Quick post to report that Madwort Sax Quartet has recorded what will hopefully become a debut album! On 16th April we played a LUME gig at Hundred Years Gallery, and the whole thing was recorded by Alex Bonney. It was a great evening with a lovely crowd (thanks to all who came!), so I look forward to hearing the results. Stay tuned for news of the release plans…
We’re running a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the first ever LUME Festival, happening this June at IKLECTIK ARTLAB. Check out the video below and head over to the project page to support…
It’s been an admin-heavy February, with a lot of preparations for the forthcoming Sloth Racket album release and tour plus some heavy doses of LUME admin too. I’m happy to say though that I’ll be emerging from hibernation in March! A few nice gigs coming up:
On the 15th March Colin Webster and I have been invited to guest with Far Rainbow at Zero Wave Club (The Fiddler’s Elbow, Kentish Town). We’re billed as duelling saxophonists on the FB event…uh oh! This is part of a really nice multi-band bill – check out the flyer below.
On 3rd April I’ll be playing trio with Olie Brice and Corey Mwamba, on the other side of the bill from Dave Kane Quartet at one of our LUME Vortex gigs. Looking forward to this, and the more organised among you can buy tickets for it already.
The last gig I want to mention here is a special one. On 16th April Madwort Sax Quartet are recording our debut album live at LUME! This is happening at Hundred Years Gallery, which is a lovely space. It’s going to be ace to finally record an album with the quartet, which has been playing Tom’s music since 2012. Tickets will be on sale for this soon too.
All in all, a nice couple of months – see you out there!
We’re planning a LUME Festival for June, and we’re putting the call out for artist submissions. There’s a form up on the LUME website until 12th February. I’m really pleased with the graphic I did for this too! Spread the word…
I’ve had a bunch of video footage from Sloth Racket gigs (thanks Anton!) kicking around for a while, but haven’t had a chance to do anything with it. Now, finally, I’ve posted the first video up online, from our gig at LUME (when we were still at Long White Cloud) in April.
Also hidden in the depths of my computer was this cool poster from our gig at the Kazimier Garden in Liverpool in July. It was a great gig with a lovely crowd, and we were really well looked after by Joel the organiser and DJ. I don’t know who designed the poster, but I love this frog!
I thought it would be nice to post up some Sloth Racket tracks, as this band is my main focus at the moment. The album is being mixed next week (woop!) and the plan is that it will be released in May, but in the mean time here we are at LUME, Long White Cloud earlier this year…
The last few weeks have been pretty packed for me, with some really nice gigs around the place. Ripsaw Catfish returned to Birmingham and played at a lovely and busy Fizzle night (good work Andrew Woodhead!), I played a trio set with Seth Bennett and Andrew Lisle for the first time, and LUME took over the Barbican freestage for an afternoon as part of London Jazz Festival. Sloth Racket appeared at the LUME LJF gig, fresh from the excellent Limefield Studio in Manchester where we recorded our first album – the takes of which I’m listening through now…plus I went to Leeds and Sheffield, depping on bari with Beats & Pieces Big Band. It’s all been a bit mad!
December is looking a bit more chilled out at the moment, which is really nice. Our new tiny LUME label, Luminous, is releasing its first album (‘Interference Patterns’ by Deemer) on 7th December, and we’re launching it on the 6th at the Vortex. We’ll also be running another dice-and-hat gig at Hundred Years Gallery on the 17th. Before that, Ripsaw Catfish continue our accidental ‘city a month’ series by playing at Safehouse in Brighton on the 16th. I’m working on lots of plans for 2016 over the next few weeks too, so watch this space for (hopefully more frequent) updates.
Peter Woodman took some great photos of our LUME afternoon at the Barbican: here’s one of Sloth Racket, complete with Dee standing on the (awesome) LUME merch stall, and Gina Southgate painting us as we play…
LUME has a rather cool run of gigs coming up this week, in a collaboration with Dr Daniel Richardson from the Experimental Psychology department at UCL. On Wednesday 30th September, Thursday 1st October and Friday 2nd October, groups of improvising musicians that we’ve put together will play free sets in response to the audience, who will be interacting using their smartphones. I’m playing on Thursday and Friday and it should be a lot of fun…see below for info and tickets URL.
With multiple things to mention on here, I thought it was about time for a proper blog post rather than the usual snatched update. Sitting outside writing this on a warm but grey day, it really feels like we’re at the tipping point between Summer and Winter; a pretty nice place to be. Autumn is my favourite season and at this point in the year there’s always that feeling that we’re on the edge of it, about to dive in, start a new chapter. For me I think this is mainly a hangover from living in academic year mode for possibly too many years; but music seems to be structured the same way, with lots of people about to start their new seasons after taking a Summer break. There might not be much going on now, but things are about to happen….time to get a new pencil case! And so, with that in mind, this post will attempt to tie up the loose ends of my Summer activities and look forward to imminent Autumn ones.
