Monday, August 07, 2017

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 49

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 49

Eric Dolphy's influence on the young Richard Sinclair, another gem from a lesser Gong album, Robert Wyatt at home on the piano, half of Hillage and Giraudy's '79 ambient masterpiece "Rainbow Dome Music", Hatfield live in '75 and an Egg miniature. Also, some neo-prog from Guapo, progressive electronica from Amon Tobin and Four Tet and yet more Terry Riley. From the Canterbury of recent times, a Boot Lagoon studio jam, a solo piece from the Boot's guitarist, another track from the new Syd Arthur live EP and a recent piece of melancholia from Stray Ghost. The middle hour is dedicated to the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of John Coltrane's physical death, with some tracks from '59 to '64 interspersed with interview clips.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 48

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 48

Obscure French covers of Kevin Ayers' "Why Are We Sleeping?" and Robert Wyatt's "Alifie", everyone's favourite part of Gong's "Angel's Egg" album, National Health (with Bill Bruford) and Kevin Ayers (with Andy Summers) live in '76, Robert Wyatt with Evan Parker, Hugh Hopper with Miller/Pyle/Malherbe, more modular synth beauty from Smith and Ciani, Terry Riley live in Paris in '72, spiritual jazz from The Lloyd McNeill Quartet, Carlos Santana with Alice Coltrane and a Matching Mole classic. From today's Canterbury, Syd Arthur live in Brighton, Arlet live in Ramsgate and a soundtrack miniature from sound artist Seth Scott.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Crash of Moons with Trance Map and Bog Bodies

7th June 2017
Bramley's, Canterbury

Not a great turnout for this, but a respectable enough audience for an avant-garde gig, I suppose. Trance Map is local Professor of Sonic Arts (and one-time UK DMC scratch DJ champ!) Matt Wright on turntable and laptop with free improv legend Evan Parker on soprano sax. Bog Bodies were ending their album launch tour — they consist of Broadstairs-based Robert Stillman (tenor sax and electronics), Dublin-based Seán Carpio (drums and electronics) and Copenhagen-based Anders Holst (drums and electronics).

Here are the DJ sets I played as Prof. Appleblossom...

...mostly ambient/drone/experimental stuff, with a few old school hiphop favourites thrown in for Matt's sake.

Inspiral Trio (three members of the current Gong lineup) next month!

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 47

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 47

Robert Wyatt live on BBC TV in 1983, Caravan and Hatfield both live in '74, a standout track from a lesser Gong album, something newish from North Sea Radio Orchestra, something oldish from Penguin Cafe Orchestra, a classic slab of Hendrix, something from Soft Machine around the time they were touring with him, Alice Coltrane, an extraordinary tribute to her by Seattle's Sun O))), almost-forgotten Anglo-French Henry Cow-influenced band Officer!, a couple of new things from Bristol's BLOOM collective (Evil Usses, Spindle Ensemble) and a tribute to BBC Radiophonic Workshop's star employee Delia Derbyshire. The middle hour is dedicated to the pioneering studio work of Osbourne Ruddock, a.k.a. King Tubby, in the form of a mix of some of his finest 70s dub tracks.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

The Flowing and Whisky Moon Face in the woods

secret woodland location near Canterbury
Monday 29th May, 2017

I've been trying to get one of my favourite regional bands, The Flowing, down from the Medway area to play in the woods for a couple of years now. That finally happened on Bank Holiday Monday and it was worth the wait. They're a four-piece now, fronted by Dave Pickett (singer/songwriter/guitarist) backed by Vicky on French horn and accordion, Hannah on violin and Theo on bass and ukelele. Dave's got a poet's soul, a great voice, and an exquisite ensemble backing him up. Great to be able to put them in front of a receptive audience as the evening birdsong faded and twilight gave way to firelight. Almost half of the audience were new to the space, friends of theirs down from Medway, getting the full enchantment hit. I discovered that Theo's into hosting jam nights up there, is connected to the people who used to take the "Freedome" (a geodesic dome jam space) around festivals and free parties. I jammed in the Freedome once with some of Melski's Bristol improv crew at Big Green Gathering over a decade ago.

