Iain Cameron's Diary
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2005-02-21 - 4:53 a.m.

Chapatti with grated Gloucester cheese covered by ratatouille. Seemed to work OK - after I had knocked out the homework. - under 5 or so headings covering chaos and narrative, seeing, the beetle in the box, the Gordian Knot and Fog, No secret what beetle I have got in my box then. We’ll see.

Provoked by Andrew’s PM Annex I added a further section to ND and the Cambridge Poets. It now goes back to S Plath to in more depth and takes in some of the issues and interpretation and naturalisation - also the Majorca strand.

One of the basic ideas in drone minimalism is that its only after hearing the drone for a while that you begin to hear the components and the higher harmonic features. Pity my neighbors. I took a drone and overlay a familiar ‘air’ and sketched through. In fact I discovered that you can play a vid with its own track and play another drone against it in real time. I suppose that’s what broad banding is all about.

Watched Miss M in Santa Barbara again. There are times when you can almost share the spirit of the musicians - the connection between how they feel about the music individually and collectively. For me it is a high point for what that approach can achieve in performance. There may be better performances but its hard to imagine what they can be like - and I don’t think many of them are on video where you can zoom in and be with them on stage. Jaco is extraordinary - and he looks like he is consumed by demons - which I suppose he probably was. You might think that some of the Summer Lawns stuff was pretty much studio only - but there are in the afternoon sunshine doing eg the Big Man and Edith - bass drums, 2 gtrs and keyboards and it all seems to be there. What does it mean that this stuff is 25 years old?

I wrote to Mark about Les Cousins.

Maybe a CZ3000 will be mine soon - I listened to the NYC0303 pieces again and got quite excited about taking more steps down that round. I realized with Creative Labs outboard there was no reason why I shouldn’t record at 24 bit. Maybe I will take one of those pieces off the MD master and put it into a 24 bit WAV.

Getting some material to WMV opens up new processing possibilities. By recycling and generally messing about with the WMV.

I was shuffling through old cover Cds from Computer Music and came across an early MIDI n WAV version of Cubasis. Eventually I got sequences to play in Cubasis into the Softsynth (which I think is a Roland) and record the output against Dhorn and rich drones in Wavelab 4. Getting there nearly drove me crazy. Anyway the sequence is the is based on that three centre/tonic-relative minor fourths and fifths thing I mentioned a few entries back. It f;loats around on some sort of margin.

Jamming Schoenberg on an Epiphone:

‘Johnny Smith's comments about the recording of Schoenberg's Serenade Opus 24 as told to Guitar, Volume 5, Number I, August I976. Published by Musical News Services Ltd., 20 Denmark Street, London WC2H 8NE, England.

JOHNNY SMITH could accurately be called a jack-of-all-trades. Just accurately, and without sounding as punnish that title seems, he could be described as a very success bridge between the jazz musician and the successful studio musician. In short, Johnny Smith is such a composite musician - such a composite musical personality that he becomes a minor legend . He might have been a major legend if only he had picturesque habits, name and come from Kansas City or New Orleans or even Minton’s.

Johnny Smith - It wasn't planned for me to play the guitar part and I wouldn't do it again for anything. What happened to me with this piece was this: They'd been working on it for a long time -- several months because it was going to be performed in honor of Schoenberg's 75th birthday with the composer there; but this was before he died and he was very sick so he wasn't there. They had this classic guitarist and he couldn't get it together. Schoenberg had written the piece in actual pitch -- in bass and treble clef where it sounds, so they'd even taken the parts out and transposed them an octave higher into the guitar's register. But I guess the poor classic guitarist's problem was that he just couldn't follow direction. So on a Friday afternoon I was leaving NBC and waiting at the elevator and these guys came up to me and said they'd like to talk to me. One of them was a violinist with the NBC Symphony Orchestra, and they told me that Mitropoulos was thinking of scrubbing it. This would be a disaster because this was Friday and the performance was on the following Wednesday; and they had composers who had come from all over the world for the occasion. So, they said, was it possible for me to try to do this piece, and they handed me this thing. I looked at it and I wanted to say that there was just no way. But they said if you're not willing to at least try it they're going to throw it out. So I said when is our first rehearsal, how long do I have to look at this music? They said Monday morning would be the first rehearsal. Well I'm an idiot and I say O.K.

So this was Friday, and as usual I didn't have to work Saturday; I went out and made the rounds and really got myself good and juiced up and got to bed about 5 o'clock. At 6 o'clock the phone rang and a guy says the maestro insists on having a rehearsal at 7 o'clock. I couldn't believe it! I hadn't even looked at the music -- I'd hidden it under the bed. He says 'l understand that, but the maestro insists and you've got to come up.' So I go up there to his suite and, Oh, my gosh, I felt terrible. I was just hung over; had the shakes -- the whole thing. So, boy, I get my box of mistakes out and put the music up there. He gives a down beat, and naturally I couldn't find the neck of the guitar; but when he gave a down beat if I saw that there was something there well I'd hit it. And I guess that impressed him enough in at least one respect: that I could follow direction. So we shambled a bit on this thing and he gave the O.K. nod and everybody was real happy.

Now, at that time I was working with a man at NBC by the name of Irwin Kostel who had been pianist with my trio and later became chief arranger with Sid Cesar. He was one of the finest musicians I'd ever known. He'd scored all the music for West Side Story, The Sound of Music, all these things, and he'd won all these Academy Awards for his orchestrations. Anyway Irwin and I were real good buddies, so I went out to his house and we spent the whole weekend, day and night -- bless his heart -- sitting at the piano and guitar going through this work in the theatre in the Museum of Modern Art, and it went perfect. Dimitri Mitropoulos was such a warm, beautiful genius that there was no way you could make a mistake; he just gave you that confidence. And they received that piece so well that we encored the whole 7 movements. As with the recording which we did later, I used my Epiphone Emperor without an amp and I really had to pound to try to get this thing heard. And it's not really all that loud on the recording.

Incidentally, that Epiphone was stolen during a break at NBC and I never saw it again.’

Actually some of the guitar stuff on my recording reminds me a bit of Henry Cow.

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