The Gift (UK) + Halo Tora Their goal was simply to record a 45 minute epic called 'Awake And Dreaming', which Mike had written in response to the then current invasion of Iraq.
As Mike explains: ?I was incandescent with anger about Bush and Blair's 'foreign adventure'. The story and music poured out in a matter of weeks?. For him, the piece was the offspring of two strong beliefs. One, that progressive music was a much maligned piece of beauty. Two, that Iraq was post 9/11 madness. ?What started out as a straight anti-war message slowly morphed into an extended fantasy about an outbreak of mass pacifism which totally disarms the military.?
The music grew and grew, so Mike and Leroy brought in other musicians to realise its scope. They recruited session musicians Jim Thomas and Rod Haverhill on bass and keyboards respectively, and eventually appointed David Storey (The Enid) on drums, much to their delight. (In fact, the album was finally mastered at Robert John Godfrey's studio in Northampton. For Mike particularly this was a thrill. Godfrey had been a teenage hero of his).