I'd strongly recommend giving their beautiful debut album Talk About Wonder a listen here:

Whisky Moon Face have been down before, always a joy to hear them (last time was on my birthday on the Walmer seafront last year). Louisa on vocals, accordion and trumpet, Dakota Jim on double bass and Ewan Bleach on ultravirtuosic clarinet and sax. Ewan's pretty obsessed with Turkish music at the moment, spoke to me about it at great length (tho' he can't integrate those scales into this music). Dave from The Flowing had suggested that they might do a joint gig with WMF (who he joked that they were in awe of), and it was a great pairing. It was particularly satisfying to see them all making friends, swapping contact details and making plans for joint gigs in Rochester and London.

And big respect to the weather spirits (or whatever they are)...it was suppposed to rain and I almost cancelled the event, but something wouldn't let me, I just carried on regardless, and it turned out to be a clear night.

Delia Derbyshire and the Spacegoats

I was vaguely aware of her (via Matt from the Spacegoats), but when I watched this (on my way to the second Spacegoats reunion gig, in Brighton, curiously) I was instantly obsessed with her legacy. The thing everyone knows about her is the Dr. Who theme tune, which (like many people who grew up in Britain in the 60s/70s/80s) is burned into my childhood memory, but that's just the tip of the Delia Derbyshire iceberg. This is a nice little introduction:
 

The Pete "Sonic Boom" Kember connection was a nice surprise. I interviewed him on UKC Radio back in '89 or '90 when I was a Spacemen 3 fan, then saw him solo many years later in Exeter doing his "Experimental Audio Research" thing, around the time he would have been in contact with Delia.

...and the Spacegoats were pretty amazing too!

As at the Glastonbury Assembly Rooms gig we got two long sets, but this time there were no feedback issues with Chris's hammered dulcimer and you could hear everything clearly. No Stella, sadly, but everyone was on top form and Pok seems to be working on the next stage of the Goat-world mythology (a profoundly pissed-off "great-grandmother Kraken" seeming to feature heavily in the eco-bardic narrative).

I think Pok Spacegoat would have related deeply to something I saw earlier that afternoon. As part of the Brighton Festival, the Lighthouse gallery was screening a short VR film called Collisions, the true account Nyarri Morgan, of an Australian aboriginal elder who, as a young man in the 1950s, witnessed a British atomic bomb test with no context whatsoever for what he was experiencing (he didn't find out for twenty years). Really quite moving. And it was good to see on the credits that the appropriately dark, eerie soundtrack was composed by Nick Cave (a Brighton resident I think) and Warren Ellis of The Bad Seeds. The Brighton Festival was guest curated by the wonderful Kate Tempest this year, I was pleased to see.

new Jane Weaver album!

It's called Modern Kosmology and I love it! If you haven't already discovered her previous one, The Silver Globe, you can hear that here. This is just about the best thing going on these days as far as neo-psychedelia goes:

last season Free Range catchup

Water Lane Cafe, Canterbury
February-March 2017

I've been waiting for the audio recordings from some of these Free Range events to surface, but it's been months now, so I'll just post what's left of my memory impressions:

Will Glanfield septet
9th February 2017

I had to leave early missed the LGBTQ Week poetry in the second set. The Septet included a bass clarinet and a couple of cellos, was conducted by Matthew Brown (of the local Leon String Quartet). They performed three pieces which Will has composed with software help (he cheerfully admitted that he doesn't have any grounding in music theory, despite being an excellent sax player — he's primarily a sculptor).
 

Migro Records presents: Bohman, Ghikas & Thomas + Luis Tabuenca
16th February 2017
Water Lane Cafe, Canterbury

Avant-garde percussionist Panos Ghikas played us a piece called "Right Error" released on his label (there was some Theolonious Monk connection explained, something to do with "making the right error" if you're going to make an error, and this relating to "write errors" in data storage). It was bursts of noise interpersed with silence, to which we listened intently and then applauded politely. He then launched into a baffling duo with a sax player who'd just come in from Limerick, followed by an amazingly creative drum solo from Luis Tabuenca. Adam Bohman and a friend spent a bit of time scraping and clanking things, then delivered a surreally comical multi-voice spoken word piece called "Four Perfect Balls" (which I've since heard broadcast on New York's wonderful freeform station WFMU). All very strange!
 

Jasdeep Singh Degun
23rd February 2017

This night started off with an experimental solo piano set from Sam (including a bit of everything — playing directly on the strings with various devices, attempting to talk and play simultaneously, encouranging the audience to sing arbitrary tones, etc.)

