well, i haven't been gracing the blogosphere with any of my usual gobbets of wisdom of late. mainly because i've been dragging my double bass all over the shop, and even playing it on occasion.

so maybe it's time to cast a critical ear over what i've been up to.

clang sayne
after much post production wizardry by the redoubtable mr conor curran, clang sayne's 'winterlands' has snuck out into the big bad world. it's a beautiful looking thing and it sounds good too, though as laura ruefully remarked t'other day, it's a bit too long. making it was hard work - not that it was difficult or unpleasant as such - it just became hard to generate a 'definitive' performance while the tape was rollin'. or rather, while the hard disk was whirrin'. yep, that old chestnut. anyway, the wire liked it enough to stick a track on the last wire tapper cd. hurrah. we've done four gigs, including a launch gig for the album last week at cafe oto. that gig was a bit of a curate's egg for me, but the others have been pretty good. it's got to the stage where we can start to take liberties with the songs, recasting them on the fly much like john martyn or tim buckley might have done. laura's off in new york for three months so we're taking a wee break...chiz.

lucy jane
playing with lucy seems to get better and better, even if the playing conditions aren't always as great as the music. the rather lovely mr paul may has chosen to play with us when he can and a recent gig hinted that we could have a very fine trio on our hands; it was a thing of beauty. we've also been moonlighting as a (ahem) jazz quartet with the wondrous ralph littlejohn on saxophones, taking liberties with tunes by everyone from nick drake to dusty springfield. lucy constantly amazes me with her musicality and her fearlessness. she's well good, and if someone doesn't take a serious interest in her soon it will prove to me once and for all that the world (and particularly the music business) is going to hell in a handcart.

conor and i wheeled out the sonnamble project for our first gig a few weeks back at the fleapit, alongside platform and paul may (trading as shaded monocle for the evening). we also brought in the v. wonderful ian r watson for a spot of trumpet, playing as duos, a quartet and a quintet. despite a few tech issues it was a good night and touchingly well attended. conor and i intend to get a release sorted by the end of october.

rick jensen
i've been gigging with rick for a year or so now. i have a thorny relationship with free improv having had what's felt like a huge amount of poor quality experiences playing it. but what's nice about rick is while i ponce around worrying about it, he doesn't give a fuck - he just goes for it. and sometimes (as at last week's gig at hoxton square's macondo) it all comes together. i always have a ball playing with paul (and our trio with watty needs some serious kicking back into touch); he generates this beautiful free swing that's such a joy to play with - airy, delicate but still intense as fuck when it needs to be...

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