Last night's Recycle Collective gig…

Ah, it’s good to be back Recycling! :o)

It took Lo. and i ages to get to the venue, thanks to nasty south London traffic, but we’d left plenty of time, so no panic. When we got there, Cleveland was already setting up, Sarda and Kari were downstairs, Oli was sorting out the venue, and all was familiar. We set up, and just listening to Cleveland soundcheck made me realise how much I’ve missed hearing him perform in the last 9 months – for all of 2006, he was doing the Recycle Collective every 2 or 3 months, so I got to both listen to and perform with him a lot. He’s definitely one of my favourite solo looping performers anywhere, and he gets more proficient with the technology every time I see him play.

So the gig itself started with me solo, with a couple of improvs, including the now-fairly-regular one based on Bach’s Cello Suite #1 in G, and then I got Andrea Hazell up, for a big sprawling open ambient piece – Andrea’s voice lends a gravitas to everything she sings on, as noted before. Lovely stuff.

We then finished off the first half with some trio improvs, some cool funky stuff with Cleveland beatboxing, and some more spacey ambient things.

Second half started with Cleveland on his own, but he very quickly got Andrea up to join him, and their duo segment was really really wonderful – their voices combine so well, and the juxtaposition of his funkiness and her operatic poise was beautiful. I really hope we get to hear more of that!

Cleveland invited me back up, and we went into more funky, spacey territory with Cleveland launching into a tune from Carmen, which he and Andrea then played around with for a while which was both marvellous and hilarious, especially when Cleveland went into a patois/ragamuffin version – really magic stuff!

And to finish the night, I got Lo. up to sing with us, and she improvised a really gorgeous sound, that Cleveland added harmonies to, and the three of them stacked vocals for a big ambient ending. Lovely lovely music.

It was really lovely to play the vortex, though with the venue shift and the big break from the last show to this one, the audience numbers were down on our Darbucka averages… We should be back with a Darbucka show in October – watch this space, I’ll be booking it ASAP!

comments are go…

Hurrah, thanks to Sarda The Wondergeek, we have comments back! Let’s see how quickly I get spammed into oblivion now… get commenting, peoples, there are now nearly 1400 posts in the blog, so plenty to go back and rant about… :o)

Tuesday night's gig at The Spitz.




6-String Bass

Originally uploaded by Schrollum

Got back from Greenbelt on Tuesday morning (more on that in the full GB round-up coming soon), and barely had time for anything before having to pack my stuffs up and head out the door again for the gig at the Spitz, opening for Hauschka and Max Richter. I wasn’t familiar with either musician before the show, so didn’t have any particular plan of what to play.

Before i went on, the event organiser, Ben Eshmade, was DJ-ing, playing some really really beautiful music, which inspired me to stick to the more ambient mellow end of things, so I started with Grace and Gratitude, which morphed into a more electronic drum ‘n’ bassy thing (with that slap ‘n’ pop percussion idea I’ve used on quite a few improvs). I then played Behind Every Word, again, with big improv cadenza and with Looperlative weirdness at the beginning (actually it was MIDI footo-controller weirdness thanks to a pedal getting stuck, but it meant that the loopage didn’t happen quite as planned…) – and I finished up with an improv based around Bach’s Cello Suite #1 in G Major. Much fun, and a fine set, though I say so myself, which was very well received. Hauschka’s music was beautiful prepared piano stuff, quite minimalist for the most part, and his stage persona was most endearing. Max Richter had a two person string section with him and a laptop, and played ice-cool piano-scapes, with lots of vocal samples and backwards stuff. Lovely, if a little to far to the blue end of the colour spectrum (I’m a hapless romantic, don’t you know ;o) )

All in a fine evening (including a delish curry on Brick Lane with Lo, Sarda and Kari). But I’m now knackered and definitely in need of some time off!

new look blog… well, new look to me anyway…

OK, this affects precisely none of you, but the lovely Sarda has just upgraded the blog software used here to the newest version of Moveable Type, so the blogging process looks completely different for me…

The biggest difference for you is that I’ve just switched comments back on, so feel free to trawl back through all the nonsense I’ve been typing over the last wee while and comment away… We’ll see how long it lasts before the spammers get round whatever security is in place…

have at it…

[edit – ah, I’ve just remembered that I’ve deleted the comment-related stuff from the index template… must replace that before you can comment… Doh!]

Tour blog Pt 1 – Ohio and Michigan

OK, we’re four dates in, and having lots of fun and adventures! Tonight’s gig was a real odd treat, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

Wednesday was the first date, a bass clinic organised by Low Down Sound in Detroit, which was great fun. A lovely audience who asked lots of really great questions. Got to do three or four songs with Lobelia too, which was fab, sold lots of CDs. All good.

Thursday – Toledo, at a pub/venue called Mickey Finn’s. Great room, fab sound-man, small crowd, but much fun. A mixture of solo stuff and duo songs, well received and CDs sold.

