It began at the age of five, lying flat on the floor, just outside Belfast, with an old set of (loud) Rotel headphones on, completely immersed in a smorgasbord of vinyl. Tangerine Dream & Vangelis, Bach to early Genesis …. this variety an early indicator of what was to come. After emigrating to South Africa at the age of six a family acoustic guitar led to classical guitar lessons, and the instrument of choice.
Yet while classical guitar was the instrument, a secret love of diversity never faltered. Music studies were paralleled with a continued love for electronic music, indie rock like the Pixies and Sonic Youth, stronger fare like Metallica and inevitably grunge were interwoven into a musical fabric, often to the disdain of music tutors.
Young successes in classical performance led to a (frustrated) ‘parking’ of contemporary music. which later bubbled to the surface. The debut classical crossover album Dreams of Skilia (2001) on FMR records was a first foray into composition, opening the door to cross-genre exploration, and was followed in by the chamber jazz album My Friends And I (2005) on Gallo Records. These first works are sometimes floating, contemplative and mournful; compositions with an introspection that belies a link to the speciousness of Tangerine Dream and Mike Oldfield.
2007’s Funk for The Shaolin Monk and 2009’s Got Funk Will Travel moved into jazz/rock territory, with seven subsequent years of touring and performing across South Africa and Europe. In 2014 a musical shift occurred, a desire for more expansive and challenging improvisatory practices and technological integration. This led to the Cyber Guitar project and a slew of related recorded works. 2011’s What If The Machines Spoke Back To You, 2017’s The Settlement and 2018’s Blipz all pushed boundaries, asking musical and technological questions for performers and listeners alike.
In 2019 a new group project, titled Deep Spacer, saw the beginnings of synthesising the strains of popular, electronic, classical and improvisatory music into one project with a self-titled EP followed shortly by Deep Spacer’s 433 Eros in 2020. Deep Spacer was post-rock in one moment, digital soundscapes in the next and intertwined with rock ballades and soundscapes.
In 2021 four albums were produced under the son0_morph moniker: The piano duet album, son0_morph 02 with Katheleen Tagg, an electroacoustic work, son0_morph 03 with Cameron Harris, a solo classical crossover work son0_morph 04 harkening back to 2000’s Dreams Of Skilia and son0_moprh 01 with Carlo Mombelli and Jonno Sweetman.
This year sees the creation of ‘Inhale’, an album drawing the decades of work together, moving from post-rock and math rock tracks such as ‘Bounce’, ‘Inhale’ and ‘In The Spring’ peppered with classical string quartet miniatures such as ‘Hymn’ and ‘Breathe Deep’ and angular compositions such as ‘First / Second Operations’ and ‘There’s No Invasion’.
This new album sees Crossley finally answering the question some have asked: ‘Why can’t you simply play or stay in one genre’ by firmly, and loudly stating ‘I don’t have to’.
‘It took me a long time to realise that being genre-myopic is not a way of life I am interested in. I have been inspired and motivated since 2021 by artists such as Clark, Anna Meredith and Battles previous frontman Tyondai Braxton to pursue wherever the music wants to go, rather than by the voices of others.’