Today was a beautiful summer's day (in autumn).

My daughter gave me a rubber spider to take to the dayjob to "... scare my students."

People seem to be enjoying the new Spingere album.

There. Blog post 1000. Glad I didn't waste it.



Cover for the new collaborative Spingere album, featuring the voices of: Lee Fletcher, Tobias Reber, Elizabeth Bonar, Loren Claypool, Nasim Marie Jafry, Mark Colman, John Marcell, Jonathan Gilder, Mark Eaton, AP Cruttenden, Peggy Cruttenden, Sid Smith, Gordon Ryan, Russell Kilmister and Sandrine Decembre. Out at Bandcamp on the 29th September.


Album updates

A few last minute changes to the album.

One of the tracks isn't strong enough and has to be cut. It feels like the rest of the album jumps up a level once this is done. Another section, which is far too long, has been cut in half and, again, works much better now.

The brave people who recorded their voices for this project have no idea what I've done to them. Well, if you're reading this, relax. No one has been cut up, pitch corrected, warped or edited. All I've done is play the recording and play music (composed and improvised) over the top. OK, there are a few other surprises but you'll have to wait until the 29th to hear them.


Voice/Music/nearly there

At last, some more movement on the voice/music project. I’ve chosen a (ridiculously simple) name for it and recorded all the music. There’s one contribution that might still come in and I’ve prepared a piece for that.

The various parts of the album are now in sequence and just need to see some mixing and mastering before I release it later this month. Edits have been minimal, which has kept the thing sounding (to me at least) like one piece of work, not a hotch-potch.

This has been a rewarding album to make. The responses to my requests were almost completely favourable; the stories themselves were illuminating and have survived the repeated listening I’ve given them. As well as this it has been fascinating to hear how my request (“recall an early memory”) has been interpreted and how thematic links have appeared.

Composing and recording music and sound to go with the voices has also been a treat. I’ve been going out and about with my hand-held digital recorder to get atmospheres and recording such things as a semi-broken wind-up radio in order to provide sounds that work along side the voices and music. Much of the actual music was played on Warr Guitar. As usual this marvellous instrument has proved extremely versatile. I’ve played it straight, through amps, with no processing and in ways that make it almost unrecognisable as a guitar. There’s a bit of bass playing too.

All in all, a great project which I’ve enjoyed immensely. Whether anyone else likes it… well, we’ll find out later this month.


NYC & me

We all know today is the ten year anniversary of 9/11. Regular readers of this blog will know how I spent that day and my feeling on all the after effects (although I'll save my annoyance with the conspiracy therorists for another day).

But, twenty years and a few months before the planes destroyed the towers I was there, munching a packet of crisps, being staggered by the view and having huge amounts of fun being an ocean away form everyone I knew (apart form my great pal, David, who had come to NYC with me). We were freshly in work, with money to spare and decided Manhattan would be a fun place for two teenagers to go to. Everyone we mentioned our plans to told us how dangerous it was, how naive and stupid we were to go and how likely we were to end up face down in the Hudson. We went anyway. We had fun, we met girls, we watched Star Wars and went shopping. We walked through a variety of neighbourhoods and saw the Dakota building. I don't think either of us really wanted to come home.

New York City means a lot to me and I look forward to seeing it again.


Meanwhile, in the 1970s

Inspiration comes form odd places. Recently I was able to get my hands on a small, sparkly, purple bass guitar effect pedal. It is an envelope filter, which means it turns my bass’s sound into something far more squelchy and funky. Funky is the key word. I can’t play with the popping and slapping technique that most funk players use (I don’t have the co-ordination) but I do like the timings and feel of funk.
Plugging the bass into this pedal I put on a random drum beat from Garageband (Apple’s sketchpad musical recording software) and played whatever came into my head. Pedal on - it all went 1970s and I loved it.
That’s why I went to bed so late last night and why I’m looking forward to finding a context to use this in.



This morning I took my daughter to her first day of school. She was excited and I don’t think she was even aware of the lashing rain and howling wind we had to journey through.

My first day of school was not a great or exciting day for me. I loved being at home or playing close to it. I did not want to be forcibly taken away to spend most of the day surrounded by people I didn’t chose to be with in a place I didn’t chose to be in. I expected school to take me away from what I really valued. So, on my first morning I got up and hid under my bed, giving my poor mum even more trouble than she needed. Then, when deposited in the classroom, I burst into tears, desperate to go home again.

Within minutes, of course, I had settled in and made a friendship that survives to this day. But, deep down, I still understand that feeling. To leave home in the morning is to be pulled away from what I love. Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel and meet new people. It’s just that a happy home is more attractive than a workplace. If I had the imagination to make my home my workplace I’m sure I would.

My daughter, meanwhile, gazed upon the busy schoolroom and was gone. No backward glance, no tears, not even a wave goodbye. That, I suspect, bodes well for the future.