Iain Cameron's Diary
"Click here to access the Fruitful Album" - Click here to visit Music for the Highveld Project


The Highveld Project

Get your own
 diary at DiaryLand.com! contact me older entries

2004-06-25 - 10:52 a.m.

Well – what surprises come round every corner . My Acer is back. It has lost all its unofficial applications and some WAVs of some consequence eg my Spring 2003 NYC CZ101 Wavs which I really must get hold of. Cubasis had gone too and all my Cubasis files, plus the Creative interface with Nomad which is a bit trying. Maybe I can get round this by CD-writing or I suppose there is a remote chance that the drivers etc might turn up somewhere

So – off to Coventry PC World to get the latest budget Cubase. Yes they still throw in Wavelab which is a start. Cubase now comes with more virtual instruments including a virtual Hammond – oh joy. So my first exercise has been to create a drone from that Hammond and one of the flute voices on the VST synth and to port that off to Wavelab where I used some of the techniques I have been developing for the last few months to extend and that. Cubase now has a plug-in Karlette which I have never seen before. It’s a German Copycat device – four tape heads and on each you can set volume, pan, feedback and damping – and it does great things with harmonically rich drones. Niblock-like things.

I mentioned to Colin Touchin today that I had a foray with a Niblock derived drone earlier this year – which I had the sense to get down on CD as a mp3 before the portable expired. He had written asking what I made of his Draconne and I explained to him that somehow between the two forays I have made at it, it made a great deal of sense. Actually I think Colin is the only other person to have heard the NYC stuff – although possibly Gilbert did too. The CZ101 needs treatment so it may be a while before I am in a postion to recreate these – but there is a synth shop in town which will at least understand the problem and the relevance of keeping a 20 year old synth on the road.

Dredging around I have found some ghosts of the NYC material on a CD from Gilbert – this might be a path – the first steps seem to be very electro acoustic.

I don’t know if I have mentioned that I have put the Lamonte Young picks up on Making Music on the KK site. Do have a look. I think maybe I am beginning to get there with slow improvisation – these drones certainly help. I like the story about Parker. I once had the honour to ask LMY a question and the question was about what he and Eric Dolphy shared musically as teenagers. His answer was about Parker – and there he is on the page telling a famous story about Parker and the strings recording – which he obviously both believes and likes. A similar story is told about a heavily arranged Parker concert in Paris. You have to realise that on top of this enthusiasm for Parker you have the Schoenberg influence on LMY – see especially his comment about Colours. I have been so impressed by this view that I actually went out and bought a second copy of the Rattle recording having lost the first and already invested in the score. He is also very keen on the Little Piano pieces which I think influenced James Brown although he doesn’t mention these here.

I was very absorbed with his comment about Kenton. I saw the Julliard recreation of Kenton in NYC – the visit which provoked the CZ101 pieces. I thought that I was seeing a tighter recreation of the originals – it was pretty damn tight. But LmY clearly thinks that the original sections were the absolute – section playing like nothing before or since. Well I was lucky to get a passable recreation at the Lincoln Centre.

Also very gratifying seeing him place Gil Evans in the line of Satie and Ravel – including the Claude Thornhill arrangements.

I have been listening continuously to my new drone for about 90 mins. Possibly Lmy is right about the effect on the nervous system.

Finally LmY mentions Noh and Gagaku. It was Noh related music that led me to the Dhorn. I started looking for the fife they used and ended up with that.

Andrew was asking about F Frith. I said that as far as I was concerned he had the moral high ground esp in terms of looking to the past or looking to the future. I owe him him my upper second I think – revising by jamming.

I wonder what the Sync control does on Karlette?

Actually I have been playing Parker heads these last few days on the flute – esp Ah –leu – cha. This is a Rhythm type line, but it was carried over by Miles into the first great 5tet and there are plenty of recordings of him and Trane playing it at a ferocious tempo. It’s a clever line and I am having to work hard at it. Woodshedding on Parker lines is good for the chops. When you have them in the written key then you have to memorise them in the other 11. Its good for the synapses too – like rich drones.

At least the Acer still has my Detroit article – which starts as follows:

“On Christmas Eve 1954, Miles Davis recorded a blues with three of the Modern Jazz Quartet. Notoriosuly Miles asked the piano player - Thelonius Monk - not to play behind him while he was soloing on the tunes recorded in the session. The stand-out track from this session was a blues written by Milt Jackson – Bags Groove. “Bags” was Jackson’s nickname .

Milt Jackson was born in 1923 and by the time he was a teenager in Detroit he had developed wide musical abilities. He had perfect pitch, and he began teaching himself guitar at the age of 7, started piano lessons at 11 and in high school played five instruments: drums, tympani, violin, guitar and xylophone; he also sang in the choir and at one time sang in a gospel quartet. By the age of 16, he had picked up the vibraphone as well, encouraged by a music teacher, and sang tenor in a popular gospel quartet called the Evangelist Singers as well as beginning his jazz career, playing vibraphone with Clarence Ringo and the George E. Lee band. “

I think you may be able to hear MJQ in some early ND work.

previous - next