Jasdeep Singh Degun, a virtuoso player of Indian classical music who grew up in Leeds, then performed a concerto for sitar and string quartet called "The Bridge".
 

Elliot Galvin Trio
Thursday, 3rd March 2017

There was a support from a vaguely "psych-folk" singer-songwriter called Arthur Bates (part of Ashford's X-O-Dos collective) who reminded me a bit of a bit Liam Magill from Syd Arthur. I couldn't really get into his temporally "smeared" vocals, but found his guitar style quite interesting.

This was the first date of the EGT's tour promoting their Punch album. The rhythm section consisted of Corrie Dick on drums and Tom McCredie on bass. Elliot's ultra-dynamic piano style included rapidly applying and removing strips of gaffer tape to the strings (creating a kind of "pinched harpsichord" sonic madness). The set also included him playing a specially constructed microtonal double melodica and carrying out cassette manipulations of a recording of a Punch and Judy show. Absolutely brilliant.
 

Kit Downes and Tom Challenger
9th March 2017

This occasion started with a Q&A about their project which involved recording an album of experimental music on a variety of church organs in Suffolk. They then attempted to reproduce some of its content using tenor sax, harmonium, and a bowed-and-plucked acoustic string-stick-thing. Robert Stillman (American tenor sax player who lectures and plays locally) joined on the penultimate piece (with two harmoniums) and there was an elegant piano/sax number to end. I then ended up with Joel from Syd Arthur and Callum and Pete from The Boot Lagoon, catching up at a new place just around the corner on Stour Street called "Chromos" (it's preserved the name of the art supplies shop which formerly occupied the space, and features an expensive bar, a hairdresser, circus performers, a boutique cinema, a pizza over, a cereal bar, although not all at the same time...it was pretty quiet while we were in there...not sure how long Canterbury can sustain such a venture!).
 

Alexander Hawkins / Elaine Mitchener Quartet
16th March 2017

This was a last-minute "to be announced" surprise and ended the season magnificently. Elaine Mitchener's vocals alone were utterly mindblowing and with Alexander Hawkins on piano (and a fantastic rhythm section) it was hard to know what to focus on. We got one long, unbroken musical journey (and a short encore) A lot of it was freeform, but I did notice that they drew on Archie Shepp's "Blasé"
 

Amazing stuff throughout another autumn/winter/spring in Canterbury, much respect to Sam Bailey and everyone else involved for putting all these remarkable free/donations events on.

music nonstop

I just haven't been able to stay on top of blogging about musical goings on in Canterbury and thereabouts — there's just too much of it going on (and I've been focussing on trying to finish putting together a local history book). Here's some of what I experienced in a couple of weeks of March alone:

Sat 11th March
drum'n'bass and psy-trance at The Monument (Sarah invited a few of us out for birthday drinks at the pub just across from her place in St. Dunstans, during a brief window of time when it was being run by some people affiliated with Small World Festival)
 

Sun 12th March
playing Go in Wincheap, listening to the second half of Caravan's If I Could Do It All Over Again... and In the Land of Pink and Grey, both sounding magnificent... then down to The Monument with my saz for a supposed open jam. It wasn't much of a jam, but I didn't mind at all, as I ended up sitting with Sarah listening to local busker Callum Sutton singing Van Morrison, gospel-blues, etc. He was on fire! His delivery of the 18th century Irish song "Carrickfergus" was especially strong.

"Now in Kilkenny it is reported / On marble stone there as black as ink..."

His mate Sam Brothers (another local busker of note) was absolutely killing it on electric bass guitar at one point (I've only seen him play an acoustic six-string before) and Rachel added some cajón. It was like being in someone's front room — a shame The Monument couldn't have stayed like that for a while. I did get my saz out in the end for a bit of a jam with Sam and Josh once the PA was switched off.
 

Mon 13th March
Wheels at Luke Smith's "Lo-Fi Zone", his fortnightly revue at Bramley's. This is the new acoustic version of Wheels with Neil Sullivan (of Lapis Lazuli) and his Sheerness friends Rew and Didi. Last time they were down here (a few years ago) they were a four piece with Adam (also Lapis) on drums. Didi was playing bass then, while she's singing and playing recorder now (just singing on this occasion). Lovely!

