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For my parents and my nephews
This album consists of a complete rerecording of the album Of How a World Is Built, originally released in early 2010. This is not supposed to be merely a new version of an old album, but a complete replacement. If you happen to have the old album in your collection, please consider replacing it with this release. The old album is not supposed to be downloaded anymore, though it will remain here for historical reasons.
All tracks here are available in two formats: 24bit/44100Hz FLAC (lossless) and 320kbps MP3.
In early 2010, I released Of How a World Is Built, which would become a source of intense frustration for me. The music featured in the album was extremely ambitious in both its scope and depth, and even to this day, it's probably the grandest musical statement I have ever achieved. On the other hand, my skills at recording and production were nearly non-existent. This, coupled with the rudimentary tools and processes I used, had a huge effect on the finished product. The music sounded muffled and flat; instruments struggled unsuccessfully to cut through the mix, and fought against each other in the restricted sonic space; the music kicked and screamed to be heard, but it was kept shut. In other words, the album was begging to be remade.
However, I had already released two albums that were themselves complete remakes of older music: Highways and Making Amends. I felt like doing this remake was a bad omen, signalling that my ability to come up with new music was falling behind. I considered that, maybe, the best decision would be to move along, to leave the album as it is, and conquer new musical grounds. Eventually, though, I realised that my passion for the music on the album was too big, and I couldn't bear to leave all that unresolved potential behind me.
The result is Builders of Worlds.
What you hear in this album is the music as it should have been originally released, but wasn't due to all the limitations listed above. This is not merely a "second version" of the music; this is the definitive version. If you happen to have the 2010 version somewhere, I urge you to download this one and replace it as soon as you can. I find it hard to believe anyone would prefer the older version, but if that happens to be your case, I recommend you to keep both versions around. If you're like me and you like the new version more, feel free to delete the older one and never mind it.
Back in 2007, I put out Big Robot, Little Robot. The album was a collection of ten songs loosely inspired by characters from a British cartoon aimed at children.
This odd source of inspiration is not at all random: my niece used to stay in my house during the day, under my mother's care, and the TV was constantly tuned into children's programming. By chance, one day, my attention was grabbed by a cartoon that featured a character who shared my first name, and was actually called "Ferny" by his friends. This dragged me into the fascinating world of children's cartoons, and a few of them quickly became my favourites. One day, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to write music based on the characters of one of these cartoons, and Big Robot, Little Robot was born.
Around the same time, a new cartoon started airing, and after watching a few episodes by complete chance, I was head over heels in love with it. This cartoon was The Backyardigans. I usually dislike musicals, but this show married superb music with a truly enchanting characters and a wonderful premise, that easily connects with any person that once was a kid: the idea that we can imagine worlds whenever we are and share them with other people. This was so inspiring that I quickly decided my next album would follow the Big Robot, Little Robot formula, but would be inspired by the five characters from The Backyardigans. The resulting album was titled Of How a World Is Built, and released in early 2010.
The idea of rerecording the album actually came before Making Amends, and I was unsure about doing it for a long time. When I decided to start the project, I began revisiting the concept of the album, and made a big realisation. Now, instead of only one niece, I have two nieces and a nephew, and they're all in love with Minecraft. They in fact introduced me to Minecraft, as I had never actually played it, though I did enjoy the similar game Terraria. I came to realise that what my nephews are doing are not at all different from what the characters in The Backyardigans did: they're building worlds and sharing them.
Some people like to argue that video games are very bad for the imagination, that they don't exercise intellectuality and are bad for a child's development. I'm inclined to strongly disagree with that: I grew up with video games, and they were just as good for my imagination as playing with toys on the bedroom floor or playing outside with friends. For a child, anything can make the imagination fly, and this kind of "sandbox" game is a fantastic example. Any form of creation requires imagination, be it physical, digital or purely fictitious. There is no difference between a kid building houses on Minecraft, making drawings with paper and gouache paint, acting out stories with dolls and action figures, or singing improvised songs aloud. It's all creativity, and that's what making art is all about. I, as a grown up musician, am merely carrying forwards the legacy I started as a kid, and my nephews can surely do the same thing and go on to make things much grander and more beautiful than I can if they're given incentive. They, as I, and as any artist and any child, are builders of worlds. And this is what this album is all about. It's not a profound philosophical statement or anything like that: it's just a reminder that being an artist is kind of like being a kid, but with the added bonus that you can stay up late and drink alcohol. It's really cool.