You may remember that back in August, a trip to Edinburgh to do some work with the Arts Council happened to coincide with the opportunity to guest with beatboxing genius Shlomo on his Edinburgh Fringe show.
I’d seen Shlo play a few times, and love his music – he’s one of the most musical and versatile beatboxers I’ve ever come across, and as meeting him confirmed, always seemed like a really lovely bloke too.
He was doing a duo improv slot at the end of each show, which was being recorded and sold on Bandcamp for Medicins Sans Frontiers, and had all kinds of interesting musical guests, including me.
Fortunately, the lovely Clutch Daisy – who had also leant Shlomo his RC50 Looper after Shlo’s broke early in his festival run – filmed our duo, which is now up on YouTube. Enjoy!
It’s lovely to see this, as obviously, looking at the looping toys, pedals and my bass meant that I didn’t get to see all that much of what Shlomo was up to – the look on his face when I hit ‘scramble’ about 90 seconds before the end is great, as is where he takes the music in response to it. I love improvising, often for what happens in response to the unexpected. I’m not sure Shlo had any idea where I was going to go with it, and then the wah-wah guitar-style loop synced to something else that meant it had some fairly mad timing going on. I was frantically retriggering it while playing over it to try and keep it in time with Shlomo’s beatboxing! Fortunately, it all sounds fairly slick and not particularly frantic at all… Loopers are like ducks – everything looks calm til you glance at our feet and see they’re going crazy.
Beatbox, like solo bass, has a tendency to become a circus trick that runs out of musical steam after 5 or 10 minutes, but Shlomo is one of a handful of performers I’ve come across who applies it to some really amazing music, and manages to put on a hour show that really entertains. I hope we get to do more at some point in the future! Definitely catch him live if he’s playing anywhere near you, and keep up with his activities via http://shlo.co.uk or on Twitter.by