Tues 14th March
I spend the evening over at "The Domain", Laszlo's place on the Spring Lane estate, jamming over some of his beats (made as "Humble Pious", his producer/MC alias) with Phil (formerly of Lapis Lazuli) on his new tenor sax. Nice vibes, the music flowing easily (Phil and I have tried jamming before a few times, but this was the most successful attempt, with Lasz's beats providing some scaffolding for our improv). Apparently some of this will make its way onto the forthcoming Humble Pious mixtape.
 

Thurs 16th March
The Elaine Mitchener / Alexander Hawkins Quartet at Free Range...last one of the season...WOW! I recognised Archie Shepp's "Blase", othewise it was one continuous journey of musical exploration, followed by a brief encore. These are some heavyweight musicians. Hard to believe this was a free gig in a cafe in (some would say sleepy) little Canterbury.

Sat 17th March
Evil Usses at Cliffs in Cliftonville (near Margate). About half of the audience had ventured from Canterbury where they've got a bit of a following. SO MUCH FUN! What a great band... it's Dan, Leon and Lorenzo from Rae, plus Conrad Singh on electric guitar, playing crazy, skronky, twisty-turny, loud music. They're promoting a new album called "Amateur Pro-Wrestling" (mixed by John Dieterich of Deerhoof). Touring with them was the support duo Run Logan Run (drums and sax, really intense, almost too intense for my brain at the point their set kicked in). Chilling with the Usses afterwards, I witnessed them messing about with a pennywhistle and harmonium, just being completely silly, pushing the silliness so far that something kind of amazing happened and suddenly they were creating a new track. This is how they work, it seems.

Sun 18th March
Papylonian Babooshkies at a secret woodland location near Canterbury. Phil and Aidan had played before, but never the full trio with Stewy (playing frame drums, tambourines, etc., with jaw-dropping skill). Amazing stuff. They started recording an album the next day (at the Smugglers Festival site), which may turn out to be a double (one acoustic disc, one electric disc). The quasi-Balkan thing is blossoming into a very Canterbury-prog kind of approach to playing accordion/sax/percussion music, and they're not even trying to do that...it's like there's just something in the land round here which does that to receptive musicians. Support came (at the last minute) from Harry Hayes (formerly half of Bearded Sphynx, frontman of Dreamweaver). The scheduled acoustic duo failed to show and Harry stepped in heroically, playing a lovely mix of traditional stuff, fingerpicking, his own prog-folk compositions and an Incredible String Cover dedicated to me (the "And We Bid You Goodnight" section of "A Very Cellular Song". Another magickal night in the woods.
 

Mon 19th March
A gathering at Adam and Kim's in Barham. Lots of musicians present, but no jamming for whatever reason. I ended up selected some vinyl from their fairly random collection. Discovered that Luo's album Sleep Spindles sounded great on both 33 and 45!
 

Tues 20th March
Back chilling with Laszlo and co. at The Domain. This included a brief jam with Juliet playing a CW Stoneking song. She's becoming a really solid guitarist/singer, just a bit too shy to play/sing in front of me much yet. But getting there...
 

Sat 25th March
Syd Arthur putting on a bit of special event at Dreamland in Margate with Gang and Flamingods. The sound was pretty harsh in there (just the wrong shaped space, I think), but I was able to hear through that. Really impressed by the way Syd are integrating modular synths into the sound (especially in "Hometown Blues", the opener, and "Ode to the Summer" which they ended with). Really creative arrangments. Flamingods are apparently from Bahrain (London based), play a lot of unusual instruments, quite heavy duty trance-y stuff (but suffered a really harsh sounding mix, unfortunately).

Weds 29th March
Crash of Moons Club at Bramley's with The Papylonian Babooshkies and Iceman Furniss Quintet. The Babooshkies played electric this time: Aidan on Nord Electro and bass synth with each hand (I suppose that's a bit like playing an accordion), Stewy on drumkit and Phil playing unrestrained tenor sax. Amazing! It's like three people with one repertoire have created two entirely different bands. I went and stood behind Aidan at the side of the stage, getting ready for my inter-band DJ set as Prof. Appleblossom, and it was fascinating just watching his hands moving on the keys. I'd seen Harry "Iceman" Furniss and co. once before in a basement venue in Stokes Croft, Bristol, being supported by The Evil Usses (playing a restrained set to a seated audience, the first time I'd seen them). His sound has evolved considerably since. Made me think of what Miles (Bitches Brew being the obvious reference point for this music) would be doing if he'd survived into the post-d'n'b post-breakcore era.

