Wednesday, September 06, 2017

RIP Walter Becker

Walter Becker
February 20, 1950 — September 3, 2017

I heard this for the first time just over a year ago and it completely changed my opinion of Steely Dan:

RIP Holger Czukay

Holger Czukay
24 March 1938 — 5 September 2017

My favourite track from the first Can album I heard (from the vinyl stacks of UKC Radio, in basement of Eliot College, Canterbury, late '88):

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 50

Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 50

Robert Wyatt singing a socialist anthem and a Cuban song, Caravan playing Gershwin live in Canterbury in 1970, a very special Gong lineup playing an old favourite at the Gong Family Unconvention in Amsterdam in 2006, Kevin Ayers in '76, the title track from a curious Greaves and Blegvad album (1977) and some poetry from Daevid Allen's last days. Ambience from Eno, a Dorothy Ashby album side, prog-medievalism from Gryphon, George Harrison, the Grateful Dead, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and a surprisingly wild piece of late '30s swing. From the Canterbury of recent times, a live recording from the acid-folk duo Bearded Sphynx and a Kevin Ayers cover from the much-loved Max Martin (RIP).

Friday, September 01, 2017

...and Josh too

Oh God, this is too much. Not just Max, we've lost Josh too. Hard to believe. An insanely gifted guitarist and beautiful human being.

I knew he was a keen skater, but never saw him in action or realised how good he was. This just turned up, 2012 footage from the skatepark near Whitstable when Josh was sixteen:

He approached guitar playing like a skateboarder, always pushing himself to the limit, attempting the near-impossible, falling down, cheerfully getting up and trying again, and again, until he'd taken his skill to the next level. Gone at 21. I can't begin to imagine what he'd have been able to do with a guitar with another ten years of constant playing and integrating new styles.

I'll forever have happy memories from this night, recorded after an epic walk around the Broad Oak Valley together with Juliet, Becci and Tom Holden. My saz playing sounds a bit clumsy (and I was too close to the mic), but that hardly seems to matter now. RIP Josh.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

RIP Max

I still don't know the story, but it seems we've lost dear Max Martin, tireless music enthusiast and, in the last couple of years, prolific busker who rapidly went from learning some chords to amassing hundreds of songs and playing every open mic going. He poured his soul into his music like few people can. I can't quite believe this has happened. Canterbury won't be the same without him. I'll always remember joyfully dancing in the rain in the High Street one Saturday night while he was busking this (a request from Juliet, a close friend of his who must be completely devastated right now):

He had a bit of a Kevin Ayers thing, too, did a nice job with this:

Local legend Luke Smith said it all:

What unspeakably tragic news about dear, sweet Maximum Martin, one of Canterbury's finest.

Shocked and gutted beyond words, to think of not seeing Maxy again, having been touched by his cherishable friendship for nearly two decades. It’s impossible to measure the positive impact this warm and lovable man has had on Canterbury, as he’s truly made it a brighter place for so very many people, over so many years.

Maxy embodied one of the most sacred human attributes of all time. Enthusiasm.

He was a bright, bumbling, brilliant barrage of hearty human passion. An open-spirited, bravely uncynical being, who genuinely cared about spreading kindness, fun, and friendship.

Maxy was generous with his musical loves. He wanted to hurl them out there to the world, in great big trusting bucketfuls. Not for vain, self-regarding reasons, but because he had a sincere, exuberant desire to share the treasures he prized, with everyone he met. He was a shining presence on the scene, and the loss is heartbreaking.

Here's to you Maxy, with thanks always, for the hundreds of lucky hours spent in your effervescent company. You will not be forgotten. xxxx

Goodnight Maxy, you were much loved...

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

RIP Dad

William F. Watkins
19th May 1924 – 18th August 2017

My dad never got a lot of the weirder music I listened to, but there was plenty of common ground.

