Tuesday, June 26, 2007

All Together Now

A blogworthy week of music events in the lead up to the Flying Mountain Extravaganza gig on Friday 22nd June at the Green Room Manchester............with The Good Hurt as the house band.

Monday 18th June
Get a text from rapper Brother Ghazi that's he's pulling out of the show on Friday because he's seeing family in Liverpool. I texted him back the one word "sucky" - he'd known about this gig for over a month and a half - it's even on his myspace gig list. Text is a copout for a cancellation. Mail some more back and forth with Pauline from the Manchester Sing Out choir. One of the members expressed an interest in doing something with me having checked out my other music and I've tentatively suggested that they come down on Friday. The recently performed with Gorillaz when they were in Manchester. Great stuff.

Tuesday 19th June
Get a call from rapper The What Supreme saying he was pulling out of the gig on Friday. At least it was a call rather than a text however cancellations 3 days before a show really leave me icky - posters, mailouts and promo were now all wrong and the time spent by the band rehearsing a few extra pieces of music for rappers could have been spent elsewhere. This leaves no rappers for the rap portion of the Friday night's show - so that's now skratched. I make some phone calls to some of the other musicians playing on the night just to make sure they were good. The idea of the show is that The Good Hurt will invite a load of guests up to play with us. I keep calling it the alternative Glastonbury.

My e-friend Boofa (aka Beaufugg aka Generik) is coming up from London tonight. Boofa lives in NZ and we worked on a project called '12000 miles as the Crane Flies' which was an electronic music project that we had collaborated on over the internet (see my previous post on collaborative workingLINK). Boofa was coming over to the UK and he factored some time into coming and hooking up in Manchester so that we could finish the project in a face to face capacity - Wellington, NZ is 12,000 miles from North Manchester, UK which is how we arrived on the name of the project.

I check out Cranes on the internet for inspiration and the more I read the more I liked the idea of Crane lore being a visual cue for our sonics.....some crane lore and facts below that I dig from the research :

  • Migrating cranes fly in an echelon, a V-formation, so that birds following the leader save energy by not having to push aside the air as they fly
  • Apollo is said to have disguised himself as a crane when on visits to the mortal world.
  • Homer told of the nation of Pygmies who each Spring would wage war on the cranes on the banks of Oceanus.
  • Mercury is said to have been inspired to create the shapes of the Roman alphabet after watching Cranes and their body shapes.
  • When a flock of Cranes are sleeping they nominate one Crane to stand watch with a stone in it's talon/claw so that if it falls asleep the stone will fall and make a sound so the flock will know they are no longer protected
Boofa and me will be playing an electro set of the 12000 project on the night - it's a handy bit of pressure to get us cracking this week.

I meet him and his lime green suitcase full of gear at the Tram station in Eccles in the early evening. We quickly get down to work after a delightful home-made curry. As I had been liberated of my laptops by oiks from Salford we weren't sure which versions of the files I had for the project but luckily after a quick check on Boofa's machine things were in order and I seemed to have the latest.

I've bee
n lucky that the people I've met from the net for music have been normal/human/semi-sane and Boofa was no exception which was a good thing. I was glad he was here.

ay 20th June 2007
Boofa and me get down to some jamming during the day and Phil Reed the flute player turns up to do a session for the 12000 Project in the afternoon. For V-Formation Phil does a cool trick of playing 2 flutes at once which looks like a V shape - we dig it. The soundcard is acting like a muppet and keeps putting digital fizz and crackle on the audio so we only manage to get some chunks that aren't wrecked. Phil puts on the jam session in Chorlton known as Extraordinary Rendition. Before we know it we have to go to the soundcheck for the Circus Rock show tonight at the Mint Lounge in Oldham Street. My girlfriend hears us on the Revolution Radio 96.2 station on the way in - hooray. Between you me and t'internet it took a lot of doing to get them to play us. During the soundcheck Pauline from the Sing Out Choir calls - they are in rehearsals and want to know some details - I try and tell her over the sound of drumkits and musicians lugging gear.

