Voice/Music Project - an update

And back from the world of musical adventures...

The voice/music project has reached its second stage. This involved staying up stupidly late with all my notes and ideas and trying to make them real with a keyboard, a Warr Guitar and, incredibly, no coffee.

Now I have one large piece of music with a variety of voices weaving around in it, several short pieces with just one voice each and... a gaping hole where the final voices and their associated musical companions will go. Did Proust ever write a sentence that long? yes, I think he did.

Stage three is already in the works. The talented Loren Claypool has sent his parts in. The other two voices shouldn't be far off. Then there'll be plenty of listening to the voices in the car, much note taking and probably another stupidly late evening.

I can't wait.


Not the Specials

Untitled by WJCruttenden
Untitled, a photo by WJCruttenden on Flickr.

Playing in front of the specials board had hilarious consequences (deep sigh) all night.

In the pub

Last night I played a gig in a pub. That’s not unusual for me but this one had been originally planned for a manor house, then a back garden. The manor house had been double booked and the back garden, whilst being big enough, was too wet thanks to the pounding rain that had been coming down since Saturday.

The gig was a book launch, the book being a collection of lyrics. The songs were all originals and our meagre line-up (bass, piano, guitar) was joined by a stunning vocalist who had only learned her songs the night before. The invited audience seemed to enjoy the music but, more importantly, the pub regulars did too. We even got invited back.

For gear nerds and fans of Robert Fripp’s work  you may like to know that I provided soundscapes before both sets by using my five string, fretless bass, an Eventide Picthfactor pedal (whoooosh, twingle, twingle, bleep) and a Boss delay pedal. No one complained.

After the gig was over and notes had been swapped on the fiddly details that only the people in the band care about I drove home and slept.

My dream, and I hope it’s not a symbolic one, involved me driving a Range Rover backwards around a, industrial looking building’s car park until, somehow, I had got it stuck… in a tree. No cheese or other mind altering drugs had been consumed.



For anyone interested my current recording projects are:

  • The Eclipse trio album (piano, bass, guitar – original songs)
  • The Voice/Music project (still need a better name, half finished, getting there)
  • The new Spingere album (all tracks written, trying to find time to record)

There should be live music from Bridge Street (blues/rock trio, huge fun) and the Eclipse trio this year. If my post below is to be believed I might even risk a few solo shows.

Warr time

As regular readers might have noticed I’ve been having a good time recently, making the most of being a bass player. I’ve stuck with one instrument (well, one model of instrument) religiously since my main band went on hiatus at the beginning of last year. Five string, fretless and proud.

But, sitting in the corner of my room is a slightly larger instrument. The eight string Warr Guitar, tuned (mostly) in fifths. This is a beast which I don’t play as much, probably because the tuning forces me to think more and it’s not as easy to take to a session as the regular bass. I grew up with four string basses tuned in fourths, the five string is in the same tuning, just one string deeper. The Warr Guitar, however, requires another mode of thinking and playing (it’s one of those instruments sometimes called a Touch Guitar).

But, whenever the Warr comes out of its case, even if it isn’t plugged in to an amplifier, I get the hots for it. It has a range that reaches from below the lowest note of the bass to almost the highest note of an electric guitar. It is perfectly balanced, it responds to notes being tapped, or plucked, or whatever you need to do to get a note. The tone, even played through the smallest of amps, is gorgeous.

So I fall in love with it and promise myself to play it more and get more gigs with it. But this is hard when almost all gigs require a simplistic bass player role and, more often than not, music based around blues scales. One thing the Warr, in this tuning, is not great at is the blues. It is, as Trey Gunn suggested, a tuning that makes you avoid the blues scales and licks.

Last night I sat up late into the evening with the Warr plugged in to an effects pedal and a looper and created music I wasn’t ashamed of. I made notes and started the process of building a short set. Now all I have to do is dare myself to get a gig of my own. Or find a percussionist and form a TU tribute band. ;-)



I'm back from a break at the seaside and have less than a week to make sure I've learned a fresh batch of songs to play with the trio at a book launch on Sunday.
I've also been asked to play a soundscape on the Warr Guitar although, based on my experiments tonight with the Eventide Pitchfactor and a looper pedal, it's going to sound radically different from the big, whooshy noises of the last 'soundscape' I recorded.

Lots to do to make sure this isn't an embarrassing mess of ideas. Focus!


Good news/bad news part 4

Bad news: router problems have kept me off the internet for most of this week.

Good news: Router problems are now all fixed, I've been playing lots of bass recently, have a gig and a good reason to play the Warr Guitar (other than it just being immense fun).