Being an old-school socialist, I remember him singing and whistling this anthem when I was a kid (the Labour party used to sing it at party conferences back then, not these days). I played him this once and he really liked it, the only Canterbury Scene music I think he ever heard (I don't think I'll be able to listen to this for a while without it bringing a tear to my eye):

His youth coincided with the Swing era, so for him, jazz never got any better than this (Benny Goodman with Harry James on trumpet and Gene Krupa drumming):

I used to think Goodman was part of an affluent white cultural appropriation of jazz, turning it into a safe commodity. But having just read about him, I discovered that he grew up in abject poverty on the South side of Chicago (a Jewish immigrant family) and was the first prominent bandleader to have a racially integrated band. And listening to that recording of "Sing, Sing, Sing", trying to imagine being a teenager in the late 30s, I suspect it would have sounded as wild and mind-bendingly intense as "Interstellar Overdrive" did to me in the 80s. So I've had to concede that my dad was actually a lot more far-out than I'd given him credit for.

He had a deep love for classical music too, and I never did find out where that came from (certainly not his family or his shipmates in the US Navy). Generally he went for the bombastic post-Baroque stuff, whereas I can't really handle that, preferring earlier composers (Bach, Byrd, Dowland, Gibbons, Hildgaard von Bingen). His favourite symphony was César Franck's Symphony in D Minor. A lot of that is too bombastic for my ears, but this movement is nice:

Here's something very much in the overlapping region of the Venn diagram of our musical likes. We used to play a lot of chess when I visited, and in recent years I'd tend to put on Ellington and Count Basie so we could both enjoy the sounds while playing. Mid-period Coltrane and Monk were a bit too far-out, but tolerable to him, and the extended Eno ambient works I'd put on occasionally didn't seem to bother him (he was too absorbed in the chessboard). But we both rated this one highly:

Love you, Dad. Thanks for everything...

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Radigun, Three Cane Whale and Arlet in the woods

Thursday 17th August,
secret woodland location near Canterbury

This'll probably be the last one of these woodland gigs for me this year. While setting up for it I learned from a voicemail that my dad was in hospital in Wisconsin, and it was serious. I was on a plane less than twelve hours later. So the gig itself rather passed me by, but it was good to have something to get on with, something to focus my mind a bit and then distract it.

My musical brother Sven, visiting from Belgium, had the difficult job of playing a hastily prepared solo set after having heard my news. But his versions of "I Can't Stand the Rain" and "Kaya" were just what were needed at the time. A great set, including his comic metal-tinged German-language "Rambo III". Love you Sven.

I'd planned another of these gigs for the next evening, which was able to go ahead anyway because of a few kind friends who stepped in to take care of things in my absence. It took place while I was in Chicago's O'Hare airport waiting to board a small domestic flight north. Three Cane Whale from Bristol, a wondrous trio involving Alex, the mandolin player from Spiro. They'd been booked up for the Broadstairs Folk Festival, had a night off, and had contacted me about playing in the woods, to my amazement and delight. From what I've heard it was a great night, the band loved the space and ended up sitting round the fire afterwards with the late crew. Hopefully I'll see them there one day, and who knows, perhaps even Spiro.

There was one more gig planned — Arlet (Sunday 27th). I coordinated the invitate list, etc. from across the Atlantic, managed to get together a good-sized audience of receptive listeners for them. As with Three Cane Whale, Adam compered, he and Kim cooked a curry, various other people brought stuff or helped out in some way, and everything got done.

I don't think Aidan (Arlet's accordionist and primary composer) would mind this in the public domain — I'm sitting here in Wisconsin processing several recent deaths and some kind words go a long way:

"...I wanted to say a big thank you for your efforts in making the Arlet gig happen last Sunday. Without exaggerating I can say that it was probably about the best gig we've done. Somehow everything just slotted into place...

Your absence was obviously sorely missed, but we were chatting afterwards and Rosie said that she thought we were playing in a way which you had probably imagined we could in the early days. So perhaps we're getting closer to reaching that potential, but I think all of us in Arlet take a lot from knowing that you believed in what we do even when we weren't managing to quite do it.

So thank you for that, and the occasional reminder to keep doing it! We will, and we're even starting to take some pride in it as well."

