Sloth Racket (and other stories)

September and October bring with them a whole load of gigs, almost all of which with Cath Roberts in some shape or form.

Looking forward to being out and about with Sloth Racket again, and playing Cath’s brand new music for ten piece band in Lancaster (which I’ve dubbed ‘DecaSloth’ and I’m hoping the name sticks…).

There’s also an Anton Hunter Trio gig, a couple of Ripsaw Catfish ones, Skamel and (if you’re quick), a Lifemask Trio at the end of August.

All the info on the gigs page as ever.

Ripsaw Eurofish

Proudly announcing our #VoteIN EU tour. Or, rather, we’re playing in Belgium and Holland this month. The details are on my gigs page, as ever, but the headlines are below.

Also, today is the last day you can register to vote in the EU Referendum if you’re a UK citizen. I’d strongly recommend you do, and then on 23rd June, go and vote for us to remain a part of Europe. Pretty please. Click on the link and do it now. I’m just beginning to play outside the UK, and over the (nine!) years of The Noise Upstairs we have welcomed many people from all over Europe. Freedom of movement is brilliant.

//// Ripsaw Catfish EU mini-tour \\\\

Thurs 16th June
Ripsaw Catfish + tbc
Café Cosmopolite, Kempischdok-Westkaai 34, Antwerp, Belgium
9pm

Sat 18th June
Ripsaw Catfish + ZTEXT
De Ruimte, Distelweg 83, 1031 HD Amsterdam, The Netherlands
8pm €9/6

Sun 19th June
Ripsaw Catfish + Vanita & friends
De Nieuwe Ruimte, Dordtselaan 19, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
8pm

\\\\                                               ////

New Video. New Album. Some gigs!

I’ve got around to uploading one of the tracks from 2014′s Article XI live recording at The Vortex in London.  Which is nice timing as I can announce that we are (probably) playing a a gig in June.  I’m very honoured to have been asked by Cath and Dee from Lume to bring the band together once again for their one day festival on 26th June at I’Klectik Art Lab in London (interestingly, that’s the day after the Efpi festival, also in London where I’ll be playing with Beats & Pieces Big Band)

There is, however, a catch. Lume are in the midst of a Kickstarter Campaign to raise funds for the festival, and it’s not going to happen unless they hit their target by 11th May. If you can donate, then please do, and even if you can’t, you’d be helping a lot if you can share the link with all your friends (especially that rich one who doesn’t know what to spend their money on…).

CLICK HERE NOW TO DONATE MONEY (please)

Sloth Album

Sloth Racket have got a brand new album coming out on Monday 2nd May to coincide with it. We recorded it at Limefield Studios near Manchester with John Ellis, and mixed it with Alex Bonney in London, and I’m really happy with it. Don’t take my word for it though of course, The Quietus called it “an agreeably spicy goulash of free improvisation, grungy riffs and bluesy themes”, but if that doesn’t convince you, you can hear for yourself and pre-order the album from our Bandcamp page right now!

And the tour to go with it…

 

Victoriaville!

In a few weeks I’ll be off to play in Canada for the first time, with a brand new group featuring the legendary Julie Tippetts, alongside the equally legendary Martin Archer, Peter Fairclough, Laura Cole and Seth Bennett. For several years now, Martin and Julie have been collaborating on studio recordings that have resulted in four albums (and they’re alright too, buy from Discus if you like). They were approached by the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville (FIMAV) to put a live band together and play the material for the first time ever in public, and I’m pleased to say they asked me!

Hopefully there will be some festival appearances in the UK and Europe before too long, but for now, maybe see you in Canada?

Last gigs of the year

Well, that was fun. This week I had a few days in the tropical South for my last gigs of 2015. Ripsaw Catfish played in Brighton at The Safehouse, a thoroughly enjoyable night in a room that sounded great. And then my first trip to Hundred Years Gallery for the “Lume : The Hat Speaks” gig, a sort-of tribute to my night The Noise Upstairs (the concept for which was actually inspired by The Safehouse 8+ years ago) where names are pulled out of a hat to form improvising ensembles. The high calibre of musicians in attendance made for some genuinely exciting listening. I played a quartet with Alex Bonney, Andrew Lisle and Ed Riches where I ended up with a heavily de-tuned guitar, exploring some bass frequencies beneath everyone else. Next was a quartet with Alison Blunt, Dee Byrne and Tom Greenhalgh, I got into some slide playing for this, and last of all was a very enjoyable scratchy duo with Tom Ward on bass clarinet. Other highlights were literally everything else, there was a really nice atmosphere, a great way to meet new players and explore new ground. More of this please!

