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Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond



Exploring Different Models For Creativity: Slow Food/Infrablab compared.

September 24th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Aside from the fact that I’m REALLY proud of the music on both albums, the biggest kick I’ve had out of the Slow Food/Infrablab project with Trip Wamsley has been the ability to so accurately contrast the differences and similarities in the methodology, practice and outcome of our music making.

Here they are, side by side, have a listen:

It’s rare that you get the indulgence of doing two records under identical technical constraints, as a ‘test case’ for those methodologies. Which made the experience of playing with Trip even more enjoyable than it would’ve been if we’d just been doing an album the old fashioned way with, y’know, written songs and shit… [Read more →]

Tags: Music News · Musing on Music

Trip Wamsley And Steve Lawson EP Out Today!

September 22nd, 2010 · 2 Comments

Yup, at last, part two of my musical adventures with Trip Wamsley is released today. And very very fine it is too.

I had no idea what Trip was going to do with the tracks we recorded – the stuff we put down at his house was really open, sketch-like stuff. Trip and I have very different work-flows, hence the experiment in making two records. On day one we recorded Slow Food, which has WAY fewer edits and no post-composition on it. It’s been tidied, but not tinkered with.

Infrablab, on the other hand, is a whole new creation – a monster assembled from the limbs and organs of the original recordings. A glorious, multi-legged, surprising monster of a record.

It’s short – 4 tracks – but there’s not an ounce of fat on it. It’s lean, hungry, insistent music, the stuff from the sessions that demanded to exist. I LOVE what Trip has done with it. I’ve been a fan of his for years (as I’ve said MANY times of late), and I’m really pleased that our collaboration has made him play differently. The slightly overdriven guitar-y stuff he’s added to these tunes is utterly sublime, particularly on ‘Titus’. But it’s all great. Srsly. See if you can work out what of it is me and what’s him:

(oh, and I have no idea what the title means either – I’m sure he’ll explain at some point 🙂 )

Tags: Music News

New Set Of Tracks On Soundcloud – Previously Unreleased Material

September 19th, 2010 · Comments Off on New Set Of Tracks On Soundcloud – Previously Unreleased Material

I’ve been uploading these over the last while – some are brand new experiments, a lot of them are things I’ve found on my hard drive recently, of indeterminate origin! I’ll keep adding to the set, but for now, you can have a listen to these (some of them are downloadable if you go to the individual track pages). And it includes my recording of Portrait Of Tracy that I did for Total Guitar Magazine.

There are another handful of tunes to go up – maybe more once I get the hard drive on my desktop computer back up and running. Goodness knows what’s hidden away on there.

And then there’s the minidiscs..!

New Unreleased Tracks by solobasssteve

Tags: Music News

London Gig With Michael Manring – October 20th!

September 17th, 2010 · Comments Off on London Gig With Michael Manring – October 20th!

Yup, Michael and I are back at Round Midnight! Last time we played there we sold it out, people were queued up outside trying to get in, so I heartily suggest that you call and book in advance.

Click here for booking/ticket info.

Playing with Michael is one of my very favouritest things to do as a musician, and listening to him play is one of my favouritest things to do as music fan. So I’m happy as Larry. (Not sure who Larry is, but he must be over the moon right now.)

Here’s a lovely lil’ video from last time we played there:

And here’s our free-to-download live EP, recorded in California a few years back:

Steve Lawson and Michael Manring live at Don Quixotes by solobasssteve

Hope to see you there – PLEASE share this link around, invite friends, and c’mon down. It’s going to be a GREAT show, and probably my last ‘public’ show in London before the end of the year… and I think Alex Bershadsky is joining us, which will be cool.

Tags: gig dates · Music News

Stop Speculating, Start Sustaining – Talking About Awesome Things.

September 16th, 2010 · 16 Comments

In a recent interview with the Financial Times, Radiohead’s manager talked about a change in the way ‘the music industry’ managed its business model. As quoted in the piece:

“We’re trying to get away from a copyright trading model more towards a venture capitalist approach with artists,” says Message. Think of it as Dragons’ Den with guitars – with Message as the thoughtful-looking entrepreneur sitting with fingers interlocked while some young beat combo pitch their wares (“So, we’re kind of like The Smiths meet Funkadelic…”).

