Mobiles and music news

Firstly, you might want to know that my mobile phone is dead. Whether it can be revived long enough for me to get the non-sim card details off it is another matter. But if you’ve called me in the last week, this is why I haven’t answered you. Emails, tweets and to a lesser extent Facebook messages are still getting through.

This week I’ve been thrilled to see my remix of Ian Boddy and Markus Reuter’s ‘Dervish’ appear on the Din label site. The Spingere project seems to work well with the idea of remixing other people’s tracks and the collaboration with John and Will from Habitual Grace is benefiting form this experience. Rather than just send files of parts of a tune (a bass line here, a lead line there) I’m now doing a little more manipulating of a guitar part before playing bass with it. I’ve been a fan of sound manipulation since I got my first tape recorder and the modern tools of the trade (especially Ableton Live) feel like they were made for me. I’m having fun.

Good news: Soul Beaver are operational, despite our key player (Richard the drummer) being on the road with Marillion for the next few months. The urge to play has won out against the feeling of giving up because it’s too hard. This is a band worth fighting for.

The trio (piano, guitar, bass) is ever-so-nearly there for live performance and the first gig (for charidee) should be confirmed in the next few weeks. The most challenging and, frankly, annoying song had become a challenge for me to overcome. Several hours of batting ideas around, coupled with good old fashioned practise has resulted in the song finally being playable. I’m not usually asked to play written bass lines, and this genre of music is not something I’d usually play so I’m especially pleased when tunes work. One more run through and the fear inducing reality of a gig should make for some worthwhile music.

Talking of worthwhile music, I’m actually going to go to a gig this weekend. I don’t have the time to see much of other people’s music so this is a treat. The added benefit is that this is a guitar/percussion show so I won’t have to watch another bassist and feel either a) crap, or b) an urge to get on stage and take over.

Finally, and still on my favourite theme(s), my daughter walked in to the front room, grabbed the ukulele and strummed it while singing a ‘song’ of her own devising. She then walked up an empty guitar stand and held the top, tilting it toward her and singing again; for all the world like she was posing with a microphone stand. She danced about, strummed some more and then turned around to smile. I was speechless.


17th September

17th September
Originally uploaded by Roostar
One of the views on the way home.

Moving along

For anyone following my 365 photo project, you'll be glad to hear I've finally updated it.

Last night I got to play the entire trio set from start to finish. The consensus was that the songs have moved up a level and we're all relaxing into the, which can only be a good thing. It was also agreed that, although the set held together well there was one song which defied our attempts to play it. So, next week a session devoted to that song. Gigs by the end of the year. You betcha.


Errogenous Dervish at my feet

After I finished work on the "Perfetc" album I promised myself not to write any new music for a while. This was a chance to freshen up and work with other people. Well, my little exile form myself is coming along nicely. I've just posted one of these on the MySpace site. It's the track Erogenous by John Marcell but manipulated (it's not technically a remix) and with some Warr Guitar playing added. I'm about to add my first proper remix - or at least the first one that didn't make me curl up in shame. This is of Ian Boddy and Markus Reuter's track 'Dervish' from the excellent album of the same name. And just to prove you can't expect me to be consistent, I've also added a track of my own, recorded live with just Warr Guitar and electronics. It's a test of the latest version of my solo live rig and therefore (but rather unimaginatively) called "Pedalboard 3'.


On the way home

8th September
Originally uploaded by Roostar
I had to stop and take this on the way home. Behind this is a great long trail of similar bales.


Both Spingere albums have appeared on Spotify. There's already a 'most popular' track, which is pleasing. I'm not sure whether to be really happy or a bit worried. Let's take the first option.



On Friday I was lucky enough to see a talk between Richard Dawkins and Brian Eno. I have an interest in the works of both men and this was a chance to hear them conversing about whatever took their fancy. The chat was in front of hundreds of people in the Oxford Playhouse (it was a fundraiser for this excellent place) and I suspect several people were expecting something more of a fight. I’m sure they were expecting the combined brain power of Eno/Dawkins and the Playhouse staff to put on a talk with fewer technical glitches too, but that’s what happens when you introduce complexity into an event. Overall, I enjoyed it greatly. Partly for the (non-combatative) discussion and the theories and ideas it raised. Partly for the joy of hearing great stories.
The question and answer session was less edifying for the usual reasons. Eno’s request to keep questions short and relevant to the fact that he and Prof Dawkins were both on stage was mostly ignored. The last question “Where do you see evolution leading us next?” was the evolutionary biologist’s equivalent of asking an author “where do you get your ideas?” and you could plainly see the frustration on Richard Dawkin’s face (although he did answer the question).

In the music world I’m getting ready to make more music for my Texan collaborators and feeling ready to play live with the Eclipse trio. Positive news about Bridge Street and Soul Beaver is just around the corner too. Also this week I’m working on ear training with my bass. I’m trying to improve my identification of intervals and so far the results are promising. The upshot is that I should be able to play what I hear without so much fumbling around for the ‘right’ notes.

And in other news, my dad is getting used to being told, “see you again in two weeks,” by those of a medical nature. My daughter, meanwhile, is starting nursery this week. There is other news, but that’s for the next post.



1st September
Originally uploaded by Roostar
I stopped the car to take this picture on the way home today. Just after I rolled the window back there was thunder, lightening and rain so heavy I had to stop the car again. It was wonderful.