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Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond



10,000 Jonis – Celebrate by Sharing.

November 7th, 2011 · 3 Comments

Today is Joni Mitchell’s birthday. She’s 68.

Joni has influenced my music perhaps more than any other single musician. She’s not a bassist and she doesn’t loop, but the connection her music makes, the way it draws you into the story, into her world, the feeling of almost too much access into the inner recesses of her mind, all wrapped in just the right music for each story, is exactly what I’ve tried to do. Her music is the gold standard. [Read more →]

Tags: Musing on Music

How Best To Describe Variable Pricing For Music?

October 24th, 2011 · 19 Comments

Words matter. The way we describe things are a huge part of how people think of them, even if those descriptions aren’t definitive or in any way concretely imposing on the thing we’re describing.

An example is the language around variable pricing for digital music. The most widely used variant is ‘pay what you want’ and its acronym PWYW. For some reason that grates. It feels dismissive. It feels off-hand. I’m not sure why.

Bandcampmy digital music sales platform of choice – uses the more neutral ‘name your price’. [Read more →]

Tags: New Music Strategies

French Review Of 11 Reasons… (with Translation)

July 14th, 2011 · Comments Off on French Review Of 11 Reasons… (with Translation)

A couple of weeks ago, this review showed up on a French Website called indierockmag.com – with my paltry French skillz, I could tell it was nice, but it wasn’t til I asked on Twitter and Facebook the other night for a translation that I got what it really said… I got 5 translations sent to me, by 5 very lovely people. I’ve only included one here, for obvious reasons, but am v. grateful to Guylaine, Dave (who posted a translation on Facebook), Lorna, Michael and Wayne. Here’s Wayne’s translation – the link to the original review is http://www.indierockmag.com/article14847.html

“Since Steve Lawson became a father, the Londoner appreciates the weight of the years, philosophy, and still more the number three. And that’s good, because we are just as into the poetic meditations that the musician draws from the single six-string bass which, in his hands, becomes a tool of dreams.

“The first electric bassist to have performed solo at the Royal Albert Hall, he is a protege of Michael Manring, who said of Lawson’s 2004 album Grace and Gratitude that it was a real step forward in the art of the bass solo, doubtless referring to a world closer to the ambient music of Brian Eno or the subdued post-rock of Come On Die Young era Mogwai rather than the technical wizardry of Jaco Pastorius. Lawson continues in the same soft lyrical vein with his first album in five years, possessing the good taste to allow it to be downloaded for free. Knowing that the collection in question is even more gargantuan than its predecessors – easily passing 80 minutes – should especially not stop you pulling out your bank card should you turn out to fall in love with it.”

And, of course, you can listen to it here:

Tags: Music News · music reviews

Tour blog Pt 2 – This is The End (or ‘how we lost money on a successful tour’)

July 8th, 2011 · 7 Comments

So we’re back in England, tired, jetlagged, weirded out by being away for 2 months. It’s the longest I’ve ever been out of the UK in one stretch, for sure.

So let’s look at some tour facts ‘n’ stats: [Read more →]

Tags: Gig stuff · Music News · travel

Some Musical Thoughts On 11 Reasons…

May 15th, 2011 · Comments Off on Some Musical Thoughts On 11 Reasons…

Each of my albums tends to have a different vibe to it, which often manifests itself in the way I use the technology at hand to make it happen… So here’s a few thoughts on how the looping part of the album played out. Half of this was written on the plane on the way over here, the rest, just now. :) Hit play now, so you can hear it while you’re reading… (and if you download it, you’ll also get the PDF that comes with it which has specific program notes for each track, as well as some further thoughts on the project as a whole)

It hadn’t really struck me until listening back to “11 Reasons” on the plane over here to the US that I’ve shifted away from ABAB form on this record.

Unlike on Behind Every Word (the title track and Scott Peck in particular), none of the tunes have a verse and a chorus. They all evolve and morph the way all my music did before I got the Looperlative.

