Here’s another this time shorter improvisation.
Here is a live recorded session with something I’ve been experimenting with for a little while where I use a loop pedal to loop on vocals as well as guitar. It’s early days and it needs a bit more work and in particular I need to get out to some open mic nights and play it live here and there.
There’s about 12 and a half minutes of improvised jiggly bits firstly a version of a piece of mine which is called beech trunk for reasons which I have documented earlier (the film may have to be re-filmed). And then I capped that off with a spontaneous piece in D (carrying on in that vein) which I shall call On A Sunday Soon because that’s the only meaningful/recognisable lyric in the inclusion. Occasionally cars drive past outside and they add ambient textures of drive-past determination.
I am going to Brazil in a few days time and will try to bring some things back to share with those of you who are prepared for that sort of article.
There’s a fair bit of clapping/slapping in the recording which is my foot on the pedal of the loop pedal. I could do that quieter but I like to make it clear what’s happening to emphasise the live and spontaneous nature of the performance.
I’m being very slow about the restoration of my videos but one that called out to be done was one which is called may which was found on a post dated March 14th 2012. I’ve restored it to the post and am duplicating here too as it’s more fitted to a May post. I thought of it for I was walking past the very spot earlier today where I filmed it. The scene was much quieter than is shown in the film. I think when I filmed it, it was much warmer, maybe it was later in the month.
I’ve got a pile of videos I want to put up just need to get a production line working. If I can get another 2 up before the end of May then I will be doing well with all the other things I have to do this month.
my first post youtube step towards moving image representation begins here with a bbc archive clip of jean-luc godard which is the item i was in the process of trying to upload when the whole thing changed for me. the first in my efforts to temper ubiquity with freedom. this wouldn’t actually have been particularly the first choice if i’d thought about it but circumstances have decided in its primary purpose and who am i to gainsay that? there is a revolutionary emphasis that fits here.
i will try to go back through all the old posts and substitute youtube embedding or links with pure video of a simple html code embedment. but this may take a while especially as i possibly don’t have any of the original any longer in which case some may have disappeared forever which is i always think more beautiful anyway.
there is a bit of the rolling stones but i’m not intending to make much of that it’s not very long. there’s an another annoying interpolation from george melly (see my post on pasolini’s medea which is one of those videos i’m talking about in the previous paragraph). it comes right at the start. godard is not one of my favourite film directors but i think you’ve got to respect him for what he gave to film style and also to the concept of film as dialectic.
I’ve just deleted my entire youtube and google account which has wiped out some 7 or 8 years’ worth of work and a whole load of videos a lot of which had a lot of hits. Not that my own stuff was particularly popular, I didn’t have any video that I’d made which had more than 1,000 views. The most was about 890 or so. But some of the videos had thousands upon thousands of views and there was stuff that a lot of people appreciated over the years. It’s sad but youtube have pissed me off so much that I couldn’t take any more. I don’t know what this means, but sometimes it’s nice to be so destructive. Google has instantly wiped everything and within a few short minutes their search engine has eliminated the links that would have been there mere moments ago. Probably some other search engines will try to cling on to the past.
Basically it has become some sort of totaliarianism which relates to a lot of the ability to manipulate the masses which is the dark side of the world wide web, moving nearer and nearer to the concept of Big Brother whereby we are forced into conforming to the set pattern.
The only alternative I can contemplate at the moment is to gradually restore my videos within this blog screening the films myself. It won’t have the reach that the ubiquity of youtube has provided but it will be clean and more and more that becomes more important to me than the broader audience.
the final recording session for the new neureille album is a few days away. the last time i was working on an album i wrote a post about which animals featured in which songs. i’m not going to go quite into that detail this time but here’s a few words about some of the features of the lyrics. there’s a lot about roads – lanes, streets, paths and such like. there are 3 horses that is 3 songs each that mention a horse. only one of those horses has a name but the name isn’t used in the song. 2 of the songs each mention 3 birds so in terms of the number of birds mentioned in songs i have written that’s a result. 2 writers who are principally known as children’s writers are referenced in the titles of 2 of the songs. 1 british 1 belgian. i usually like to think that most of my songs’ lyrics contain at least some reference to death, but when i consider these only about half of them do, actually it’s never something i actually do deliberately. i mean fifty per cent of the songs don’t mention death. that’s not too gloomy is it?
the last thing that needs to be done is the backing vocals and i am happy to be able to say that i have rosalind moreno-parra and jane thomason to assist me with those. i’m just worried that i’m going to like their bit so much i will end up wishing i’d built the whole thing round that.
i’m in the thick of trying to think of sequence. track sequence that is. you hope it should work it out for itself but sometimes requires a lot of thought to allow that to happen. what i mean is that the right order is there but you have to work out what it is. i thought i had first and last which is always the best place to start, but now i’m not so sure. might as well leave it until it’s mixed though as things might appear different then. sorry i’m rambling.
The Neureille recording session is looming and a couple of weeks ago maybe 3 we had our 2nd and final rehearsal with drums, bass guitar and my contribution. As before I recorded all of the songs all 10 this time. And as before I have siphoned off a bit and turned it into a taster. This one is called rvmrgbit which probably doesn’t mean much to you but I leave it as it comes.
I’m a big fan of Derek Bailey though I haven’t got much of his music to listen to I promise to rectify that herewith. But I was privileged to see him once or twice or possibly even thrice – it was so long ago – I can hardly remember. Anyway I’d like to dedicate this piece to him – he died about 8 years ago. His stuff’s pretty serious but you’re always aware of that great sense of humour too. It’s a weird mixture.