Frances and Miriam, Sam and Jess in the woods

Sunday 13th August, 2017
secret woodland location near Canterbury

Sadly Joe Evans couldn't make it to play his ragtime guitar support set (he was in Waawles). So I asked Max Martin, who seemed honoured to have been asked, but was already booked up to play somewhere else (he seemed unstoppable at the time, now this turn of events seems particularly tragic). Anyway, in stepped Sam Sytsma, Canterbury Cathedral lay-clerk, who sang a selection of French impressionist songs from 19th century (by several composers whose names I didn't catch) in both baritone and alto registers at the (proper piano-sounding) keyboard, assisted by his wife Jess. She read an English translation of each lyric, beautifully, over extended piano intros, and played violin on one song. The format worked extremely well. They ended with a very familiar instrumental piece (which Sam apologetically admitted was something you'd regularly hear on Classic FM), called "The Swan" I think. The audience was pretty stunned by this stuff, many having heard nothing like it. I was hearing pre-echoes of William D. Drake and Tim Smith (both of the Cardiacs) in the impressionist compositional styles (perhaps having filtered down via Henry Cow, who strongly influenced them).

The other act on this occasion was radically different despite having the same voice/violin/piano instrumentation: Frances Knight and Miriam Gould doing some refreshingly interesting things with jazz standards. Miriam played viola and violin when not singing, and rather than the "trading solos" approach, they went more for the psychedelic jam everyone-solo-at-the-same-time thing. Very effectively. After minimal rehearsal — this was their first public appearance as a duo — they already have a strong musical chemistry. It was pleasing to have motivated them to do this, and in such a gorgeous setting. They also did Thelonious Monk's "Round About Midnight" because I'd mentioned it hopefully to Miriam a week earlier (she hadn't known it, but learned it, now loves it, sang it so soulfully). The set also included "Empty Room", written by her parents (her dad, the great tenor sax player Sal Nistico, wrote the music, and her mum Rachel wrote the lyrics some years after Sal died). It all felt very intimate, and made me happy, just seeing two of my favourite local musicians having such a good time and playing so well together.

Their encore took them beyond their prepared material. They needed a familiar standard, so I requested "Autumn Leaves". She'll soon be off to Australia with her Little Bulb Theatre company to perform their interpretation of Orpheus and Euridyce at the Brisbane Festival, a show that went down a storm in London and elsewhere, and which includes that song.

free Ladysmith Black Mabazo gig

7th August 2017
Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury

I got offered a free ticket to see Ladysmith Black Mabazo at the last minute. From the upper circle of the Marlowe (never been up there before). It would never have occurred to me to go otherwise (I never liked Graceland or the populist, commodified "world music" thing that it ushered in). It was a tightly scripted, choreographed show, not the kind of thing I generally go in for, but (no surprise) incredibly beautiful harmony singing throughout. Two sets, a song about Nelson Mandela and an "Amazing Grace" encore. The Canterbury world music demographic left very happy that night. Thanks John and Vicky!

jams in Belgium

I stuck around in Belgium for a little while after Sven's Sidi Caravan gig in Gent. Alan was over from New Zealand and had arranged a full moon gathering at our friend Thrine's farmhouse out in the country near Geel, so he, Sven and I got the train out there, met Inge and Dominique and proceeded to have a few very chilled days cooking, eating, jamming and enjoying each other's company in an uncharacteristically quiet and peaceful corner of Flanders. I recorded quite a lot of saz-and-mandolin jams with Inge, some with Sven and/or Alan playing percussion, some with Sven playing a bit of guitar. There was a wonderful and hilarious few minutes where we were all jamming on Alan's two-chord reggae anthem "Golden Bay Association Football Club" (who he's played for in NZ — including shoutouts to everyone on the team, plus the youth squad, the women's team...), Sven singing harmony on the choruses, but that didn't get recorded (typically).

   

Alan and I eventually headed back to Wolvertem near Brussels to meet his new (half-Malian) half-brother Joske and have a little jam (Joske playing some percussion along with us and Alan's dad) before I headed back across (actually *under*) the Channel.

I was back in Belgium a week-and-a-half later for more saz-and-mandolin magic with Inge at Funkey's birthday gathering in Sint-Niklaas. He seemed beyond delighted to have Inge and I there as musicians, and surprised me by talking about our recording sessions there years ago in such glowing terms. He made an amazing spread of food, local friends came over, unexpected friends from elsewhere turned up late, we jammed into the night. Beautiful. I had to take off in the morning, but it was worth going over just for that party (thanks, Sarah, for the Eurostar discount!). I now have about five hours of jams with Inge to edit down for another compilation, to be posted here in due course. That may take a few weeks, but it will happen.

