BRÅK is back at our Brockley beer shop haunt waterintobeer with a winter season of gigs. Join us in November, December and January for more improvised duos in South East London. Hosts Colin Webster, Tom Ward and me are joined each month by guest artists. More info can be found at brakbrakbrak.co.uk
LUME has three new gigs booked at Hundred Years Gallery this autumn. I’ll be playing a solo set, a duo with Ruth Goller, and a trio set (cr-ow-tr-io) with Otto Willberg and Tullis Rennie. The trio will be launching our new album ‘Hold Music’, out on Luminous in December. Head to the LUME website for all the info about these gigs.
Some really excellent news to announce today! I have been selected as one of the artists for the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (hcmf//) COVID-19 Commissions. The commissions are the festival’s response to the pandemic, offering artists some paid work now when things are pretty bleak for live performance. I’ll be writing a new piece for trio, to be performed at hcmf// at a later date. With my 2020 year planner in the recycling bin due to loads of future work being cancelled or postponed indefinitely, this is really brilliant news and I feel very lucky to have been chosen. I’ll be writing about the project on the blog as it develops.
In other news, there’s a new merch item up on the Sloth Racket site for tomorrow’s Bandcamp Friday and it’s something quite special. For many years, our bass player Seth has been collecting people’s verbal reactions to his double bass (usually when they see him on public transport or walking down the street) using the hashtag #doublebasscomments. Sloths guitarist Anton recently decided that this needed to be taken to a whole different level, and asked the brilliant artist and friend of Sloth Racket Angela Guyton to make a cartoon of some of the comments. The resulting A2 POSTER is now on sale!! Edition of 20, so grab one quick for the bassist in your life…
The next installment of my gig recordings Bandcamp site is up: a duo with Andrew Cheetham from last year at BRÅK. I think it was the first time we’d played together! Dirk Serries recorded, mixed and mastered this one.
With all live music off for a while yet, I’m working on a new project that looks back at the gigs I’ve been a part of over the past few years. My hard drives are full of audio from past concerts, and in normal times I hardly ever had time to listen to them. In lockdown, or at least in the rare moments that I’m able to focus on working at something, there’s time to have a good dig around in the files and listen back to some sets. I’ve set up a new Bandcamp site that will act as a kind of scrapbook of old and raw live recordings from my archive. This will be a slow burner, but the first two recordings are up now – a solo set and a duo set with Seth Bennett, both from 2016. All the music on this site will be ‘name your price’, so there’s the option to pay on the door for these old gigs. The money will be split equally between the musicians on the recording.
As you may be aware of from seeing a billion social media posts, Bandcamp are giving artists some extra support during the pandemic by waiving their commission on the first Friday of the month in May, June and July. We have something in the pipeline at Luminous HQ for the July one, so keep an eye out for that. And as today is May 1st, I thought I’d pull together a few recommendations of music to check out and support some artists close to my heart…
Article XI – Live In Newcastle (Discus) / Anton Hunter – LUME Kestrel Online
I’m proud to be a member of Anton’s large ensemble, and it’s great to see a second release out there. This live album was recorded on our double bill large ensemble tour in 2017, at the mighty Bridge Hotel in Newcastle for Jazz North East. Featuring two previously unrecorded Anton Hunter originals! Anton is also releasing a brand new track TODAY, made in lockdown, with lots of us playing and a kestrel drawing by me…
Bathing Trio – Stretford – Bromley-by-Bow – Peckham
The excellent trio of Sam Andreae, Otto Willberg and David Birchall are making tracks together live over the interwebs. This is one of several improvised lockdown sets they’ve published so far…
Deemer – Live at the Vortex (Luminous)
Dee and Merijn are currently working on something new for Luminous, but check out this live set from 2016 if you haven’t already.
Kodian Trio – Live In Leeds (Raw Tonk)
The latest slice of Kodian Trio goodness on Raw Tonk Records, recorded by Chris Sharkey at LS6 Cafe.
Ti/om – The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Madwort Records)
This is a pretty special release, several years in the making. Ti/om went to the Isle of Eigg in 2016, staying in a bothy together for a week and recording these pieces. It’s lovely to see them surfacing now on Madwort Records.
Johnny Hunter – Pale Blue Dot (Northern Contemporary)
A four movement sextet suite by Johnny Hunter, recorded at the Lescar in Sheffield. A gig I wished I could have attended! The fourth release on the excellent Northern Contemporary label.
It’s a very challenging time for music venues right now for obvious reasons, and they need our support if we are able. Hundred Years Gallery and the Vortex both have fundraiser Bandcamp sites, Martin Clarke’s oem label is raising money for Arch 1, and IKLECTIK has a page of fundraising music on its website. Here are some starting points…
Off Bandcamp, you could always become a digital member of Cafe Oto and support them while treating yourself to a year of amazing downloads.
I’m finding it hard to engage with the online world, and with everything that’s going on around us in the real world I’m struggling to even think about being creative. We all have to do what we do to get through this! I hope you find some sounds you love in this post, and that we can all be back out there listening to and playing live music again soon.
A very nice gig and first time trio meeting coming up on 22nd March at Hundred Years Gallery. I’ll be playing a set with Han-earl Park and Alex Bonney, as part of Ti/om’s album launch for their new release on Madwort Records, ‘The Narrow Road to The Deep North’. It’s an afternoon gig, with doors at 3.30pm. Come along….more info is on the Hundred Years Gallery site.
Here’s Tom’s lovely description of the Ti/om album:
‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North…documents [our] 2016 residency in a bothy on the Isle of Eigg, off the west coast of Scotland. [We] stayed for a week in winter, looking out over the mountains of Rhum; playing together and alone, walking in the hills, and meditating on the relation of music to place, and the process of inspiration. The music seeks an expression of personal responses to Eigg, to the wildness and the quietude both, to inhabit in the music the same emotional spaces as entered into on the island; trying to play in such a way that feels consonant with the state of being out on the hill.’
Update: Benedict has had to pull out of the gig duo to injury :-(( But, Martin Clarke has sorted out an excellent new collaborator for me…Alex Bonney! We had a great time playing together at BRÅK in December, so I’m looking forward to doing it again. Get well soon Benedict!
Quick post to alert you to a last-minute gig! I’m playing a duo set with Benedict Taylor this Friday 14th February at Hundred Years Gallery. It’s part of an album launch night organised by Martin Clarke for his label oem. Info on the flyer below….
A lovely couple of mid-December gigs coming up. On Friday 13th December it’s the return of my trio with Otto Willberg and Tullis Rennie, this time at Hundred Years Gallery:And then the next night, Saturday 14th December, it’s the last BRÅK of 2019 at waterintobeer! With a host of Yuletide guests….
A nice gig to start the month coming up: Phil Durrant has invited me to play at a gig he’s putting together on Sunday 3rd November at Hundred Years Gallery. I’ll play a duo set with Otto Willberg, Phil will play a set with Emil Karlsen, then we’ll play as a quartet. It should be a lovely afternoon!