Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mad Dog Days

John Martyn

RIP John Martyn

Another month, another rock legend passes on...

It's been over 20 years since I saw him perform (as a duo with Danny Thompson). It was the first gig I had been to where I had never heard anything by the performer - I normally dip my toes in with an album or two before dragging my carcass along to a live show. This was Cropredy 1987 and I was happy enough to be seeing Fairport, Jethro Tull and Richard Thompson live for the first time that anything else was a bonus. There were several bonuses that year, but John Martyn was the one that really stuck with me.

He's performed not far from my door a few times recently, but at ridiculous ticket prices, so I haven't gone, but I'll never forget that glorious summer night in '87 when he came so close to outshining Tull (my favourite band at the time).

Solid oaf (for Iain D McGeachy)

Free love/free with...
The drunken mouth,
The soft fists,
Of the trip-hop king;
Can't hear you anymore,
Can't separate the beast,
From the alleged beauty...

~ Rev Dr Stanford Razall

New Challenges


February could well go by the moniker of "Crazy Challenges Month" for this psychonaut...

First of all, the Masters of Song Fu challenge is opening up again early this month. If I make it into the arena, I'll be repeating my last 'shadowing' of the event, writing songs to meet the challenges despite being knocked out in the early (or first) rounds.

Next up is the "February Album Writing Month" (FAWM), with its challenge of writing 14 songs within the 28 days of February. If that seems a bit of a breeze, then I would add that I'll be combining it with the RPM Challenge, which is to record an album of at least 10 songs in the same period. In other words, by the end of the next month, expect a new album from yours truly.

I've given the project the title "Furfuressence" and I'm hoping for some new collaborators to join me, but nothing is set in stone as far as this one goes.

Finally, you may have noticed a new addition to this site - a little box on the right labelled "Some Other Scotland". I'll be posting about this shortly, but in the meantime, please try it out. You might like it!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Something Different

The Mandelbrot Set's version of 'Skullcrusher Mountain' is coming along nicely with the addition of some spoken vocals in the style of the late, great Vivian Stanshall. I have re-recorded some of my bass part, as the original did not sit properly in the rhythm of the piece - partly due to my choice of syncopated bassline, I think.

I have been giving some thought to starting a podcast, but without sufficient material it would die off fairly quickly. I've still got some ideas to iron out and work on so that it can fill enough time to make the download worthwhile and compelling enough to encourage people to listen every week. My current plan is for it to be some kind of alternative history in the making, with listeners able to influence events on a weekly basis. More information to follow as I start to pull it all together.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


Happy New Year.

It's been quite a while since I last waved my hands in the air to produce music, but tonight I recorded four theremin parts with varying degrees of success for "The Mandelbrot Set."
We currently have three songs started as works-in-progress, with "Skullcrusher Mountain" being the most advanced in terms of completion. I've done basslines for all three, theremin parts for two of them and even dug out my mandolin for a little section, too.

In other news, the band I do sound for had a bit of a crisis of confidence in December - a somewhat underpopulated audience and a series of fluffed songs all contributed to a general feeling of concern that there were not enough rehearsals or too much emphasis was being placed on learning newer songs. However, we did a gig at Hogmanay which turned out to be a bit of a blinder, so that sorted those worries out. Nothing definite for the coming year, yet.