Iain Cameron's Diary
"Click here to access the Fruitful Album" - Click here to visit Music for the Highveld Project
2005-01-07 - 11:02 a.m.
When I was Christmas shopping in FOPP I came across a CD of Space is the Place. I had bought the book of the same title in the same place a few months earlier and so I could see no reason against the acquisition - it is playing as I write. Then I saw Lawrence the day after Boxing Day, I mentioned that phrase - Space is the Place - to him. It transpired that he had come across the phrase on some hip-hop remix by an NYC artist that he liked.
I was looking at his Korg MS10 which he got for under 200 pounds off E-Bay. Here I quote:
‘This machine looks like something from Doctor Who. It has a patchbay with inputs for:- External Audio Frequency Modulation (Almost useful for FM synthesis) Filter Modulation Pulse Width Modulation VCA input CV (hz/v) Gate (v-trig? the opposite one to Roland SH101)
This machine is excellent for dangerously wet squidges and drum sounds (you need a sampler to really take advantage of these). External input to the filter means hours of fun. Also the CV and Gate are different to the Roland stuff but there are ways round this..... Lovely machine, looks great. ‘
Me jealous? Utterly. I had the book with me and so I showed Lawrence how this phrase had an honorable history.
Later in the holiday, I was sitting next to Chris at lunch . He is going to Yale, Princeton and Chicago to give some anthroplogy seminars in a month or so. The author of Space is the Place (the book) is a professor of anthropology at Yale and so I asked Chris if he had ever met him? Answer no, but I got the impression that on this visit he might make good the omission.
So I went back to Space is the Place (the book) and read on. Sun Ra and the Arkestra end up in East Village in the early 60s and performed regularly at a club there on Monday nights - as the new thing emerged in jazz, the so-called October Revolution.
Vita got a greatest hits Hendrix collection for Christmas, and as I pulled the threads together, I realized that it was possible that J Marshall Hx might well have holed up at one of these Monday night Sun Ra gigs. It seems to me that the point of connection is Third Stone From the Sun - common cosmological threads.
I asked my sister to get me the Tomas Graves book about Majorca as I had read something about the link with Robert Wyatt. In fact plenty more is revealed in Tuning Up at Dawn which I can thoroughly recommend. It seems that Tomas’ father, Robert - the poet, had been into Coltrane and Cecil Taylor and had even been to some gigs in NYC. Robert G knew Robert W through the latter’s mother who had been an artistic radical in the 20s. It transpires that Robert W learned his drum technique mostly at the Graves house. A second opinion:
A wonderful and crucial book if you want to understand Daevid and Gilli's time in Deià
This very entertaining and well written 422pp hard-back is the first book that embraces the importance of the music scene in Deià and it's role in the development of popular music in general and the Canterbury scene in particular. It's a vital book for anyone who wants to begin to understand Daevid and Gilli's times in Deià, the atmosphere in which they lived and worked and perhaps what drew them there in the first place.
How and why did this artistically rich and nourishing place come into existence in the first place, and how did it survive and prosper in the midst of the most authoritarian country in Western Europe, Franco's Spain? Although a host of characters well known to all Canterbury devotees (Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers, Ollie Hassell, Lady June and many more) appear throughout the book, in the end it is Tomás' charming and engaging personal recollections which give one a real flavour of the uniqueness of life in Majorca.
The author, Tomás Graves is the son of poet Robert Graves. He lives in Deià on the North Coast of Majorca. He is a graphic designer, printer and musician. He has known Daevid and Gilli for most of his life. mid -60s.
Another family friend was M Jeffries who was C Chandler’s partner in the early Experience venture. As a result the Experience played at the local club in Majorca where JMH smashed a Strat. It was through this connection that the Soft Machine ended up with the Jeffries/Chandler management company and as openers on the first Experience tour of the US.
Just as well that I bought the Soft Machine compilation that goes all the way through from the early post-Mingus free jazz experiments circa 1963. (Sad about Dick Heckstall-Smith who with Graham Bond was at the same musical point at the same time.)
There is a radical convergence between the East Village agenda (circa 1965) and what emerges in the UK in 66-67 which is why the Hendrix transatlantic crossing works. D Allen having linked up with T Riley in those momentous tape looping experiments using So What in Paris in 1964 comes down to Majorca to tighten the convergence.
I realized as I dug into the St Martin’s history that by the early 70s the UK had pretty much the same set as NYC - on the input side - but the soil was so much thinner. It took me a long while to get over ‘why bother?’
Of course in Land Art it’s a different story.
After a fashion its business as usual.
I am trying to track down that MP3 of Sun Ra working with J Cage.