Here are my DJ sets from that night. The Iceman came over when I was playing the Don Cherry/System 7 track, excited to know what it was, so I got something right there:

Wisconsin, yet again

I got back from a month in the States about three weeks ago, here's a summary of the musical parts of that trip:

Just as we were about to descend into Seattle, I discovered this Joanna Newsom song on the in-flight entertainment system, the final track from her latest album Divers. Wow. I listened to it on repeat until we landed, now understand what all the fuss is about with Joanna Newsom!

My week in California didn't involve a lot of saz playing, although I did get it out to show Steven, the man behind a biodynamic farm I was visiting (he used to play in a string band up in Round Valley, where Live Power Farm is located, and was curious to hear it). Here he is listening with his wife Gloria:

There was also a bizarre synchronicity involving, of all things, the old swing number "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" shortly before heading back down to the Bay area. There I got to visit Terrapin Crossroads, the canalside venue in San Rafael which Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead set up a few years ago. As well as two indoor performance spaces, it's now got a "backyard" stage (in a neglected public park adjacent to the property which I think he's leasing from the city), and I arrived to witness Phil and three friends (acoustic and electric guitars, pedal steel, no drums) having a great time playing out there to a very chilled audience of old Deadheads, their kids and grandkids running around in the sunshine. It felt like a backyard barbecue, and there was Phil Lesh on the little stage, a few metres away, a huge smile on his face like it was the first time he'd ever got to play his bass live! They do a little Sunday afternoon set there each week, which this tie included "Ripple", "If I Had a Hammer" (from the intro, I thought that was going to be "Uncle John's Band"), "The Mighty Quinn", "Friend of the Devil" and a couple of others. Very nice. I was interesting how even without any drumming, Phil was able to create that unmistakable Grateful Dead groove. A bit later, some of the same players re-emerged indoors as part of a very rockin' bar band playing bluesy country-rock. So I finally made it to Terrapin! ("some rise, some fall, some climb...") And I even got to say a quick "thanks for everything" to Phil and shake the great man's hand. The same day involved hotsprings, giant redwoods, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and hearing an advert for MAPS in between minimal electronica and dub on Berkeley student radio — so most of my California boxes got ticked...

On the train from Oakland to Chicago I spent 2.5 days catching up on music listening while watching the American west roll by and working on the finishing touches of my latest book (a cosmic/local history — watch this space). Robert Wyatt's "United States of Amnesia" sounded especially powerful and poignant as we crossed the Nevada desert. The next morning crossing into Utah, Matt Valentine & Erika Elder's Root/Void album provided the perfect soundtrack to the eerie landscape, along with Songs To Fill The Air, a compilation commissioned by Jeff Conklin of WFMU's "Avant Ghetto" programme, featuring all kinds of psych- and freak-folk artists covering the Grateful Dead, some more vague and strung out sounding than others (Meg Baird of Espers singing "To Lay Me Down" is just divine).

My time in Stevens Point, Wisconsin pleasingly involved hearing my requests played on Mark Polzin's jazz show on WWSP (Alice Coltrane, Sun Ra, etc.) — I first used to listen to him and phone in requests 30 years ago, which he still remembers, but we've still never actually met. After his show, I would head down to the Elbow Room for their Tuesday night "song swap". The first of these nights was unusually quiet and soon evolved into just me and Anna Jo (someone I knew vaguely who was just starting to play banjo a couple of years ago and is now a seriously talented player and singer-songwriter). She's got a great repertoire, both her own songs and other people's, and accompanying on the saz was pure joy.


Anna Jo tuning up in New Orleans

Anna Jo's housemate Tyler was sitting listening throughout and joked about my willingness to join in with an experimental noise/drone jam he and his friends were planning the next night. I said I'd love to join them, and ended up recording this late the next night, in the middle of a thunderstorm:

Listen Here

Peter Fee came up from Madison to visit his mother one weekend, so I joined them one morning and we had a fireside saz/guitar jam. Pete's been getting into a Finnish tune called "Metsakukkia" which I was able to pick up fairly readily. His mother filmed some of that on her smartphone, but that's yet to surface. He also played some country-ish stuff, his own "Vampire Song", and then we had a long jam where he moved from shakuhachi to guitar to trumpet. Again, none of this got recorded.

