There are moments in one’s life that occur only once. Having the chance to collaborate with Keeley Forsyth is, unquestionably, one of the defining moments in my musical life to date. The first time I heard Keeley’s songs, they were impulsive recordings that had been performed directly into a laptop via its built-in microphone – yet the power and truth of her music shone through, audio fidelity notwithstanding. The task at hand was to keep the essence of these raw versions intact – trying my best to trace their contours using the usual working tools: piano, cello, harmonium, LAMM Memorymoog. Once this process was completed, I felt that the only person who could enhance these pieces further, was Sam Hobbs. Sam’s exceptional attention to musical detail enabled many more avenues to be explored, and, in tandem with Keeley’s seemingly effortless ability to quickly produce ideas of such high-quality, time and time again; a large number of tracks began to appear. Also featured on the album is the beautiful guitar playing of guitarist Mark Creswell – bringing his understated virtuosity to bear on It’s Raining, Look to Yourself, and Black Bull.
Most of all, it is the degree of truth present in Keeley’s voice that never ceases to amaze me (I have cried countless times listening to Lost, for example). Once in a lifetime… Please do seek out the full album, give it a spin, and simply allow the songs to percolate through in their own time, and I hope that you enjoy the discovery of Keeley’s music with as much pleasure as we have all had making it. x
SO… Mike Westbrook’s music changed my way of hearing music when I was a student at Leeds College of Music, and Keith Tippett is the reason I play the piano the way I do. And, if that weren’t enough, I am appearing under their auspices within one week of each other. First up:
I’d been in correspondence with Mike over the last few months re working together on something, then one day asked if I would step in for him on this concert, which happens to be on my birthday. How could I refuse? Not only that, but I also get to appear in the distinguished company of musicians Kate Westbrook, Phil Minton, Christ Biscoe, Steve Berry, and Billy Thompson. Plus a full choir…
Having played a good few times in Bristol before our debut at last year’s London Jazz Festival, we are looking forward to getting back into the swing of things, again, this time in the beautiful setting of St. Bartholomew’s church in Marsden. This will be Keith’s first appearance for a good while, so come along to this one; it’s going to be rather special. With a series of concerts planned for Spring 2019, stay tuned for more news and announcements.
See you at one/other/both of these concerts x
Nightports w/Matthew Bourne has been released, and is out now, and available in all formats from Bandcamp. Oli Bentley at Split Design has done an incredible job on the design concept for the CD and LP sleeves (the latter is die cut, and looks quite lovely…), and, along with Sara Teresa‘s photographs, complement each other, perfectly. Whatever format you decide on, I hope you enjoy the music – Mark Slater and Adam Martin have worked wonders with my initial piano ramblings on various instruments – some good, some more, shall we say, ‘infirm’…, to produce some fantastic tracks. Enjoy!! x
At last, the collaborative venture with Nightports (AKA Adam Martin & Mark Slater), will be released on March 2nd – on CD, and half-speed mastered vinyl. The latter will be housed in a stunning die-cut outer sleeve, designed by Split. Nightports w/Matthew Bourne will be available to pre-order on Bandcamp, and all other digital download on all online/streaming services thereafter. The opening track, Exit, was featured on Mary Anne Hobbs’s show on 6 Music, last night.
I’m very pleased to announce the release of these two records on Impossible Ark Records. They are words apart (musically speaking), and have both been in the making over the last year or two.
First up, is Machines of Loving Grace – which is a collaboration between myself, drummer Tim Giles and Benedic Lamdin (AKA Nostalgia 77). It is unapologetically analogue in both synthesisers and groove persuasion, and was created over the course of several sessions in London, and at home in Airedale. I think the cover just about sums it up…
The second record, Jerry David DeCicca‘s Time the Teacher, is also something rather special. It was a real pleasure to record piano for this record – and something very different to what I normally get up to. Jerry’s songs are beautifully unique, and required a particular pianistic approach. I chose to adopt my usual ‘complete take’ approach over compiling the bets bits from a variety of takes, which was a challenge as I would often have to stop and restart from the beginning if I played too many notes. This album is a real gem, and a perfect introduction to Jerry’s work, if you haven’t heard him, before.
It’s difficult to express how incredible it is to be making music with Keith Tippett. He is the reason I play the piano the way I do – and his music certainly shaped my early musical development whilst still at college. Fast forward twenty years(!), and I find myself opposite this musical colossus, sharing a common goal, and enjoying each other’s company – both musically and personally. It has been a joy getting to know Keith properly over the last few months, and it has come after years of fleeting dressing room conversations, and the occasional phone call every now and then. Keith will also be performing with his octet – an unmissable musical event.
Once again, I find myself paired with another keyboardist a week apart, but for a very different duo, altogether… It is a real pleasure to be able to play with Kit Downes – who is, undoubtedly, one of the most inventive musicians alive today. Ben Eshmade of Daylight Music has invited us to play in duo: Kit using the recently refurbished organ at Union Chapel, with me on piano. With an air of anticipation, huge expectation, and the unknown, we are genuinely excited to be figuring out just exactly how and what we’re going to get up to.
I’ll be taking part in the second instalment of ‘Expect the Unexpected’, at Club Inégales, sometime between 16:00-21:00. Twenty-five composers have each contributed a one-page score – realised by various musicians, and the composers, themselves. No rehearsals… come down and experience something truly unique.
Way back in February, I was asked to take part in Mind on The Run: The Basil Kirchin Story – where I was commissioned by Serious to respond to Kirchin’s work in a solo setting of my choosing. Unsurprisingly, I chose to use the Lintronics Advanced Memorymoog, again…
Recorded live at Hull City Hall, Twenty Seven Areas of Contention and Sam, are yet further additions to the body of work created for the moogmemory / moogemory plus albums, and are available as a FREE DOWNLOAD on Bandcamp.
There is also a blog post about how I went about making Twenty-Seven… so, you can read along whilst you listen, if you so wish! x
I’ve been working with Adam Martin and Mark Slater (AKA Nightports) in various educational settings over the years, but this is the first time that our collaborative endeavours as musicians / producers, has come to fruition.
The Nightports Manifesto is a simple one: only the sounds of the featured musician can be used – then, they can be manipulated… This restrictive practice is what gives their vision a singular focus. We will be releasing an album on The Leaf Label earlier next year but, before we do that, we’re going to have a go at performing it live, with the help of improvising virtuoso Johnny Richards, who will be joining myself and Mark at one of three pianos we’ll be using for this performance.
Come to Hull, and say you saw it there first…
Tomorrow is a rather special day: myself, along with violist Aby Vulliamy, and cellist Mick Bardon, will play live versions of material from Isotach, at Platform, Glasgow. It’s the first time I’ve tried to represent something captured on recording so closely in a concert setting. Before we launch into this music for the very first time since its recording, I’ll be playing a duo set with Glasgow-based saxophone colossus Tony Bevan. Big shout out to Alun Woodward for asking me along to this event, too. Come see the gig, if you can! x
Isotach is officially released tomorrow, and I understand there have been a few favourable reviews floating around. I shall do my best to repost these on the usual social media channels, but, if you want a little more insight into the lazy, hesitant, often-reluctant process that is responsible for bringing much of this music to life, you are welcome to read an interview I did with Mark Carry, for Fractured Air:
In addition, we have released another of Ray Kane’s videos, shot at home; this time, a more exploratory musing on Candela (for Sascha Heeney).
I am so grateful for your support – both in person, and through comments and shares online. none of this music really means anything without other people to listen to it. x