2016 was a really interesting year for music for me:
I released more solo music than in any year ever
Got my first new bass in well over a decade
Played gigs with a visual artist and an amazing dude playing a large bowl of water
Did a mini tour of Germany and Holland
Played bass on Songs Of Praise…
Let’s break that down a little!
The plan from the start of the year was to put out a new album in the summer – The Surrender Of Time was planned, but the rest of this years solo releases were more of a surprise!
But before all the solo stuff came Language Is A Music – this live recording of Michael Manring and I from 2012 is one I’d revisited from time to time, but never carved out the time to properly mix and master. At the start of 2016, I got that sorted and released it for my subscribers. I really enjoyed coming back to this over the year, reliving such a fun show! [Read more →]
May 30th, 2015 · Comments Off on Finding Inspiration In Denmark…
[this is a VERY long write-up of four days I spent in Demark last week. Hopefully it’ll be worth the effort]
From whence cometh inspiration?
No idea. Not a clue.
I really don’t have a handle on where inspiration actually comes from. Or what it actually is.
But I do know that I can massively increase the chances of stumbling into it by surrounding myself with curious people, especially those who are working in fields other than my own.
Being primarily an instrumentalist, I’m constantly working with an abstract/concrete duality. The purpose/message/inspiration of a particular piece may be concrete, but the interpretation – if it happens without some kind of written/spoken introduction – is at best culturally mediated and often entirely abstract. That so many people seem to hear something of my intention in my music is itself an amazing affirmation that I’m not insane to see it as having a ‘purpose’.
What’s this got to do with the 2nd Inspiration Lab at Cantabile 2 in Stege, Denmark?
Well, everything. The limits of my own musical practice are always where the interesting stuff happens. I’m interested in edge spaces, overlaps, the bits where the circles in the Venn diagram of humanity change colour as they overlap in different combinations.
In the arts, we often gravitate towards influences and influencers who can obviously help shape our own work. Songwriters get into other word disciplines easily, musicians who make records are inspired by films – time delineated documents of a series of events, easy to mulch into a musical expression of a similar aesthetic… it’s often the music in the film that starts the process anyway… [Read more →]
Here’s a month-by-month breakdown. As if such a thing were neccessary
January – Flapjack enters 2010 barely a month old, Lo and I still reeling from becoming parents, so January is a slow-ish month of ongoing adjustments to parentalism. But it does see two new ventures start – First, my work with the department of Social Computing at Imperial College began its first tentative steps, planning a new music discovery/sharing/listening app, that we’ve been working on all year, that’s proved to be all kinds of fun and a great chance to apply the knowledge I’ve gained about the changes in the world of music to a real-world project.
The other launch was the rebirth of ‘New Music Strategies’ – Andrew Dubber wanted to take the ideas that he’d developed on his blog, team up with some ninjas and see where it would go. We met up in Holland to talk over what it might end up being, and came up with all kinds of ideas. It’s quite a remarkable group of people, and NMS promises all kinds of great things going forwards… [Read more →]
As you’ll remember if you’re an even semi-regular visitor to this site, in November I took part in Nanowrimo – National Novel Writing Month. I started it, expecting that I probably wouldn’t finish it, due to the impending baby. But baby arrived and I still managed to finish it! Fifty thousand words that I’m actually rather proud of. It’s called ‘Rock And Roll Is Dead’, and it’s about a band who go on a journey.
Big, big thanks to the people who were reading it as we went along – you’ll see some of their tweets in the book from when they replied to the characters on there. Your encouragement and willingness to talk made-up nonsense to imaginary people was invaluable in shaping the direction of the book and providing the motivation to keep writing. Nuff respect. [Read more →]
Well, I’m now well over twelve thousand words into my NaNoWriMo novel, which is called ‘Rock And Roll Is Dead’.
As I said in my last post, I’m setting up twitter accounts for the characters as I go along, and two of them are now on there: @Drum_Monkey_ and @TheDistanceMeg. They’ve been chatting to each other and with other twitterers, and some of those tweets are ending up either in or influencing the story. Drum Monkey even got a string of really smart direct messages giving him some advice on a guerilla marketing campaign! It’s turning into all kinds of fun. [Read more →]
So this afternoon, on a whim, I thought ‘I wonder if I can write a novel about some musicians who in some imaginary world start a cultural revolution, accidentally’ – I realised that it would be fun to have a go at writing a long-form hypothetical case study on how the world of music might work out. After all, it’s how a lot of novels work – either romantic or dystopic visions of an imaginary future for people and planet. [Read more →]
July 16th, 2009 · Comments Off on My Weird Life, or ‘How I Ended Up Fixing a Bus For the Civil Service’
So, if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll have noticed over the last week or two that the ratio of ‘music’ to ‘non-music’ tweets has tipped hugely in favour of ‘non…’.
Thanks to my involvement in the Amplified project, I’ve been to a range of different events, talking about social media, capturing conversations around those events and writing it up afterwards. [Read more →]
June 12th, 2009 · Comments Off on Ralston Bowles – The Johnny Cash of Grand Rapids
Ralston Story I:
When The Cheat and I first visited Grand Rapids in 2004, for Sarda and Kari’s wedding, they introduced us to their Neighbour, Ralston Bowles. As well as having an unusually brilliant name, he was introduced to us as being a singer/songwriter who works for a radio station. A description that could just as easily fit Bob Dylan these days, and one that for Ralston was as much of an understatement of what he meant to the music scene in Grand Rapids as it would be for Bobby D. [Read more →]
February 16th, 2009 · Comments Off on wordle wisdom (stevelawson.net word-cloud)
As part of a social media/blogging/online presence lesson with a student of mine this morning, I got him to generate a wordle word-cloud of the things he was interested in, to feature on his ‘about me’ page.
Which got me thinking, so I put in the URL to this site, and here’s the wordle it produced:
…could there be a finer group of words for a musician/geek/blogger/me-type-person to be associated with?
Have you made a wordle for your site? If you do, and you add it to their gallery, feel free to post the link below…