Iain Cameron's Diary
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2004-01-10 - 9:00 p.m.

I drove back to Guildford late last night – empty roads and Mixing It on the radio followed by the Dave Holland band. Next weekend is a Cage weekend on R3 it seems. Waiting for me was the Warwick Arts Soc news with some info about Leamington composers. In the 20C they include R Simpson, W Mellors and R Holloway who is now at Caius. Since 1986 H Skempton has joined the crew and he has a premiere on 25 Jan in the town – the programme includes Debussy’s Trio and Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro. A pupil of Cardew, he is “one of the few full time composers in Britain” – well not the only one!

January will probably be slightly below December on the KK site. But Portugal has now joined the elite club of nations who have sent more than 1000 requests to the site. I am really surprised at the amount of traffic that came through between Christmas and the New Year.

Technology – my portable caught a virus. I only knew when quite an important e-mail was bounced by the destination address. I seem to have cleaned out the infected files and someone in the office kindly put the machine through a restoration. So fingers crossed.

The printer in Gfd stopped working and despite an hour’s effort wouldn’t start again this morning and so I went to PC World – only to find that ordinary printers have dropped a lot in price. I didn’t want a photo-printer or a printer-fax machine – and so I was able to get a medium quality device for a lot less than I was expecting. It started very smoothly and to celebrate its installation printed off a very impressive picture of some vegetables.

IN PCW I bought a DVD of Wavs – the box says there are 10,000 on the disc. It’s a bit of an art loading them off the disc but the Microsoft media player manages to lopen them after which I can put them down on the hard disc and suck them into WaveLab. Just this week I started playing the Crafter into WaveLab and processing the resulting files – and I have now started to weave in some of the DVD material. The January piece is now at 4 minutes and uses some of the Crafter material.

Andrew’s point about interesting material was very well made - I am sure that I resent the degree of engagement that material can engender and that provokes in me a desire to beat it into submission or to assail it with randomness. The idea of making it smoothly transitional is a real wind-up. For a start it has been done to perfection – so why not have roughly disjointed music these days?

I was reading the final chapter of the jazz rock book – in which smooth jazz is the commoditised outcome of jazz rock. The other musicians - the ones who interest the author - are the ones who push back.

I feel the compulsion to wrestle with the material is a pathology as far as I am concerned. But I still catch myself doing it – at the moment it’s a set of octatonic relationships – and I keep looking for new pathways. But I don’t think this is likely to be beneficial activity – at least as far as my output is concerned. Perhaps its only justification is that it engenders a kind of mental flexibility that might pay off in polytonal improvisation.

At the moment I feel as if the mould broke sometime around 1967 and bands like KC, the Soft Machine and the Grateful Dead started to blend musical resources in new ways – to uncork the bottle. I have been thinking about the commonalities between the Softs Third and Anthem for the Sun. The pathway forward from there does exist – Miles, Zorn, both Colemans, Prince are on it. Last night on Mixing It they announced the winner of a competition – to propose the best possible fifth member of Can – the winner suggested Don Cherry (Neneh’s Dad).

For some reason I have found myself thinking about macroeconomics – I think Stephen Bates is to blame.

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