To The Islands (2018) – Album

Liner Notes

The act of remembering and its challenges, has defined much about this album and me in the making of it. With profound personal and political implications, it is a wonder that the process itself remains such a mystery. For what and how we remember helps define the limits of our aspirations and shapes our understanding of, and expectations for, a world in which they might be realised.

The point where memory, hope and expectation meet therefore, is a fertile, febrile place. Like a delta, it is rich with the accumulated narratives and shared histories we lay down over time, year upon ever flowing year. It is here we sink our roots; here we sow our seeds.

But just as when looking in on Schrödingerʼs poor cat, the act of observation itself affects the outcome. The present tense recollection of the past is always biased by our current selves, the demands of the present and whatever colour glasses we happen to be wearing. In that sense we live in the moment, perhaps unwittingly, more than we give ourselves credit for.

This is important because although we cannot, as Einstein pointed out, ‘get around the assumption of realityʼ, we know our memories are fallible. However they get corrupted, challenged or lost, the effect is like trying to walk in a straight line on a rolling ship; the sudden destabilising of certainties can quickly spiral into an unravelling of the whole kit and caboodle – all hope and expectation reduced to the intensity of the moment. For who are we if not what we were? And what is left if we no longer know?

Memories, however imperfect, sent me back to my childhood home to Australia after many years away, where I began writing these songs – memories of who I thought I was and what made me who I am. Taking them for granted, I set off on a wild goose chase. And as the saying goes, assumption will make an ass out of you and me, and so it did. But it started me thinking about all of this and how fresh and fragile we are.

The making of this album has traced the journey I have taken over the last three years, through places geographic and emotional, in ways I couldn’t have imagined – as intensely beautiful as challenging. I’ve lent on friends and family and had to hold them up. And while I feel less certain about everything, I’m more at ease knowing how little I know:

That a delta owes its fertility to the floods that wash away much of what was. As the waters recede, what remains is the promise of a new beginning, but one which entails its end.

All love and thanks to Fred Thomas, Zac Gvirtzman, Chris Hyson, Dave Hamblett, Alex Killpartrick, Chris Sheehan, Adam Greves and Adam Lawson for their dedication and support in helping to make this record happen; and in particular to thank Rhia Parker, for reminding me to look up at the moon.

This album is dedicated, with love and admiration, to my father.

– Jamie Doe, Autumn 2018