Iain Cameron's Diary
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2006-10-09 - 6:35 a.m.
Saturday night was Rob and Wendy’s 25th wedding anniversary party at the Cambridge University Arms Hotel. We had booked into a hotel opposite across Parkers’ Piece quite hear Hughes Hall. I drove over from Leamington around lunchtime listening to the Enos – an album by Roger which was not at all like I expected . In fact it reminded me a bit of Bridget St John – having listened to a NYC public radio show of her at Robin’s suggestion on Friday. The Brian CD was much better being based on the soundtrack for Derek Jarman’s last film.
Mrs C was just checking into the hotel when I arrived. That done we went off to the Fitzwilliam which I havent visited for decades. I had forgotten how good some of their impressionist works are – Monet and Renoir, especially. They also have some Matisse and a bit Cezanne and Renoir. Since I was last there they have built a gallery for 60s art and they have some interesting Noland and Olitski.
N&O are a suggestive choice – they were Clement Greenberg’s tip for the 60s after the heyday of the absex – and so they are a typical Cambridge safe investment in modernism. But they are also one starting point in thinking about minimalism – its partly what pop and the mins were trying not to be. Anyway I was really pleased to have the chance to sink into this stuff.
After that we walked over to Jesus College and delivered a little present for James’ girlfriend. I have only ever been there once before when the band, HORN, rehearsed there – that was the first band in which Geoffery and I played together.
The dinner ran on alcohol. On our table there was a guy who has a really responsible job running IT for a large local authority but also manages to be in 3 bands – 2 on lead guitar and one on bass. He is about to buy his wife, who works for Rob, a Martin guitar. We talked a bit about Rickenbackers and I mentioned having had the chance to play Mark’s. I also mentioned JM’s research.
Geoffery was there whom I had last seen when we played in Corpus Christi and I got around to giving a strong suggestion that he should get into Ligeti Etudes. Although Geoffery mostly performs on bass he plays piano at home – he has got a Bechstein upright and has been into Chopin and Rachnmaninov for a long while. I think the etudes which go back to that kind of pianisim but take in Bill Evans as well should be right up his street. We talked a bit about Bill Bruford’s wunderkind piano player.
I also talked to Roger and Mary – who had got me into the Sardana Band in the 80s – they were founder members who left as I joined. Mary is oldest friend of Sarah, Geoffery’s wife. It turns out that Roger is related to Tasmin Little – I was really impressed.
The next morning we recognised that the best treatment for our state was a brisk walk to Grantchester which Mrs C had always wanted to do. It was very pretty indeed in the Autumn sunshine. Mrs C drove back to London and I drove across town to Wendy and Rob’s new house – in the first instance to deliver the CZ101 and a Behringer amp simulator to Lawrence, their son, who does the lights at the Junction. Lawrence has a growing collection of early 80s synths and the CZ101 seems to me to belong there. He was out setting up for the evening’s gig and so I left him a note. I also left a CD with ‘flatsurface’ and ‘end of the holidays’ – last weeks Avs - and the latest mix of NYC0303 part 1 which is done on the CZ101 mostly.
After a while Rob Wendy and I walked out of Cambridge along the river in the other direction – to Fen Ditton. The weather was still great and lots of boats were out on the river practising.
Its with some surprise that I can say another Av is on the stocks – based on the Lester Young piece, Just You Just Me. Last week I realised that I could take Mehegan’s transcrption and thicken it up – the piece is just the 32 bars – with an added ‘riff’ on the flute and some abstract-ish interjections from the modulated softsynth. This has now reached the status of a ‘production platform’. I have always been able to write interesting four part harmony in software – even in MED. I find it interesting to reharmonise a line which has classic swing elegance – indeed such reharmonisation is like the link between bop and swing. However a little modern electronica sets this off in a fascinating way – partly because the softsynth points at a different conception of rhythm – say from Detroit in the mid 1980s . On top of that is a little ‘flute loop’ which appears four times – a different moments in the harmonic trajectory.
The texture of the harmonised flutes is part of the appeal, especially as the virtual flutes can play lower than real ones.