Monday, March 10, 2014

Soundcloud track of the week (no. 42)

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Stella Homewood live at The Con Club, Lewes on 1st March 2014, the title track of her second album. I'm accompanying on saz. This was her album launch gig.

The evening also included Twenty-One Crows and Swell Park Schism. The Crows won me over after initially seeming to be another gloomy-Americana kind of thing in the style of Bonny Prince Billy via Sons of Noel and Adrian (vocals, acoustic guitar, accordion, heavily processed electric guitar and bass). The sound opened up from song to song, and singer-guitarist Jon Griffin's endearingly rambling banter reminded me of the Cardiacs' Tim Smith (albeit shyer and less deranged). At one point they played an amalgam of the hymn "Nearer, My God to Thee" and a popular early 20th century waltz, both of which have been claimed to be the last thing played by the band on the Titanic as was sinking. By the end I loved them. Swell Park Schism is a temporary trio version of local quartet Small Shipwrecks, which involved multi-instrumentalist Michi playing violin, nyckelharpa and banjolele, singer-guitarists Matthew and Charlie taking turns singing their songs and a cover of a Neutral Milk Hotel song involving an autoharp. Altogether an excellent evening.

Glancing through a local paper at the bar I learned that Arthur Brown (The Crazy World of...) is a Lewes resident — the article covered a story about an experimental collaboration he's been involved in with a neuroscientist which allows him to control a synthesiser directly with his brain via an appropriately sci-fi-looking helmet. He claims to have learned the necessary technique of controlling his theta waves from Native Americans (and who am I to doubt the God of Hellfire?)!

I also got to meet Roddy, a Scottish writer who's doing some marketing and promotion work for Stella (she used a painting by his wife Catriona for the cover of her first album Ordinary Day). When I mentioned having come from Canterbury he enthusiastically started telling me about having played in a Soft Machine covers band in Aberdeen in the early 70s! They got to support various prog bands on the university circuit during that era (including King Crimson and Gentle Giant). He was excited to hear about my Canterbury Soundwaves podcast.


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