Friday up to Grand Rapids to stay with Sarda and Kari, and for the first of our two gigs here, at Quinn and Tuites, another Irish pub (this one for some completely mental reason had great big posters imploring the visitors to ‘Vote Gerry Adams’ and ‘Vote Martin McGuinness’, big ole Sinn Fein posters… riiiight) – this was an hour-long in-the-round set with Lo. and Ralston Bowles, which was much fun, and well received. All good this far.

Saturday (today) we head down to the venue at lunchtime to check it out for PA etc. All looking good. Go out, come back to the venue at 7 to set up, and it’s closed. Yup, not a person in sight, sign on the door saying ‘closed early today’… huh? WTF? we’ve got a gig booked here! Tense moment as Ralston calls venue owner and manager with no answers…

Sounds pretty bad, but with Ralston, there’s always another way – this dude’s like the Johnny Cash of Grand Rapids, knows everyone and can organise all kinds of craziness at the drop of a hat. So he says ‘I wonder if anyone’s playing at the Pony’, meaning the One Trick Pony – a rather cool lil’ restaurant venue three blocks away. We turn up there, Ralston works some Ralstony magique and we’ve got ourselves a gig. Once again, very well received, Cds sold and another gig in St Louis all-but-confirmed, with a possible return date to One Trick Pony within the month… watch this space.

muchos fun and games so far, serious black mark against the coffee-shop we were supposed to be playing at for fucking up on our gig, but full marks to the magical Ralston for conjuring a gig from nowhere. He rules…

Tour starts tomorrow! Yay!

So the tour starts tomorrow, in Detroit, then onto Toledo on Thursday, and Grand Rapids Friday/Saturday. And we get to see Sarda, Kari and Ralston in GR, which is great.

Today’s going to be more rehearsing and making sure we’ve got everything together.

It’s going to be funnnn! Here’s the list of dates so far…

5.23.07 Low Down Sound, Detroit MI (clinic/masterclass)
5.24.07 Mickey Finn’s Pub, Toledo OH
5.25.07 Quinn and Tuite’s, Grand Rapids, MI
5.26.07 Four Friends, Grand Rapids MI
5.29.07 Rohs Street Cafe, Cincinnati OH
5.31.07 House Concert/Bass Clinic, Richmond VA
6.01.07 Gallery 64 West, Grafton, WV
6.02.07 Solo Bass House Concert w/ Trip Wamsley and Darren Michaels, Decatur GA
6.09.07 House Concert with Trip Wamsley Sulphur LA
6.14.07 Cafe Caffeine with Brady Muckleroy, Austin, TX
6.15.07 Mochas & Javas with Brady Muckleroy, San Marcos TX

drop me an email or a myspace message if you need more info on any of the shows – see you there!

Blog template fixed..

Yay! I’ve been able to fix the look of the blog to get rid of the old header and get the design in line with the rest of my site. That’s been bugging me for weeks.

Big thanks to Sarda for fixin’ the server despite no help whatsoever from the hosting company…

And more retro-loveliness

OK, so I’m indulging the kind of retrogressive fanciful nonsense that I’ve derided before on this ‘ere blog (can’t find the entry at the moment, but it was a rant about oldies stations), but I’m really loving finding 80s classics on YouTube… I guess I can console myself that I’m digging up songs I really like, and still like, not Amytiville by Lovebug Starski or Just Say No by the Grange Hill Cast… I’m not even dipping into guilty pleasures like Hi Ho Silver by Jim Diamond (it’s the association with Boon, I’m afraid) or any of the great 80s power ballad duets from crap films…

So here’s installment 3 in Steve’s video nostalgia trek… I promise I’ll dig up some new music soon to counteract this pointless reminiscing.

BTW, there’s a thread started over in the forum – I’m sorry that comments are still down… Will try and stick pins in Sarda and get him working on it… it’s not like he’s actually busy with work and moving back to England or anything.

Comments off…

I’ve just switched the comments off, for a few days – the comment spam has just gone mad of late, from one particular source, so I’ve switched it off in the hope that the spambot will stop coming here… no idea if that’s how they work, but I’ll switch it back on in a few days and see what happens…. Failing that, I’ll have a chat with Sarda about preventing comment spam…

Blog categories…

I’m just in the process of introducing categories on the blog (you can’t see them yet, as I haven’t found or added the code to have them listed on my pages, but will do as soon as Sarda gets online and helps me out).

Now, the quandary is, do I got for big general categories (music, life, politics, cats etc) or do I go for v. specific ones (gigs, tech-talk, food, cat health, cat photos, uk politics, world politics, spirituality etc)? Not sure which way to go… I guess I should start with general ones, and then add categories as they become necessary.

Soundtrack – D’Angelo, ‘Voodoo’.