Iain Cameron's Diary
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2006-10-22 - 5:28 a.m.

Saturday in leantown for a change. I spent some time on the A3 dtp documents – one on the european auto scene, one on the commission, one on structural funds , one on the european manufacturing research platform and one on the possible uk elements of the same.

James said he was a bit hungover so tomorrow would be better than today for the meet. Mrs C has driven to Suffolk to see her mother – she went to see NPG Hockney last night and seems to have enjoyed it

I got my old Casio GM midi box out and found an ancient keyboard controller to remind myself how I do like these patches. I wondered whether it would be worth driving them from a wind controller and so I tried the Yamaha alongside the Casio EWI. The Casio is just easier to play – and the fingering design in getting two octaves out of a single ‘octave’ position is better. It does from the E below middle C to the A above the C above that on a single thumb position. The Yamaha build quality is better but it has a fifth less at each end of the range and five octave thumb positions – which I find too much.

This all led to me recording some Dhorn/GM in parallel – which became a version of So What – which became two versions of So What , the second with layered virtual flutes and a flute-tuba bass. This last thing should be a device that can go further.

I am not sure about the way the Rudall-Carte records digitally – compared with the Yamaha flute which at the grand old age of eighteen has some really great nuances, Maybe I should get it overhauled – or then again I could move up to a four series.

Gradually I realised how much sound source and processing is idly scattered about the flat – and how little use I make of most of it. It felt like a failure of imagination. Perhaps some new batteries will help – I have got some new ones for the midi controller so I don’t have to fiddle around with mains leads – also some for the Yamaha EWI.

I made a track last year with the expanded Yamaha beatbox which went through a series of developments and I have just found the MD recording of the final version – which sounds quite OK. The same disc has a late version of the piece I constructed from the Webern Piano Variations – at this distance I cant remember where the top line on the organ comes from.

I call this place discworld on these weekends - I finally get round to FOPP some time in the afternoon and stack up with discs to absorb the time. This time includes a late 80s Island Jon Martyn which harks a little towards his bloke newington mid70s phase – the track which has gone into the canon is Angeline. I quite like the sax playing and it’s good when the keybd player goes outside the harmony. It has the now visionary sounding John Wayne too. I picked up The Drop by Eno – which I rather appreciate unlike most reviewers – early 80s Harold Budd – the DVD of Prince’s film post Purple Rain in stylish black and white with extraordinary Boys and Girls sequence.

I bought the Bjansch bio – the updated paperback - and the new history of the Impulse label. You cant help but wonder when you read the BJ how on earth did he put it all together and how it came out quite so right . It has a nice pic of Dorris circa 1965 and certainly builds the cousins-mythos but maybe that’s the right thing to do – its funny how the whole thing relies on people’s memories because there’s no film or recording. Dorris always insisted that I should finish my studies – that was her big thing – so I took her advice and finished and then like her got a job in the civil service.

The bio lays stress on the song-writing – how early he wrote such excellent songs. I think it underplays his musical originality and breadth particularly in the light of the 1962 tape. Obviously it has a tendency to build BJ up at the expense of Davey Graham up and to try to carve out a distinct area for each. It makes a big thing of Black Waterside implying that this is the path to the future – whereas Bert and John wasn’t, apparently.

I would group it differently – the evidence is that between 1958 and 1965 they were both trying to play everything – any style in the world was open to their creative synthesis . The way that BJ throws Worksong into Angie is typical as his development of Bernstein on the 1962 tape. The best antecedent is Mingus – who had been in London in 1959 and who went on to rein in Miss M. The version of Porkpie Hat on Bert and John got hammered by the Mingus purists but they were quite simply very very wrong – the mistake was to think they had a point. There are pieces where they take the superfast 6:8 from Mingus – the same device that John Handy used and which was passed onto KC – and explore microtonal effects caused by playing an A on the fifth fret of the lowest string against the open A. This is its own music – unconstrained by any traditional boundaries.

It also makes you realise how brilliant Danny Thompson was/is . John Wickes in his Innovations in British jazz 1960-80 calls him the best bass in Europe circa 1968 which must include the one that Miles chose in the same field. Having been on Folk Blue and Beyond, he goes on to Pentangle, about half of 5LL, the John Martyn masterpieces of the 1970s, in the 80s he’s on the Hounds of Love and plays with David Sylvian and low and behold he turns up on Amplified Heart.

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