In January 2016 Ripsaw Catfish head to Derby on the 17th, and Cath and I will both be working with the Vonnegut Collective on the 23rd, on a piece inspired by Cornelius Cardew’s Autumn 60. Skamel will be around in February, and the rest of the year promises more Beats & Pieces Big Band gigs, a Sloth Racket album and tour and my first trip to Canada to perform. More on all of that as details are finalised on my gigs page.

For now, here’s a live Sloth Racket video for you to enjoy. And a few photos below that.

New Video and Gigs and Lots of Things

Morning all, a few things to update you on here.  Firstly, I’m playing with Sloth Racket TONIGHT in London.  If you happen to read this, go to The Oxford in Kentish Town from about 8:30.  Details on my Gigs page, where you will also find info about a Vonnegut Collective performance and some big band gigs.

Next, Beats & Pieces Big Band have a brand new video out.  Filmed live on stage at Ronnie Scott’s, with 15 GoPro cameras, all strapped to our heads.  I didn’t really believe Ben when he said it was a good idea, but it does look pretty cool/motion-sickness-inducing.  Check it out…

We’re also going to be on BBC Radio 3 tonight, with a live recording of that very same gig, so on your way home from the Sloth Racket gig, you can listen to Beats & Pieces on Jazz On 3.  Aren’t I good, planning your evening like this?

I also just spent a very enjoyable weekend recording new music for Martin Archer’s Storytellers, a brand new band featuring Martin and myself (obviously) alongside Corey Mwamba, Kim Macari, Peter Fairclough and Michael Somerset.  It was the first time I’d met Micheal, and the first time I’d played with Kim or Peter, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable process.  Lots of freedom, some loose themes, some defined structures, some less so.  I think the album is going to be a mix of our pieces recorded as-is, and some of Martin’s collage approach that he’s used to great effect before.  Check out his Discus Records for a whole host of his releases (and Beck Hunters of course).  Here’s a couple of photos I took, along with one of all of us.

Improvisation Videos

Here is a collection of videos of me improvising that I’ve found and/or uploaded recently.

First up, here’s a short solo I filmed at Rodrigo and Angela‘s house.

And a couple of visits to Mopomoso in London, first with Beck Hunters earlier this year…

… and then last year with Steve Beresford, Seth Bennett, Shaun Blezard, Julie Kjear, Shelly Knotts and Rachel Musson.

Hope you enjoy!

New Records!

    All In

On Monday, the second Beats & Pieces Big Band album will be released into the world. This is actually the first second album I’ve been on, so that’s quite an exciting thing, and it’s nice to see it getting some good press already, with 4 star reviews in the Guardian and Jazzwise (where there’s also a three-page feature and interview with our glorious leader Ben Cottrell).

Have a listen here, and pre-order and so on.

There are also two launch gigs next month, with Manchester on 7th July at Soup Kitchen (cheaper earlybird tickets for £7 if you’re quick and you use the code “ALLINMCR7″ or buy it with a CD) and a return to Ronnie Scott’s in that London on July 8th.

    The Spirit Farm

And that’s not all! In the same issue of Jazzwise there is also mention of ‘The Spirit Farm’ by ‘The Spirit Farm’. In another four star review, Daniel Spicer writes that the album is “Full of unexpected textures and surprising sounds, the session convincingly proposes a 21st Century British Response to some of the challenges laid down by the AACM 50 years ago.”

The Spirit Farm is: Adam Fairhall on piano and other things, Christophe de Bezenac on sax, Dave Kane on bass, Johnny Hunter on drums, Corey Mwamba on vibraphone and other thing, and me on the guitar. We recorded this live last year during a day of improvisation in Crewe, and I’m really pleased with the outcome. Have a listen for yourself below and have a purchase of it from Slam Records.

Le Paris!

This time next week I’ll be mentally preparing myself for my first trio gig in Paris. Johnny, James and I are lucky enough to be the guests of the Onze Heures Onze collective for their festival on Tuesday 12th May. All the info is on their website, or my gigs page of course. Really looking forward to sharing the bill with Donkey Monkey and Jozef Dumoulin, have a look at the other gigs going on over there too on this handy Facebook event.

