It’s been a wonderful week of music-making with Julie Slick and Andy Edwards. First our show at Tower Of Song in Birmingham on Sunday night, then a day at Kidderminster College, giving an improvisation masterclass, and then recording some more music and a photo shoot.
All of that will be forthcoming ASAP, but for now, here are some pictures from Sunday’s gig, taken by Rob Groucutt:
Also, if you haven’t heard/bought Julie’s most recent solo album yet, it’s here. You need it:
This is the first in a new pile of videos I’m going to be doing, introducing a few of the effects pedals that I use. I’ve taken the 5 that are in my current live set up, and gone through them. Not just ‘reviewing’ them, but looking at how they interact. That seems a bit more useful
Oh, and there’s a lil’ improv thingie at the end putting them all to good use.
Enjoy, and if you dig it, feel free to share it around!
Julie, for those who’ve been hiding for the last 8 years, has been blowing people’s minds all over the world as part of the Adrian Belew Power Trio SINCE SHE WAS A TEENAGER. Seriously. Now still in Adrian’s band, and also in the 6-headed-behemoth that is the Crimson ProjeKct, she gets to swap bass duties with Tony Levin every night. Also a remarkable solo artist, her two solo albums feature her brilliant compositions, bass work and production alongside guests such as Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, David Torn, Marco Minneman, Pat Mastelotto… A cast of geniuses, with her at the top of the bill. She’s that good. Listen:
Andy Edwards is something of a drum legend – from Robert Plant’s band, he went on to play with many of the UK’s top prog bands: Frost*, IQ, Magenta, and is greatly in demand as a clinician.
it’s not often that I get to announce a new video that’s already reached 10,000 views. In fact, it’s never. Until now. this was filmed at the Frankfurt Musikmesse, by Gregor Fris of BassTheWorld.com, who asked me to ‘just play’. No looping, no processing, just bass. However I wanted for as long as I wanted. This is what came out. It sounds and looks lovely, I think. The internet seems to agree. Please do share it around if you dig it:
I’ll write more about the making of the video later… but for now, go buy gig tickets!
It’s International Womens Day! A day to celebrate brilliant women, to acknowledge the massive debt our culture owes to the many millions of women who battled uphill to get past massive sexism and inequality to shape the world we live in. To give thanks for the mothers and sisters and wives and girlfriends, friends and colleagues who teach us and with whom we partner in building lives, culture, society, friendships, homes, communities…
But it’s also a day of reflection, a day of lament, a day to acknowledge that pretty much none of us dudes do enough to correct the imbalance, that we are want to fall back on tropes about slow progress or even to use clever blogposts and Facebook statuses to hide our inactivity behind. It’s WAY, WAY easier to write this than it is to call out some dickhead at work telling sexist jokes, to make a fuss about those situations where women are constantly overlooked, to check our language for times when we put appearance first in the list of things we compliment a woman for, as though they need to earn the right to be complimented on their work by looking the part first.
It’s always easier to sound like a feminist than to act like one. To write inspirational bullshit on the Internet than to get off my arse and do my fair share of the housework, to daily resensitise myself to the systems that enable my male privilege… So don’t take this as a statement of success, but an admission that I’m not where I should be. And neither are you, dudes. No sackcloth and ashes, just take some time to fix some things, OK?
And here, to celebrate the day, is some incredible music by women I’m inspired by and aspire to be like. Geniuses all:
The album was recorded live as part of a guided meditation on a retreat led by Jo Sumner – Lobelia and I had played a house concert for Jo a while back, and she mooted the idea of me providing live music for a meditation on one of her retreats last year. I loved the idea, especially given how many people already seem to use my music as an accompaniment to yoga/meditation/massage/therapy/etc.
There seems to be a certain kind of person who goes for my music in that setting – people who are REALLY annoyed by shitty 80s keyboard sounds and panpipes, who want music that the like, first and foremost, and THEN music that fits the setting.
