Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Hampshire Jam 3

Went to Hampshire Jam 3 last Saturday. The Hampshire Jam is an electronic music festival held in the small Hampshire town of Liphook. This year I felt I somehow contributed in a small way to it's success as I designed the website

FSP were probably the most retro-sounding but in the best possible way and got the event off to the best start possible. It was good to see them having such a good time. Their encore piece was particularly good.

This was my first Airsculpture gig and after a slightly shaky start they built up into an extremely powerful groove with some classic sequencing and great leads. This was some of the most complex multi-layered sequencing I've heard them produce and the sounds they were getting out of their Nord modulars was excellent.

I must mention at this point that the lighting at this gig was extremely effective and complemented Airsculpture's powerful performance. I think they had the best lights of the event.

Schonwalder, Keller and Broekhuis started the evenig session off all dressed up to go in matching white shirts. I'd not heard any of there stuff before and found their music to ba quite a modern take on the Berlin School, at times quite reminiscent of Schulze. One criticism would be that a couple of pieces went on a bit without much variation, but apart from that it was very enjoyable, especially Mario's enthusiasm and interaction with the audience.

Finally, in only there 2nd ever performance and their UK debut ARC produced a set of sublimely beautiful layered EM. Mark's sequencing was less strident than with Redshift at E-Live and Ian was on evidently enjoying himself, bopping away to the sequences, adding his synth percussion, strange textures and ambient bridging sections. Their set was over far too soon and ended extremely climactically with an e-piano piece from Ian and some huge chords from Mark.

Steve Jenkins did his big round of thank yous whilst ARC were setting up for their encore, which was the highlight of their set. Amazing to think they'd only got together the previous Tuesday and it was all new material.

I had a great time at my first Hampshire Jam, let's hope the organiser Steve Jenkins feels the urge to do another as it was well worth the effort. As Phil Booth, the guy sat next to me, said all 4 bands were excellent and I would find it very hard to decide between them as each had their own slant on sequencer driven EM.

Will post photos on fotki in due course

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Monday, October 18, 2004

E-Live, Equestrian Events and a Marathon

Went to the E-Live last weekend (9-10 October), which is an electronic music festival, with John (main organiser of the Awakenings gigs aka 4m33s) and Steve (Create) in Eindhoven, Holland.

Met up with John in a Travelodge near Stansted on the Friday night. As our flight left at 6:45 on Saturday morning we had to be up at 4 am to get there and checked in on time. Met Steve in departures as he had decided to come down directly from Manchester, but was rather delayed by the fact that the M6 had been closed for some reason.

The flight, which was my first, was actually quite exciting though uneventful, wasn’t even long enough for me to drink a cup of coffee. Was a bit disappointed to not get a window seat, but managed to get a look out of the one behind me.

We arrived bright and early at 8:45 and got a taxi from the airport to our hotel in Eindhoven, called De Bengel, only to discover that Steve had inadvertently booked us into the wrong De Bengel, 10 miles away in the town of Earsel. So we managed to rack up some taxi fares going to and from the hotel, but it has to be said it was actually very nice.

We got to the auditorium just as Redshift were unloading their van and had a brief chat with Mr Shreeve. He promised us some 'rocking sequences' and 'not too much ambient stuff'

The festival was well organised and there were quite a few stalls selling stuff. Steve and John bought some bits and pieces but I was holding out for the new Redshift stuff, which was Redshift VI - Faultline, the HJ2 recording and Redshift VII - Oblivion a new studio recording. They also had a Faultline DVD, which was a limited run of 100 copies, which sold out. Luckily the Redshift stall, run by Mark's wife and most probably daughter, were accepting English money as we were all conserving our euros for taxi fares.

Maitreya (aka Simon Lomax of Council of Nine) started the proceedings off in a very mellow vein. It was a bit too mellow for some who rather rudely got up and left during his performance, but Steve, John and I stayed the course. He was doing some improvisation to backing tracks on his Apple using a very small Midi controller, probably an Oxygen 8. John liked Maitreya and even has some of his albums.

