For our 45th limited edition release, which of course is a CDr presented to mimic a ’45’ vinyl record, we welcome aboard Ed Cooke. Ed has released previously with the likes of Rural Colours, Audio Gourmet and Vent. ‘Little Fire‘ is a warm and exotic blend of guitar and percussion songs, a perfect reflection back over the summer months for those of us with seasons! For Ed, the record is a personal account of his family and work life between Thailand and Malaysia. For the rest of us, this not only serves as a window into this but also, as a sun-bleached transmission of far eastern climes. This one might appeal to those who enjoy Danny Paul Grody, Pullman or Padang Food Tigers.
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Ed Cooke is a Londoner currently living in Malaysia and Thailand, who has previous releases on Rural Colours, Vent Sounds and Audio Gourmet. Ed began home recording in the late 1990s, not long after days of performing in a few bands. Ed’s approach begins with experiments with different guitar tunings and a search for a hook or melody which usually contains more sonic elements in the mix. He doesn’t leave things there, once the backbone of a song is created as a lot happens in the production stage, with careful editing of fades and subtly woven Asian textures inspired by his current lifestyle.
We’re informed that Ed has a widespread selection of influences but he cites Bert Jansch, Scott Tuma, Padang Food Tigers and Six Organs of Admittance as primary drivers to his own experiments with guitar and electro acoustic music. ‘Little Fire’ was designed to be meditative and distant and the varying tunings and harmonics help the sound wash over you as you listen. The album is centered around melodic arpeggio hooks on both acoustic and electric guitar, alongside layers of slide guitar and feedback, not to mention Asian Folk rhythms and texture. Wind and percussion sounds were made using local bamboo instruments. The sound structures blend cultures, as the album draws from colourful Eastern and Western Folk sounds and places these against a warmth reminiscent of 70s Dub production.
Little Fire contains autobiographical moments recorded during the first 7 years of Ed’s eldest son’s life. These songs are Ed’s tribute to him and the inspiration he and the rest of the family give him. The track ‘Waiting For Water’ was named because it was recorded when his family’s home was nearly flooded during the Bangkok floods of 2011. His wife also sings vocals on the track ‘Worth’. Some pieces were recorded during a time when Ed had to live away from his family for career reasons. ‘Closer To The Equator’ was made in Southern Malaysia where he felt a long way from his home in Thailand. It is also a tribute to his much missed Thai father-in-law, who sadly passed away during post-production.
Whilst to us the listener the sounds could not possibly map out all of Ed’s journeys and experiences, the tone and presentation of the recordings give an exotic, well-travelled account, which is full of warmth to fuel our own imagination.
Written and produced by Ed Cooke
Mastered by James Armstrong
Photography by Ed Cooke
Artwork by Harry Towell