At Least 1000 Words (2002)

At Least 1000 Words by Flicker.

“A picture is worth a thousand words. Well, there is a picture in you. And not even a thousand words can describe it.” – Maharaj Ji.

At Least 1000 Words is the first album by Flicker. It was released in 2002 and features the considerable musical talents of George Davies, Dave Danielli, Emma Williams and Lucy Welsman.

At Least 1000 Words has seventeen beautifully crafted tracks that take you on a journey through different moods and facets of human life.

On the album cover, the mathematical symbol for ‘equal to or greater than’ is used instead of the words ‘at least’. This was chosen for reasons of aesthetics, vague obscurity and symbolism.

Under the name of the band is another symbol, two triangles growing outwards from a circle. This symbol is derived from the symbol used for The Ug Brothers.

Many bands use a distinctive symbol to represent their band. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blue Oyster Cult, Prince during one of his manifestations, and the individual members of Led Zepellin are all examples.

The symbol for The Ug Brothers had four triangles growing outwards from a central circle. Each one was to represent each band member. Dave and George, being stage left and right respectively, retained their triangles. Graham’s and Natalie’s triangles were removed, because they were never part of Flicker.

Symbolism has been described as the way the heart – and especially the mind – of the human works, according to well-known writers, such as Carl Jung and Israel Regardie. As symbols can represent words, the use of “=>” seemed somehow the most appropriate way of expressing this notion.

One could argue that it is quite hard to read the title of the album. The title on the front cover is obscured in the fire. A little difficulty reading the text seemed artistically desirable. A picture of handwritten letters burning would have been ideal. As nobody felt like writing a bunch of letters just to set fire to them, this particular image was chosen.

This fire is not any ordinary fire. It is a very special fire, because it comes from The Wood, in about 1984.

The Wood was where the Wud posse used to go camping quite often. It was by the Willow View caravan park near Ottery St Mary. The A30 was rerouted to go directly through The Wood. Not much of it remains, although the clearing where a lot of the camping took place does. If you care to look, the clearing is latitude 50.75509, longitude -3.32989.

The photo was one of Cliff’s archive pictures. In the shadows in the background of the photo it is possible to make out the forms of a few of the usual suspects at such a gathering.

As the style of the album is instrumental and its theme is how a visual picture, or sonic soundscape, or physical object, can express ideas and feelings far better than nebulous abstract words, whose sounds are often arbitrary in relation to their meaning, this seemed an appropriate image.

On the back cover and the disk itself is a picture of a fibre optic lamp that was blown using real musician breath, and photographed at slow speed. The image was then sliced and joined as if mirrored. Dave did the graphic work and the blowing, and the photo was taken by Cliff.

With the exception of Farsight, none of the tracks on At Least 1000 Words ever had vocal parts that were cut out for the album. There are no ‘vocal lines’ taken by lead instruments, and nor are there any definitive written lyrics of any sort.

Even titles seem cheeky devices, interwoven with the obfuscated conjured imagery they manifest. They guide the listener’s thought patterns and help navigate the veil of intended sonic flavours to the golden truths that lie beyond.

Aside from a few infrequent and carefully chosen samples, the words on the album are left blank to be filled in by the listener. They are all there – the instruments and sounds themselves do the talking if you listen carefully. You can perhaps hear what the words should be in some places.

It’s probably best to hear the whole album in one sitting, We recommend listening from start to finish at least three times on different days, when you will have different moods. That way you will pick up on different things. Listen when you’re not really listening, like when you’re doing something else. Every listener will have different experiences and ideas to compare.

Music is the language of the soul. It has a huge vocabulary, and you have to make up the meaning yourself. Perhaps that’s why people love it so much.

Orignally there to be 18 tracks on At Least 1000 Words. At the time of the album’s release, CDs were limited to 74 minutes. This required some things to be edited back quite brutally. One track, It Starts Right Here, was dropped entirely and shuffled along to open Flicker’s second album, HappySad.

It Starts Right Here would have been the opening track on Side Two of the album, as it were, or track number nine, sliding in between Welcome to the Family and Blown Away. One Place was originally slated to appear between Aeroplane and Serendipity.

Side One of the album is made up of musical pieces that were created before November 2000. Side Two consists of pieces composed from November 2000 onwards.

01 Farsight Purchase
02 Week Five Purchase
03 Aeroplane Purchase
04 Serendipity Purchase
05 Another Star in the Sky Purchase
06 Beautiful Wings Purchase
07 Welcome to the Family Purchase
08 One Place Purchase
09 Blown Away Purchase
10 Or Maybe Not…? Purchase
11 Lucky Stone Purchase
12 Oily Road Hideaway Purchase
13 Tomorrow Purchase
14 Phoenix in the Bin Purchase
15 The Percolator Purchase
16 Moonpath Purchase
17 Hair and Eyes Purchase

At Least 1000 Words was recorded at Chiseldon House, Exeter; Clark’s Cottage, West Putford; and The Old Mill Studios, Thorverton.

Engineering was mostly done by Dave with assistance from George, Dan and Greg.

Mastering was done by Dave and then the album was remastered in 2012 at Wud Records Studio One by George.

Artwork and design by Flicker and Wud Records. Photography by Cliff Smith, The Hubble Telescope and George.

George – acoustic and electric guitars, bass, synths, keys, samples, percussion, string fish, EDP Wasp
Dave – drums, percussion, bass, synths, samples, djembe, clave, EDP Wasp, keys, tabl, maracas, percussion, drum programming, analogue synth
Emma – flute
Lucy – cello, piano

Other contributions from: Maharaj Ji,, Jonathan ‘Aggers’ Agnew, the Prague metro,, The Double Locks (Exeter), the seagulls and rocks and other nature sounds from Sidmouth beach,

No ducks were accidently harmed during the making of this recording, although it was close.