Friday, June 28, 2013


Level of conviction in own genius: 7
Amount of creative activity achieved in last 24: 5
Listening / Watching: Olivia Chaney / an empty screen, forlornly, as I’m waiting two weeks for ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 3 to become available to stream…
Hair day: pink, and with a little bird nestling in it

The Metamorphic/Røyst tour is sadly now over – it has been such fun hanging out and performing with this brilliant bunch of musicians. This week we had the official album launch at the Vortex in London, to a great crowd, with me rocking a monochrome androgynous look (Laurie Anderson / Tilda Swinton: you are my heroes!), though I needed a bit of help with the tie, ahem. I am going to try and force the boys to wear the same I think… we need a LOOK! Nerves always slightly get me at the Vortex for some reason, but it was still a top gig – Andy said that our thick-textured, bombastic collaborative pieces (featuring all 11 of us rubbing elbows on the teeny stage) sounded like a free jazz Polyphonic Spree, which can ONLY be a good thing. The week got better: Jamie Cullum played ‘Juicemaster’ on his über-mainstream show on Radio 2 (42 mins in), causing my Mum’s heart to SWELL with pride; and us being selected as one of four bands for the Jazz on 3 BBC Introducing Stage at the ManchesterInternational Jazz Festival at the end of the month, hand-picked by Jamie, Jez Nelson and Gilles Peterson. Woo hoo!
We finished up the tour in drizzletastic Liverpool, in the sublimely lovely View Two Gallery, a sedately arty oasis amongst the bubble-lettered retro horror of the clubs on Mathew Street, where the Cavern Club also sits. It turned out to be a gorgeous night, possibly the highlight of the tour, with an enthusiastic crowd including an old chap who is Led Bib’s superfan and basically stalks Chris – from Bib and our superfierce alto sax player - around everywhere. We sounded pretty sharp, Laura delivered a monstrous piano solo thunderous enough to wake the dead, John tore it up on ‘Blood’, and Tom did his usual brilliance even though he was playing a borrowed kit which basically comprised 2 dustbins and a couple of tin cans held together with masking tape. Seth and Oli, who make up the extended Metamorphic family, are ludicrously good improvisers, with Oli somehow evoking muted trumpets and Mariah Carey-style riffing on his bass clarinet, and Seth striking little matches alight and making whales sing on his bass. Yum. Røyst were on beautiful form, giving me goosebumps in one moment; they have really inspired me to be a bit wilder with my vocals; my default setting is pureprettyvoiceness, and whilst I make all sorts of bonkers notated sounds with juice, it sometimes seems hard to let rip when improvising. But muttering, percussively rattling and yelping with the girls has really helped, and I need to keep that up now that I am without them! Next up is Oli and Seth’s brilliantly-named trio Nutclub and Metamorphic in Birmingham, which will feel like a very slimline gig without tha laydeez…

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks; inbetween doing my mini-dance moves on various jazz stages, and attempting to write my second chamber opera of the year, I’ve been workshopping new pieces for us at the Roundhouse’s Voices Now Festival, and floating spectre-like around the fabulous Dennis Severs’ House with juice for Spitalfields Festival. We did over-the-top languid siren stuff whilst clinging to the walls (and accidentally getting stuck on a hook at one point, leaving Anna to frantically try and rescue me, whilst we sang serenely out of sight of the audience, ha ha!), twanging Vietnamese mouth harps, and generally being VERY CREEPY yet AMAZINGLY IN TUNE...

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