Today was a session day (Noelle and Craig) and think day (planning). I had a Skype chat with Ahad about the next stage of the album we are working on and making the plan to getting him over here to sing as the countries in Europe seem to be going back into lockdown mode. Looks like we’ve settled on the end of the month, virus permitting, which will give Dare and I some days to get everything more or less finished musically on the guitars at least. Other musicians will be dropping in to play but it’s Ahad that we need to start putting the cream into the sponge or is it the icing on the cake? I’m not sure how the metaphor crumbles but we need to get him here to sing. Is the cherry the mix? The circumstances are so difficult when you are working internationally, touring is of course a disaster and now with the cost of US work visas, it’s even more difficult. Plus I tend to work with a lot of musicians that live in different countries – Ahad in Istanbul, Jerome in Berlin, Jed Space Summit in Minneapolis, Salim in Dallas, Anekdoten in Stockholm, MOAT in Skåne (South Sweden) and then 95% of sessioneers are in the USA/Australia/Germany/Canada/Norway so any projects that come from the sessions will probably be impeded by the situation. And then if I’m in Portugal, The Wild Swans will be in England, I need to form a future band with Ronaldo. With all dates cancelled for this year and the big black metaphorical clouds on the horizon, one wonders if our European dates in February/March and Anekdoten dates May/June in Canada and Sweden will be realised. What a mess.
I wrote a piece for Noelle in Montreal today, something for her to write a melody and lyrics to and to add to what we already have. But the process needs adjusting for the future. Me sending phone recordings via WhatsApp means she has the idea but not a proper working programme recorded version, like either the simpler GarageBand or Logic. So somehow, somewhere in time, I need to find time to learn the basics of these programmes so I can exchange ideas not just with Noelle but with anyone I’m working with. Adding parts, changing arrangements, experimenting with melodies, adding bass. We need demos that you can consider or even use as part of a finished record. I was talking today about the confusion of digital technology versus those crazy days when I was making In Reflection on a 4-track, bouncing 3 tracks to 1 and using the Sydney Morning Herald as a snare drum. Surely modern technology is easier than that? But somehow I have what might be called a digital blindspot, anything, phone, computer or digital recording seems to turn my heart to ice, my fingers to lead and my brain to mush. Why? Is it age? Somehow the whole process pre-digital technology was more attractive (not that I was an engineer beforehand). Perhaps it’s just that I don’t want to be distracted from the creating and the execution, the tones of the guitars and the ideas, I like a technical collaborator, I want to write the lyrics, sing and play the guitars and bass and perhaps a little drums and percussion (or any of the above) but I like to collaborate, I don’t want to do everything myself.
I wonder about writing on a computer instead of a typewriter or freehand. What’s the difference? Certainly getting the structure of your essay and the corrections sorted is much easier but when it comes to writing lyrics I never use my computer, I have a book and a nice pen. So what’s the difference? Sitting with a computer on my lap writing lyrics just wouldn’t work but writing prose, a story, that would be different, I’m not sure why.
When I listen to music I listen to vinyl, CD and streaming but everything sounds good on my stereo even terrible music, haha. I’m going to miss these B&W speakers, the Linn Sondek, the Cambridge Audio CD player and the NAD amp when we’re gone. It’s not ridiculously pricey stuff and second hand you can find a lot of reasonably priced great gear that will seriously improve your listening experience. Ok, I’ve said it before – improve your equipment, but really, just do it, you’ll never look back. Time for bed, I have to plug in and recharge my batteries, I also need a new hip, new knees and I think I might be heading for being the first non-violent cyberman.
Music today is to honour the anniversary of the death of Jimi Hendrix. In his short life, Hendrix only made three officially released studio albums, Are You Experienced (1967), Axis: Bold As Love (1967), and the double album Electric Ladyland (1968). Everything else was either as a sideman, live, from a soundtrack or posthumous. It’s really incredible that there has been so much Hendrix music released considering. These three albums were released in May ’67, December ’67 and October ’68 making Hendrix’s total studio output an action-packed 18 months with the live Band Of Gypsies released in March 1970. Like The Beatles it’s not really necessary to wax poetic about the legend, it’s simply reminding you to make today the day you listen to the records.
Song Of The Daze
Live in Maui in 1970 with Mitch Mitchell on drums and Billy Cox on bass. Noel Redding had already left the band. Redding died 2003 age 57, Mitch Mitchell died 2008 age 62 and JH died 1970 age 27, they have all left for Saturn but Billy Cox is still alive, he’s 81 next month.
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