting times."

Outer Planets II (2021)

Narrative Soundscape

Outer Planets II (2021)

Narrative Soundscape

Outer Planets II
"Beautiful ambient music, excellent use of field recordings. Interesting enough to listen to for its own sake, but mellow enough for it to soundtrack any other activity too"

Solace (2020)

Narrative Soundscape

An improvised piece made from 10 collaborative layers. Each musician recorded remotely with a simple brief to guide their interaction. As each new layer was digitally delivered I would listen, reflect, edit by cutting or adding effects and reflect again. In this way the piece grew organically and cumulatively. My goal was to allow space for each new voice to feature in some way without dominating the existing musical conversation.

Improvised sources (in order of addition):


Al Swainger - Bass FX PAd / Jesse Molins - Guitar / Jon Clark - Cello / Jim Rintoul - Double Bass / Emmy Broughton - Harp / Helen Sheppard - Vocals / Kevin Buckland - Bass FX Pad / Ruth Molins - Flute / Al Swainger - Bass FX Pad & Vocals / Sophie Swainger - Violin

Solace

WE Too (2020)

Mindfulness Meditation

An extended improvisation based on a mndfulness meditation by Zara Zeahorse. I was intrigued to play with the form and see if I could make music that would evolve in an interesting way over a long period whilst still embracing the repetition necessary to support the meditation. Normally this kind of thing would be much more ambient but I wanted to challenge that norm with a more rhythmically and harmonically strong identity to see if it still worked.

Performed by:


Al Swainger - Bass FX PAd / Sarah Kiaer - Vocal

We Too

Pandora '2|1 (2021)

Collaborations in pop & poetry

A collaborative experiment re-imagining original compositions by singer/songwriter/poets. As a producer of instrumental music it's really interesting to me to take somebody else's narrative and find an angle that is different to the original intent. Can I find a new frame that feels as valid but which adds fresh meaning?

Performed by:


Al Swainger - Bass / FX / Synths / Sound Design / Programming 

Kat Lee-Ryan / Holly Moberly / Michaela Fedeczko - Vocals

Pandora '21

Music for unmade film (2018)

abstract cinematic soundcape

Music for unmade film (2018)

abstract cinematic soundcape

Sometimes collaborations just don't work out. This exploration is a heavily transformed piece based on a live improvisation with Holly Wellington. I improvised while she painted. Sadly this project never made it past one intial session but I was happy to repurpose my contribution into another form. All sound sources are transformations of 'live in the room' ambient sound. See also the experimental video I made below

Performed by:


Al Swainger - Bass / FX / Vocal ambience

Holly Wellington - Vocal ambience

Pandora '21

Go Gently (2020)

pop / rock instrumental

Go Gently (2020)

pop / rock instrumental

I've always had a deep love of rock and rock guitar players. There's not a huge amount of room in the rest of my work for this aspect of my personality but it's quite a core part of who I am as a musician. I love coming up with these folky sort of compositions that I can just unwind over. This kind of thing is really emotionally cathartic for me to do and almost always comes out as quite melancholy.

Performed by:


Al Swainger - Bass / FX / Ableton

Go Gently

Video

Below are examples of my work experimenting in video. Some combine my output as digital artist with audio experiments while others document live performance. The first has no soundtrack as it was an experiment with creating a moving project banner. 

Digital Art

A very small selection of my output as digital artist. I regularly create new images which are added to my Instagram account. 
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