EuroBlog #2

Right, bit of a catch up.

Milan first – got the train from Geneva to Milan, which rode through the Swiss Alps on a journey that was beautiful even with loads of low lying fog and rain.

Got to Milan, and was picked up at the airport by Nic Angileri and taken to the masterclass. As soon as I had started the clinic, it was obvious that something was up with the Looperlative. The screen kept shutting down, and while the audio was working fine, there was no MIDI control for a few minutes at a time… big big problem. Was fine for a clinic, as I just demonstrated other things, but didn’t bode well for the gig in the evening…

The gig was at a really cute little venue in the city called Atmosphere Live – we set up, and the Looperlative was misbehaving in the soundcheck, and continued to behave weirdly into the gig – I ended up finishing the gig with a couple of chord melody jazz things and a three bass jam with Nic Angileri and Fabio Rigamonti, both very fine players. As it was, I ended up selling more CDs at the gig, than I have at any gig for quite a while, so either it was pity and I should break my gear more often, or my musicalness came across even with the broked stuffs. I prefer the latter. ;o)

Friday morning, I visited Mollinelli (sp?) guitars with Nic, makers of some beautiful handmade instruments. Italy has a fabulous luthery tradition, and most of the builders here seem to combine beauty with a strong experimental design aesthetic. Good stuff.

Back onto the train to Desenzano, and onto my Italian ‘home’ with Luca and Gio, two of my favouritest people in the world.

My #1 concern was still the Looperlative, and I plugged it in, took it out of the rack, and just as a precaution, took the lid off to see if anything had worked loose (you can see how desperate I was, given my previous track record with blowing up the LP1 whenever I take the lid off) – I made sure that all the cables and connectors were seated OK, and put the lid back…

Gig that night was in Brescia, a little way out of the main town, in the basement of a modern bar in a village – not at all the kind of place you’d expect to find an experimental electronica night. But then, Andrea Nones, who runs the Ground Collective in Brescia is no ordinary promoter. For a start he’s also an excellent musician (he was playing at the gig as well), but has an amazing ability to turn experimental music into something that everyone would want to hear! The night started with DJs and a free buffet (a great idea to make sure everyone arrives at the start of the gig!) and then moved onto a range of different acts, from a solo guitarist with a Frisell fixation, to a duo of electronics and acoustic piano, a vocalist or two, and a lovely solo set by a guy playing a homemade Warr-Guitar-style tapping thing. Very nice indeed.

Then the last act – me and Luca! We’ve recorded a lot together, but never played live, but Luca’s a fantastic and sensitive improvisor with an amazing palette of sounds. The Looperlative behaved very well, and the set was really nice. Lots of interesting twists and turns, and I did a solo version of ‘Behind Every Word’ in the middle. A successful show, and a handful of CD sales.

So the Looperlative seems to be fixed, but Bob in his usual ‘above and beyond the call of duty’ way had already shipped a new one out to Italy to arrive monday…

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