Monday, December 19, 2011

bowed hurdy-gurdy and saz improvisations with Joel

14th December, 2011. In Joel and Sarah's kitchen, Batcombe, Somerset.

Joel was playing his hurdy-gurdy with a violin bow in order to keep the volume down (it was past midnight, and we didn't want to disturb the neighbours). Lots of modal jamming in the key of G. He's not been getting enough sleep (studying osteopathy full time and bringing up a high-energy kid), so this wasn't us at our most fact, the "clunk" you can hear at the end of the last track is the sound of his bow hitting the floor (he'd fallen asleep while playing)! An enjoyable session though. We always conclude that we should get together and play more, but life, you know...

Listen Here

I spent a couple of days in Batcombe between Bristol and West Wales (where I am now). The last night in Bristol was spent in Easton with Sophie (from Sondryfolk) and her sister Laura who've recently moved into a house there. When S and I came in out of the torrential rain, Laura was in the middle of learning some raags from Oshan of The Turbans (she on harmonium, he on open-tuned guitar). He had to leave shortly thereafter, was hoping to return with his bouzouki for a jam, but that didn't work out. As a result of this, I learned that Sophie's studied violin in Varanasi, where Joel once studied tabla, and Matt Spacegoat learned to play sitar. We spent the evening by the fireplace, listening to my selections from the stack of vinyl that the previous tenants had abandoned: Nic Jones, who I'd previously heard about but never heard, Tim Buckley's Starsailor, Jah Shaka, Astral Weeks and Captain Beefheart's Doc at the Radar Station. I'd always assumed that the latter was one of Beefheart's lesser works, but had been chatting to Simon, the husband of Maddie's friend Lucy, in a pub a couple of days earlier about music (he let slip that he'd agitated to have Wire's "I Am the Fly" as the first dance at their weddding reception (!), so I immediately liked him), and he surprised me by saying that he thought this was his best album. It was quite odd finding it so soon after (the first time I've ever had access to a physical copy I'm quite sure). He described having recently seen The Magic Band live (Keith from COTD had told me about seeing them in Falmouth when we were Droning a week or so earlier), also turned out to know Angelo Bruschini (who I saw numerous times in the Blue Aeroplanes between '88 and '92, now doing very well for himself as Massive Attack's guitarist) and spoke enthusiastically about Robert Wyatt's "Born Again Cretin". In the course of this conversation, we discovered that we were born five days apart! (and this wasn't so long after Maddie and I discovered that we were born ten years apart to the day.) Note to self: stop using so many parentheses!


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