Friday, 1 June 2012

HHAW - Hanslip, Higham, Antunes, Waremenbol.


An update after four gigs in Belgium, a wisdom tooth being pulled, and the financial crisis starting to kick in - or at least it's being felt over here. I could say something about that, but it's maybe best to keep that out of the blog, after all politicians have never supported the arts even if they pretend they do. In fact, they don't support anybody except themselves and to my amazement seem unable to see the misery they cause. Enough said, better still, and more important .... read on for more joyful fulfilling news. 

Well, I'm finished after a hell of a week (a few weeks ago now) of gigs with associate Mark Hanslip. Mark and I have been chatting away via the internet for the past few years sending each other questions, remarks and various reflections on music in general. The final result being a few small gigs which I organised over here in Belgium using my team of bassist Hugo Antunes and a fine young drummer Jakob Warmenbol.

Although the idea started out 'let's just play improvised music' I brought in a couple of loose tunes which we used as pivot points in the set to play either over, or move from section to section. I think that the music came across very well, and in most case (concerts) I was surprised at how easy it was, the music just flowed. The sound of the pieces, part from a Mingus type ballad, was very intense or one could say dense. Playing with Hugo and Jakob is like being in a boat out at sea where you can be floating in the gentle sway one minute and being thrown around in storm with sixty foot waves - all very exciting! Mark fitted in straight away and even mentioned that he had a few 'Outhouse' flashbacks (*) at times, which is not a bad comparison as maybe the music had some echoes of that period.  

Luckily Mark brought along his Zoom recorder - big thanks on my part - which meant he captured a little bit of those intense musical evenings. I've listened to most of the music and have to say it's pretty much 'steaming away' most of the time. The music, to my ears, flows naturally from the very first notes. Of course the quality of the recording is not your Abbey Road level, but that's not the idea, it's more of a musical souvenir. On another level it's also the starting point for maybe a real recording .... who knows?

I've included this recording (it's 18 minutes) of the beginning of the second set taken from the Muze evening in Antwerp. It's based around a loose melody known as 'The Line' which somehow seemed to inspire us each night into playing some very fine fiery music - which you'll hear if you listen. It's a concept that I'd like to develop, using melody and free improvisation to move the music in the directions needed. There's couple more hours of music sitting on my computer - all from Mark's 'Zoom' recordings - so who knows, maybe I'll post something else in the future. Or better still maybe we'll pull together, record something ... and do another little tour, hopefully somewhere near you! 

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The Line - live at the Muze, Antwerp May - 2012

*= Mark was an original member of Outhouse, which is where I heard him for the first time.


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