Sketches Of Europa
This is an album that wasn't supposed to be an album.
After purchasing a ukulele and melodica (easy to travel with!) in February 2011 in Vienna, we then moved onto Budapest, the first place we got any kind of stability. We had an apartment there for a couple of months and during this time a couple of new songs were written - Karl-Marx-Allee and Suzanne. A month later in a new apartment Magica Fountain was written.
I had bought a small digital recorder simply for recording song ideas on our travels but one day I noticed it could also be used as an audio interface, meaning I could use it to do more elaborate recordings. My brother came to visit soon after this, bringing my recording software with him, and so Kate and I began making little demos of these songs. The idea being we'd do proper recordings of them further down the line once we were more up and running in Europe. A few months after this - with some new songs written - we got an apartment in Milan which happened to have a piano in it. We realised we could utilise the piano for these demos. The piano became the backbone for all the recordings. We only had 5 days to record piano parts for 11 songs unrehearsed. So I had to come up with basic piano parts for each of the songs, which we recorded before moving on.
Gradually we'd add more stuff to the songs as we travelled... percussion and ukulele in Nice, more piano in Barcelona (the apartment there also had one), programmed drums in Berlin, etc...
Since there was also a pressure on us to "do something" as people looking on didn't know what the hell we were doing moving all around Europe with seemingly no rhyme or reason, we felt we should release some of these songs to appease them. We were following an inner guidance, clearly governed by the intelligence of the Universe itself, but unless you were close to us, living it everyday, this wouldn't be obvious.
So Why Do You Run was released as a single in 2012 after it was completed, followed by Giudecca and Italian Saturday and then Karl-Marx-Allee the following year. All kinds of obstacles got in our path and slowed us down and this is why the album took so long to complete. We had given this collection of songs a working title of "Sketches Of Europa", which seemed apt, and was also perhaps a subconscious nod to Miles Davis' album Sketches Of Spain.
By the time of Kate's death in 2014, the album was in a half-finished state. Everything changed and I had to return to Edinburgh and had little choice but to return to being solo. So this SoulJahm project got shelved, although I did finish up a few tracks around 2015-2017 - Suzanne, Magica Fountain and Drowning Into You. These ended up on the SoulJahm 'Live!' album, released in 2017.
At the start of this year, 2023, I was in a position finally to complete Sketches Of Europa as I had better recording resources available. There were many songs absent of Kate's vocals because we hadn't got round to recording them so I had to do them myself and sometimes sing Kate's harmony parts. I added more instruments to the half-finished recordings and in the case of Drowning Into You, went back and added new strings and electric guitar to the 2015 'Live!' version. Then I decided to remix the whole thing from scratch so the versions of the SoulJahm singles on this album are new mixes. It's been a long journey for this album, from 2011 to 2023.
Released June 17, 2023
All songs written by David William
Vocals - David William & Kate Threadgould
Melodica & Percussion - Kate Threadgould
Bass on Track 13 - Mark P.
Bass on Track 5 composed by Mark P.
Maracas on Track 4 - Melina Charokopaki
All other instruments by David William
Recorded in various places around Europe.
Photography by Kate Threadgould
Logo Design by Kate Threadgould
Album Artwork by Melina Charokopaki
Mixed & Mastered by David William