Large Ensemble Score – ‘LUME Kestrel’

Written for the debut performance of the LUMEkestra in November 2016.

There are 7 (subtly) different numbered parts, so ideally that would be the minimum number of pitched instruments, but I think it sounds better with more. The intention was to write something quiet for the 18 piece band of improvisers that Cath and Dee from LUME had assembled, thinking it would provide a nice moment of contrast for the set. Of course, I wasn’t the only one to have that idea! I was really happy with how it came out nonetheless, and in particular the blurriness that is achieved by not having set parts for set players, and having so many players.

Here’s a video of the first performance

And here are the parts:

LUME Kestrel Concert
LUME Kestrel Eb
LUME Kestrel Bb

And if you head to the LUME Youtube channel you can see Martin Pyne and Dave Kane’s pieces for the same group.

Sloth Racket album and tour announced

The second Sloth Racket album is up for pre-order now, including streaming of one track. There are also t-shirts, all designed by Cath.

And then we’re off on tour in June, full details on my gigs page, or the Sloth Racket site, but here’s a flyer:

LUMElabrats

…for want of a better name…

I’ve got a brand new octet, and we’re gonna play music in public for the very first time next week!

Put together for LUME’s LUMElab series, the band I’ve got is amazing, look!

Kim Macari Stone-Lonergan – trumpet
Dee Byrne – alto sax
Rachel Musson – tenor sax
Tullis Rennie – trombone
Cath Roberts – baritone sax
Andrew Lisle – drums
Tim Fairhall – double bass
and me – guitar

I wrote about the process of writing (ooh, meta) on the LUME site. Click here to read about it.

And then click on my manic face to buy tickets:

Buy things on Bandcamp today

Bandcamp have announced that today they will be donating 100% of their share of any sales to the American Civil Liberties Union in solidarity with their work. I’ve been a big fan of Bandcamp for a while, and I thought I’d point you towards a few releases I’ve been enjoying.

I hadn’t heard of Ava Mendoza until recently, and it turns out she’s great. Something about her playing tickles the bit of my brain that also loves Nels Cline. This EP of miniatures (also available on 7″ vinyl) with a French drummer and bassist is a great introduction, also check out her Unnatural Ways group for a more proggy sound, and some songs too.

I bought this octet record on the strength of the Quietus review, combined with it featuring Ingrid Laubrock on tenor sax. Susan Alcorn is a revelation on pedal steel guitar, I wasn’t previously aware of her, but that texture in amongst some great writing and improvising is very welcome, and never lapses into cliche.

DBH is a bit of a local legend around Manchester, and can be found in all sorts of contexts on any number of different instruments. This is a largely solo guitar record full of strong melodies and fleshed out with simple effective arrangements. Independent Manchester label too, sums up the great thing about Bandcamp, direct support for music that needs it.

A trio from Widnes whose live shows at Islington Mill in Salford fried my brain a bit last year (and triggered an obsession with almost, but not quite, buying baritone guitars). Amazing guitar sounds, nice melodies. Needs to be turned up loud.

A phenomenal album of mostly wildlife recordings. This track is the sound of nine vultures feeding on a zebra carcass. Recorded from inside the carcass on Itong Plains, Kenya. Sept. 1994. One day I want to transcribe this to play on guitar…

Anyone can see what I’ve bought through Bandcamp by looking at my collection, or you could head to my artist page to see what records I’ve been on that you could buy should you wish.

But yeah, buy something today (Friday 3rd) and help a good cause and some great musicians.

New Videos

A couple of new videos have sneaked out recently, so I thought I’d stick them on here for you to watch.

First up is a video of my Article XI group in action at the Manchester Jazz Festival 2014. Dan Spicer mentioned in Jazzwise magazine this month that this group “demands to be heard”. So here it is:

And, on the back of a great review from Bird Is The Worm for our debut album ‘Triptych’ (“hyperactive…doesn’t sit still..whirlwind display of forms of expression…” buy it here folks!), here’s a video of our gig earlier in 2016 at The Vortex in London. And we’re playing a track that will eventually end up on the next album.

I’m sure there’s plenty more to report, but for now, hope you enjoy those.

Large Ensemble Score – ‘Always A Fox’

Composed for my 11-piece band Article XI and performed at LUME Fest in June 2016.

Always A Fox (all parts)

Always A Fox – Example Structures

The idea with this piece is to rehearse each section in a couple of different ways, maybe with different groups within the ensemble, and then to improvise your way through a structure that is written just before performance. The thinking being to ensure it’s fresh for each performance, and to avoid the ensemble learning a particular set way of navigating the material. This is me exploring an idea from Ken Vandermark’s Resonance Ensemble, according to the liner notes of Kafka In Flight (which is a great album and you should buy it!).


Live recording of the first performance, complete with some cueing mistakes on my part…

And the title; in honour of Leicester City’s premier league title win in 2016 (or rather, the way that everyone suddenly seemed to be a Leicester City fan).

Multiple Instrument Score – ‘Winter 16′

Here’s the score for my ‘Winter 16′. Composed for the Vonnegut Collective and performed in January 2016 at the New Music Northwest Festival.

For improvising soloist with ensemble of any size. Although, I think trio might be the smallest it would work for, and I envisaged 5-10.

Winter 16 A4 Concert

Winter 16 A3 all parts

The piece formed part of an hour long concert, the theme of which was responses to Cornelius Cardew’s ‘Autumn 60′. Composers Cath Roberts and Tullis Rennie also contributed pieces and the three of us performed them and a load of improvising with the Vonnegut Collective‘s Gemma Bass and Gary Farr. A lot of fun was had by all.

If anyone fancies playing it, let me know, I’d love to hear it!

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

\\\\                                               ////