Third musician for the April Recycle Collective!

Well, it’s been an enouraging couple of weeks. I’ve been asking lots of lovely musicians to take part in the Recycle Collective, with a very very positive response. Those who’ve said they want to take part in the future include Seb Rochford, Byron Wallen, Andy Hamill, Rebecca Hollweg and Oroh Angiama. Lots of fantastic musicians, all lovely people too!

And what’s more, the third musician that’s playing with Cleveland Watkiss and I on April 29th is Leo Abrahams, an amazing guitarist and looper that I first saw live playing with Imogen Heap and Nik Kershaw at the Kashmir Klub about 5 years ago, and who played after me at Greenbelt last year. He’s hugely in demand, working recently with Brian Eno, Ed Harcourt, Stairstailor, David Holmes and others, and having worked in the past with Paul Simon and Nick Cave amongst others. I’m so excited about both hearing Leo’s solo set, and what he Cleveland and I will come up with as a trio!

Head over to Leo’s myspace page to hear some of his lovely solo music.

All this means that the Recycle Collective continues to be unmissable.

Dancing for Chicken… but in a good way!

Had a fab gig last night, at the National Portrait Gallery. It was a corporate party, for a huge computer company in the City, playing solo ambient loveliness while business deals and schmoozing unfolded in the delightful surroundings of the Contemporary Gallery of the NPG.

A gig like this throws up all kinds of challenges that you don’t tend to face on a ‘listening’ gig, or even a normal function gig (not least of all playing continuously for 3 hours!).

Firstly, you’re there as part of the scenery – while quite a few people were milling around where I was playing (a good sign), there weren’t any chairs set out for people to sit and listen, no encouragement to be quiet, and certainly no dance floor (though the idea of all those city boys in their matching suits and sensible ties doing interpretive dance to my noodlings is marvellous – might have to make that into a video at some point…!). What’s more, because of the size and echoey nature of the space, coupled with the ambient talking volume, and not having the speakers pointing at me, I was basically playing blind – like doing a gig where all you’re hearing are the reverb returns (this is not unlike the last gig I did for the same company, with Theo). It’s rather un-nerving at first, but makes for a very different music making experience, like photographing shadows or painting with just water on paper… everything is done in gentle relief, and then you step out and have a listen whilst wandering round the room confusing people who thought you were the musician (‘hang on, the music’s still going on! is it all just a CD?’ etc.)

The response from the audience was great, ranging from ‘where can I hear more music like this – you and Brian Eno are the only people I’ve heard like that’ to an overheard comment of ‘my, what perfect music for an event like this’ which sounded like I’d paid them to say it, it sounded so much like ad copy!)

The great thing about doing a show like this is it brings every bedroom music geek out of the woodwork, ‘oh, I experiment a little with recording at home’ ‘yes, I play guitar a bit, and mess around with effects and stuff’ etc. much fun.

So, more of those please – any of you lovely bloglings who want to hire me for this kind of thing, my rates are exorbitant, but that’s the corporate world… ;o) Drop me a line and we’ll work something out.

Soundtrack – The Cure, ‘Disintegration’.

As one year ends…

This is a great time of year for me – Christmas, then my Birthday (28th – you missed it) and then New Year – lots of time for reflecting on a year gone by, and looking forward to the year ahead. Time to compile daft lists of favourite things from the last year, and make resolutions about things to do in the coming year. To count my (many) blessings, and resolve to see the good things as they happen in the year ahead.

A couple of books that I find useful for this kind of thinking – Proverbs, attributed to King Solomon in The Bible, here translated by Eugene Peterson – some marvellous advice for living. The link starts you off at Chapter one.

And the Tao Te Ching. is an online version, though not a particularly inspiring translation. (my favourite translation that I’ve looked at so far is This one, by Ralph Alan Dale – definitely worth reading.)

So, anyway, I’m 32 now – not that it really means much; you see all those lists in magazines about ’50 things you should have done before you’re 30′, and I’m usually very relieved not to have done three quarters of them – most seem to involve a high risk of either death (yours or someone else’s), disease or at least a serious loss of dignity… No thanks, my life’s quite exciting enough. You never see ‘do a solo bass gig at the Royal Albert Hall’ on those lists…

One of my ongoing resolutions every year is to practice more, and for 2005, I’ve started early. Been practicing quite a lot in the last few days, hoping to keep it up into the new year. Not writing any new music at the moment, strangely, but I am working on a couple of new technical things that I’m happy with…

SoundtrackJonatha Brooke, ‘Plumb’; Brian Eno, ‘Music For Films’; Terje Rypdal, ‘Skywards’.

Eno, He Knows

Brian Eno – long been one of the most important minds in the world of music, has in the last year or so come to prominence as a vital, fresh and insightful political writer and thinker too (no doubt he’s been all those things for decades, but it’s now he’s been given a voice.)

His latest journalistic contribution to the discussions about the way the world is heading is on the guardian website – click here to read it. very good indeed.

also worth investigating is Eno’s project, The Clock Of The Long Now. Fascinating stuff

We need more Enos, in music and politics.

current virus count for today – over 250!! Come on, get it together…

Soundtrack – right now, Whole Wheat Radio, before that, Stevie Wonder, ‘Songs In The Key Of Life’; The Bears, ‘Live’; Dexter Gordon, ‘Ballads’.

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