What has changed to make possible this kind of ‘step forward into an old method’ is the degree of subtlety and complexity with which I can manipulate multiple unsynced loops of different lengths – there’s a LOT of that going on on this album, whether in the big ambient passages or while playing with multiple melodic lines and post processing them in real time (and, in some instances, adding some filter-delay afterwards – the privilege of having multiple outputs on the looperlative, and therefor being able to mix things quite specifically once they’ve been recorded). I’m also using more and more synced loops of different lengths (multiples of whatever the original loop is – Travelling North is a prime example)

It’s interesting for me to note this unconscious shift back to the evolutionary model rather than the more traditional “Lamarckist” jumping back and forth between distinct sections. Perhaps in noting the change, I’m setting myself up to do a project of highly complex multiple section loop tunes … you heard the rumour here first :)

Tags: Musing on Music

New Album Update And Tour News

May 6th, 2011 · Comments Off on New Album Update And Tour News

OK, we’re here in New Jersey, playing a house concert tonight. Jetlag is the worst I’ve had in ages, which is probably due to flying with a toddler. :)

Both Lobelia and I managed to finish up our solo albums before we set off. Which is very exciting!

My new solo album is called ‘11 Reasons Why 3 Is Greater Than Everything‘, and will be out via bandcamp on May 18th, and via iTunes/Amazon etc. not long after that… That picture at the top of this post is the cover art, and there’ll be individual art for each track too, as well as extensive sleeve notes. And of course, I’ll blog some more info and thoughts on it here over the next few weeks.  [Read more →]

Tags: gig dates · Music News

As If By Magic… Three New Albums Appear On The Horizon

April 10th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Blimey, it really is all go in the Lawson House Of Music. After a fairly long period of relative inactivity, we’re back in full-on music making mode!

What that means is that there are three new albums on the horizon – First up, there’s the duo album with Mike Outram, which I’m FINALLY getting round to mastering. It’s sat there for so long (we recorded it over a year ago) and I’ve been continually listening to the rough mixes that we did (some of which are on Soundcloud) and love it, but for some reason wasn’t in a position to finish it. Maybe I wasn’t sure quite how it was meant to sound… Anyway, it’s now nearly done, and should be out in a week or so… [Read more →]

Tags: Music News

Happy Birthday To Me – Help Yourself To Some Music

December 29th, 2010 · Comments Off on Happy Birthday To Me – Help Yourself To Some Music

2010 has been a bumper year for me, musically. Not only have I – as my top 20 shows – found more brand new music that I love than I know what to do with, it’s been an unexpectedly busy and productive year of music-making.

The ‘unexpected’ part is because it was also my first full year as a dad – 2010 is definitely the year of the Flapjack. At the start of the year, he was barely a month old and we had no idea what we’d be able to carry on doing as musicians and how much would have to go by the way-side. [Read more →]

Tags: Music News

My 20 Favourite Records of 2010

December 28th, 2010 · 6 Comments

2010 has been, for me at least, a bumper year for new music. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve bought more albums released this year than I have in any year for well over a decade. This is a very good thing. That a lot of them were bought direct from the artist is also a very good thing.

Here’s a list of my 20 favourites – not any preference order, that would be futile, and subject to change at a moment’s notice (they’re alphabetical by artist).

Suffice to say, I recommend all of them, with the obvious caveat that if the are from within a style that would otherwise be something you’d avoid like the plague, proceed with caution…

Bandcamp embeds provided where possible… [Read more →]

Tags: music reviews

Added Extras For The New Live Album…

November 3rd, 2010 · Comments Off on Added Extras For The New Live Album…

Just in case your preference is for my solo stuff, please feel free to grab the solo tunes off of ‘live so far‘ to add to the brand new live album – you can pay whatever you think it’s all worth for the live album, then download the others without paying – no need to do 4 transactions:

…this way you also get two versions of The Kindness Of Strangers… feel free to pick a fave :)

And, while you’re at it, feel free to add your favourites from Soundcloud – most of those tunes are demo recordings, some of which may surface on albums in the future, but there’s no reason why you can can’t add them to your own compilation of favourites…

Alternatively, you can download both albums, and enjoy the songs with Lobelia and the collaborations with Neil Alexander and Todd Reynolds. But you’re a grown up, do whatever makes you happy… 😉

Tags: Music News