I finally received a finished copy of the mysterious skin soundtrack this morning, what a pleasant thing to wake up to. I hadn’t seen the artwork or been able to verify if the spelling was right, and, as I’ve been plagued throughout the years with typos and other errors on artwork, I was a little nervous.. So I took a deep breath and opened the package. What a pleasant surprise. On first look it seems to very classy and expensive…. I like those qualities in cd packaging : I’m not a great fan of ‘indie lo-fi design and packaging’. I feel that it reflects on the music inside the package. In that respect I’ll stay with the classy and expensive, thank you. I often wonder why people spend months making and perfecting their music and then package it in such a cheap and nasty way.. Maybe it’s just the way the music industry is nowadays, with less and less room for the aesthetically pleasing…So, anyway, sorry about that rant.. The point is… The package looks great, well done to those over at commotion records who got it together. I was very touched by the comments written by Gregg Araki, director of the movie. Very complimentary, Thank you Gregg….
So, what else? I did more song writing on the train from Paris yesterday. This is becoming some sort of a theme, I mean I’m not some train freak or anything, it’s just that I’m finding it an easy place to put on my headphones and spend a couple of hours really focussed on what I’m doing, free from distractions..
ok.. 10am … Studio is calling
Yesterday I finished the remix of Smile for Mitsuo Tate and Miki Berenyi. I’ve used the original vocal and bass and pretty much done everything else afresh. It sounds pretty vibrant and powerful and I hope that people will get a chance to hear it…I’m not sure of the release date but when I know I will post it here. I’d just like to point out that while I’ve been sweating over his mix Mitsuo has been relaxing in a hot spa near Tokyo for the weekend with his girlfriend. Jealous, me? never… lol.
Next.. I started to write a piece for an up and coming exhibit in The Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, I think, called Audio Interference. I had been asked by the organiser of the event, the very delightful Liz Copeland from WDET in Detroit, last November when she invited me to perform on her show. I’m quite excited to contribute something as I have a blank canvas, well blank with the exception that it’s an audio only exhibit. So that’s what I’ll be geting up to today….
the only problem with my recent songwriting bout on Amtrak (see a previous post : 19 crescent) is that it has left me with a lot of work to do in order to record these songs, perfect them, fine tune them and generally produce a record. I’m a long way off but the process has started. Writing on the train was a much more focused environment for working than working at my studio. Generally there were no 4 year olds, nor adolescents, on the train. No email, no cooking, no answering the phone, in fact, no responsibilities at all.. Now I’m back working here I appreciate more the time I had away, in productivity terms at least. It was a good idea and one I’d like to try again at some moment, perhaps rennes to vladivostock and back….
So, now back to work.. I’m remixing a track called Smile for Mitsuo Tate who is stepping out of the shadows to make (finally) a CD featuring his own songs. He is working with Tamaru Yamada and Miki Berenyi. It’s something that’s made me very happy, Tate San making a record.. Hope people can give it a listen, there are some samples on his website.
I was also happy to receive in the mail a copy of Earthbound, an album by Sophie Barker, singer from Zero 7. I was particularly interested in having a copy in my hands as it was something that I contributed to by co-writing and producing two tracks and producing a third on the album.
It was last year or maybe even the year before, that we worked together, so it was a pleasant surpise to hear it again. To my shame, I haven’t listened to the rest of the album yet, my excuse being that I asked Lucy Belle to tidy up the cd’s and I haven’t been able to relocate it. Earthbound is available on iTunes..
Anyway, back to the studio for me, had my little break, time to play some guitar..
