Legend has it that Celtic Monks used a specially prepared mixture of ashes obtained from the burning of the boughs of nine sacred trees - Alder, Ash, Birch, Elm, Hazel, Oak, Rowan, Willow and Yew. The use of the ash in ceremonies was important, but for the monk, the collection of the individual woods was an act of worship in itself. They believed each tree had characteristics pointing towards various attributes of the Godhead, and they would meditate upon these as they would harvest each in turn. I've written each track on the album to do the same, each having a distinct character and embodying different divine characteristics. The finished album is, in a way, the ash, and the unseen creation process is an act of worship and devotion, similar to the gathering of the wood by the monk. The name of this ash was Nawglan, the Sacred Nine.
On a personal note, this has been quite an adventure for me. It has been totally different to any other album I've ever worked on - for a start it is instrumental! It has been a breath of fresh air for me, and I hope you'll find it the same. This album is perfect to sit with, to meditate with, to just BE with. It's great to have playing in the background while working, revising or reading. It was meant to be a personal project for myself, but has grown into something much more substantial than I imagined. Most of the tracks are based on improvisation sessions, including a truly memorable 40 minutes with John Reed that were recorded live and have been included almost as is. Terl Bryant guests on percussion, lending both a real gravitas and a joy to proceedings, and Nick Tsiatinis has again contributed some beautiful photography for the artwork.