I've been a huge fan of Nik Bärtsch and his band Ronin since Sid Smith put me on to them years ago. I came in a bit late, with their last studio album but quickly worked through the whole discography and caught a live show in London that became a 'top five gig' instantly. I loved the space and the funkiness. The music surprises and the bigger than the sum of its parts nature of the band.

What I never did, for some strange reason, was listen to his other, acoustic, band, Mobile. Actually there was avery good reason. There was no bass player and an important part of my love of Ronin's music was how the bass worked within it. I'm a bassist. What can you expect but bigoted rejection of what looked like an otherwise great band.

But... Mobile (still without a bass player but with occasional strings) have a new album, Continuum, out. It's on ECM and it's astonishing.

I have just listen through once and, though it's obviously too soon to pin my feelings down, I'm reaching for words like: mysterious, funky, beguiling, surprising, cinematic, lush, eerie and pretty much perfect.

If you like Nik's music. Buy it. If you have open ears. Buy it. If you're not sure, buy it. I am now going to listen again.


Pneumonia Blues

I'm having a rough week thanks to a chest infection that turned into pneumonia. Bed rest, appropriate drugs, lots of water and no going out are bad enough but that I can't do much to help my wife, who is working doubly hard - this is the tough part.

You have to take pneumonia seriously though, as it can turn from bad to worse very quickly. It's also quite debilitating.

One of the weirder side effects is that I keep being reminded of my dad, who pent his last day in bed, coughing a lot and having increasingly trouble breathing. He didn't have pneumonia of course, but oesophageal cancer. Even if my coughing sounds just like his, I'm on quite a different path here.

Also, I do have a wonderful book to read. My reading had been quite patchy lately and my wife bought me a pile of books at Christmas  which were starting to gather dust. A bit ironic then that I should now pick up Andy Miller's 'The Year Of Reading Dangerously' which has kick-started my love of books. It's also given me that pleasurable feeling that I'm not alone as it reflects plenty of my good and bad habit. I had the same feeling with Nick Hornby's 'High Fidelity'.

Another help is, as ever, music. Today I am mostly listening to Lorenzo Feliciati's Koi album.

Back and better soon.