Iain Cameron's Diary
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2004-06-12 - A day later

I woke up very early with a sore throat and after taking two Ibuprofen read through the last Ch of Andrew Duncan’s account of English poetry in the last 50 years. It is more engaged but less coherent that the stuff I was talking about yesterday which coolly dissects the US scene. I formulated another Drake trope which I will spare readers today.

Then I decided I needed to see the outside world and so I drove south along the M40 as the sunrise was starting – to get some petrol. Then off to the East at the Gaydon turn off and back to Fosse Way. I was hoping that the sun might rise on the line of the Fosse Way – but it didn’t. It was slightly to the south. The world looked so strange – maybe it looks like that most mornings?

I found a new way to work – via Temple Balsall and then across the River Blythe and and along the higher land that the river has to go so far south to get round. This area has many large attractive Georgian houses. It must have been a recreational area for the Birmingham entrepreneurs – where they kept their families away from the grime - rural domesticity on the banks of an idyllic river.

Keith MBJ is on holiday and he has very generously left me his PC – which I have been working on all day. My broken one has been in recovery the whole time and is still not fixed – very surprising that it has been so deeply disabled – probably by a virus. I have made a reasonable start on the final Skills Agreement Phase 1 paper – half way through section 3 of 7. I will probably do some more at the weekend. I have mailed the Doc ahead of me and I will take the papers with me from the works.

I listened to Walk the Dog and Light the Light this morning in the strange light, unable to understand why I should like it so much.

The new Wire has found its way to me. It has an article about Eric Dolphy which fails to mention Lamonte Young – how could they permit such a lapse? They recover partly with a review of Cage’s 16 Dances where it is noted that this is the composition at the margin of personal expressiveness just before chance takes over – a real turning point. There’s a lot to say more though eg about the use of Gamut technique.

Also a review of David Toop’s new book – Music Silence and Memory – which tries to map where we have got to after all these years. The reviewer is encouraging without quite explaining why. There is a CD to go with it.

Cleveland Williams has moved to Conneticutt because he has a job in NYC. Somehow I knew he wouldn’t quite make it to St Martins. Any good luck – thats what I say.

Well press on – carefully – that’s the only thing to do. My throat hurts.

Momento:Today is my birthday – as requested my sister mailed me Made to Love Magic.

I have checked Magic, River Man and Tow the Line. I am pretty sure that Steve and I (Horn) did the flute parts at the Caius May Ball in the Kirby band.

RK says about River Man in his note that he thinks it gives what people who have tried to describe ND in the first half of 68 are trying to get at. Having just read – immediately after hearing the track – what I said in Meeting Nick - RK has the nail on the head. Without wishing to seem pedantic, the point is the astonishing rhythmic feel in the guitar and the assurance of the vocal phrasing over the top – then the timbres in both the voice and guitar – then the artistic unity between delivery and sense. That in a small intimate space is about as high octane as you can have it.

I went straight from there to Tow the Line – which I heard a bit on the radio but not on a hi fi. I am much more taken with hearing the track under these circs. This may be me - but I can really hear the hard bop coming through. AK is right that it reaches back to City Clock – minor drone and side slipping. It is in G minor and both the C and the F are very salient in the opening fourth chord figure – it is the classic McCoy Tyner expansive opening . The melody line has that clipped finish you get in hard bop writing together with the long vibrato less notes and the guitar and the lyric have that urgency.

When the shift comes to the dominant the melody hangs onto the tonic – to put it might mildly this is rubbing our noses in it. The other critical point in the melodic grammar is the in the use of the sixth – whether it is the flat sixth (Eb) as in the opening phrase or the E – the tritone from the minor defining Bb which underlines “tow”. You want to know why the spelling is at is – listen to the harmony.

The hard bop underpinning and the way the melody is constructed reminds me of Robin’s Married to the Muse and also where I took Magic for the soundtrack for the Sheila Rauchas film.

To me the song is a move on from Pink Moon – say in the way that Marquee Moon is – it is close in conception Parasite for example. Much much better than I was expecting.

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