Sunday, June 24, 2012

Random Article at Free Range

14/06/12, Veg Box Cafe, Canterbury

A few weeks ago, Sam Bailey, having discovered that I play music, asked Miriam and I if we'd like to provide a little opening slot for one of his "Free Range" series of avant-garde Thursday night sessions up in the Veg Box. So, despite the format never having been tested on an audience, we agreed to do something as Random Article. Tom wasn't available to play bass, but Paul Clifford was keen to play junkyard percussion, so we went ahead and did it. We got half an hour, played four pieces inspired by titles generated live using the Wikipedia 'Random Article' link: a 14km stretch of highway in New Brunswick (where Paul's wife is from), an Andalucian footballer, a species of moth and an 18th century English baron with a serious gambling habit and ridiculous CV. We felt that we'd played well, getting into the Random Article trance ("We all left", as Miriam put it on the way home) and feeding off each other organically. Paul was particularly valuable in moving things along percussively with his assortment of found objects (Sam later compared him to the great Han Bennink!).

Listen Here

Agrochola macilenta, a.k.a. the yellow line quaker

Sam played the main set, delivering a 'lecture-recital' during which he explained that the solo piano improv sets he's been playing every week since January are based on a set of systems he's developed (one involving expanding intervals, one the harmonics generated by the lowest note on the keyboard, etc.)...this was simultaneously fascinating and curiously disappointing, as I'd just assumed that he just had a supernatural ability to pull this remarkable music out of the aether. In fact, Sam had never performed solo improv piano before the Free Range series started (he's improvised with endless ensembles, but improvising with no one else to react to is another matter). There are a couple more Free Range evenings before he winds the series down until September. He's asked for ideas, and I have a few (getting Annie Whitehead in to do something being one of them).

And then the next morning I was off on my annual solstice adventure...


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