When the year commenced my two aims (artistically) were to do less gigs and concentrate on getting more recording done. These aims were accomplished but no way near as succecfully as I would have wanted to, so here are my thoughts on this.
I did two studio sessions and two village hall sessions as well as trying loads of different recordings set ups at home. And I learnt this. When going into a studio, if after half an hour you feel that the engineer’s overall attitude is not to your liking – you should maybe mention the 40 mile round trip you’ve had to use the facilities he’s marketed as being ‘unique’ are somewhere short of the mark and that if he expects to be paid £20 an hour for these he should maybe rethink his operating procedures.
I ditched analogue recording (again – give me 6 months before I go out and buy a cassette recorder again) and bought a Zoom H4n. It’s a great machine. Not quite small enough to make field recordings for me (i’m still using my phone for this) but it has lent itself very well to everything else. Now I’ve discovered it will work as an audio I/O with the ipad, I’m pretty much over joyed with it!!
The experimenting I’ve done with recording this year has laid out the possibilities for me, so, once again, I hope to be able to record something properly in the first part of the New Year.
What a bunch of eye openers they’ve been this year. First gig of the year was to a rammed Musician crowd supporting Free Control. I don’t think anyone played the blindest bit of attention to what I did. Or to Free Control. Everyone sat there chatting away, I couldn’t hear myself on stage the ambient noise was that loud. I played Summer Sundae too, which was ace but what I learned from that is that playing outside at a festival is no place for subtlety. You are fighting with generators from food vans and several other stages and as a consequence trying to loop birdsong and delicate finger picking is somewhat lost amongst the general background noise of festival life.
But when it goes right, ahhh.
Playing at The Y with maybeshewill was wonderful. I was afforded the space and the time to explore and reveled in the luxury. I also played as a duo with Misterlee which brought back to me the power of improvisation. We had no rehearsals just a couple of emails and a vague direction of how I would play. Lee turned up 5 minutes before we were due to play and we just played. And it was wonderful. As was making new friends from all over the place, the real joy of doing gigs – making a connection with people.
As for 2011, vague plans are forming. The one definite plan is this – the Myspace account is going to be deleted New Years day. It’s time.
Here’s to the New Year.