I had to wait a bit before writing this as I couldn’t log in to the server, so this isn’t as fresh in my mind as I hoped it would be. But whatever, I’ll just write a little anyway. Soooo.. OK, I am safely back home in France and reflecting on my weekend. It was pleasing. A little more about the show, where did I leave it?, oh yes, it was after the rehearsal. So saturday, daytime there was more rehearsing and the piece known as Calligraphy came together. It was Harolds idea to close the show with us all playing together, the approximate order of appearance being myself, Steve Cobby, Harold, Theo Travis, Alexander Balanescu and Bill Nelson with Jah Wobble and Steve Jansen arriving halfway through with a pounding 5/4 rhythm… So when Mr Wobble showed up, after just arriving from paris, we gave it some attention and it seemed to be, well, you know, it seemed to be pretty good considering the mess it could have been… We worked out some of the finer details, curiously omitting to work out how whe would end the piece.. (???).. (of course we’d all realise this a few hours later on stage).. whatever.. anyway, job done.. went to waterstones and bought a pile of books in English to take home and met up with a couple of friends before the show…
The Balanescu String Quartet started the whole event and I’m not going to go into the details of the show, as you had to be there.. this ain’t a review….but there were a lot beautiful moment’s, Harold seemed completely relaxed…(err… he always seems completely relaxed) and the audience was entranced.. After the interval Steve Jansen did a gong solo called Lirio and I realized I had to go on in 5 minutes, so I started to will myself not to trip over Bills pedals, or walk on with my fly open or some other thing that I’m predisposed to doing only when there is a couple of thousand people looking at me.. When I eventually found my way on to my place on stage, no thanks to the, er, minimalist lighting by Russell Mills, and picked up my guitar, I felt, well, relaxed and kinda looking forward to it… And well the rest is… well you had to be there.. I sounded like… me, I guess, and I can’t offer much more than that..
me onstage with harold budd
On the whole, the calligraphy piece, had some moments of great beauty and I’m sure we all have taken something different from the experience, perhaps with the exception of us all realizing we hadn’t worked out how to finish the damn thing at the same time..
So… after the show, the usual chit chat with the others about what we’d just done, lots of compliments all round then off to a little aftershow party where I met people who had travelled from afar to see the event and who all seemed pleased with the evening.. It was very touching to see the love for Harold in the room. He was so central to the event and he has made all of our lives richer by intoducing us all to each other..
So.. I just read that back and it seems so inadiquate, as there are lots of little anecdotal stuff which could amuse and many important parts glossed over..
Most importantly, I’m glad I was asked and I’m happy I did it….
Last night I arrived in brighton, accompianied by my daughter lucy belle. We had a warm welcome, when we arived late at the hotel after a very choppy channel crossing, from harold and russell mills, both of whom I’ve known for several years, maybe more!!!.. Talked for a bit, catching up. Went to bed..
Friday morning…SO… to the brighton dome, where a spectaclar ‘scéne’ was set. I bounced around for a little while, initially a little embarassed, but gradually trying to talk to people, esp, I guess, the poor folks who have to play with me.. (or should it be… me, play with them)..next to me is bill nelson..my fingers turn to concrete as he plays (warning: this may be a recurring theme).. steve jansen, with his big gong sets me into ‘let’s tease him because he has to get oiled up like the rank man’ mode. This does not, however crumble him, as he manages to slide, effortlessly behind his kit and astound us all with his mastery of his craft.. (what I mean is playing in 5/4 which left me….lost). Actually, apparently this was jah wobble’s idea but, wtf?, he’s not turning up ’till tomorrow afternoon. I’ll have to have words with him..fucker… 5fucking4….. so, we have, theo travis, soprano sax, a delight, steve cobby, apparent soul mate and showing sign of ‘fuck me, what do I do?’ (I like that), of course, harold, coming in every now and again to give his blessing to what we are doing. Russell Mills, is cooking up an electrical storm with some beautiful, yet understated lighting. John Foxx turns up a little later, then, being the only human voice heard thus far, leaves most of the rest of us bewitched..
So..we have a whole team of technicians. This is a good thing.Because after 5 minutes I start to have serious tech issues. Something ain’t right. OK, so we’ve checked, like EVERYTHING….
grrrrrrrr. big problem, means I may have to drop my looper piece and replace it with something, more,… free form…mmmmm, less of my thing, I wish I may just crumble into small particles of worthless dirt at this moment..
But you know what? I’m starting to feel comfortable with these people and figure, after a while, that my contribution is worthwhile..
Still, it’s time for refreshment.. So we retire to a local hostelerie and when asked for a defining moment of his 68 years, I hear harold tell me ‘hearing stan getz for the first time’.. this freaks me a little as I just played stan getz to lucy belle in the car. I ask steve cobby his first record and he tells me, bowie’s, life on mars which, of course, freaks me a little more as I just played life on mars to lucy belle in the car…ummm.. There is so much more to tell, except I don’t have the literary prowess to share them here. Tomorrow is show day.ummm, well, it’ll be ok when wobble is here….
Credit to amanda and guy, who, although they don’t pay for anything, are looking after us ‘spoiled musicans’ in a most lovely manner.