   

During the in-between time that I was back in Britain I'd finished the book I've been working on for over three years, got it off to the printers, headed to Bristol on the coach and spent a night at the Evil Usses HQ just outside the city (a lovely spot, and a shared house where people just wander from room to room or sit in the garden practicing instruments). Dan Inzani was busy on his laptop doing BLOOM collective promo stuff and putting together the album art for a vinyl release of the debut Spindle Ensemble album Bea. Rosy was visiting Leon with her new cats Athena and Nanouk who'd quickly become centres of attention, enjoying climbing trees in the garden, etc. The next day, Rosy, the cats and I drove in her van Evangeline down to South Pool in Devon, hung out for a couple of days pottering in her garden, listening to vinyl, etc. then had a lovely trip up to Dartmoor (brought the cats, parked the van near Hay Tor, explored, played weird, wizardly psychedelic-guitar-and-saz jams through the night, listened to Hillage's Rainbow Dome Musick, stayed up til sunrise.

I then wandered down to Widdecombe to be picked up by Joel who then took me via his-and-Sarah's new place in Chagford to Batcombe in Somerset (their old place) and then — long drive into the night — on to the Lammas community in Pembrokeshire. This was for the possibly-to-become-annual gathering which came off the back of the surprise 50th birthday part staged for Stef last summer. It was another precious weekend gathering of lovely old friends, SO much amazing music being played at such a high level — Scandinavian folk tunes, African songs, Welsh trad, old Dongas material... Ruth was down from Scotland with her nickelharpa, Jo and Mikey from Sussex with box and fiddle...lots of pipes, strings, voices... sensitivity, listening, just pure musical love... Unfortunately I had sudden, very painful sinusitis (which I took to be toothache), so ended up on painkillers clutching my jaw, feeling dreadful and not managing much more than a bit of shaky egg shaking. My saz didn't even come out of its case : ( So, not the greatest time from my point-of-view, but lovely to see Stef, Peni, Peni's daughters and friends, Stevie P, Mandy, Fraggle and the whole crew.

Sidi Caravan in Gent

Kultuurkaffee Twee Poorten, Gent, Belgium
Friday 7th July, 2017

My Flemish musical brother Sven's band Caravan had been dormant for quite a few years, this was their comeback gig, at the last "cultural" squat in Gent. He and drummer Geert have re-envisioned the band so their set consisted of a build-up starting with Sven solo with a guitar (Diamanda Galas' version of "Let My People Go"), then Sven + Geert + sequenced backing tracks, then a full band with Sven, Geert + double bass and accordion. Amazing stuff, lots of Flemish humour, some Columbian cumbia, some wild, raw Tinariwen-style electric guitar jamming from Sven. A lot of people came out of the woodwork for this one, remembering the band fondly from years ago. A triumphant return.

Our mutual friends Alan and Inge were both around for this gig, plus Funkey and Mickey from the Oort Cloud days came over from Sint-Niklaas, so it was a bit like time-travelling back to the 90s. The cigarette smoke was a bit much, but such a good atmosphere (in the non-gaseous sense) that I was prepared to put up with that. Old-school squat vibes.

Sidi Caravan's set was followed by an open jam (which had some great post-rock-type moments with some excellent trumpet playing involved), and then me playing a four-hour DJ set (1-5a.m.!) as Professor Appleblossom, something Sven had arranged many weeks before. I think that was the highlight of my DJing experiences thus far. I had the whole place jumping throughout (a lot of Afro, Ethio, funk, soul, soul-jazz, dub and rockers), no technical problems, great vibes from everyone, hugs and handshakes and big smiles from almost everyone who had to leave before I ended my set. The people who run Twee Poorten were delighted (dancing behind the bar), telling me that I'd perfectly captured the spirit of their place. So, a success. I wish I'd recorded my set now so I could post it. Big up Alan for tolerating the (by this time very thick) tobacco smoke permeating the air for so many hours, wanting to be there for my set.

HarshMellows at Bramleys

28th June 2017
Bramley's, Canterbury

My first chance to see the Holden Brothers' almost-acoustic grunge outfit. Ed's singing (he writes the songs) and playing guitar, Toby's singing harmonies and Tom's playing acoustic bass guitar, with Irish Richie on drums and Jon Lilford on lead (electric) guitar.

