Improvizone

Learning how to record again

Andrew Booker 2009-03-04 00:37:24

Live music at the Plough in Walthamstow on Thursday 5th March 2009 (tomorrow) will be provided by... erm, us... and yesterday I devoted the period from about 11am to approx 9pm to setting up the e-drums, dragging my larger mixer from the attic, wiring it all up and testing that I could record stuff into Cubase. I haven't had to do this for over a year, but hopefully yesterday's investment will allow me to sail into tomorrow's gig, plug stuff in here and there, and record a couple of hours of whatever happens.

So that was about 10 hours, inclusive of the appropriate pauses for consuming rotisserie chicken, avocado, various fruits, couple of pots of assam tea, and the half hour or so required for assembling a mushroom lasagne. Tip: to counter the wateriness from the mushrooms, use thick bechamel sauce and leave the lasagne to settle for at least an hour before serving (just turn the oven off and leave it in there).

Edibles aside, I thought to myself, this isn't half a long time to be preparing for a free gig that will probably be attended by six people. Hey, six people would be great! If only five of them weren't playing the music. Those five people are

The first person there is me. Well spotted. The second is Cottage, who plays at all our gigs at the Plough, because he likes the venue and every now and then suggests I continue to book gigs there. All the rest are new people.

I came across Matt Stevens at Andy Butler's looping festival in Norwich in November 2007. I first got in touch with him to try and tempt him into supporting the Aimless Mules, for whom I proceeded to book almost no gigs, except for these, during which time Matt was off consummating his marriage somewhere exotic. In terms of his own material I thought he would be more suited to sharing the bill with the little lost horses, but right now I fancy some looped picked acoustic, and am looking forward to seeing what Matt comes up with when he's improvising.

So at least I've intersected with Matt before. Nils and Simon I have never met. I found both of them on the Musicians Available in gumtree, and am thoroughly looking forward to sharing a 100% improvised two-hour gig with people I don't know. To me, there is almost no better recipe for great improvisation. This is not to say that playing music with people you know is dull. Not at all. Just as people always find something to talk about with their old friends, so can we come up with new things to play. But when you don't know each other, everything is new. Everything is a surprise. Surprises are interesting. Interest maketh the improvised gig, in the words of the prophet.

When I started looking for new people for this gig, Nils was the first to reply. Tick. Besides his myspace page, he probably knows more about me from 10 minutes of reading this blog than I know about him. All I know is he's bringing an amp. Simon I found at the end of last week. That's right, less than a week before the gig. I set off the second track on his myspace page, tinkered around with some stuff on the laptop, and realised yep, I want this in our gig. Never had a trumpet in Improvizone before. The last time I can remember gigging with a trumpet player... well actually I can't... I think it might have been in the teenage nineteen eighty-something period, when I only just knew which way round to hold the sticks.

21st gig: Thursday 05 March 2009 at The Plough << | >> Trumpets, candles and vocal looping