My only question is – is it all the dubbing? – or is it all the dubbin? – well?
more in my series of quotations connected to jazz. these ones are not actually from downbeat.
So here you’ve got a case where I was playing with Fletcher Henderson, and Fletcher Henderson’s fellows always said to me, “You play those strange chords! Why don’t you just play like a piano player?” And I said, “Well, Fletcher plays piano, he likes the way I play, and hired me, and you just play horn, so you should shut up! I think a piano player would know what I’m capable of, and he likes what I’m doing; he ain’t saying nothing, so you should shut up!” So then it was a big problem. I put in my notice. I said, “I’m not going to put up with this, because I’m not what you would call a human being. I deal with precision, and if they keep on messing with me, they’re going to get an explosion.” I had to do something about it, it was irritating me. I said, I’ve got to do something to teach these humans don’t mess with me. So the next night I got me a straight razor, and I put it right on the piano, by one of the trumpet players, and I said, “Tonight, I’m going to cut somebody’s head off if they say something about my playing, `cause I’m very evil tonight, and I’m not going to take nothing from no human being. Off goes somebody’s head!” So he didn’t bother me no more. And then the next thing that happened, I just put my notice in. So I came back to see who Fletcher got to play piano. And he was down there directing. He had no piano player. And Fletcher said if I didn’t play, they wouldn’t have a piano. He said, “Come back on the stage!” So I went back on the stage, and Fletcher smiled, and I had my job back.
I used to run into Paul Motian in the Sufi center in the late ’60s and early ’70s and we’d see Hazrat Inyat Khan speaking and this guy is a very, very high person. And he would stand up in front of the 40 or 50 people there who were into him and he’d just be looking out at people in the audience without saying anything for about three or four minutes, which is a long time if you’re waiting for somebody to speak. But he’d be like in the ozone but in a very special way, waiting for the words to come and being totally real and totally spontaneous with the people. And this is really beautiful to see. In fact, it’s the most natural state of human beings. Anyway, that’s kind of an analogy to what I feel about music, which is to say we’re really ourselves most naturally when we’re being spontaneous with each other, which is the best way to be in life anyways. You know, when you have a family, everybody is spontaneous with each other and sometimes a little brutally honest, but nevertheless it’s spontaneous so it cannot really be bad. And that is really my philosophical foundation, if you like, about how groups should be. And maybe this is why I always want great players. I need stimulation, I need them to kick my ass, as it were, and provoke me in some way that will push me to a place that I don’t know, that I’ve never been before.
It interests me more to have a human relationship with you than a musical relationship. I want to see if I can express myself in words, in sounds that have to do with a human relationship. At the same time, I would like to be able to speak of the relationship between two talents, between two doings. For me, the human relationship is much more beautiful, because it allows you to gain the freedom that you desire, for yourself and for the other.
now we’ve passed christmas and the next big thing in the religious calendar is easter which this year will be april 20 (sunday). this year easter marks the 37th anniversary of my first experience of travelling abroad when in 1967 i visited spain and morocco with my father.
here are a few of the images from morocco that i have manipulated i’m afraid these are taken from scans of slides and either i could clean the slides or i could spend hours tidying them up in photoshop but i haven’t so forgive the visual noise.
the first is a casual street scene – 3 characters meeting – innocent? or sinister? quien sabe?
below the peluqueria victoria sign (peluqueria is hairdresser) more street life. i think there’s something special about old poster images but the people are cool too
and now here’s me with mrs taylor who my dad and i were staying with – her and her husband mr taylor. we are standing by a very old tree. possibly the oldest tree in central tangier. as you can see i was wearing my school uniform because it was the only clothes i had that were smart and for some reason it was important for me to be smart in tangier. whether that was my idea or my father’s idea i can’t remember. but i’m sure that i caused quite a stir dressed like that when i went with my father and mr taylor to a restaurant one night in the casbah. as we walked through a busy bazaar type shopping area with traders standing outside in the narrow street they passed many appreciative comments my way :-
ah eenglish schoolboy
england had just won the world cup so they were trying to impress me with their knowledge of english football players
this next one gives a bit of insight into what you might be thinking if you were thinking of buying something – we’ve got some pans and we’ve got some baskets – what more you could want?
mr and mrs taylor used to be our neighbours when we lived in dollar, scotland in the fifties. i think mr taylor’s grandfather had ran the sultan’s mill for him sometime in the 1st half of the 20th century and they had inherited the property and gone out to live there after retiring. at the back of the garden there was the huge wall of the casbah and then on the other side you looked straight across to the gateway to the market. the gateway large enough to contain a table where they sold various breads. while i stayed there i can only remember being totally drawn to the windows where i could watch all this while hidden to the passers-by. i imagine that this fascination was evident to my gentle hosts and i’m sure they felt some sort of gratification at this.
I am working on a new Neureille album to be ready Spring-ish. A week or so ago we had the first rehearsal with the basic unit, guitar bass and drums. We practised 9 songs, the 10th will probably have no drums just a bit of percussion so we left it. 9 is enough for an afternoon anyway. At the end of the session we recorded them on my Zoom H4n. Paul Wigens plays drums and Mike Mulholland bass guitar.
I took an instrumental session from one of the songs and looped it a few times then played some guitar lead over the top. And then I recorded a second guitar lead and finally I leaked this 2nd guitar in here and there throughout the mix especially towards the end.
The song it comes from is called Die Andere Seite so I’ve called this instrumental version das bit.
This is my Christmas post so I hope the time passes pleasantly and cheerily for all and sundry in the world who follow the tradition.
I will be spending Christmas Day this year with Mr and Mrs Noel which is surely something to sing about. May God bless you all and if you have no god then you might as well just bless yourself.