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Multi-instrumentalist and composer David John Sheppard is the writer and orchestrator behind the acclaimed State River Widening, Ellis Island Sound, Snow Palms and Leaf recording artists Phelan/Sheppard, ‘Vertical Land’ will be Sheppard’s first bona fide solo album.

Tracks were begun percussively by inserting pencils into guitars to make false bridges, then hammering the strings with vibraphone mallets, or by applying layers of masking tape to the strings of an upright piano in order to create a raw percussive instrument.

Marimbas, glockenspiels and mountain dulcimers were all attacked with a similar sense of primal reflex until the compositions were gradually built up, only to be stripped back down again in a very painterly process, to reveal new forms, combinations and colours.

Londoner David John Sheppard has rarely strayed from being a creative dispenser of distinction. Sheppard dabbled in music while studying Film & Art History at Art School in Sheffield before getting serious at the dawn of the 1990s with short-lived baroque folk-rockers Balloon, who signed a major label deal with RCA in 1991. From around 1996, he has forged a polymath's career of unbridled yet warmly accessible exploration, initially in the shape of parallel operations with both Keiron Phelan (an old school friend) and Pete Astor (formerly of The Loft and The Weather Prophets). With Phelan, and drummer Jon Steel, came the pleasurable pastoral post-rock of State River Widening and the still theoretically on-going Phelan-Sheppard. With Astor came trusted sideman duties in the art-pop journeying of Matador recording artists The Wisdom Of Harry and an equal partnership as Ellis Island Sound, who explored their own bedroom electronica, Anglo acid-folk, Afro-Krautrock and pointillist minimalism. Not to mention his semi-solo endeavour with producer/arranger Chris Leary (Ochre), as Snow Palms, which yielded the percussion-led ambient and post-classical essays of 'Intervals' in 2012.

David John Sheppard: Vertical Land

A Thumbnail Sketch of Infinity David John Sheppard 6'48''
Horizon Climbs David John Sheppard 5'02''
Vortex On A String David John Sheppard 5'00''
Seconds, Minutes, Hours David John Sheppard 5'34''
Vertical Land 1 David John Sheppard 6'56''
Spring Forward, Fall Back David John Sheppard 3'19''
Mountain Time David John Sheppard 4'23''
Vertical Land 2 David John Sheppard 6'35''

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