Iain Cameron's Diary
"Click here to access the Fruitful Album" - Click here to visit Music for the Highveld Project
2010-08-09 - 6:20 a.m.
Bear started with Tori Amos' Cornflake Girl. I have found a GS softsynth on Sony Studio - the next thing is to see if I can get the FX to work with it. I started on the piano roll MIDI editor I remembered how much I like writing 5 and 6 note chords for synth patches. Maybe the next thing is harmonise some of the groove pieces that are on the DVD. B moved onto the Hounds of Winter. Then a version of So What alleged to be the one off KoB but clearly much faster - nonetheless it sounded like a studio version. The tenor is quite smoothe and more bebop derived that Trane or WS - I don't think it's George Coleman but I might be wrong. Then some wierd wired Dopplereffekt followed by the 8 piece Russian band Uniquetunes. Walk the Dog and Light the Light is always a delight - I'll see you on Sunday cos I'm working on Saturdat night/ Momma's heading for the city lights. LNy celebrates being back in business.
I started properly with EE reading fast - the book follows the sequence of RY's Cafe Oto presentation. There s some quite interesting details on VW and Holst altho obviously a whole book could be written on their relation to folk. There's a humourous posting on PP -
EE proceeds to examine less well known UK Celtic Twilight composers and then Benjamin Britten. BB undertakes rural retreat - to Aldburgh and writes 'visionary' music. So serious English music is presented as cut off from the modernism on the Continent. This isn't quite fair to BB who saw himself as a breath of fresh air relative to the folky previous generation and was a strong supporter of Shostakovitch for example. But the idea that in England you have to create a isolated rural enclave to sustain the vision is a good one. Tippet doesn't get a mention. Sue's son Michael has written a good disertation on Tippet BB and VW during WW2.
EE Ch4 looks at the left wing post WW2 UK folk movement. I remember Owen Bryce - a pioneer UK jazzer saying that in WW2 many of the supporters of jazz were deserters and crooks. The post war counter cultural environment was quite wild for the first 5 or 6 years esp with all those traumatised people returning from overseas conflict. EE mentions some interesting 30s variants on the theme of back to nature for the youth - several with quite wierd political associations - some reminiscent of Himmler's take on earth magic. Then AL Lloyd bursts on the scene and starts recording music around the country - driven partly by a Marxist agenda. Next Peter Kennedy who is a BBC radio producer and also believes in recording the music of the people. This is really classic Williams Culture and Society territory - a belief that outside the conventional centre there can be found an authentic radical tradition which overlaps partly with the idea of 'folk'. This model struggles a bit with the importance of skiffle which obviously lit the fuse on the 60s music explosion and has American folk elements many absorbed via records.
EE dates the introduction of the guitar to folk to the late 1950s - but no sooner is it introduced than it takes off like a global rocket in the hands of D Graham - a man of many traditions and total innovation as well. This path leads directly to Les Cousins. When he was summarising B Jansch at Cafe Oto, RY suggested that the story really starts with the LP Jack Orion. On the one hand one can obviously see the 'traditional' elements emerging more strongly than on the first two albums. At the same on the First Time Ever BJ seems to take guitar virtuosity to new levels - not on a traditional song but one of Euan Macoll's. My own view is that it's better to see Cousins as a melting pot rather than a relaunch pad for traditional music. I am a bit biased by the fact that with Dorris Henderson in 1968 we took sitar, flute and autoharp down for the Tintagel gig - but it wasnt long before J Martyn was hauling down his Fender amp with reverb and tremelo plus a tape echo device and working off Pharoah Sanders, Ron Geeson used to regularly play Osterley Jazz Club, Pentangle was half jazzers etc.
Time for a break maybe - Bear has just played LS1 which I think must be mixed for these little laptop speakers - its too boomy on the hifi - maybe I should load it into Krisal for some treatment. Then J Dyble's Dreamtime which does sound like electric visionary folky followed by Marquee Moon which is just visionary (very). Another plaudit to the Bear for mixing us well. EE on ND is praised by the Independent, I see. The CD tower was erected and filled.
My laptop played up and wouldn't load Sony Studio - the bear played C Parker's Lover Man - where on earth did he get hold of that I wonder? I ploughed on with EE. Pentangle get a very fair treatment - a band I have heard a great deal live but I still don't have any recordings. Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span are not surprisingly at the heart of the book. I hadn't realised that their line-ups were quite so unstable. The ND section stood up well to a second reading and is followed by a piece on Sandy Denny who is treated as a bit of a basket-case. The John Martyn section quotes Robin and similarly explores his erratic domestic life but does acknowledge the brilliant 70s albums. Give Us a Ring is mentioned on p333.
I eventually got Sony Studio loaded and started to put some piano chord stabs in - then the laptop locked up as I was trying to put some compression onto the drum track. However I found that most of it had been auto-saved. I also discovered that my first attempt with this software using the trial version of SAMS7 was saved - so I loaded that. I have already sent a version of this piece to Gilbert - with some Dhorn added in Kristal. By this time the programme featuring Mahler's 5th Symphony had started. It is a small step from this music to the start of free atonality about 3 years later and I have to say I think it's easier to see point of the latter.