Week from Monday 1st May 2006... no, make that Tuesday 2nd... or whatever!!
Jumpin' Palimony! It's Friday already and I haven't written about LAST weekend yet. Let's see if I can remember what happened... Well, I went over to Portsmouth's MEAGRE-STORES and failed to find the new TOM ZÉ album anywhere (not a BIG surprise really). I paid a visit to MERVYN PURVISS, who shows me his new 'MID-LIFE CRISIS' purchase (that is to say, his equivalent of the 'Buying A Harley Davidson When You Hit Your Mid-Forties' scenario), a genuine GIBSON FLYING VEE, his dream guitar since he was a WISHBONE ASH-worshipping teenager. He also provides a goodly quantity of NEW AUDIO STIMULUS for my enjoyment or otherwise - luckily I brought along ODD-POD... Hours of fun to be had!
There was the latest in the long line of these 'BANK HOLIDAYS' we hear so much about these days. I spent it watching "STAR WARS IV: ANOTHER NEW CUT" (with director's commentary) and a lot of PYTHON-RELATED DeeVeeDees to boot. I have subsequently spent several mornings gathering together my PINK FLOYD 'rarities' and burning them onto seedy-ROM as EmPee3s. Have we caught up yet?
This weekend, I am looking forward to some GREAT RADIO: That BILL BRUFORD chap is being interviewed on this week's "WORLD ROUTES" (and probably patronised too, if Lucy Duran has got anything to do with it) in his capacity as the leader of a new 'World Percussion' ensemble. Saturday night's "HEAR & NOW" will feature new stuff from FRED FRITH, including further highlights from the KATIA LABÈQUE BAND gig. Pause buttons at the ready...
Finally, I see from the latest RADIO 3 JAZZ newsletter that, as part of the FUSELEEDS FESTIVAL, Honorary Gridler LOL COXHILL will be performing his solo sax improvisations IN A LARGE SKIP.
Week from Monday 8th May 2006
Like everyone(?), I always keep my eyes glued to film and TV credits, on the the lookout for GREAT HOLLYWOOD NAMES. On one of this week's "CSI" episodes, I spotted the delightful name SPRAGUE GRAYDEN amidst the supporting cast...
In the event, the interview with BILL BRUFORD was excellent. For a start, it was conducted by Fiona Talkington and NOT Lucy Duran - very unusual to hear Ms Talkington speak with any enthusiasm about anyone that isn't SCANDINAVIAN. Mr Bruford merely discussed his CRAFT and that of his colleagues in the aforementioned 'World' drumming ensemble. He demonstrated, by way of illustration, how the pieces "PRISM" and "CONUNDRUM" (both featured in KING CRIMSON 'Double Trio' sets) break down in musical terms. I was staggered to hear that CHAD WACKERMAN, being gifted with fiendish technique, had learnt to play the accelerating patterns of "Conundrum" on JUST his kick drums!
Who'd have thought one could be interested - nay! enthralled - by what is, in effect, an album's-worth of DRUM SOLOS?!
I was immediately inspired to sit down with the OctaMED (an ancient piece of AMIGA sequencing software, if you didn't know), to try out some mathematical rhythm games of my own. Lacking even the rudiments of 'real' drum technique, but being fascinated by how RHYTHM works, I have found that there is no better way to learn about drumming than to sit down and attempt to programme drum parts from scratch, or even just sketch them out on paper. I always feel slightly smug when 'real' 'musician' MERVYN PURVISS tells me that HE has never been able to write drum parts...
It pays to be patient when waiting for 'BBC COMMISSIONS' to get an airing... "Hear & Now" finally broadcast 'the rest' of THE KATIA LABÈQUE BAND WITH FRED FRITH AND VIKTORIA MULLOVA's set ("Catchy title, Bob!"), recorded at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in the Autumn of last year.
I've just received a day-by-day line-up for this summer's WOMAD shindig, and it looks like I'll be doing another Friday DAYTRIP to hear and see such TOP ROOTS NAMES as GOTAN PROJECT, LOS DE ABAJO, SALIF KEITA, VÄRTTINÄ and THE WARSAW VILLAGE BAND, by far the strongest bill for the cheapest ticket option...
Week from Monday 15th May 2006
...and I think I may have actually persuaded SHELFY to make the trip in this, my/our TWENTIETH YEAR OF WOMADNESS. It was probably the name VÄRTTINÄ that swung it - No One Can Refuse The Call Of Värttinä!
And Lo! So it was that, on the fourteenth day of May, the Freak Zone broadcast a session by THE EIGHTEENTH DAY OF MAY, modern-type TOP ROOTS NAMES who sound remarkably similar to the early psychedelic PROPER FAIRPORTS (as opposed to the tired old latter-day folky Fairports) and are, therefore, a VERY GOOD THING INDEED. Only two songs were aired though - I hope there is more of this in the can?
