12th December

adminDiary

Back in a dour, rain splattered, Blighty and I’m going through one of my regular phases of constantly questioning why it is I do what I do.

Preferring reading, watching films and eating copious amounts of Polish chocolates to the idea of making music, I’m currently in a determined, idealistic, phase which means that I can only commit to what I wholly believe in (with growing extremely fat on East European sweet treats being one of those things!).

For me, it’s as important to know what you don’t want to do as it is to be aware of what you feel is important to get involved with.

Despite finding the creative processes involved enjoyable, I’ve become increasingly bored with making improvised or Ambient/loop music. Although my approach of using vocal loops provides an emotional and dynamic edge to a notoriously static genre, the fact that it’s so easy to generate a lot of ‘interesting’ music in this vein, makes me doubt its lasting value. I’m happy to participate and for it to exist in the moment, but less convinced that it’s something that should be inflicted on an audience. Consequently, my numerous cdrs of collective improvisation and solo looping are likely to remain unheard (languishing in ‘the cupboard of doom’!)

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The collaborative work with Giancarlo Erra/Nosound continued with another new song, ‘Warm Winter’, being written during Giancarlo’s recent trip to the UK.

Richly melodic, epic and communicative, the song is an ideal continuation of the material we wrote together in New York in August and Rome in the Spring.

Our Lady of The Cello, Marianne De Chastelaine will hopefully be adding some sumptuous strings to the song in the coming weeks.

What pleases me most about the songs we’ve written together is that we’ve managed to combine strong and accessible melodies along with an interesting approach to texture without compromise or contrivance.

Once outside of my Polish chocolate phase, other collaborations, with US band Mohawk Hithchiker, Italians Stefano Panunzi and Moongarden, and French project Rajna, are looking likely over the next couple of months.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

As the list below indicates, I’m going through a bit of a 1980’s revival at the moment.

This was the era in which I originally got involved in making music and its exciting confluence of artistic integrity, technological experiments and pop sensibilities thrilled me then and, in some ways, still inspires me now.

Glossy productions, excess and shallowness were apparent in abundance, but equally, so was work of genuine quality and vision.

Since then, there have been exciting revolutions in technology and many influential and emotional artists have emerged, but as 1980s culture is all too readily dismissed as a time of style over content, it’s a decade that I feel is often unfairly overlooked.

Listening:

Laurie Anderson – Big Science (1981)
Associates – Sulk (1981)
The Blue Nile – Hats (1989)
Kate Bush – The Dreaming (1982)
Cocteau Twins – Victorialand (1986)
Peter Gabriel – 4 (1982)
King Crimson – Discipline (1981)
The Police – Synchronicity (1983)
Prefab Sprout – Protest Songs (1985/88)
David Sylvian – Gone To Earth (1986)
Rain Tree Crow – Rain Tree Crow (1991)
Talking Heads – Remain In Light (1980)
Talk Talk – Laughing Stock (1991)
This Mortal Coil – It’ll End In Tears (1984)
XTC – Nonsuch (1992)
XTC – The Black Sea (1980)

Reading:

Richard Dawkins – The God Delusion
Andy Summers – One Train Later
Guiseppe Ungaretti – Selected Poems

Watching:

An Inconvenient Truth
The Last Kiss
The Prestige