The final visit to the Elbow Room saw me arrive in the middle of an epic rendition of Neil Young's "Southern Man" (involving multiple guitars, banjos, mandolin, double bass, trumpet, harmony vocals). I quickly got the saz out and joined in. Amazing energy and coherence, and it was all seemingly being filmed by Jim "The Oz" Oliva on Stef the bartender's smartphone...sadly the record button never got pushed! But that one will live in my memory. After "Old Joe Clark" and some freaky blues with regular Joe, Anna Jo and I got into some heavy, weird modal/drone banjo/saz jams... a shame none of this got recorded.

As happens every time I visit central Wisconsin, I got brought out to the Northland Ballroom near Iola one Wednesday night to join my friends Sloppy Joe as part of their weekly thing there. This time Gavin was away in California, so it was just me, Stefanie, Jeff and virtuoso banjo affiliate Dale. This meant a lot more musical space (there's usually loads of people on stage), so I could play a bit more freely. My playing was a bit clunky that night, but the locals didn't seem to mind, and I was able to extract a few acceptable bits from my recording:

Listen Here

On my way down to Chicago to fly out I spent a night in Madison, unexpectedly got to see Kandra who I'd not seen for years (an amazing singer who doesn't sing much) and met her housemate before she headed off to play a show with her band White Bush Unicorn. Peter and I jammed a bit on his porch the next morning: "The Road to Lisdoonvarna", "Matsakukkia" again, some improv...

And this was the thing that stood out from my in-flight listening on the return flight. I was aware of the late 70's Belgian band Aksak Maboul (via DJ Stashu on WFMU)...they were part of the Henry Cow-affiliated "Rock In Opposition" movement. But it seems there was some kind of "lost album" (or something) in their catalogue which various other artists have recreated track-by-track. So I'm not even sure who's on this one, but it starts to sound like Soft Machine organist Mike Ratledge guesting with Stereolab if you stick with it:

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Vels Trio and Led Bib at Crash of Moons Club

8th May 2017
Bramley's, Canterbury

A huge success, this one, Adam took a risk on a more expensive band (Led Bib ending their UK tour in support of a new album) but filled up the place and didn't lose money! And great to see some old faces from Whitstable (incl. some of the Happy Accidents). This was just a few hours after I flew back into Heathrow after a month in the States, so a great opportunity to see a lot of friends in one place. Last time I saw Led Bib was, I think, up at Orange Street Music Club, the night I met some members of the newly formed UKC Psychedelics Society — 2011?

I did my usual resident DJ Professor Appleblossom thing, playing mostly jazzy prog before Vels Trio, then a transitional set into some more skronky psych-jazz between bands, and a dance set afterwards. It was most gratifying to see Mark Holub and Liran Donin (the rhythm section from Led Bib) happily robot dancing onstage to a The Comet Is Coming track just before they played their set!

Port Erin and Sendelica at Crash of Moons Club

19th April 2017
Bramley's, Canterbury

Being in Wisconsin, I wasn't able to make it to this one, but as resident DJ Prof. Appleblossom I sent these mixes to be played before/between/after the bands. The first set (leading into Port Erin) is mostly mid-80s indie-psych, then there's a crossover set leading into some more straight-up spacerock, and an Afrobeat/dub set for dancing afterwards:

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 46

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 46

Soft Machine live in October 1970, a familiar David Sinclair melody played by an anonymous Japanese melodionist, the newest incarnation of Gong live in Oslo, a Kevin Ayers mystery solved, an obscure American cover of his much-loved "The Lady Rachel", Steve Hillage in expository mode alongside a Japanese violinist, an archival gem from Hopper and Wyatt, Mancunian maverick Mark E. Smith and The Fall taking lyrical liberties with Henry Cow's "War", some serious slabs of Matching Mole and Hatfield, a French Fripp tribute, more modular synth mastery from Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, some Casio-tastic Ethiopique recorded in Eritrea in '86, some more Indonesian jazz, Coltrane voyaging into interstellar space in '67, something from Lady June's long-awaited second album (1996) and a silly waltz by Brian Eno featuring Robert Wyatt and the Portsmouth Sinfonia. From the Canterbury of today, cosmic studio jams recorded locally by Syd Arthur and Lapis Lazuli in 2010 and 2014 respectively.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 45