(thanks to @lykle for the link) [Read more →]

Tags: New Music Strategies

Originality, Iconoclasts, Recognition and Motivation

September 14th, 2010 · 9 Comments

On Saturday, I was at v late notice invited to an amazing gig I didn’t even know was happening.

Vernon Reid and I have been Twitter-buddies for a while. We have a few friends in common, and had chatted a fair bit on there. He mentioned he was in London, I suggested meeting up, he invited me to his gig.

And what a gig – under the name Tongues Of Fire, it was a tribute to The Black Panthers, featuring David Murray on sax, Questlove on drums, the remarkable Jamaaladeen Tacuma on bass, Abiodun Oyewole and Umar Bin Hassan from the Last Poets, Black Thought and Ray Angry from the Roots, and Corey Glover and Vernon from Living Colour. [Read more →]

Tags: Musing on Music

Slow Food, Track By Track, Pt 5 – Ten Years Of Listening.

September 13th, 2010 · Comments Off on Slow Food, Track By Track, Pt 5 – Ten Years Of Listening.

Click here to download Ten years of listening.

The longest track on the album. A slow build with some pretty big transitions, and a Big Distorted Solo™. The only way to navigating those transitions is to rely on deep listening.

Trip and I have been listening to each other for over a decade. I’m always as happy to listen to him play as I am to be playing the music myself. That’s the key to improv – play with people who make nicer noises than you can imagine making yourself. Removes the tendency to over-play.

So we listen, we react, we surprise each other and play catch-up. But after a decade of listening, the surprises get easier to adjust to 🙂

There are some amazing moments in this tune, too many amazing moments to list them all here. And there are sounds that you’d be forgiven for thinking were me that are actually Trip. He really stretches out on this, and the blend between our sounds has never been more integrated and organic.

This was also the first track off the album made available to hear – over on Soundcloud, it’s annotated with who’s doing what

Tags: Music News · Musing on Music

Slow Food, Track By Track, Pt 4 – Imaginary Robot Ninja Assistant

September 2nd, 2010 · 1 Comment

You can download Imaginary Robot Ninja Assistant here, and the whole Slow Food album here.

Who doesn’t have an imaginary robot ninja assistant? Fixing stuff, being awesome, ass-kicking when needed, and, uhm, assisting…

When I finally get my real Robot Ninja Assistant, it will sing like this track.

And I’d understand every word it sang.

This is how all robots should sing.

It’s a love song.

Nowhere near as dark as it sounds to us.

Robot harmony is different, y’see, not based on dodgy fudged physics. Theirs is the essence of rock ‘n’ roll.

And ninjas.

The main loop on this is, I think, me looping some of Trip’s weird noises. I don’t actually join in til about half way through. Quality weirdness 🙂

Tags: Music News · Musing on Music

Great New Album From She Makes War

September 1st, 2010 · 2 Comments

OK, I’m going to interrupt my ‘track by track’ breakdown of my own new album to tell you about a GREAT record by my lovely friend Laura Kidd, AKA She Makes War.

Here it is, in its entirety, on bandcamp (naturally) – hit play while you’re reading this (and then hit the ‘buy’ button when you’ve finished):

Laura is a true renaissance woman – singer/songwriter/producer/videographer/session bassist/blogger/social tech ninja/web designer… A huge skill set, all of which has come into play on the process of making the album and telling stories around it. [Read more →]

Tags: music reviews · New Music Strategies

Slow Food, Track By Track, Pt 3 – Growing Up And Moving On

August 31st, 2010 · Comments Off on Slow Food, Track By Track, Pt 3 – Growing Up And Moving On

[sorry for the break in posts – was away at Greenbelt over the weekend]

You can download Growing Up And Moving On here, or the whole Slow Food album here.

This was the first thing we recorded. It is, I think the most edited too… Perhaps.

Nerves? Expectations?

Trip and I met 11 years ago. We wouldn’t have played like this then. We were young. Unformed. A different world.

We’ve moved on, up, out, through… Sometimes in parallel, sometimes divergent, always with a bass in hand.

It’s a slow build, the underlying loop changes not. The emotions evolve. We’re exploring, tentatively (it’s the first thing we played, remember?) Satisfied as it unfolds.

It’s good. Let’s play more.

Tags: Music News · Musing on Music