– Debut Solo Album – Navigating By The Stars
Attack Attack Records ATK2307. Release date 17 02 03
After 23 years
fronting one of the UK’s foremost underground rock band NEW MODEL ARMY,
Justin Sullivan steps out of the shadows of the band with a stunning debut
solo album NAVIGATING BY THE STARS. A marked departure from the
aggression and power of a New Model Army album, Navigating reveals a calmer and
more melodic side to Justin’s song writing and performance, without losing any
of the passion. Co produced by Justin and renowned TV/Film soundtrack producer
Ty Unwin, the album is probably the most accessible that Justin has ever
made. Reaction from radio to the first single Twilight Home (released 27
01 03) has been extremely positive, as has the press. LOGO magazine called it “a
dreamscape that flows like double-thick cream” and “deeply, darkly
beautiful” in a 4* review in their Dec/Jan issue.
The album features several guest musicians, notably legendary double bass player Danny Thompson and harmonica genius Mark Feltham. Both men have unique sounds and ways of playing that extend beyond just the command of their instruments. NMA band mates Michael Dean and Dean White both feature extensively and the set is completed by excellent jazz flugel player Bryan Corbett who contributed a haunting solo to the track Sun On Water.
If there is an overall theme for the album then it must be the sea. Over half the songs are about the ocean, an environment Justin has always loved. In fact a long held dream to take a cargo ship on a trans-Atlantic trip has become a reality this January.
In the aftermath of the events of September 11th many would have expected Justin to have made a much more political album, but in a recent interview he explains.. “…..strangely, I didn’t feel like writing an angry song. In some ways I’d already written so many songs about it [Sept 11th] before it happened, that I wanted to do the opposite. In a world where so much anger, cruelty and ugliness had just boiled to the surface, my instinct was to go the other way and make something beautiful… if there is an overall theme to the album, I hope that it is one of beauty.”
Ty Unwin is a classically trained musician and composer who has worked extensively for the BBC, Discovery channel and others. They met in a workshop in Manchester through a mutual friend. After Justin had laid initial song ideas and structures in his studio in Bradford, they transferred to Ty’s where the complex keyboard and orchestral parts were added. The album was finally mixed and mastered in Ty’s studio.