Friday, September 18, 2009


Level of conviction in own genius: 8
Hours of creative activity achieved today: 4, in the realm of singing
Reading: Juggling 'Corvus' for erudite comfort reading and Will Self's 'Cock and Bull' for hardass tube book-time
Hair Day: Bit pink. With a small 'p', not a large 'P', though have oddly been told more than once that I look like the rage-y rockpop queen. Hhm.

So juice had a Big Night Out yesterday, featuring in Blank Canvas' new series at London's coolest music venue, Cafe Oto, up in E8. Many a Dalston virgin was agape at the true fabulousness of the place, whilst Andy and I of course, old hands at popping in to see off-kilter Japanese free improv on trumpet, live electronics and cutlery, shrugged smugly. BC is one of the core alt-classical family, brothers with nonclassical and Kammer Klang and second cousins with straighter classical models like the Little Proms. We kicked off the night with some a cappella bits and bobs and some choons with electronics, braving three new ones off by heart - hopefully we look like we're engaging thoroughly with our audience when in fact our brains are going into minor meltdown trying to remember whether it's 'mikatamikikaiwa' or 'mikikaiwakataki'. Ha ha. Then all-round beatboxing mastermind Shlomo, he of Bjork's 'Medulla'-album and Vocal Orchestra fame, took to the stage to improvise a megamouthful of big beats and clever vocal trickery. He's more musical than most beatboxers, and uses his loop station, the same model as mine, with rather more deftness than I! My favourite moment was an abstract looped aviary of tweeting birds; the challenge for beatboxers is creating something that takes it past an amazing novelty, and Shlomo's definitely nearer than most, though I won't be happy til there's a beatboxer who creates clever little jazz drum licks in 5/8... Am very excited about Shlo's collaboration with old York mucker Anna Meredith though - they're going to be creating a concerto for beatboxer and orchestra, and last night we heard an exciting initial sketch following their first workshop with some instrumentalists. Anna was at Blank Canvas with the Camberwell Composers' Collective, who presented a few works for 'cello, clarinet and percussion. With their riff-driven, electronica-massaged sound, they're fashioning themselves as a Bang on a Can for this side of the Atlantic. The highlight of the night for us was a wee improv with the man Shlomo himself; with the shortest of rehearsals at something similar in the sound check, it was slightly nerve-racking, but worked pretty well, in a sort of chilled, Bobby McFerrin's 'Circle Songs' kind of way... phew! All in all a fab night, full of shmoozing with the alt-classical scenesters (ha, of which we are a part!) and a few of our newer musical friends, whom it was lovely to see.

Today we popped up the road from my flat to the nonclassical studios (in a rather, um, colourful building which houses, among other things, nostril-burning-weed-smoking grime producers, a snooker club full of burly East End chaps, and the rather suspectly-named 'Holborn College of London' - hmm...) for some mic-testing and initial try-outs of material for our nonclassical juice album, to be released sometime next year. The possibilities of which pieces we use, and what new material we create, are endless: I'm getting rather excited about a kids' voice-changer (complete with LED lights!) I bought from eBay. The image of the three of us using flashing red loudspeakers live is a gleeful one and I must write us something, although mostly so far I have been using it to creep Andy out by talking dirty to him in a weird minor-second-clashing robot voice. Ha ha!

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