Buildings of Dreams
When you're a globe-trotting hobo musician, it can be hard to refuse change. The up- and downside of change and progress is central to Australian musician Jay Fraser's third and latest album, Buildings Of Dreams, released in January 2011. The 10-track LP features songs written from mid-2008 to the present, a period during which Fraser went through an extended period of transition. Quitting his office job and selling his apartment in isolated Launceston, the singer songwriter packed his life up in a guitar case and headed to Europe, seeking to fulfill his 'soul' ambition. Buildings of Dreams is the story of his subsequent highs and lows, epiphanies and mistakes, fears and growth, and discipline and hedonism. Since 2010, Fraser has been based in London (which almost sounds like Launceston if you squint). He recorded the album over four months with the talented musician and sound engineer Richard Campbell at Orpheus Studio in Shoreditch, London. As Fraser explains, the relationship was positive from the outset. "He adopted an enthusiasm equal to mine in terms of the album concept and approached each song with unwavering diligence. This gave me confidence in what we were doing and a great atmosphere to do it." The album starts with more produced and carefully arranged tracks, such as the first single 'That's how we roll', and gradually tapers down to raw live acoustic recordings. The last song, 'Acland Street,' an ode to the popular Melbourne street and the artists who live there, was recorded in one take. The recording process was surprisingly unplanned and natural. "I dropped by one Saturday afternoon to meet Richard and immediately felt at ease. I returned to record a single, and had soon organised to go back again. After the second visit I knew that recording the entire album with Richard was the best thing I could possibly do." Fraser also called on the services of longtime friend and collaborator Tim Downey, aka Teinne, a gifted musician and songwriter from Hobart, Tasmania, who contributed harmonies on 'Four Strong Winds' and 'Forty Miles East'. To bridge the 17,000 km distance, Downey would send his harmonies via email, which Fraser then mixed. "It was great to finally use the Internet for something useful and productive, something outside Facebook," he notes. The cover is the work of Edith Carron, a French artist and illustrator based in Berlin. "She's created a beautifully strange universe for this album to inhabit," Fraser says. "I was over the moon to have her working on the artwork. The results speak for themselves." Written by Sam Davies - an Australian writer & journalist based in Paris.