This First Week In November
November is one of my favourite months of the year. Of course, it’s a birthday month for L and myself, but it’s also the middle of autumn, when the days are shortening (and cooling) and the year is drawing in towards Advent and Christmas. There’s quite a bit on, so here is a summary of […]
November is one of my favourite months of the year. Of course, it’s a birthday month for L and myself, but it’s also the middle of autumn, when the days are shortening (and cooling) and the year is drawing in towards Advent and Christmas. There’s quite a bit on, so here is a summary of the stuff of this month.
Last year I had a go at the National Novel Writing Month and didn’t get all that far. I’m back at it this year, with a storyline I roughly drafted in July. I’m still working slowly on the new version of my Film and Theology book/project, though that is moving slowly. Not as slowly as my solo album, which sadly is turning into a long winded drama. Most of my studio time at the moment is handed over to mangling Christmas carols, though there is a little bit of game audio and a surprising amount of blues playing going on.
It’s been a good year for reading and I recently stocked my brought forward file with some great journal articles. As always, magazines make up a good bt of my regular reading, especially New York, New York Review of Books and Monocle. I’m most of the way through Amy Chua’s Day of Empire, which has turned out to be a compelling (if light read). The idea that Empires exhibit tolerance (in a way) as they grow and retreat into xenophobia as they collapse is not new, but the extent to which is has held sway in history is still surprising. I’m also working through Bonnie Wade’s Music in India and Andrea Pejrolo and Richard DeRosa’s Acoustic and Midi Orchestration for the Contemporary Composer. Finally, I’m just getting round to reading Andrea’s Stolpe’s Popular Lyric Writing (I took a song-writing course with Andrea a while back).
I’ve started using twitter as a way to publish daily playlists, which seems to me an ideal use for that medium. Jim Hall’s Concierto is probably my favourite recording by the great guitarist and features an unusual line-up (Carter, Gadd, Baker, Desmond and Hanna) as well some killer arrangements by Don Sebesky. Blue and Sentimental is Blue Note classic from Ike Quebec that features some of Grant Green’s best “cool” playing. I have a love/hate relationship with Arvo Pärt, but it is mostly love I’m feeling for the Estonian Philharmonic’s release, Da Pacem. McCoy Tyner’s new album, Guitars, also sees me nursing some conflicting emotions. Tyner teams up with Ribot, Scofield, Fleck, Trucks and Frisell for an album that always catches my attention, but hangs together very badly as a collection. The problem is that each collaboration heads into radically different directions and the styles and musical colours clash. But the best moments,especially on Ribot, Sco and Frisell’s numbers, are excellent. Finally, I’m making a lot of time for Nigeria Disco Funk Special: The Sound of the Underground Lagos Dancefloor 1974-79. It’s one of those compilations that begs to be sampled, and listened to extensively.
A lot of my spare time has been devoted lately to imagining an Atelier – basically a thinking/writing/playing/making space. Whilst I love cool studio aesthetics (as in Luomo’s Berlin studio) my goal/dream is something that can encapsulate more than just music creation, but a range of creative impulses. I was heading in that direction in Delhi and space here in Hong Kong makes it hard (I do all my writing, composing, designing and production in a room that is roughly 3.5 by 3m and feels narrower due to large built-ins and heavy curtains).