Friday, September 30, 2005

uplifting Crediton session

A more electric Children of the Drone session than we've had in a long time last night. Thoroughly enjoyable. I left feeling like I'd just been to a really good, intensive yoga class.

John's electric Drone setup
John's electric Drone setup

Henry - percussion
John - electric guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, voice, low whistle, percussion
Richard - electric bass guitar
me - saz, balalaika, acoustic bass guitar, percussion

Last Saturday I was over at Henry's for a Pulse workout, Richard working on some new basslines, including Bob Marley's "Lively Up Yourself" - surprisingly tricky, that, to the initiate. It seemed to me at the time that if he could really "get" the rhythmic subtleties of that (deceptively simple) line, he would "get" reggae as a whole. Henry's getting really into reggae and dub dub rhythms at the moment. He was recently reminiscing about an old girlfriend introducing him to King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown, which inspired me to dig some Tubby's out and get inspired. During this session he heard my balalaika amped up with a bit of delay on it, half-jokingly suggested a reggae vibe, and suddenly we were off on a dub excursion. The particular sound I had somewhat accidentally ended up with suggested to me someone playing balalaika in a geographically distant reggae band down a less-than-perfect-quality phone line from Russia. There was another dubbed-out piece in the second set, and more time spent in major keys than usual (James T pointed out that the last session was entirely minor key).

We also got louder than ever before in a "non-live" Drone session - wild thrashy electric guitar playing from John, with Henry pounding his kit at one point. This allowed me to get fully into playing my darabuka, which at normal Drone volumes requires a sensitivity and subtlety that I would have to warm up extensively first to achieve.

One piece sounds a bit like John's borrowing the riff from Compay Segundo's "Chan Chan" (familiar from The Buena Vista Social Club).

Henry and John, before Richard arrived
Henry and John, before Richard arrived

I played some (acoustic) bass early on, before Richard arrived. It felt embarrassingly weak at the time, but not that bad listening back to it. Still, I really need to spend more time familiarising myself with the bass fretboard.

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