Iain Cameron's Diary
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2004-06-16 - 3:01 p.m.

Nose mouth and throat still not aligning with body or rest of the world with consequences for my ability to concentrate. Fortunately the latest version of the major written item is out of the way with the customer. I am staring at various minor tasks with very little to show. The forthcoming event at Pembroke Oxford has been shifted to September which may be just as well. I also have to disengage myself from a trip to Germany a fortnight today. The meeting in London next Thursday is still on.

The chapter of decrepitude continues with the latest episode with my PC. I discovered that it will download WAVs to the Nomad just in time – as it was taken away from me to have its fan replaced. Fortunately the version of the Thickened Flute Line I recorded onto Nomad yesterday morning went across to the PC so that it could be tweaked in Wavelab and then back to Nomad. It includes a keyboard part from my little Casio GZ50M and in that sense has come on a stage – which provokes me to look on google to see whether anyone else likes this unit? Good I am not the only one – maybe I should try it with the Dhorn.

And when I get a portable back I can use the Nomad to port tracks to and from the Dell – also as a hard disc recorder for mixes from the Tascam machine which is currently my mainstay. Maybe I should map the pathways and linkages to hold confusion at bay. Or maybe I should just continue to rely on serendipity. My psychometrics say I have an unusually high tolerance of chaos.

More with Pandora . The DX7 is one of the landmarks in the history of the synth with is pioneering use of FM synthesis. Some years ago I persuaded myself that an old Yamaha keyboard had some of these sounds and so I bought it 2nd hand. It has about 100 sound which are easily called, no midi and a mono jack out. It has proved handy for low level gigs, is robust, light and will run on batteries. Anyway I have finally got round to introducing it to Pandora and I am rather taken with the result – a lot of the sounds blend nicely with the Pandora presets. The brass sounds and some of the woodwinds please me especially

How did I come to have an odd collection of synths – I think it must have been reading the History of House at impressionable middle age. Maybe younger people got over this in their teenage years? Seeing all those dusty boxes in the History of Techno in the Detroit Historical Museum didn’t help.

How different things were in the past. This was brought home to me last night as I listened to the serialisation of The Rainbow – Leavis’ favourite work – on Radio 4. Paul and I have been tossing around the idea of influences in and around the English Faculty, not least the questionable example of Totton’s poetry. I have long held the view that DHL was quite as pernicious especially when mediated through a claim of ultimate moral value by the supposedly GOM of cultural criticism. Not the subprogramme to infiltrate into middle glass girls fresh off the leash. It was a strange kind of nostalgia to hear the “action sequences” read out in an East Midlands accent. The whole business seems to be irredeemably destined to drift into a mythological fog. James says they all still barmy in Newnham – at least there is some bedrock of continuity in ancient seats of learning amidst all this post-post modernism and Deleuzean flux.

Returning to the real world here’s a rough spec for the GZ50M: “This is a v.small (11cm wide, 17cm deep, 3cm high) cream box which contains a General MIDI synth module. It was intended as an upgrade for the cheap General MIDI synths built into many soundcards. It provides the standard 128 GM sounds and they are very good. The drums especially are excellent. It has built in reverb (which can also do chorus/phasing, but not at the same time). I used to find it very useful for providing general purpose, realistic, piano, bass, violin type sounds. (I have now replaced it with the N1r) NB It needs a dedicated MIDI port as it will respond on all 16 MIDI channels (I used the built-in MIDI port on my Maxi64 card before I got my N1r).”

As I was listening to the Wire cover disc on the way to work I wasn’t paying attention at a right turn and nearly drove into someone doing similar. I was absorbed in Albert Ayler’s “Untitled Blues” recorded in New York in 1968. I don’t know what his excuse was. Anyway it was all good natured.

At the time (1968) I was much more Archie Shepp, Trane and Pharoah Sanders and much less Coleman and Ayler. Apparently this is the first 12 bar that he had recorded since 1962. It is stunning – and just like that 1948 Pollock in the Tate on Saturday – is absolutely neo-classical. The next track on the disc (also top notch) is Chris Macgregor’s Brotherhood of Breath from 1975. Macgregor plays the piano solo on Poor Boy. I first caught the bad in September 1967, thank goodness.

Colin Touchin who used to be Director of Music at Warwick mailed and so I got out the photocopied manuscript of his “Draconne” for organ and recorder and tried it on the GZ50M as best I could. I was surprised how far my vocabulary had moved in that direction since I last tampered thus.

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