Not only that, but whilst we’re there, us and a couple of other Efpi-related artists will be hanging out with members of Onze Heures Onze and making some music together, behind closed doors for now, but watch this space to see if anything comes out of that. This trip has been made possible by Fanny Martin and Jazz North who have actively sought out potential collaborations, and we’re very grateful for that!

Also, even before then, Cath Roberts and I (aka Ripsaw Catfish) are hooking up with my namesake Anton Mobin to play our first gig outside the UK this Sunday (10th May). All the details are here on the Plateforme website, or if you prefer, you could Facebook.

That’s all for now, here’s a picture of the Ripsaw Catfish logo.

The Hunt Is On!

Last year, Beck Hunters (the trio of Mick Beck, Johnny Hunter and myself) released our debut recording The Hunt Is On on Discus Records. You can have a purchase of it here if you’d like. Or, more excitingly, you could come along to one of these gigs and buy from our beautiful selves in person! I’d really like to see you, so I hope you can make it…

Beck Hunters UK Tour 2015

Thu 5th FEB – Over the Top, 78 Kingfield Road, Nether Edge, Sheffield, S11 9AU 7:30pm

Thu 12th FEB – Noise Upstairs @ Fuel Cafe Bar, 448 Wilmslow Road, Manchester, M20 3BW 8:30pm (improv night with open jam sessions, BH set at 9:30)

Sun 15th FEB – Mopomoso @ Vortex, 11 Gillett Square, London, N16 8AZ AFTERNOON SHOW 2:30pm

Wed 25th FEB – Safehouse @ Good Companions, 132 Dyke Road, Brighton, BN1 3TE 8pm

Sat 14th MAR – Halton Mill, Mill Lane, Halton, Lancaster LA2 6ND 8pm

“Agressive when it needs to be, but comfortable winding down into unhurried, meandering humour, it sounds like a miniature Art Ensemble at play.” – Daniel Spicer, The Wire, 2014

“…truly mind-blowing, ranging between a cardiac arrest, epileptic fit and a nervous breakdown. The trio are extremely tight, threatening to unravel before skilfully coming back into sync.” – Rob Aldam, Now Then Magazine, Oct 2013

“Ne esci curioso e in vita. Roba non da poco.” – Kathodik, 2014

Recent Reviews

Warning There now follows some ego-massaging. Warning

Last month I had a really nice time on some gigs, specifically the first two performances of my new ensemble Article XI (commissioned by the Manchester Jazz Festival to who I am eternally grateful) and my first time playing at the Cockpit Theatre in London for Jez Nelson’s Jazz In The Round gig. Anyway, some people came along and said some nice things…

Andy Cronshaw in the Manchester Evening News reckoned that the “Results panned out beautifully into a suite of eight arrangements”, with special mention to “trumpeter Graham South’s breathtaking solo, full of poise and invention.Full review here.*

Rachel Maby wrote on the MJF blog… “Last night I heard a completely new side to Hunter: a musical complexity that mixes his love of free improvisation alongside tightly composed and structured contrapuntal instrumental writing. I was amazed by his ability to combine both composition disciplines so successfullyFull review here.

In Adrian Pallant’s round-up of the festival for the London Jazz News blog, he called the suite “A triumph for creative jazz”. Full review.

Ian Maund wrote of the Vortex gig “the Article XI gigs have showcased an outstanding quality of ensemble and improvised playing.Full review here (although I think the site gets updated on the 1st of every month, so the review may disappear).

A couple of the people I paid to be there (the musicians) also said nice things online. Cath Roberts had “a fantastic time” and Sam Andreae said “Great tunes, heroic leadership and good times all round.” Both of them will be booked next time the band gets a gig.

I also did some chatting to the PRS For Music magazine and made a playlist of a mixture of bands that inspired me to play music, and composers who made me want to write for large groups.

And as for the Jazz In The Round gig, Mike Hobart wrote in the Financial Times “empathetic and appealing guitar trio minimalism over a pitter-patter pulse.Full review.

Some people took some nice photos too, here’s a selection of images, some from Peter Fay’s Facebook page, some from my dad, and some from Cara Courage on Flickr.

That’s all for now. The future hopefully brings new opportunities for the Article XI band (and in fact we’re hopefully announcing the next concert shortly), so keep your eyes peeled!

*They also seemed keen to highlight that “It was a great event and a good example of arts patronage at its best.” Now, I’m not overly sold on the idea of sponsorship in music, or rather, there are tricky moral arguments to navigate, but for what it’s worth, both MJF and the sponsors stayed out of the way and let me get on with it this year.