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 45

An almost forgotten Richard Sinclair song from Caravan's In the Land of Grey and Pink sessions, Don Cherry guesting with System 7 twenty years ago, some very Canterbury-sounding fusion from Belgium and France in 1971, a slab of Hugh Hopper's "Monster Band" live in '74, Robert Wyatt talking Trump and singing a Cuban love song, plus more from that magnificent Suzanne Ciani and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith modular synth collaboration album Sunergy. From the Canterbury of recent times, we have Little Bulb Theatre, Luca Afrobeat Band and an hour-long mix of exquisite electronica and postrock courtesy of organic glitch producer Koloto a.k.a. Maria Sullivan.

a message for Thom Yorke

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 44

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 44

Egg, Steve Hillage's System 7 sampling Gong, Gong themselves celebrating twenty-five years of cosmic silliness, a late period Lindsay Cooper ambient collaboration, four unknown Japanese amateur musicians playing National Health's "Collapso" (having never played together before!), a old Robert Wyatt piece reworked with a Palestinian MC, the Delta Saxphone Quartet mashing up a couple of pieces from Soft Machine's "Third" album, Hugh Hopper with American experimentalists Caveman Shoestore and something from Kevin Ayers' 1972 "Banana Follies" stage show. From the Canterbury of recent times, a live set from Lapis Lazuli, an intriguing miniature from Humble Pious and friend, an almost-lost 2010 demo from Bardo Thodol and ambient works from two of the musicians behind that band. Also some spiritual jazz from Pharaoh Sanders, modular synth wizardry from Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and an overdue tribute to John Wetton (RIP).

Friday, March 10, 2017

new Evil Usses

I'm not usually too bothered about music videos, but this is a good one from my Bristol friends the Evil Usses. Their new album Amateur Pro Wrestling is out imminently, mixed by John Dietrich of Deerhoof:

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

jams with Phil

Phil and Loyda's house, Canterbury
3rd March 2017

Phil and Loyda kindly invited me over for dinner and a jam. Phil plugged my saz into an amp of his (so relative volume wasn't an issue) played tenor sax, piano, percussion, chalumeau and a five double-stringed acoustic instrument that Loyda thought might be called a "quinto" (from Venezuela?). Loyda joined in on some occasional percussion.

Listen Here

(The collection also includes a couple of jams from a few nights earlier with Dominic from Little Bulb Theatre.)

Little Bulb's Wail

Monday 27th February 2017
Gulbenkian Theatre, UKC campus, Canterbury
 


In my experience, everything Little Bulb Theatre do is wonderful and this was no exception. The show is sort of about humpback whales and why they sing, and why humans sing — a kind of unclassifiable merging of gig, lecture and gently surreal comedy. Just Dominic and Claire in this one, both playing numerous instruments. Claire sang a beautiful old whaling song, accompanied by Dom on mandolin, beat the tympani while Dom shredded on electric guitar, did a brief Freddy Mercury impression, etc.... they got the whole audience imitating the four components of humpback whalesong at one point (creak, moan, whoop, shreik...I'm sure I'll never forget them now). They ended with a a piece called "Wail", the two of them playing a bit of everything, layered up on an old loop pedal, culminating in a rather epic blue plastic trombone duet (despite neither of them having any previous brass experience)!
 


I recorded some late night jams with Dom afterwards (our occasional musical collaborations go back to a magickal incident in midsummmer 2007).
 


They're also included in this collection, which is mostly stuff I recorded with Phil Holmes (now ex-Lapis Lazuli) a few days later:

Listen Here

dub at The Monument

1st March 2017
The Monument, St. Dunstans, Canterbury

This was a UKC Psychedelics Society social, the second time I'd been in the Monument since it's reopening as a groovy music pub. After some eclectic global sounds from (El Presidente) Timmy, Lucas and Johannes took to the decks playing a non-stop vinyl dub selection. Amazing sounds! I'm usually disappointed by the selection when I go to a reggae night, but this was the second one in less than a week that was rock solid. And a very full pub for a Tuesday night (good to see the place doing so well already, although the conversational noise floor started to impinge on the dub somewhat).