But for years I’ve had emails from those people expressing some frustration that my music so often has weird spikey, dissonant, freaky bits that properly break the moment… Those bits of music aren’t about to stop happening within my usual ‘story telling’ approach to music creation, as they’re a vital part of the bigger story, but having the chance to make music in context meant that this piece ended up fitting that role perfectly, without any of the freakiness.
It’s a SLOW journey. 45 minutes of it. A single live track, with the only editing being post-processing (adding some spatial effects to the ambient layers, to make it sound amazing on headphones!)
Ishin-denshin (以心伝心?) originally comes from a Chinese proverb and is a Japanese idiom which denotes the traditional concept of interpersonal communication through unspoken mutual understanding. This four-character compound, known as a yojijukugo, literally translates as “what the mind thinks, the heart transmits.” Sometimes explained in English in terms of “telepathy” or “sympathy”, ishin-denshin is also commonly rendered as “heart-to-heart communication” or “tacit understanding.”
The reaction so far has suggested that for many, it’s just what they were looking for. It’s very obviously my music, but in a format that fits a new context. I hope you enjoy it too!
(photos taken by Neil Sumner, at the retreat where the album was recorded.)
Right, so an interesting thing started happening as soon as I put the ‘Entire Solo Works for £10‘ offer online – people who already had *most* of the albums started buying the set, and then offering the rest of the download codes as gifts to friends who didn’t have those albums or had never heard my music.
I really like this idea – £10 is still way cheaper than buying even two of the albums on iTunes would be, and you can get them as 24Bit FLAC files if you’re a lossless HD audio buff…
So, please, feel free to buy the whole set, keep the ones you need, and either send the rest to people you want to introduce to my music, or offer them up on Twitter/Facebook etc. to people who might want them.
The download codes are single-use – so prob best to get people to email you and then send them, rather than posting the codes publicly and just annoying anyone who fails to get the album from a code they think is going to work
Next week, my brand new solo album comes out. It’s called ‘What The Mind Thinks, The Heart Transmits’, and is a single 45 minute piece, recorded live as accompaniment to a guided meditation on a retreat.
I’ll write more about the album itself next week when it comes out, but for now, as a pre-release option, I’m doing my second ’10 albums for £10′ offer, and making my entire solo back catalogue available via Bandcamp for £10. That’s 14 years of solo bass playing, for a crisp tenner (or paypal’s impersonation of one).
What The Mind Thinks, The Heart Transmits (2014)
Believe In Peace (2012)
11 Reasons Why 3 Is Greater Than Everything (2011 – Remastered 2012)
Ten Years On: Live In London (2010)
Behind Every Word (2006)
Grace And Gratitude (2004)
Not Dancing For Chicken (2002 – Remastered 2012)
And Nothing But The Bass (2000)
Lessons Learnt From An Aged Feline (Pt 1) (2002)
Lessons Learned From An Aged Feline (Pt 2) (2004)
Those of you who’ve been around for a while will note the absence of Lessons Learned Pt III – the reason for that is that I’ve no idea where the master recordings are, and as such only have a fairly low res MP3 copy. I’ve rummaged through old hard drives and haven’t yet found anything labeled as that, though there’s a fair chance it’s in amongst some other sessions… When it crops up, I’ll stick it on bandcamp
Want proof? OK, all the mainstage artists are pictured on the cover of this month’s Bass Guitar Magazine, with me right in the middle. Oh yes. Good times, eh?
I’ll be on at 11:15am on Sunday 2nd March, though I may actually be on a little earlier than that in the masterclass room, talking to one of my heroes and friends, Leland Sklar… the two sessions overlap, so we’ll have to see how the planning works out! [Read more →]
So yesterday, we crossed the £10,000 mark on Bandcamp. That’s sales on my main Bandcamp account since Sept 2009. In reality, we crossed it a while ago, because there’s other money that we made when I had separate accounts on there for each project, and also the money that Lobelia has made, but this is the first time it’s actually displayed it on screen…
So before we get to the main bit of the blog – here’s a special £10K offer – all 10 FingerPainting albums to download for £10. Click here to buy. [Read more →]