March has been long and at times really quite hard. These overlapping strands feel like the absent minded shading-ins where my mind has been ‘elsewhere’ when it should have been ‘there’. I guess this is me looking back at them and thinking ‘what was that?’
The second of my ‘trying to make a thing a month’. I went away to Norfolk for a few days in February and took my recorder and some contact mics (that I’ve never used before) with me to try and record some of the sounds of the reeds and the marshes. I love the sound of the reeds swaying in the wind, that ‘whooooosssshhhhhhh’. I’ve always wanted to walk into the middle of it crouch down and listen – except you can’t really do that as it can be quite dangerous.
Instead I attached mics to wires, flung the Zoom into the reeds and grasses, generally hung 25 metres back from my family as they walk ahead, me just staring at whatever was around me. My recorder’s headphone out doesn’t work so I have no idea what I have recorded until I empty it out on the computer. It’s a little like film photography, it’s always a surprise.
Last weekend myself and the wonderful Lee Allatson played a short improvised set at the Under The Radar weekender put on by Magic Teapot and Echoloaction. It was a really enjoyable set, playing on the floor & feeling our way in the darkened room. Below is a video of the second half of our set, gradually pulling at the threads of the sounds we’d made and reducing them to a new quiet. A massive thank you to whoever filmed this, I am most grateful.
The All In is the last session of the year for the south leicestershire improvisors ensemble, where as many guest performers from previous sessions join in to make one massive ensemble. This was my first time in a while playing in such a large ensemble. The range of instruments and sounds was really quite broad and fascinating to be a part of. There are some pictures here (and some below) taken by Jordan Parker. There is also a bandcamp link to the 2016 All In which you should definitely have a listen to as well.
The distance between then and now is filled with the wonder of remembering what happened on the night. On how it amazing it felt being amongst all that sound; gently passing one idea on to one another and finally all arriving at the same place, looking at each other and listening and thinking and……………then it’s done.
I leapt at the chance of getting to work with Lucy and her recordings again. Getting to play with Rattle was, quite frankly, amazing. I am so happy that this happened and thank everyone that made it so.
And what’s more, you can score yourself one of Lucy’s postcards for attending too!
Until then, here’s some prepared guitar (springs shoved under the strings) taken from one of the ideas sessions for you to listen too. See you on Thursday!
Yet more shaky handheld phone footage -this time of me panning round the main hall of the Attenborugh Arts Centre in readiness for the Performing Industry show with Rattle on Thursday 27th July. It’s not often you get chances to play nice quiet spaces like this and to be collaborating with one of the best bands around is, quite frankly, blowing my mind!
This Saturday I got to sit in the main hall at the Attenborough Arts Centre and play and make sounds among the exhibition pieces in preparation for the Performing Industry show. I felt quite lucky and privileged to have the opportunity.