Ten of Swords

Art by Emma Lilian Martin

My next release is the tenth part of my 8-part Octopus series. Released 10th October 2022.


The ongoing ‘Octopus’ project is an audio exhibition of Adam Leonard’s recorded work over the last 2+ decades, under his own name, pseudonyms, side-projects and collaborations, bringing together music from sold-out limited edition releases plus out-takes, demos, live versions, soundtrack work, BBC sessions and cover versions. Each release (or ‘tentacle’) features previously unreleased and/or new material. Stylistically impossible to pin down ‘Octopus’ issues forth harmonium dirges, acoustic guitar/vocal artefacts, pulsing analogue electronics, laptop prog, spooky instrumentals, glassy-eyed drones, piano torch songs and more besides. Parts 1-8 were released in 2014 and 2015, and Part 9 followed in 2018.

The latest, and possibly final tenth tentacle spans Adam Leonard’s complete musical career from 2000-2022 and contains ten tracks, 6 previously unreleased. It will be released on the 10th day of the 10th month this year.

Track listing

  1. I Know You’ll Never Die
  2. Brian Aldiss
  3. In Receipt Of Zeros And Ones
  4. Weird Woman*
  5. I Died In A Line Of Ambulances *
  6. Year One*
  7. The Mercury 7 – acoustic version*
  8. Hour Glass
  9. Esme’s Song*
  10. Sod Off!*

* Previously unreleased

All songs written by Adam Leonard except 1 Leonard/WotD, 2 Ansara/Leonard, 4 Lewis/Tarpey, 5 Donaghy/Leonard, 8 R. Moult.

Running time: 36 minutes

Song Details

1. I Know You’ll Never Die (Leonard/WotD)

Originally released on the Warriors Of The Dystotheque ‘I Know You’ll Never Die’ EP (Reckless Records) in 2018. There’s a Le Galaxie remix here, possibly the first song I’ve been involved in you can actually dance to. If you like this one, there’s another 2 WotD/AL songs out there, the modern media-hungry astronaut-baiting ‘International Earth Station’ and the nightmare-inspired ‘Things In The Shadows’.

2. Brian Aldiss (Ansara/Leonard)

Recorded in 2010 and later released on the Echoes In Rows’ ‘Click Click Drone’ EP in 2013 (which was re-issued as a 6 track mini-album by Tectona Grandis in 2022). Brian Aldiss is my favourite sci-fi author.

3. In Receipt Of Zeros And Ones (Leonard)

Taken from the A Farewell To Hexes ‘Rendlesham’ album (TDO Cassettes, 2021 [tape] & Polytechnic Youth, 2022 [vinyl]). This track ‘soundtracks’ the moment Sgt. Jim Penniston touched the strange symbols on the side of the UFO ‘craft’ and saw “a bright light and a long string of digits”, which he later wrote down over many pages of a note book.

4. Weird Woman (Lewis/Tarpey)

Previously unreleased. Recorded in 2003, this is a song sent to me by Phil McHoul from his old band Citron Inoxydable d’Accord. I loved it so much I recorded a version almost there and then.

5. I Died In A Line Of Ambulances (Donaghy/Leonard)

Previously unreleased. Invaderband producer and musician in his own right Rory Donaghy sent me this music earlier this year and I wrote a few words and added vocals to it. He then mixed and mastered it and here it is. It’s inspired by a terrible story I heard on the radio which was caused by the soon-to-be-removed Conservative Government.

6. Year One (Leonard)

Previously unreleased. I was told that this song was too “soppy” or “saccharine” or something along those lines – I can’t remember the word, but it wasn’t complimentary, so ‘Year One’ has remained unreleased for 22 years. I wrote it when my son Jude was a new born baby, and it’s very real for me. I really meant it, and I took a lot of time over the words.

7. The Mercury 7 – acoustic version (Leonard)

Previously unreleased. This was a song I always struggled with. I think it has something, but I recorded it so many times in different ways I just got bored of it in the end. The version which I ended up putting on the ‘How Music Sounds’ album was one I did in desperation – it was a distorted, howling take recorded using Mickey Bradley of The Undertones’ electric guitar (and recorded in his front room). This is one of the early acoustic takes and even demonstrates my harmonica skills! Just like ‘Year One’, it’s very much influenced by Roy Harper, who I was obsessed with at the time. I think Toth’s Law is relevant here: “The work of art over which one slaves, bleeds, and suffers will almost invariably be the least effective, least enduring art one creates. Crucially (and luckily), the inverse is also true”.

8. Hour Glass (Moult)

Taken from Richard’s magnificent LP Last Night I Dreamt Of Hibrihteselle (2015), which I’m truly honoured to have been able to sing and play on.

9. Esme’s Song (Leonard)

Previously unreleased. A song about my daughter (then aged 2) from 2015. It’s from a acoustic solo album which I have abandoned. Some of the other songs remain unreleased. Maybe I will return to them some day.

10. Sod Off (Leonard)

Previously unreleased. This deals with comments made by my best friend Gareth regarding my apparently dangerous lawn. It’s an affectionate pastiche of the music of Gareth Davies (founding member of Mancunian maximal cult band Suburban Vegetable). This was produced for and broadcast at the 2019 annual The Dark Outside event. Had I not met Gareth in 1997, I doubt I would ever have written a single song. He really encouraged me to record and write, and I’ll be forever grateful to him for literally changing my life.

A huge thank you to Emma Lilian Martin for allowing me to use her painting for the cover. Find more of Emma’s wonderful art here: https://www.instagram.com/emmalilian.art/

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