Here they are in the same venue a few weeks earlier:

(Excellent solo acoustic support sets from Andrew "Endwar Powers" Prowse and Ellen Tasou that night too.)

another summer solstice

a hilltop near Avebury
21st June 2017

Another magical summer solstice gathering. Fireside jamming all night, a lot of it involving Stef's mandola and my saz interweaving with various Goddess/Earth chants led by Peni and Selena (a lovely thing to be part of once a year or so). Nathan Vibration was also around with his bouzouki, and Nusphere Dave with a darbouka. Melski came up from Gloucestershire with little Arthur, my third godson, and spent the night trying to sleep just a bit too close to our noisy fireside scene...but they made it up onto the nearby round barrow to watch a pretty beatiful sunrise (despite the sky being marred by a lot of aircraft-related textures).

I'd walked in to Avebury from Pewsey the day before (having got the train there), along the canal to Alton Barnes, then up the Ridgeway over the hill and down, stopping off at all my usual favourite spots (Knapp Hill, Adam's Grave, Alton Priors church, the yew in its churchyard, the nearby "laughing" spring) to sit quietly or play a bit of saz. The trip also included quick stops at Swallowhead Spring, West Kennet Longbarrow, the nameless longbarrow near Beckhampton, the Adam and Eve stones, Waden Hill, Silbury Hill, East Kennett churchyard. It's always worth the effort to get myself into the Avebury landscape.

I left the day after with Melski and Arthur, back to Dursley for a couple of days. We were going to record a Reality Report conversation about play and improvisation, but that never happened. Got some good shoes in a charity shop, though, saw lots of birds at a nearby wetland reserve, and retain happy memories of collectivey digging a Hugh Masakela album one morning with M&A.

songs from the wood

A couple more magical woodland gigs in the secret location near Canterbury:

8th June 2017
Yama Warashi, Dubi Dolczek and Cloudshoes

Yama Warashi semi-acoustic! Yoshino played a "passive" keyboard (was it a Clavinet?) plugged into a little busking amp, and Lewis similarly amped his bass (we had a momentary panic just before their set, a loose wire under his volume control, swiftly rectified by candlelight with the help of our friend Mr. Leatherman). Temporarily stripping away a lot of the sonic processing allowed a rare glimpse of Yama Warashi in a kind of essential form, making it even more evident than usual how special this band is. Conrad started the evening with another unclassifiable solo set as Cloudshoes, followed by an extraordinary card trick from Lewis, then a rather understated set from Dubi Dolczek and friends Graham wasn't having the best of nights, but still managed to make it immensely entertaining for everyone. Some of the new Dubi in Space album got played, along with some Inkspots and rocksteady tunes. This subset of Bristol's BLOOM collective was on its way over to play three in Belgium and France, this made for a nice fireside send-off from the Canterbury crowd.

18th June 2017
Lay Clerks of Canterbury Cathedral and The Selkies

I kept the Lay Clerks secret so as to avoid scaring off anyone who might suspect religion was being pushed (it wasn't, they're entirely secular when off-duty!). This set was put together by our friend Sam (from Maine) who recently moved down from York. He sang in the Minster choir up there and is now with the Cathedral choir. He'd mentioned how he could bring some friends from the choir to sing, and I'd suggested a programme of William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons choral pieces as a late birthday present to myself. He brought a couple of other "lay clerks" (they're not "choristers" — those are the young boys) and his wife Jess. They managed to sing a William Byrd Latin mass for five voices, with Sam covering one of the five with his accordion, then sang some Gibbons madrigals, including the beautiful "The Silver Swan", and the almost Zappa-like "Cries of London" (a kind of early 17th century sound collage, described elsewhere online as "one of the most peculiar and strangely effective consort songs of the period").

The Selkies (Flo and Nou) broke off from revising together for their chemistry GCSE (the next day!) and came over from the Sandwich area to enchant everyone with their imaginative songs and stunning harmonies. A new one called "Treefrog", involving an mbira, brought The Raincoats to mind... it'll be interesting to see what they'll evolve into, 'cos they're already amazing. A few days later they were to launch their debut EP Woodlouse at St. Mary's in Sandwich:

Arlet in Ramsgate

Sunday 11th June 2017
Ramsgate Music Hall

This was the first public Arlet gig in over a year, and it was on my birthday. And at RMH, with its celebrated acoustics and culture of listening. Sarah and I got the train to Ramsgate just in time (running, with seconds to spare), having just got back from an epic 12-15 mile birthday walk around the Sarre Penn valley with a group of a dozen lovely humans and a dog.

