Stamp of the week

I think I mentioned last week how disappointed I was with the look of this year’s first class Royal Mail stamp. Well this week I received my first letter with one on it.

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However, it was what was inside this envelope that was special. A cd from Mark Peter Wright.

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I was put onto the path of ‘Where Once We Walked’ by the Twitter stream of Cheryl Tipp, wildlife sounds curator at the British Library –  her Twitter feed is a constant source of audio gold and I recommend everyone to follow her.

 

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‘Where Once We walked ‘ is a sound composition based on recordings gathered from the Polish homes of child Holocaust survivors who came to the Lake District in 1945. It’s an amazing piece of work – the sounds draw you in and take you on a fascinating journey, a really vivid experience. I can’t recommend it enough.


 

 

 

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A most fantastic place

I don’t know when it was that bookshops became more interesting to me than record shops. Moreover, I don’t know when second hand bookshops became more interesting to me that second hand record shops, but at some point they did. Back in Leicester there would only ever be one copy in of something I found interesting and someone always got it before me. Also, as the staff changed over they seemed to become less interested in the people coming in and what they were buying – you used to be able to walk in and the folk behind the counter would say ‘ Have you heard this? It’s form Chicago like so and so…’ They’d remember what you’d bought and try and turn you on to something else. Those days are long gone for me.

So I’m totally excited to tell you about the place I found this weekend just gone….

I went to Cornwall (for the first time ever) to see my parents for a few days – I had a total adventure and experienced things I will remember for the rest of my life, but there for another time. On the saturday we went to Falmouth and hung about whilst waiting to get a ferry up the Carrick Roads. After popping into The Poly to see the printmakers exhibiton (ace) and climbing Jacob’s Ladder to visit and old friend I haven’t seen for 13 years or so (so lovely to see her again)

I walked up the old High Street and stopped by a window that appeared to have cuttings from an old Jazz mag in it (Jazz as in Jazz not as in ‘top shelf jazz’), intrigued, I stepped inside.

The place is called Jam and it is a most fantastic place. They were playing Kurt Vile on the stereo, one side of the wall is stacked with a really eclectic range of records – super hip hypnagogic, a boat load of ECM releases, proper jazz and real out there stuff, as well as other stuff that would appeal to the most conservative of new music buyers.It made Rough Trade feel like Fopp. The fact they were playing someting they wanted to listen to and pointed out on site to me and answered questions was great. There’s a table full of books. There’s battered sofas, coffee and biscuits. In short, there is SOUL. I found myself in a total daze in there being confronted with so much great stuff presented with care and love and joy and I recommend the beJesus out of the place. Can’t wait to go back and this time soak it up a bit more.

Headphone commute

Only found out about this on Friday but I’m featured on a Headphone Commute mix from Jonathan Lees, who runs the wonderful Hibernate Recordings and Rural Colours labels. It’s great to be hanging about in such great company. The track featured is called ‘Sing to me’ and is from the work I finished in June. The work is entitled ‘humming new time’ and only three people have heard the whole of it so far! I’ve got the mastered version back now and I’m really happy with it. Not sure how it’s to be distributed yet, both physically or digitally, but hope to have that sorted by the end of the month. Until then, you can enjoy the mix HERE and find more info about it here – http://reviews.headphonecommute.com/2011/07/17/mix-hibernate-headphone-commute-mix/

(I’ve been trying to embed it in the post but can’t do it for the life of me! Perhaps browse it on the hibernate site….)

Outtakes and updates

So, somewhere in the middle of April I decided to start three projects with the intention of getting them done for summer (now reads the end of summer). Of those three projects one is now complete, the second has begun (with a finished track, as I write this) and the third has has some ideas bashed about ( I need a piano, can some get me a piano please?)

Of the one finished article, I’m not sure what to do with it yet, I should have some idea by the weekend on how I make it available and stuff. It’s around twenty minutes long and is made up of edited down improvisations of the song ‘Spring’, which if you’ve seen me play live is also known as ‘the birdy song’. Over the past two years this songs has developed into a near 40 minute exploration of different strands of the song. I’m happy with how it’s all come out and some of it really captures the ‘letting the mind wander’ aspects of my work. I hope to share it with you soon.

In the meantime, please find below some of the sounds that didn’t make it but I didn’t want to erase.

Record Store Day

The lovely Robot Needs Home have put together a compilation CD as part of Record Store Day and I’m super thrilled to be part of it.

There are only a 100 copies and they’re to be given away to folk who buy something from Rockaboom records in St.Martin’s Square, Leicester on Record Store Day (Saturday 16th April). You can read more about it and see the tracklisting here.

Thu 3rd Feb 2011

I’d planned to do some recording on the Friday afternoon 4th Feb but it was so windy the night before, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it. The wind whips around the house, blows the bins over, whistles around the windows, makes the trees shimmer and the mics pick it all up and loop it endlessly. I didn’t want to do that on this particular occasion, just wanted to record some singing. But, still, on the Thursday night I set up my kit to check that everything was ready and worked OK. In the absent mindedness of simply playing I caught the music in the player below. It was edited down from about 18 minutes worth of playing and maps a gradual progression of the improvisation.

I was to release this as a business card cd-r for the Her Name is Calla gig at Firebug, Leicester 29th March but because of not really being able to play live at the minute I’m not sure what to do with it, other than have it digitally available. The work in progress sleeve looks a little like this.




I hope you enjoy it.
P.x

In praise of Hood – The Cycle of Days and Seasons

My first encounter of Hood was in a fanzine article around 1997 (Easy Pieces, I think) – I remembered being astounding by the amount of material they’d released ( see both Singles Compiled and Compilations 1995-2002 ), it wasn’t until 1999 I got round to hearing them.

I saw the sleeve in my local record shop and immediately picked it up – there was something about the photo, something I recognised. Discovered it was Hood, remembered the article and bought it straight away. From the moment I put the record on I was I was transfixed. It’s difficult to describe the songs as they’re ‘just songs’ but sometimes they’re barely there at all. The first thing that struck me was how I could identify the sounds because they all sounded ‘real’ to me – there wasn’t coats of polish over them, they were just recorded quite starkly and laid next to one another. It wasn’t just the guitars though – there’s trails of tape delay, crinkly field recordings, muttered dictaphones, actual pianos in actual rooms. Also the quality of the voices, again, were just real. They really seemed to capture a sense of place for me and a time too.

It’s still a record I go back to time and rime again when I want to be fascinated and lost in the sound, in another world and when I want to feel inspired with what you can do with minimal equipment and an idea.

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