Thursday, February 09, 2006

new project - first "rehearsal"

I decided a while ago that my musical reality needs some new, more structured ingredient if it is going to continue to grow and mature. The idea I settled on was to create a saz-bass-drums trio with Keith and Henry, with whom I've been playing vast amounts of wholly improvised music for the last five years or so. The idea is to start with a variety of riffs, tunes and half-formed ideas I've come up with over the years, as well as folktunes from the widest possible range of musical cultures. These will act as springboards for improvisational excursions. I envision this as being something which will be very much performance-based, and something which, although fundamentally a trio, could ultimately involve any number of 'guests', including pretty much anyone we've Droned with over the years, and others.

There's no name for this thing yet. I've got a few possible ones in mind, but we need to get the music working first before we worry about what we're going to call ourselves, who we're going to play for, and where.

The three of us got together for the first time at Henry's last night. Keith brought his electric fretless bass, so the sound was something like the session we did for the Respect Festival at the Phoenix. We ran through five ideas:

  • "Afro-Cornish" - a riff/groove I came up with in Cornwall years ago, around the time I was listening to a lot of African music. Many rhythmic possibilities here - this one took off almost immediately.
  • "25 Years" - a fairly complete piece I made up for Inge's 25th birthday when we were in Constantine (Cornwall). It's a bit harder to break out of the tune and into improv territory, but we got there in the end. (There's a nice jammed-out version featuring Inge here.)
  • "Pisci Cuspus" - a simple little tune (some people think it sounds "Elizabethan") I made up on my balalaika a couple of summer solstices ago. (A rough version can be found here). I was amazed at how heavy we were able to make this one sound
  • "Levitating the Pentagon" - my first attempt to create something in a five-rhythm. This originated in Palenque (southern Mexico), and was something Inge, Andy Man and I used to play a lot in '96-'97. (A rough version of this can be found here). The five thing's a bit of a challenge, but both Henry and Keith are already doing really well with it, I feel.
  • "Cutting Bracken" - a Scottish folk tune Keith was already familiar with, which I learned from my Scottish friend Gareth while we were on The 1997 Treewalk in Ireland.


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