Wednesday, March 10, 2010

more meetings of minds

Andy Bard came down from Oxford on 27/02/10 to talk to the UKC Psychedelics Society about the research behind his book Shroom. Afterwards we had a chat with Oli and Jake from campus drone/noise outfit Bardo Thodol, then went back to mine to play some music - mostly droney saz/mandolin jams, but also some of Andy's new songs (including a couple inspired by last summer solstice at Avebury). I didn't get it together to make a recording, sadly, as it was quite a good session. Thinking about it, I've never recorded anything with Andy, despite making music together for years - the situation's never quite right.

The next Wednesday evening saw another sesion with Tom (bass) and Miriam (violin/voice) at their cottage (we've made this a twice-weekly thing now), except this time we were joined by Phil (saxophone player from Madame Molotof and Mr. Lovebucket) who we all happen to know separately. He tried out various things on melodion, tenor sax and chalumeau (what Melski calls a "sawn-off clarinet"), some of which worked really well, we thought - the big problem is volume disparity, but there seems to be an enthusiasm among the four of us to continue with this when I get back from the States (I'm off on the 17th for a few weeks). Later I realised that Children of the Drone were playing a session at the same time in Exeter (James S recorded this and is going to send me his Minidiscs). It's interesting how the COTD template is naturally arising within the context of this new configuration of musicians in Canterbury, without me trying to enforce or encourage it. No one seems to want to pin things down, work things out or get a set together - open-ended modal jamming seems to be the most appropriate way to interact musically at this stage.

I'm now down in Falmouth working with Conrad Shawcross at Urbanomic Studio on a collaborative maths/art project (funded by the Arts Council). I've been staying at the self-built home of Urbanomic's Paul Chaney near Constantine. I got to know Paul back in the late 90's when I was travelling down here with the Dongas - he used to come along to our gatherings and folk sessions at the Jacob's Ladder pub in Falmouth. The night I arrived I ended up jamming with Paul and Robin (publisher of Urbanomic's avant-garde philosophy journal Collapse, the first edition of which involved an interview with me), Robin playing a child's 3/4 size guitar and Paul strumming a charango he brought back from the Andes some years ago.

Loop System Quintet by Conrad Shawcross
time lapse image of Loop System Quintet by Conrad Shawcross - five linked kinetic sculptures illustrating five musical intervals via a pair of geared rotating arms (the paths of the moving lights being revealed here as torus knots)

A couple of nights later I was at a Cornish and Breton folk night at a The Waterfront pub in Falmouth. Paul explained that this was a direct continuation of the weekly session which the Dongas initiated at another Falmouth pub, the Jacobs Ladder (some recordings of which can be found here), but I didn't recognise any of the musicians or dancers - funny how these things can take on a life of their own.


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