Thursday, July 21, 2011

Radio Balladeering and Drum'n'Swing

Amount of creative activity achieved in last 24 hours: 0
Listening: A mixture of electro-swing on Spotify and OUP's new 'Carols For Choir 5' promo CD which I am on - a winning combination! Ahem.
Hair Day: pinned up '50s style
What I can see from my window no. 12: Westminster, wreathed in mist

I've had my newish producer/sound artist cap on of late, working with lots of raw material - spoken word, a cappella songs, vocal sounds, field recordings - recorded with the pesky kids at Laburnam Boat Club in Hackney for an Art on the Underground project. Chained to my desk and Logic, reinventing/re-arranging lots of little chunks into a mini-concept album about journeys and growing up, then going mad listening to the infinitesimal differences in EQ with my co-producer and DOLLYman bandmate Matt, it's been a great experience, and one that makes me realise I want to travel further down this road. I was massively inspired by artist Ruth introducing me to Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger's Radio Ballads, a heart-wrenching mix of social observation and folk song. There are loads of possibilities for spoken word and music marriages in the next year with some promising commissions... I'm looking forward to getting stuck in.

Metamorphic were sad to lose out on a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize 2011, but seeing as there's only one token jazz nod each year, it came as no whopping surprise. It IS ludicrous- what say occasionally they pop two in, just to shake things up a bit? And even a risky experimental a cappella/remix album for good measure!?? Mentioning no names of course. My money's on James Blake, who could and should win. Metamorphic had a couple of good gigs recently, rocking out at Luna Lounge's free-ish Thursday session, and going for broke at the Troy Bar in the execrably-named night 'The Funky Factor'. juice are off to Truck Festival tomorrow, and bracing ourselves for the bad weather. Anyone know a retailer of glamorous hail-shields and wellies with kitten heels?

I've seen some interesting giggage of late. Sarah-juicette and I went to the ENO for Nico Muhly's Two Boys, which had received wildly differing reviews all round. I was on the two-star end of opinion... best things were: a) second-row seats thanks to Sarah's stellar connex! b) Nico's excellent chorus writing, convenying the multi-babble of online conversations. Least good things were: a) a plodding plot and lumbering libretto b) dated visual design - always the way when you bring the online world into the arts world c) the sneaking feeling that we were actually watching Prime Suspect: The Opera and d) the detective singing the words 'Bloody Christ!' as a sweary exclamation, when NO-ONE IN THE WHOLE WORLD HAS EVER UTTERED THIS. Urgh. At the other end of the scale was the new single launch for our hip hop/jazzfunk friends Lazy Habits at Shoreditch's vast and unnervingly clean warehouse space, Village Underground last night. The sound was sadly godawful, as if the bands were actually performing to us man fully whilst flailing in the depths of a murky well, but it was well worth it to finally see electro-swing madmen The Correspondents live. Supported by a beardybear DJ, the singer, a whirling dervish who appeared to be a mix of Harry Potter, a vengeful court jester and Death Himself, flung himself marvellously about the stage with some of the best moves I've ever seen in his clingy, uber-art outfit. YES!

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