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First Track from Beauty And Desolation by Steve Lawson

July 27th, 2018 · No Comments

If you’ve been following my social media ramblings for the last couple of months, you’ll know that I’ve just finished a new solo album, titled Beauty And Desolation. I’m really happy with how it’s turned out, and I’m really looking forward to it being out there in the world. So here’s the first video from it. The album was all recorded live in the studio, and I’ve got footage of five of the 7 tracks – so this is the actual studio footage of the track being recorded, rather than some kind of elaborate recreation of what’s actually an entirely improvised performance.

Here’s the press release for the album, which has already been re-blogged by the good people of Bass Player Magazine.

STEVE LAWSON: BEAUTY AND DESOLATION

BIRMINGHAM, UK—It doesn’t take much to get Steve Lawson talking about improv, and on the eve of the release of his 27th solo album, Beauty And Desolation, he’s eager to riff on the relationship between improv and the studio. [Read more →]

Tags: Music News · New releases · Subscription news

Launching the Steve Lawson Listening Club

May 16th, 2018 · No Comments

I’ve just started a new thing as part of my Bandcamp subscription. I’m calling it the Steve Lawson Listening Club, for want of a better name (alternate suggestions welcome!) and it’ll work a bit like a book club but for the music in the subscriber back catalogue offering. Every other week, we’ll take one album from the back catalogue that everyone has, listen to it, I’ll contribute the back story, some context, a bit of extra info about how and why it sounds the way it does, will see if I can dig up photos and video if it was a live gig, and everyone else can pile in with comments, reviews, questions and discussion about that particular album.

This stems from an oft-repeated comment on the subscription which is that there’s more than enough for a subscriber to listen to with the new music that comes out each year (normally somewhere between 8-10 albums, plus a bunch of extra exclusive video content between releases!) that the volume of music that just comes as a bundle with your first year’s subscription is overwhelming in its vastness. I get this for sure, so here’s a way to delve into it.

The discussion will happen via the message feed on the subscription page (as soon as you sign up you get access to all the past messages, exclusive videos and other discussions) and you’re all invited to sign up and join in. Maybe the results will one day get compiled into a book of extended essays and commentary on my body of work 🙂

Anyway, head to stevelawson.bandcamp.com/subscribe to join the fun!

Tags: Music News · Subscription news

Illuminated Loops II out now

May 9th, 2018 · No Comments

 10 Months on from vol 1, Illuminated Loops II has just been released to my Bandcamp subscribers. The Bandcamp subscription is still my main mechanism for releasing (and funding) the music I make – when you sign up, you now get 40 releases straight away. And you also get the next 12 months of music. All for your first year’s subscription. It’s a crazy deal, designed to invite people who are interested in what I’m doing now to get some context and discover where it has come from. And so far that’s the only place to get the two Illuminated Loops recordings… There’ll be a LOT more recording from this project coming up later in the year… Sign up now at stevelawson.bandcamp.com/subscribe, to make sure you get it all as soon as it is released.

This album, Illuminated Loops II, is the music from our Feb 25th 2018 show at Tower Of Song in Birmingham. As before, this recording is in some ways just a relic of the show itself – that it works so well as a standalone musical experience raises all kinds of questions about whether the fact that something is enjoyable affects what it actually is… if the music made no sense without the art happening at the same time, would it cease to be music, or at least worthwhile music? The art as a static entity is in the same precarious position – it’s beautiful and intriguing to look at, all the moreso if you know its origins, but the static version is just what’s leftover after the show. The unfolding, the interaction, the experience of before/during/after – the consequential nature of it all, of it coming into being – that’s ‘the work’, the show, the full experience.

But, having said all that, don’t let it stop you enjoying the music! I’ve been saying for a while that making music in the context of Illuminated Loops results in work that is significantly more interesting to me than anything else that I do as a solo artist. Obviously because it’s not really solo – all of this is co-credited to Poppy and I because the music as it is wouldn’t exist without her. You can definitely hear my vocabulary in there, my musical accent, but the script is one that is developed between us as we go along. The fact that the music I make serves a dual purpose – the music as a journey through time, and the sound as trigger for Poppy’s synaethesia gives me a license to go to new places… The 2nd set here begins with a looped two note bass line played in on the Quneo – I’ve never used the Quneo for bass parts before, and hadn’t planned to this time! The whole soundtrack is littered with strange and surprising sounds that are meshed together via my long-developed ‘unfolding’ aesthetic… And, in listening back to it now as I write, I remember that when I mixed it, I left in all the crackles and pops and artifacts that were present in the audio on the gig, because they were part of what Poppy would’ve ‘seen’ and therefor drawn… In a pure ‘album recording’ setting, I’d have probably edited some or processed them in other ways, but here, they’re all there as part of the sonic canvas (in case you want to do your own synaesthetic representations and draw from the same source!)  There is some video from this show around, so hopefully we’ll get that into a publicly releasable form soon, so you can see a little more of how it works!

I love this project so much, and I hope you get some sense of what’s happening from this. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see it live soon – we really need to do more of it (weirdly, the thing that’s holding it up is me getting clearance for the research bit of my PhD from the ethics department at the Uni!) keep an eye out, and hopefully see you at a show soon.

You can also read more about the Illuminated Loops project from Poppy’s perspective on her website – poppyporter.co.uk

 

Tags: New releases · Subscription news