Monday, April 01, 2013

Falcon Conclusion

Level of conviction in own genius: 7
Creative activity achieved in last 24 hours: 4
Watching / Listening: Pining after finishing 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 3 / The traditional song Molly Bawn as sung by a 93-year old man
Hair Day: SERIOUSLY considering coppertop in order to maintain standards as quoted by Sam Lee (see below)

It's all go as usual here, all while battling with the evil maggoty-looking infection that keeps hanging around in my throat (URGH!). But I have still managed to fit in some birding of various varieties.

First: a visit to the English School of Falconry in Bedfordshire! I got to fly a big ole owl, a harris hawk, hold a three-week old baby owl (looking remarkably like an infant gremlin to me), hold a 9lb juveline bald eagle, and my favourite, the very gorgeous Peregrine/Lanor falcon cross. It makes me think I should get back there, rather more glamourously-clad than in this Battling Winter-look below, and do a photo-shoot for my You Are Wolf birdlore-themed album, all glitter and feathers and faux-nonchalantly attempting to hold up a golden eagle or sumfink. The album is ticking along nicely, with just a few bits to send to MaJiKer before he can get on with mixing. I'm planning to call it 'Hawk to the Hunting Gone'...
I've thus been cramming some bird field recordings to possibly add into the album, though finding the perfect sonic environment has been tricky. It's either too noisy (Ruskin Park on Easter Sunday, Hampton Park on Easter Monday under a flight path), or too damned quiet (Rainham Marshes in Essex). In the secret garden at the back of Brockwell Park, it was like flippin' Snow White or something: as I quietly sang 'The Bird's Courting Song' into my Zoom recorder, a dunnock hopped across my path, a robin perched on the bench to listen, a squirrel climbed the trellis above my head and sat looking down at me, and two doves sputtered down on the grass. And none of them made a GODDAMNED PEEP.
It was lovely to sing some of the 'birdlore' songs at Sam Lee's Nest Collective night at the Old Queen's Head in Islington this week (I'm going to be on his Resonance FM show this Tuesday 2nd April, 12pm!). Sam very kindly (and rightly) introduced me as possessing 'the finest hair in contemporary classical music' - ha, take THAT, Eric Whitacre! I was mostly there to sing as part of MaJiKer's ongoing NORTH project, exploring the traditional folk songs of Scandinavia through new English lyrics, looping, much vocals and projections. It was a GOOD excuse to get a new dress (an all-white maxi t-shirt dress that looks a bit like a net curtain, since you ask) and I have really thrived on exploring different characters in my voice when taking the lead. We hit the Albert Hall with it (and with Sam) on June 11th!

Whilst most people (judging by Twitter, anyway) were watching 'The Voice' on telly (HONESTLY! The ADHD-editing in the first minute made me feel SICK), Andy and I donned extra layers and headed up to Clapton for a hipstertastic-sounding event: a shadow puppet theatre play; with live improvised violin, electric guitar and electronics; in a former dentist's. YES! In truth, the prospect of the night far outweighed the actual show itself, as it started over an hour late, the rest of the (tiny) audience were friends on the guest list, the shadow puppetry was distinctly underwhelming, not least because there was often  5-10 minutes of darkness between each tableau vivant, and the venue seemed to be MORE cold than it was outside, meaning my legs lost all hope of feeling after about 10 minutes. STILL, we giggled our way home on the bus, imagining that we were probably there right at the start of something big, y'know, like the Sex Pistols at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall.

In other news, juice are two recording sessions down, one to go, with our Nonclassical chum Gabriel at the helm, and have really noticed the difference between this and our last album recording, since working with MaJiKer. We are much more interested in and aware of the colour of our voices, which is lovely. We are recording lots of love songs, original (by Jim Moray, Dai Fujikura, Michacu and more) and arrangements of Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Kraftwerk and much more. I'm refining my community chamber opera score, Woodwose, and am making plans for a NEW chamber opera. On wild swimming. Hurrah!

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