Another fun evening at Darbucka was had!
The first problem was how to get it all on the stage! There was so much gear it was untrue – Patrick had a keyboard, a Rhodes and a guitar, all running through mixers and pedals and stuff. I had the usual leaning tower of stevie, Orphy had a steel pan, bass marimba box thing, snare drum, trumpet and a huge hold-all full of miscellaneous percussion. So we did the set-up in two halves. First for Patrick and I, then for Orphy and Roger.
The set with Patrick went really well (from where I was sat!) – an opening ambient excursion, followed by a more jazzy/dubby piece, into a sort of drum ‘n’ bass/IDM workout over a heavily filtered frantic slap-percussive thing, and finally a version of ‘A Kind Of Prayer’ from The Works album, ‘Beware Of The Dog’. All of which was lots of fun. Because of the stage set-up Patrick was behind me, which was a little disconcerting for him I think – I’m kind of used to looking at buttons and not neccesarily at the person I’m playing with, so it was less problematic for me, but he played beautifully anyway. Patrick’s a really interesting person to play with, as he has myriad ways of shifting harmony against a loop – at some point I need to sit him down and find out what he actually does! The hugeness of some of his synth sounds added a lot of depth to the transitions between sections within particular tunes, and each time I use it, the Looperlative makes more sense, so I felt like I was really on top of the loop side of what I was doing – nothing happened that I didn’t want to make happen!
Orphy and Roger’s set started out in a much more ‘out’ free improv direction, with a sparse 9/8 loop off Orphy’s bass marimba thing, and lots of chaotic sounds over the top. Both the main strength and weakness of looping is that it imposes a sense of form onto what’s going on, which is great if you’re doing free stuff as it gives the audience something to latch onto, but it can be a problem if you trap a sound that you don’t want there and aren’t using a looper with an undo function! Orphy uses the Roland RC-20, which just has start stop and layer (oh, and reverse if you bend down and change it by hand, which he did at points). So the constant nature of Orphy’s loops provided both a reference point in the maelstrom of the out sections, and something for him to wrestle with when he may have wanted a more subtle transition.
fortunately, Roger was using one of the most sophisticated processing/looping/cleverness music packages in the world – MAX/MSP, a software program running on a Mac, which meant he could do all kinds of crazy stuffs to his loops and his processing.
All in, I enjoyed their set – it was a lot more out and free than previous RC stuff, and more out and free than most future RC stuff, but it felt good to stretch things a little and try some things out, and there were some really lovely moments. The quartet piece at the end was kinda fun too, which for some reason sounded to me like a Dave Gruisin soundtrack piece after some seriously heavy narcotics. In a good way. :o) So another enjoyable evening at the collective.
The great news is I also managed to get the next Recycle Collective dates booked in, or at least, two of the next three…
And then tonight, theo and I are in Cambridge – see you there!by