Biography




Peter James is an English composer and instrumentalist, trained as a sound engineer in the mid 80’s, just as the first affordable sampler’s came onto the market. It was at this time that he realized that what you think you are listening to is not necessarily, what it really is…

When he started work on his first album, “holding on – letting go”, he came up with the idea to design new and unique sounds using just a bass guitar (as that was all he had to work with at the time) as the main sound creation source. He had grown tired of hearing the same synth and software patches used on and within nearly all ambient/electronic music genres, and wanted to do something different, more challenging, both technically and sonically. Rarely employ much, if any, processing, relying on looping the sounds, so they create their own textures, and feel. He uses anything from brass and copper plumbing fittings, Zippo lighters, Allen keys, standard plectrums, and, recently, a violin bow to “play” the bass. The only effects he uses are two reverb units.

By the time he recorded his second album, “is”, he decided to create it almost exclusively using this technique. The only other sounds he employed were a real recording of Tibetan bowls, and the vocal talents of Kyra Pearl and Saskia Dommisse on two tracks, plus some field recordings, again made by him. All other sounds derived from just that single sound source – his bass guitar. “is” has been described as both “a sonic attack”, and “beautiful and terrifying”.

On “the more I look the less I see”, he’s gone back to his roots, and employed the use of some synthesized sounds, but re-processed, and re-sampled them, to make them sound hopefully original, and blended these with his own sounds, which makes for a more sonically rich listening experience, more “organic”, than clinically electronic.

More recently, asked to compose some music for a Reiki Master to use during treatments. So far, the music he created has proven to be very useful indeed, for both practitioner and client alike.

He still work with hardware samplers, 2 x emu esi4000’s, Cubase 24/4, analogue desk and outboard effects - just as he did when he used to record to tape - using the Mac simply as a standalone sequencer/recorder. He also mixes and masters all his work.

He has been writing ambient/instrumental music for many years, yet still feel like he have only just begun his journey, as each time he makes new sounds, the new and original textures he creates usually sends him on a new sonic trip – but one where I never know what the next destination will be...