We had a chat with Rosie and Ben outside for a little while before they had to go in to play. Such sweet, interesting people comprise this band. Despite not having played much together for ages, they sounded as good as they ever have, from the spacey, meandering opening of "Summertimes" through to the encore. I attempted to record the set but the batteries in my Zoom H2 died just as they were morphing "Summertimes" into "Medway Services". There was a new one called "Final Sixteen" written by Aidan late last year, and both their exquisite cover of Eno's "The Big Ship" and the tour de force "Mattematix" were dedicated to me for my birthday. They'd even worked out a very Arlet-y arrangement of "Happy Birthday" which I'd have been curious to hear, but I was somewhat relieved when they shelved the idea at the last minute. The ultimate highlight was the trio (Owen, Rosie, Aidan) reworking of "Bowerhouse", particularly its never-quite-heard-anything-like-it violin/accordion interplay.

Happy birthday to me : )

The Thirteen Club return

9th June 2017
The Penny Theatre, Canterbury

The evening started early with me going to see my old friend Miriam taking part in something I only vaguely grasped the idea of, at the Lilford Gallery in Castle Street. It turned out to be a promotional event for the launch of the debut album by singer-songwriter Jude Adams. Miriam was playing violin/viola and providing backing vocals while the should-be-legendary Frances Knight played piano. The songs were pleasant enough, lounge-y jazz, but the bulk of the event was offputtingly and uncomfortably self-promotional. Jude has a background in marketing — it showed — having turned to music in her 50s. But I was especially happy to see Miriam and Frances working together — a new development likely to lead in some interesting directions.

I made a swift getaway and pedaled over to the Penny Theatre on Northgate to catch the end of a set from The Thirteen Club. They're a jazz-fusion band who originated in Canterbury via the CCCU music department back around 2014. Several of them have since moved elsewhere, but they're keeping the band going and seemed delighted to be playing back in Canterbury.

They've got a new lineup, with Jason having moved from bass to guitar (a good move — he was a great bassist, but it had seemed a shame that his exceptional guitar playing wasn't part of The Thirteen Club sound). He's been replaced by a virtuosic young bass player called Lewis who they found in London. A new drummer too, I think. I caught the last number (a long one, everyone soloing) and a brief encore. Sounding really great, I do hope they keep it together and keep coming back to East Kent.

The Top Cat Collective looked like a lot of fun (two singers, heavily mustachioed-male-with-bandanna and skinny-female-with-tambourine). But I just wasn't in a funk mood. I had a good chat with Irish Richie before taking off, though. He was once in a short-lived shoegaze band called Plume with some of the Club, now in local acoustic grunge outfit The HarshMellows. I learned that he was soon to be moving with his family to Luca in Italy, so resolved to get the 'Mellows to play one of the woodland gigs I've been curating.

Syd Arthur and Morgan Delt

6th June 2017
Ramsgate Music Hall

LA-based Morgan Delt and band were pretty great, and inhabiting the same musical universe as Syd Arthur (a rare thing). Morgan didn't say a word, they just kept busy with the prog-psych (psych-prog?) jams.

Syd were on top form. The crystal clear acoustics in the RMH more than made up for the painful situation at Dreamland in Margate some weeks earlier. No acoustic strings from Raven, but I'm getting used to that now. There's no reason he can't reintroduce them at some point in the future, but for now seems to be getting deep into his analog synths and electric tenor guitar. The synths are being masterfully integrated into the Syd Arthur soundworld — I very much approve. And there was a bit of a surprise when someone shouting out for "Dorothy" (the gorgeous encore from On An On) as an encore got their wishes fulfilled in a moment of spontaneity from Liam. They launched into it, jammed it out, Liam's guitar playing reaching an unbelievable level of intensity at one point. They killed it, as is said these days.

Here they are up in Hackney the night before, to give you an (unfortunately distorted) idea of what they're sounding like these days:

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 Musick", 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!