Something for everyone again

Andrew Booker 2008-09-21 00:00:17

Many, many months ago, in a surging fit of irrational optimism, I decided to make a free CD of gig recordings to distribute across the buzzing London metropolis in order to promote our monthly evenings at Imbibe in Southwark, London, SE1. My imgination ran out a few seconds later, and I called the CD SE1. Yeah... You can read my original article about the CD here.

If you've wandered around this site for more than a few seconds you'll have seen we have a downloads list of recordings from previous Improvizone gigs. The SE1 tracks never went up there. I wanted them exclusively for the CD, just to make it a little bit special.

Os and I spent a little time to putting these in second hand record shops and lifestyle shops around Central London, in neat piles amongst all the other fliers promoting bands and phone sex with Eastern European ladies. After a few weeks we got rid of most of them. The remainder I dished out at our gigs. I don't have any left. Somewhere, very well hidden, I might have my own copy. Not sure.

I've been thinking of making another free CD, and may well get round to that soon, meanwhile if you never picked up a copy of SE1, I thought I'd finally post the tracks on the site, not in the downloads list, but right here.

I have enjoyed listening back to these recordings. While I regularly select from our downloads for listening enjoyment, I had not heard these tracks for about a year until Mike reminded me about them a couple of days ago. Like the rest of the items on our downloads list, I never gave these names, and they remain anonymous beyond their alphabetical ordering.

Listening back to A makes me wonder if it's too slow a start to the CD, with it's meandering guitar pickings and lightweight grooveless rhythmic tinkering in the background. Mike Bearpark sweeps in and takes over the guitar, and when the beat finally settles under his searing swells, we all see why I used this track. Superb.

B is the hardest for me to listen to objectively. I'm too chuffed that it's a piece comprised entirely of live guitar and electronic drums. This is Mike and me doing something similar to our join the dot album, only this time in front of an audience, and somehow making coherent compositional sense as we go.

C and D are actually the same stretch of music. By the time we got to the bit which makes up track D, Mike had joined in, and it was the closing section of the gig (29 May 2007). We always try and end gigs in a major key. Happy endings. Of the two I actually prefer C, a more moody piece with some emotional depth to it, and a great showcase for guitarist Simeon Harris, whose first gig this was with us.

In all, SE1 is a good happy/sad sandwich of a product. Starts upbeat and positive with track A, then starts to go a little melancholy during track B, has a great after-hours subdued downbeat mood in track C, then ends optimistically and cheerfully with track D. Takes you on a little journey, it does, and I think that makes it a short audio story that rewards a complete listen through.

No-Man live 2008 << | >> Improvizone at the Woodford Festival