Second on was Sunya Beat who apparently sound very Ashra-like, which means nothing to me. They were quite funky and very rhythmic, with a line-up of drums, guitar and a guy on a laptop and 'electronics'. They had some very good visuals, as did Maitreya.

I bought a new camera before going so I'll try to post some pictures of the performers somewhere online at some point. I also got some nice pictures of some quite nice architecture, which might get used if my musical collaboration with Steve, an idea that was born as we wandered round sunny Eindhoven, ever comes to pass.

Anyway there was about a 3-hour gap between the fist two acts and the last two so we got a taxi to our hotel to check-in, then back to Eindhoven for some tea, which consisted of beer and pancakes. I do like savoury pancakes :)

Gert Emmens was on next and he played some very melodic, Berlin school influenced stuff. I recorded his set so will do you a copy. He was joined for the last two pieces and a very unrehearsed encore by Ruud Heij for some more retro BS improvisation, but I have to say I preferred Gert's solo stuff.

The might Redshift were on last, slightly delayed by Gert and Ruud's unplanned encore and they deliver a set of storming sequencing with all the usual weird ambient link sections whilst Mark re-programmed his sequencers and re-tuned, plus lots of ep from James who also ventured in to axe-hero territory, but was no replacement for Rob Jenkins. I have to say Mark was getting some very hard, almost distorted stuff out of the Moog and I think this was a bit off-putting to some of the purists, but it's good to see them evolving.

We spent Sunday trying to work out how to get back to Eindhoven from Earsel without using a taxi, our efforts being hampered by the fact that the whole town was full of visitors for some equestrian event and the road we wanted to catch our bus from being closed didn't help. We eventually found a bus stop outside the town and a bus eventually came to take us back into Eindhoven, where they were holding a marathon. So we spent the day drinking coffee and discussing EM, as you do.

Got a bus to the airport, waited round lots and then flew back, arriving 15 minutes early. As I said before we saw Simon and his girlfriend on arrival at Stansted as well as Mark's wife and gave them all Awakenings flyers. Hopefully this might lead to either Maitreya or Redshift doing an Awakenings gig at some point in the future

Drove home listening to Oblivion on repeat, it's pretty good in a very similar style to the last Redshift studio album, Halo. Now I'm looking forward to HJ3, which is in a week or so.

Apparently Klaus Schulze is playing in Bologna sometime next year and plans are afoot to organise a bit of a trip out there, with Steve, John and myself and another chap called Phil (who was at E-Live with some of his friends).

In other news I have updated and re-designed the Awakenings website

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Gig pictures

Here are some pictures of me at the last gig, courtesy of Pete Challoner

Monday, October 04, 2004

Last night's gig

Well, first of all a big thank you to everyone one who turned up especially John for his excellent support set, Phil and Steve who came down from Manchester, Pete, Martin and Toby for help with setting up and packing up.

Used the MAQ 16/3 sequencer to compose new sequences on the fly, and I think this went pretty well, but I'll wait until I hear the recording before I pass final judgement. Comments on the night were very positive so I guess things went quite well. Will be posting some music if it turns out OK. I have to say this was probably the most nerve wracking gig so far, mostly due to the new setup, but also due to getting Phil and Steve to come all the way from Manchester, so I hope you enjoyed it.

Also noticed a few people in the audience I didn't know, so either they arrived by chance or the advertising paid off.

The only downside to the evening was that as I was trying to pack up my gear an annoying drunken idiot kept trying to persuade me to add vocals to my stuff and make loads of money doing dance music. Not that I've got anything against dance music per se, it's just that it's not what I want to do. I do the music that I do because I love it, not for the money. He just couldn't understand that and just went on and on, only giving up when the landlady told him to shut up and leave me alone.

Now I just can't wait for the next one...