Improvizone

32nd gig: Tuesday 25 May 2010 Upstairs at the Ritzy, Brixton

Andrew Booker 2010-05-18 23:04:23

Improvizone are going to the cinema. Or at least, its upstairs café/bar area, wherein sweet ambient electronic chillout and occasionally experimental musicses will issue from the stage location as we reconvene for another evening of... sweet ambient electronic chillout and occasionally experimental musicses. We're trying out another new venue, as you'll know if you've been following our occasional adventures. I saw the Ritzy mentioned in the Evening Standard a few months ago and reckoned they'd be worth a prod and a quick sales pitch.

The full location address is Upstairs at the Ritzy, Ritzy Cinema, Brixton Oval, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton SW2 1JG. Very close to Brixton tube, provided the Victoria Line hasn't been closed for its series of nightly maintenance works scheduled for completion some time after the sun has exploded into a red giant.

The players will be the regular quartet of

On the six-strung device often bearing no audible resemblance to electrical guitaring, Michael Bearpark will assume his usual position seated behind his array of many and several pedals. From behind a carload of synthesizer devices, possibly including modular ones he has soldered together himself, Os will be sampling and resampling and generally making indescribable, except to say very nice, noises. For the fourth time, and now fully comfortable with the unit, Nick will be negotiating around his fretless bass, and not worrying in the least about intonation. Last and least, I will fit into a slot on the side somewhere and flap my sticks up and down all evening, having programmed no new drum patches, uploaded no new samples to the SPD-S, bought no new effects units, and worked for about three minutes on phase two of my drum software, still nowhere near ready for live deployment.

Why me so useless? Last month I moved house, temporarily upping sticks from our South Woodford habitat to a location on the very edge of Essex. It's like I'm inching back homeward. We're only here until October, yet boxes are still awaiting unpacking, work areas are still awaiting organising, nine-month-old Baby Boy is much more fun than any of that... plus there's the garden. If you're a similar weed-whacking, rubbish-clearing, earth-digging type to me, you can appreciate whither the odd half an hour here and there will be disappearing these days.

One other reason for my lack of off-stage graft is the realisation that I don't really have to. It would be better if I did knuckle down to some drum work eventually, of course, but even playing on all the same patches with all the same sounds, no gig has yet turned out much like any another. I say all the same sounds, the fact is I seem to have a lot more naturally at my disposal these days, and I think the reason is that I have stopped using the SPD-S to play midi notes. I am using its plentiful effects library, and the bunch of cruddy sounds I loaded onto it at the end of last year, as a proper half of the drum kit, instead of just an add-on. Also, regular practising has freed up my left foot enough so I can make a bit more rhythmic use of it. My timing seems to have gone to hell instead, but hey. A few times in the last couple of gigs I've woken up and realised the click in my ears is somewhere else entirely. But then, this is always a danger when I'm enjoying the music enough. I'm looking forward to having plenty more music to enjoy next week, even if it means concentrating a bit harder.

Meanwhile between now and next Tuesday, I'm mowing the lawn and trying to come up with new ways to make the baby laugh.

30th gig: 07 April 2010 at CB2, Cambridge << | >> The interminable fire escape