Music things over the last few days

How far back are we going? er, Thursday i think – had a rehearsal with Estelle Kokot for a gig in a couple of weeks time – Estelle is a very fine jazz singer/songwriter – rather mad, but very talented. Her songs are a mixture of lovely simply 3 and 4 chord vamps and complex compositions with loads of chords and written bass parts and odd sections. Plenty for me to get my teeth in to. Definitely looking forward to the gig.

Then Thursday evening was back in the Vortex watching Evan Parker’s quartet, featuring Orphy Robinson on MalletKat (MIDI vibraphone) – it was a full on crazy improv gig, two sets of about 45 minutes each, with no breaks mid-set at all, long periods of really full on intense squealing improv. i go to gigs like this every now and again to reorient my ears to the effect that chaotic dissonance has. It’s not something I’d ever want to do for entire gigs at a time, playing fully out stuff in that way, but with a melodic structured counter-balance, I love the effect it creates, and I’m happy to engage with occasional concerts like this as a lesson in what that kind of thing is supposed to sound like, rather than trying to pick through it for what I like and don’t like.

Friday I was back recording Ruthie Culver – the singer I’ve been helping to redo the vocals on her album, recorded in a studio where the headphone monitor mixer didn’t work. This is proving to be a most enjoyable bit of work, and the result we’re getting are sounding great – I’ll definitely be looking for more engineering/production work on projects like this (basically anything that can be done easily in my office – electric instruments, solo voice and guitar, anything that’s multitracked and doesn’t include live drums. etc.)

Then Saturday, and to the picture at the top here – during the week, jim, the Fat Controller contacted me about playing a house concert in Lymington near Bournemouth. it was at the end of a day out for a bunch of people in their late teens/early 20s, and he fancied exposing them to something new, musically speaking. And it seemed to go really well – a most mellow setting, a very friendly crowd, and some rather fun experiments with the vocal looping stuff that I did at Edinburgh last year (record random percussive sounds made by audience members, make a tune out of it). As you can see, it was a v. intimate affair, and this was before another 10-15 people piled into the room…

Anyway, it showed how well my set-up works for house concerts (I’ll have to measure the exact surface area I need to be able to do it for future reference), and if any of you readers are interested in hosting one, please drop me an email to discuss the logistics and economics of hosting such a thing (and if you’re a bassist with lots of bass-monkey or musician friends, it can be coupled with a bass workshop/improv workshop as well.)

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