THIS WEEK OI ARE BIN MOOSTLY LIS'NIN' TO the 'new' DAVID SYLVIAN disc which, for reasons best known to his enigmatic nibs, has been released under the 'band' moniker of NINE HORSES. However it IS, undeniably and unmistakably, a SYLVIAN album. The previous album, "Blemish", sounded to me like an experimental side project, this one is more conventionally 'song'-based. Many of the usual roster of collaborators turn up for the ride and all is well with the world... Once again, I watched one of my 'Second Favourite Films Of All Time', "BEING JOHN MALKOVICH".
I have had a sudden rush of 'proper work' to the head - It's time to gather stuff for the Bike Ride Deliver-O-Thon, plus I have a fresh demand for leaflets from members of the BITTERNE BEAUTIFICATION POSSE. I did, however, find time to record some JOKES ABOUT ACCORDIONS (Don't ask!) for a new SHELFY PROJECT. I have also included on the disk some more 'works in progress' that he might be able to do something with, because I can't find a use for 'em at this moment in time...
Week from Monday 22nd May 2006
Oooh A've Not Bin Well... It's a good job I recorded Shelfy's JOKES when I did, because this weekend I went down with a (shooby shooby shooby) THROAT. No chance for me to sing along with the SALIF KEITA gig that was broadcast on Saturday afternoon. Suddenly more baritone than tenor, I sound like a TUVAN with pleurisy.
The EUROVISION "STRING TOGETHER EVERY TERRIBLE 'ENGLISH' LYRICAL CLICHÉ OF THE LAST FORTY YEARS AND BELT IT OUT WITHOUT HAVING A CLUE WHAT IT IS YOU'RE SINGING ABOUT" CONTEST is upon us again. Finland [surprisingly] won it with the 'death metal lite' of LORDI, who looked and sounded like a SPINAL TAP FROM THE DELTA QUADRANT - "Rock 'N' Roll Angels brought us Hard Rock Hallelujah!" indeed! At least they were different. Of the dozens of other entries, only Latvia's over-complex [for this contest] a-cappella routine, Germany's faux-Country & Western, Armenia's full-of-eastern-promise-but-with-crappy-'English'-lyrics entry and Lithuania's less-than-modest football chant, stood out as unique performances. France once again fielded an absolutely gorgeous ballad that hardly anyone at all voted for.
As I write this, I'm listening to JOHN MARTYN's session from last night's Kershaw shindig. He's still got it, whatever 'it' is...
Week from Monday 29th May 2006
Ho Hum! Another Bank Holiday... It's MILES DAVIS' 80th Birthday, so there's been a veritable bonanza of top stuff by way of celebration; chiefly a 'rare' Dutch Radio recording of the 'Lost Quintet' (the DREAM TEAM of Davis, Corea, Holland, Shorter and deJohnette) RIPPING UP ROTTERDAM in 1969.
Gee! I've been a WALKING FOOL lately. Overcompensating as always, in an attempt to shake off my cold, I've been doing daily walks to the Bus Station and back. In addition, I've done the Fareham-to-Gosport yomp twice in the last week, the ISLE OF WIGHT COASTAL PATH (and the climb up 'Mount St Helens') on Friday and a trek to the CAR BOOT SALE on Sunday, searching for further seedy items from my MIS-SPELT PROG-YOUTH.
Sometime in the next seven days, I hope to do the [rest of the] ANNUAL DELIVER-A-THON of items for the Sponsored Bike Ride. I'm sure that when Shelfy reads this, as I know he will, he will be in touch about same.
Shelfy has finished his "WAITER THERE'S A SNAKE IN MY ACCORDION" seedydisk. It's a jolly good larf and THE GRIDLER'S POP PICK OF THE WEEK! If jokes and stories about accordions set to an ambient Daevid Allen-esque vibe are YOUR BAG, then I'm sure he will furnish you with a copy. There's a "mailto" 'round here somewhere.
So 'Tis Once Again The Time when we spend a day depositing suspicious-looking packages on the doorsteps of Rural Hampshire's Petit Bourgeoisie. We succeeded in finding the NORTHWEST PASSAGE which avoids urban Basingstoke, but we nearly got lost trying to hack through the NORTHEAST ONE. Still, such SWEEPING VISTAS! And phezzies and grice and partridges and bunbuns. And Road Tapes. It's a COSMIC RAMBLE y'all!
There was a rather unique concert at the Bath Festival: BRIAN ENO and JOANNA MacGREGOR presented a programme of "MUSIC THAT NO ONE WILL LIKE ALL OF" at the Abbey. There was choral music both medieval and twentieth-century, piano 'n' ambient arrangements of some John Dowland pieces and two of Uncle Brian's "Music For Airports" movements rendered live. Only the two poetry settings (Spoken-Word-With-Laptop-Embellishments) failed to meet my acid-test criteria of "WOULD I LIKE TO LISTEN TO THIS MORE THAN ONCE?".