Wednesday, September 23, 2009

murky equinoctial drone

Back at St. Stephens church this time, as St. Mary Arches was unavailable. Hence a rather murky acoustic, especially with a relatively large group of players. Unfortunately no appearance from Simon despite his expressed intention of joining us.

Autumn equinox occured at precisely 22:18 - I banged James T's little gong so no one missed it!

Brian - djembe, cowbell, other percussion (first half)
Henry - Roland Samplepad, percussion, vocals
Lucy - alto saxophone
Tim - acoustic guitar, harmonica, recorder
James T - piano, percussion, poetry, submerged gong, xylophone
Keith - electric guitar, mini-Casio keyboard, iPhone koto emulator app
James S - "Dynamike" + effects (processed vocals), mandola, circuit-bent mini-keyboard, MiniDisc samples
me - saz, balalaika, percussion, equinoctial gong

Keith's guitar setup
Keith's guitar setup

No one brought a bass, so this was a rather trebly session. James S spontaneously picked up some local radio via his circuit-bend keyboard, and later in the session discovered that his MiniDisc player (brought simply because it contained an AA battery) contained a disc with a recording of himself and a friend capturing animal noises on a farm, so that got an airing too.

Listen Here

* * *

On the way out to Exeter I stopped in Oxford for a party at Nomi's house (Nomi is Andy Bard's girlfriend, last seen at Avebury for Summer Solstice) - Sharron Kraus also lived there until very recently moving to mid-Wales...she was also there, as was Andy, Jim from Red Dog Green Dog and Kimwei (who recognised me from an Orbis Tertius? gig at the Picture House, Exeter in November 2006). At one moment, I came into the house from the garden to hear what sounded like a reduced Penguin Cafe Orchestra in the front room. On closer listening it seemed to be a modal/drone outro to one of Andy's mandolin-based songs. Rupert, one of Jim's new Oxford housemates, was playing accordion, Sharron was playing fiddle, and there were a couple of acoustic guitars being played as well, I think. Jim and I were soon involved (with concertina and saz, respectively), despite a relative lack of space. A succession of gypsy-themed songs followed ("Gypsy Davy", "The Raggle-Taggle Gypsy", etc.), this being something of a party theme (lots of headscarves, waistcoats, silver bangles, making me feel rather under-dressed in my black T-shirt). A little-known Kinks song about smoking cigarettes ("Harry Rag") also got sung, nice to join in with that.

Someone called Fergus, who arrived carrying a box containing a couple of giant African snails (not quite sure why!), spent the evening singing slow, melancholy and surprisingly beautiful versions of songs like "Love Potion No. 9" and "Cry Me a River". Just as I was packing my saz away to leave, he launched into an especially lovely version of "St. James Infirmary", so the saz came back out of its case. I love that song, and it seems to show up everywhere...

The next day I caught the end of Vicky and Lucy's exhibition at OrganicARTS near Exeter - it was a 25 minute multimedia piece called "The Spirit of West Town Farm", based on photos by Lucy and a sound sculpture by Vicky - the latter involved various bits of music, including some recent Droning, a bit of my solo saz and various bits of Norwegian ambience from The Wire's recent Runeology 3 compilation (Arve Henriksen, Food, Ultralyd and Humcrush). After taking that in, I ran into Steve, a former grafitti writer and road protester I met at Newbury in '96 - he's currently the sign-writer-in-residence at West Town Farm, and part of the DoodleDubz collective. He mentioned that there were bands playing down at the Quay in Exeter all day for World Peace Day, so later in the evening, Claudia, Vicky and I wandered down to catch SkaPer's set (ska classics, Madness, Specials, etc.). Very nice vibe down there...scary-looking skinheads dancing beside gentle hippies - a tiny microcosm of world peace.


Blogger icastico said...

Sounds like a lovely session. Thanks.

3:29 PM  

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