Pedals, Pedals, Pedals (and pedals)

You might have noticed me banging on about pedals at some point recently.*

First of all there was the tentative first step on a road, surely, to YouTube stardom, in the form of this video talking everyone through the pedals I use in ‘time’ by Beats & Pieces Big Band:

Hot on the heels of this is the exciting (for me) news that this book has been published:

Written by Rob Thorpe, the book is essentially a guide to what pedal does what, how to combine effects, how to get certain classic tones and much more, including an interview with me about my pedalboard where I presumably talk way too much and have to get edited to make sense.

To continue the theme, I have a gig coming up on Wednesday where I shall exclusively be playing pedals (who needs a guitar right?). It’s the latest in a series of collaborations with the Vonnegut Collective, and the gig features Gemma Bass (violin), Gary Farr (trumpet) and Graham South (trumpet), all being processed by Norm Skipp (electronics) and myself on pedals. 8pm, Wednesday 6th March, tickets here.

(and pedals)
Oh, and where better to host a gig with such an abundance of pedals? A bike shop, of course.

That’s all for now folks, if you still want more pedals, here’s a video of me trying out a K.M.A. Astrospurt phaser that Rob lent me after doing the interview for his book.

*this opening sentence works whenever you are reading this.

Accidental Engineer

Well, it’s not so much of an accident I suppose, I’ve not made a secret of my interest in recording. But it is a nice coincidence that three recordings have all been released so close together…

First up, I had the pleasure of recording Trevor Watts and Stephen Grew live in Liverpool last year, and Trevor mixed the resulting recording which has just come out on the Fundacja Słuchaj label from Poland. It sounds great, and was the first time I got to use my Golden Age Project ribbon mic in action, which Trevor ended up preferring on both his alto and soprano.

Solo guitar album from Jose Dias, out now on Clean Feed.

Next is a session at MMU in Crewe, featuring my friend José Dias and his solo improvisations to silent films. Only the music remains, and it’s a luscious ambient record is glorious stereo (we used two U87 mics that the uni has…), and plenty of my Earthquaker Levitation reverb on the guitar. Pleased that this is out this month on the Portuguese label Clean Feed, click the picture to find out more (it’s on all good streaming platforms too).

And last but not least, I’ve already told you about it of course, but in case you missed it, I recorded the new Beck Hunters album. Mixed by Alex Bonney, it’s out now on Discus. But you already knew that, of course.

P.S. Here’s a picture of me at it again, recording my brother’s quartet recently. Sounded great, keep an eye out for it in the future…

New Releases 2019

I’m writing this from day two of the sessions for the next (fourth!) Sloth Racket album, in an amazing studio near Leeds, photos on Twitter as per usual. Anyway, I had two new releases out in January, both very different from each other, both I’m really proud of. Read on for the details…

First up is the new Beck Hunters album ‘Has It Been Found?’ – released on Discus* again, recorded by me and mixed by Alex Bonney. Beck Hunters is Mick Beck, Johnny Hunter and myself and we’ve been improvising together as a trio since about 2012 I think. Every time we play we managed to surprise ourselves.

And then, just a week later, came ‘Awakening’ by Nick Walters & the Paradox Ensemble. Nick’s first release as the Paradox Ensemble was way back when I was still involved in running Efpi records. Since then he invited me to join the band, along with a few others, expanding the line-up to 13 musicians, and the new record is out on 22a records. I’m told it’s number 3 in the iTunes charts as I type, but you can and should buy it from Bandcamp, of course. Or in person at the album launch gig at Church of Sound in London on 22nd Feb. This is my first time on vinyl, and my first release it a while that you can actually dance to…

Last but not least, while I’ve got you here, you might be interested in my pedals? I’ve been filming a series of me talking about how I use them in various Beats & Pieces Big Band tunes, mostly exclusively for our backstage subscribers through our Bandcamp page (a very valuable way of supporting the music!), but we put one on YouTube too, take a look here if you like.

Cheers for reading!



*coincidentally, it was Martin from Discus that first introduced me to the studio we’re in with the Sloths right now, the Chairworks in Castleford. We did the Storytellers record here too.