Beware the Ides of May…

May 10th, 2012

So, business as usual after returning from China – almost as if it were some kind of dream or surreal happening… Anyway, I have been doing much thinking about the upcoming shows this month – two solo, one duo, one loud with synthesizers, one quiet and one with tempo.

I worry a lot about solo shows – especially when I used the sampler but even more so when I go without it. After ten years of triggering voices and music that represent what’s going on inside my brain now I have nothing to trigger, which is both a blessing and pending death sentence. Death, because this is sometimes how I’d rather be when things go ‘wrong’ during the performance – unless I can turn it to some sort of musical advantage quick enough for the listener not to notice. Such inner workings are responsible for the fact that much of what I do now without the samples is very slow – I just don’t know what I’m doing or where I’m going fluently enough to create faster, more rhythmic pieces. Anyway, you can witness this in real life on May 12th at The Great Escape, Brighton and May 24th at The Venue, Leeds.

The duo with Christophe de Bézenac at MaiJazz on May 10th (tonight!!), Stavanger, Norway – is an ongoing musical partnership which dates back to 2004, where, at the University of Leeds, we first began playing together and recording ideas. Christophe is one of the most incredible musicians I have worked with and have always enjoyed each opportunity to make music with him. Although these occasions have become less frequent it is great to notice how the dialogue continues to shift and change – altering as we both absorb different influences as time goes by. We have recorded HOURS of material together but none of it has ever been released – BUT, now that the Private Archive is in existence this lack of available recorded material will be rectified. Stay tuned…

COLLIDER is a relatively recent incarnation. It’s loud and shamelessly improvised. Ray Kane captured some of its testosterone with his video camera:

We’re playing on May 11th at the Fox & Newt pub, Leeds as part of LIMA’s Fusebox series (in partnership with Leeds Jazz/Dave Hatfield) with Tom Challenger’s unmissable project, MA.. We are documenting each meeting through an ongoing series of audio recordings (thanks to Mr. Sharkey’s expert engineering skills) and the tracks will be made available for purchase/download in some form or other later on this year. In the meantime, we’ve a studio session for Jazz on 3 on June 4th – followed by a gig with some other fantastic bands at Wharf Chambers on June 6th, courtesy of BANG THE BORE, so be sure to catch one of these shows live before hearing us cruise the ether in the coming months.

Camera II is a project composed by Franck Vigroux, Bruno Chevillon and Michel Blanc

We’ve been developing the music over a twelve-month period and have also recorded a studio album (with a possible release on Vigroux’s d’autres cordes record label later this year).

Having missed out on playing for Nostalgia 77‘s Sleepwalking Society tour a few months ago, I am lucky enough to be joining them for more upcoming dates throughout 2012, including an appearance at Jazz sous les Pommiers, France, on May 19th. This is a rare appearance sur le continent for me outside of my work with Franck and Laurent Dehors

AND, I’ve started making #PlaylistforNobody on Spotify.

I’m fascinated by David Ackles at the moment but threw in some old favourites (like Brubeck’s AMAZING improvisation on the Coots/Lewis song, For all We Know from his  quartet’s At Carnegie Hall album and some early and arguably underrated and undiscussed George Russell) and some new favourites as well (Phil Collins’s Susudio is classic). I keep changing my mind and am very new to playlists so I’ll do my best not to go too nuts and to stay FOCUSED. Any tips/methods/ideas gratefully received…