Thursday 21st June
Recording and pr
epping for the gig tomorrow with Boofa. All day from midday to 2am. Synchronised button pressing, knob twiddling and new styles of dancing are the order of the day.

The tracks that we have are : Tsuru, Before The Stone D
rops, The Wisdom of Two, Mercury Alphabet, Cranes vs. Pygmies and V-Formation.

Friday 22nd June
Glastonbury is a festival of music and double mud this year it se
ems - at least our alternative Glasto is sans glow sticks and rain. Tonights gig is for Universal Promotions. I always tend to do a little something special for shows via Universal Promotions because I like the guy that runs it. He called me up a month ago to do something under the banner of Flying Mountain Records to draw together some of the more disparate music I'm involved in.

Pauline told me that maybe 6 or 7 people might turn up from the choir - at around 9:30pm twenty of them turn up. The staff from the Green Room are lovely and we manage to get a little practise room recently vacated by the Flamenco dance classes and get down to working on three of the tracks for 20 minutes.

It sounds wonderful with just the voices and guitar in the sweetly reverberant room. Everyone in the room gets proper tingles and I'm stoked to hear one of my tracks get the gospel treatment. The Manchester Sing Out Choir have a really good group unity feel about them and it's infectuous. As some of the choir are younger we manage to wangle getting the three songs that they are doing shoe-horned earlier into the night. We play Good Souls, Amazing Grace (my arrangement from 100 Fields) and U Got the Love by Candi Staton. The choir do their best to fit onto the stage and it goes down a treat with the audience but the fact is that the sound was better in the rehearsal room. Ce la Vie. The band we jumped in front of to squeeze in our gospel thang are pretty peeved and a few of them stromp about onstage with their little grey clouds and teeth set to 'crunch'. I say goodbye to the choir and buy a few of them a drink....I'm feeling pretty invincible and then around 30 mins later we play a blistering 4 song set with the Good Hurt - featuring Annette Gregory and Phil on Meet U in the Middle and then the core three of us (drongomala, sinik and tree) tear through Blowin Up Tryin 2B Somebody, Leave Ur Mind Where U Want to Pick It Up and Kick This Habit Of U - we pack our normal 40 minutes of energy into 10 minutes and the crowd really dig it. Sarah Evans follows us and does a oratory piece called 'Bisexual Speed Dating' which gives us a chance to set up the 12000 Project and to enjoy her freaking the room out with a blend of character performance, saucy wordage and defiant smoking. Even though the laptop was having a mini flakeout 20 minutes ago the electronic Drum 'n' Bass tinged 12000 Project set goes down perfectly and Boofa and me are stoked that we've pulled it off.

We hang out for the rest of the night - Tree jams along with the act on after the 12000 Project and Sinik b-boys to the turntablists. The Universal crowd are good and we have alot of repeat attendees from the last gig we played at here in the Green Room.

Finish up at around 4am.

Boofa and me take a break and we go into town to hang out for a bit - to preempt the 'cabin fever' that is creeping in. We get some food in the café underneath the Buddhist centre in the Northern Quarter and some coffee from Nero where Boofa asks the waitress to "bake me a cake" in Polish. We have a super productive day and the tracks that didn't make the selection for live performance are
worked up a little.

Final day of tweaking for the 12000 Project - this is much less fun than the writing part but smoothing out the rough edges and the structrure of the music we've been working on lets us finally sit back and enjoy some mixes. We watch a bit of the Who at Glasto as they sing and almost hurry over the line "Hope I die before I get old".

that was the week that was

One, two, three, four
Can I have a little more?
five, six, seven eight nine ten I love you.

A, B, C, D
Can I bring my friend to tea?
E, F, G H I J I love you.

Sail the ship, Chop the tree
Skip the rope, Look at me

All together now....

Black, white, green, red
Can I take my friend to bed?
Pink, brown, yellow orange and blue I love you

All together now....

Sail the ship, Jump the tree
Skip the rope, Look at me

All together now....(the beatles)

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