Press release by Nub Music:
Stephen Whitby releases his second Indus Rush album on Nub Music; Himalayan Suite & Other Tales, a work of mixed genres, is made up of a concept piece capturing the atmosphere and marvel of the mighty Himalayas, interspersed with a collection of more commercial pop songs. Steve was forced into writing instrumental music over the last year through illness. In October 2016, Steve was diagnosed with throat cancer, in the voice box area of the larynx, and as a result, spent the rest of that year in and out of Hospital undergoing Chemotherapy and Radiography treatment.
The songs and music reflect the low and high points of Steve’s experience. The opening track, “Himalayan Suite Parts 1 & 2” describes the vibrant life and dreams of a young boy sheltering from a storm in a beached up boat, dreaming of a storm in the Himalayas. He drifts off and hey presto: we’re off to India and the Himalayas.
Steve’s low point of his treatment, going into Hospital for the first time, is evident in the track “Himalayan Suite – Red Sky”. This was written on the Garageband app. on an iPad on the hospital bed at Western General, Edinburgh.
Happier tracks start to follow and “Himalayan Suite – Mountainscape” starts to change the mood halfway through it as some wonderful sax playing by Bjorn Dahlberg takes the mood from dark to light. “Himalayan Suite – Appointment in Samara” and “Himalayan Suite – Annapurna” lighten the mood with some great synth orchestrations in modern electronic genres intertwined with each other, creating an overall effect of relaxation and imagination for the listener.
The final track is the only track where Steve dared to add any vocal after his cancer treatment. “Himalayan Suite – The Silk Road” takes us through the mountains and heading back west towards Europe, and in our child’s dream, back to a warm sleep in his beached up nest. Of course the vocal is not perfect, as you would expect after the horrors of radiotherapy, but Steve wanted to let people hear what the effects are, and use them to add to the atmosphere of the song, the altitude, the coldness and loneliness of those vast mountains.
Notes on the album by Indus Rush:
After the release of “From the East Down to The West” I began to work on a second album, as I had become creative again, and there were also some more of the older songs to put down in the studio. I had completed about half of the new album by September, and on my return from vacation in Thailand I was going to finish it off. Unfortunately, it was at the end of this vacation that I discovered I had throat cancer, and a long process of treatment, cure and recovery began, which even to this day is not entirely over. My cancer was in my voice box , so singing was now out of the question, so I had to stop recording tracks for the new album. Sometime during my hospitalisation I was messing around with Garageband on an iPad, and suddenly had the idea to bring another project forward, which was mostly instrumental, and interlace it with the songs already recorded for the new album. I completed the 6 tracks making up the Himalayan Suite in August, and the album was published in on September 17th 2017. I was very pleased with the outcome, and I had a great time learning how to use synthesisers and compose electronic music.
The first critique came in quickly and I was surprised how well the songs fitted in together. “Himalayan Suite – Parts 1 & 2 was a long work which took the full 6 months to record, and this track became the anchor of the Suite, the child falling asleep on a boat, a drifting off to dreamland. Red Sky was an intense track, written on that iPad on a hospital bed in Edinburgh’s Western general, where I was at my lowest point in the whole cancer journey. “Appointment in Samara” and “Annapurna” lightened the mood with some great synth orchestrations in modern electronic genres intertwined with each other, creating an overall effect of relaxation and imagination for the listener. The final track is the only track where I dared to add any vocal after my cancer treatment. “Himalayan Suite – The Silk Road” takes us through the mountains and heading back west towards Europe, and the end of the child’s dream, back from a warm sleep in his beached up boat. Of course the vocal is not perfect, as you would expect after the horrors of radiotherapy, but I wanted to let people hear what the effects are, and use them to add to the atmosphere of the song, the altitude, the coldness and loneliness of those vast mountains.
The songs interspersed throughout include the singles “Waterfall Dance”, and “Romany days”, as well as four other tracks written before the cancer. These tracks include the Political anti Jihadi song “Lost Quarter”, the slow string quartet tune, “Claire”, a Booker T esque “Pink Garlic”, and the tribute to Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, “Encinitas Break”. Why are they interspersed? I guess wanted to make the album more interesting by separating the Himalayan concept tracks, hopefully keeping the listener interested.
My peers on Soundcloud have been praising this album with comments such as: “ Beautiful and dramatic track! Piano sounds are so impressive! “ and “awesome combination of different surprising styles of dance music! Nice work! “ on “Annapurna”, “interesting and catchy layer-work”, on “Red Sky”, and “really love the Indian musical elements here – a fresh approach!!!” and “Great work! “ on Himalayan Suite Parts 1 & 2”.
Well, I’m glad to report I am now well on the way to total recovery and hopefully the next album will not be as long coming, and without any more dramas to delay it.