Sunday, August 14, 2011

Children of the Drone 10th anniversary Drone-a-thon

This was out at James S's farmhouse a few miles west of Exeter. The original idea was to celebrate ten years of COTD with a non-stop ten-hour Drone session! We were planning to play noon until 10pm. As it happened, it wasn't nonstop (we had a few civilised breaks to converse and imbibe), and we started a bit late, but the session, from first notes/beats played to last, was only 15 minutes short of ten hours. James S and I recorded the whole thing, with a relay setup involving both of our Zoom H2's.

Various people came and went throughout the day (the list of who-played-what is inevitably going to be incomplete)...

James S — Kaoss Pad, mandola, xylophone, percussion, vocals, radio, Royal Enfield motorcycle
me — saz, acoustic bass guitar, Yamaha PSS-50 mini-keyboard, percussion
Keith — electric guitar, acoustic bass guitar, mini-Casio keyboard, percussion, mandola, tenor banjo
James T — percussion, submerged gong, mini-keyboard, poetry
John — acoustic guitars, acoustic bass guitar, mandolin, tenor banjo, percussion, vocals, hang, harmonica
Brian — drums and percussion
Lucy — alto saxophone, percussion
Henry — electronic drums
PhilipKaossilator, percussion, alto saxophone, harmonica
Matthew S — cello, saw, melodica, banjo, percussion, vocals, guitar
Vaughandan bau, mandolin, acoustic guitar
Clifford — hang, congas, percussion, theremin

Listen Here

There were a few "apologies" from Droners who'd have loved to have been there, including Mick (who's been quite ill), Annie and Melski (who was hosting her annual birthday-related "Mad Hatters Tea Party", with compulsory fancy dress, and some improvised music too, on a hilltop in the Cotswolds — I left her a voicemail recording of a minute or two of particularly good stuff during the session's mid-afternoon peak with both Henry and Brian playing their kits). It was a great shame that Simon couldn't make it, as he was one of the original trio with Keith and I, came up with the name (via a random band-name-generator) and supplied a lot of the initial enthusiasm. I did manage to meet up with him for coffee and a chat a couple of mornings later at the little Kurdish cafe near the Exeter Clocktower — he's planning to make a film about the life of eccentric local physicist Oliver Heaviside, so it looks like I'm now the mathematical consultant for that!

Here are some of the photos Keith took during the session:

John, me and James S, early on
John, me and James S, early on


Brian and Matthew S
Brian and Matthew S


James S (on Kaoss Pad) and Brian
James S (on Kaoss Pad) and Brian


Philip on harmonica
Philip on harmonica


me and James S (on Kaoss Pad)
me and James S


me, James S, James T, John, Matthew S
me, James S, Brian, James T, John, Matthew S


Matthew S and Clifford (singing in to hang)
Matthew S and Clifford (singing in to hang)


Vaughan on dan bau
Vaughan on dan bau


Henry, John and me
Henry, John and me


Vaughan and me
Vaughan and me


John, Henry, Brian and Lucy (on woodblock percussion)
John, Henry, Brian and Lucy (on woodblock percussion)


the view from where we were Droning
the view from where we were Droning


The last three hours took place in the front room by the huge fireplace, as it was getting rather chilly and damp outside. This was almost entirely acoustic, apart from James's KaossPad weirdness and Keith's guitar.

Altogether an excellent way to celebrate a decade of COTD (the only thing missing was a cake made by Vicky, whose COTD 5th anniversary lemon drizzle cake has become a thing of legends).

James S also passed on his recording of the early July COTD session at St. Mary Arches church in Exeter (as usual these days, I wasn't at that one). I've processed the audio, two long continuous sets, not bad at all:

Listen Here


And Keith kindly gave me a copy of a book I'd heard about and been meaning to track down, Jeanette Leech's Seasons They Change:The Story of Acid and Psychedelic Folk. A very comprehensive tome that I'm already most of the way through, now very keen to hear what some of the more obscure bands she enthuses about actually sound like. A lot of fragile loveliness in this vein, I expect:


En route back to Kent I stopped off for 24 hours in Bath. No music played, but an excellent time was had. I got to catch up with Rosie the harpist, now the proud owner of a Loop Station she's looking forward to experimenting with — when she's not painting, making extraordinary adapted-Victorian clothes, acting as a film extra, making cosmic sculptures for festival sites, doing healing work, teaching yoga, raising funds for the Woodland Trust, doing theatre work... She's part of Full Sail Theatre along with our old friend Percy. The collective operate from a canal boat on the Kennet and Avon canal, called Antoinette, which Percy is living on and gradually fixing up, so we spent quite a lot of time down there chatting and drinking tea. There was also a tour of some favourite bits of Bath (Sydney Gardens, etc.), a surprisingly successful and quite mirthful first attempt at making vegan sushi, viewings of ridiculously gymnastic Lindy Hop dance footage (Rosie's bored with Breton and French dancing now — Lindy Hopping's where it's at... I know a fair bit about the subject, having read The Autobiography of Malcolm X, wherein he goes into quite some detail)...

I spent a couple of hours talking about maths and physics with her godfather John at his house (he's a self-educated world authority on iguanas, among many other things) while listening to Charlie Parker...he also saw the Grateful Dead in California '66, London '72 AND The Great Pyramids of Giza '78 (I had to shake his hand for that one!), also Soft Machine at The Roundhouse in late '66, Miles Davis in the South of France around the same time. From there it was on to The Bell, Bath's best pub for music, to see The Baker Boys, a pre-modern jazz quartet who were playing some Djangoish stuff, a rather excellent arrangement of "Caravan", etc. I saw Leonie from Rae fly past at one point — turns out she works there — but didn't get a chance to say hello.

1 Comments:

Blogger Borealiscape said...

happy birthday!

11:19 AM  

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