Iain Cameron's Diary
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2005-11-12 - 11:37 a.m.

I slept for about 12 hours the other night - I canít really tell why - other than to say I had run out of energy. Earlier in the week the Laura Nyro live album, Season of Lights, arrived. Its from a tour promoting the Smile album in the mid 70s and has a good band including several people who played on Smile - a record I have on vynil but have yet to get on CD. Maybe the more intimate live recordings with just piano and backing vocals suit her better? Anyway you have to applaud the ambition of taking this stuff out on the road and recording it - the CD seems to have been controversial ever since its release. It makes a good contrast with the early Carnegie Hall live album where she mixes Bacharach and Motown with her own songs and the late live recordings where she has settled on a particular view of her own repertoire - which some decry as a degeneration to hip MOR.

I read a review where someone said that LNY is pre-Beatles - a mixture of Brill Building and Broadway - itís a nicely debatable point - for example whether the Brill Building is pre-Beatles or just early Beatles and whether there is a hard and fast distinction between Beatles and Broadway.

In this connection I caught an interesting snatch of a R2 programme last night which looked at the relationship between Broadway and Country - a discursive exploration of the relationship with all kinds of experts dropping in for a few moments commenting on questions such as whether you ever get Cole Porter wit in country or whether the country straight-ahead posture is at odds with the Broadway character pose. Intelligent easy listening and worth the licence fee (which I must remember to pay - along with the parking fine - well two actually.)

I have had a first shot at an analysis and presentation of the Formula Student survey during the week which is now up on the KM software. Many of the studentís attitudes are exemplary - utterly mature and forward looking - and then there are points where their attitudes are much closer to the younger Greenpower participants. I need to do some more on this - thereís some qualitative data too which I havenít touched yet. Its very easy to get completely immersed in the Learning Grid but yesterday I managed to make some progress on the West Midlands Cluster Mapping.

As part of the NEAC project I have undertaken to write a short article on specialist and niche vehicles in the West Midlands - and someone sent me a report from last year that had an Annex that got me started. I extracted some 50 companies from the Annex and then wrote a few hundred words to knit them together.

I am watching the Electric Miles DVD - about the Isle of Wight performance. One of its glories is all the retrospective commentary from the likes of Santana, H Hancock, Ms Mitchell etc. Santana was on the TV last night playing live. It was straight ahead latin oriented rock and CS was basically playing lead fills and a few solos. Not new but it sounded great to me - an example of how its done. John Cale was on too but CS had the edge for me.

Ms Mitchell is on record as saying that when she was doing the early 70s records which lots of people like most - Court n Spark etc - what she was listening to at home was pretty much a straight diet of the 2nd great Miles 5tet. It occurred me the other day that their appearance on the same bill at IoW could have been a factor here.

Talking of CS - he was playing the signature PRS - which my cheap little E Elf derives from. I keep playing the EE despite the fact there are four alternative instruments kicking around here. Why is this? Is not a quality instrument - the Crafter is much better quality and the Danelectro has more character. I guess itís the same reason I play the Chinese flute.

This morning I was using it on another little Coletrane Changes trope. Trane sometimes configured those changes into a classic II-V in a II-V-I. I have programmed this II-V-I extension into Making Waves but taken it through the 3 tonal centres - Dm7 G7 C Bb7 Eb7 Ab Gbm7 B7 E so itís a harmonic loop - but with epicycles on each II-V. Each tonal centre is in a different softsynth patch - with different VST effects. So itís a kind of mind mangler to keep track as you busk - except its running slow. Oh I should mention that the shift from one centre to the next is effected by a semitone shift up - so shifting the Cmaj7 to a Db maj7 . But the Dbmaj7 substitutes for the Bbm7 - its just a matter of skipping the root which is what is happening on the dominants anyway.

I have started to play the Dhorn over it - those high reedy Dhorn settings always sound good to my ears and they are easy to mix. The horn has a semitone up and down shift key and there is a way of thinking through these changes that exploits that facility. So - in the Ab section itís a matter of playing the G scale with the semitone raise key on - and on the E section playing the F scale with the depress key on.

By the way the pic above is a photo of my dinner from about 7 months ago. I was using tandoori spiced meat and carrots -very orangey/red. Then I reversed the colours and part of the shot ended up in the SS vid - this is a shot from a transition on SS4.

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