Manchester Jazz Festival
The trip to Manchester with Madwort Sax Quartet (featuring last minute special guest Dee Byrne) was great fun. The gig was sold out – crazy! – and Tom’s music went down really well with the audience. The plan is to get a proper recording done this year, and I think we all felt inspired after the MJF gig to make it happen. Dee did an amazing job stepping in for Chris Williams at the last minute too. David McLenachan took some photos of us that show the gig’s lovely setting in the Portico Library:
Tom’s blog post about the gig also features some tiny videos of the performance on Vine, taken by MJF.
That evening I was part of another gig at Soup Kitchen, as the UK leg of the Efpi/Onze Heures Onze collaboration. We played a set with all the French and UK musicians together, and then OXYD (Alexandre Herer’s band) played the second set. It was really nice to do the collaborative set live after meeting a couple of times in a rehearsal setting. There are a couple of videos of the set, taken by Jazz North, which I’ll post soon.
I also managed to catch a lot of other music while I was at the festival, with highlights including Rodrigo Constanzo’s DFScore performance, Dave Kane Quartet (with last minute special guest Nick Malcolm), and Craig Scott’s Lobotomy live show. Steve Mead’s programming at MJF is really great. He isn’t afraid to put on some totally out-there music, even in the main festival pavilion, and judging by all the packed-out gigs his audiences are clearly up for hearing it. If you ever want to go on holiday to a jazz festival, I’d say go to Manchester. The entry charges were really low too, so going to multiple performances didn’t break the bank. Inspirational stuff from a programming point of view, I thought.
Ripsaw Catfish ‘Shoaling’ live recordings
In a bid to try and get on top of some stuff I’ve been neglecting, I’ve finally got around to putting the Ripsaw Catfish ‘Shoaling’ recordings up online. This was our collaborative touring project last November/December, where Anton and I played five gigs around the UK with ad-hoc ‘shoals’ of local musicians. We wrote a set of small compositions (fragments really) and sent them around in advance, with the idea being that the shoal music would be ‘informed by, incorporating or ignoring’ these elements. The results were all completely different – obviously! Have a listen:
Ripsaw Catfish hasn’t had a very busy 2015 so far, although we’ve been playing together a lot in other projects, but we have a couple of things coming up in the Autumn: we’re playing in London at the Zero Wave Club on October 20th and in Birmingham at Fizzle on November 3rd. These will be straight-up, non-shoaling, duo gigs.
As well as those Catfish gigs, Word of Moth and Sloth Racket will both re-emerge this Autumn. We’re playing a Word of Moth set at Lancaster Jazz Festival on 20th September as Seth is their artist in residence. Our first Moth festival outing! Before that, we’re appearing at Chris Dowding’s St Paul’s Sessions series in Marylebone on September 4th, sharing the bill with a solo set from the formidable John Butcher! Intense. It will be great to resurrect the Moth; after having a lot of fun doing the first gig in February, Dee and I have been so busy with LUME activities (mainly the tour) that the project has been on the back-burner. I’m writing some new music for it and can’t wait to get stuck in!
Sloth Racket are also out and about in September, playing at Jazz At The Oxford on September 21st. This is the first gig of George Crowley’s ‘Can Of Worms Presents’ series, so we’ll be sharing the bill with them which should be a blast! After that our next outing will be at London Jazz Festival in November, as part of LUME’s plans which haven’t been announced yet….not totally sure why, but I’m sure they will be soon. Anyway, it will be good! Sam Andreae is in Berlin until January, so having two Sloths gigs in that period is amazing.
This is the first Autumn in a while where we won’t be launching into another season of weekly LUME gigs. We decided that the format needed shaking up and streamlining, and that we needed to take an extra-long Summer break, so September and October will be quiet on the LUME front. The ‘LUME Presents’ Vortex residency is starting up again on September 6th, so there will be a couple of gigs happening, but LUME proper will undergo a sort of re-launch in late November. We’ve put in a grant application and plans are underway, but we’re keeping it under our hats for now. It’s been so nice to take time off and reflect on everything we’ve done in the last two and a bit years, to take stock and then think about what we want to do next. I feel like we’ve been working non-stop for the whole time (and actually, we are working now even though the gigs aren’t running), so this break from the gig routine is very welcome. LUME isn’t dead though….watch this space, all that stuff….we’ll be back!
Quick post about an exciting week coming up. Firstly, we’re releasing a compilation album called ‘Live At LUME’ to raise money for future LUME activities. All the tracks are recordings made at LUME gigs and donated by the artists. Alex Bonney also donated his time to tidy up and master the album – so although they’re bootlegs, they sound really great! Have a listen below and grab your copy from the Bandcamp page. It was another great excuse for me to do some linocut printmaking too – so there’s a handmade CD edition…
Also happening this week is LUME’s 2nd birthday party/gig! We’re decamping to Hundred Years Gallery on Thursday 9th July for a night of improvised music with a difference. See the (also handmade and involving linocut printmaking) flyer below…