present from the pickpocket
story so far: we created this recording over a period of four years.
Originally it was to be a kind of follow up to the recordings i did
with Bret Hart ('the greater part of what my neighbors call good i
believe in my soul to be bad', whi003), and in a way it is. However, we
abandoned Bret's purist approach of using only first takes and single
overdubs, and laid the ground rules wide open. Not long after we
started exchanging recordings, i had a breakdown and Lee developed
carpal tunnel syndrome. By the time i'd recovered sufficiently to
approach Lee's CD's, i'd stopped playing saxophone altogether - i was then
playing cello and singing.
taken the decision not to charge for this recording, so it's available
as a free download in MP3 format, AAC or lossless FLAC, via Bandcamp.
This means that if you prefer CD's, you can convert the FLAC file to a
wav, print off the parts for a jewel case and make your own. The
Bandcamp arrangement means that you can pay what you like - if you
insert £0, you won't be asked for a credit card or paypal
account, just taken to your download. So you can auditon first and
decide what it's worth later, if you like.
"This is seriously warped and seriously wonderful!" Review by Mark Francombe on Furthernoise.org
Downloads are handled by Bandcamp.com: this is a 'name your price' arrangement - feel free to name a price of £0 if that's what you want. Or to name a higher price, if that's what you think it's worth. As things stand, the only take out of that is PayPal fees: the rest goes to offsetting whi music's costs, and if there's any left over, to the musicians involved. One benefit of using Bandcamp is that there is a lot of flexibility over formats: the album is hence available in most, if not all, of the popular formats, including lossless formats that are CD quality.
I'd had the CD that Lee sent sat sitting on my desk for around two years when i finally put it in a CD player and played it. In the meantime he'd received my solo stuff, put his contributions on to it and passed it back, so i actually had quite a decent pile of disks to listen to. The solo recordings turned out to be 34 minutes of acoustic guitar, but the Lee/phil duos were more promising, and my first thought was that they had the feel of incomplete trios, so i added flute or cello where appropriate, or in one case moved one of Lee's guitar solos, via an amp simulation, to make quite a substantial power trio. I think it might have been that that set off a train of thought, and within two or three weeks i was shaping the raw materials into a kind of improv rock album.
Although there are track listings, all tracks have been run together to form one long piece of music: it's up to you to decipher where one track ends and another begins. There are some definite clues, if you're interested, including a cover of Peter Hammill's 'the institute of mental health (burning)'. Making it was entirely unlike a conventional improv recording: i set out to make as listenable a record as possible (for people who like fairly difficult music, natch), as there wasn't an original performance to be faithful to, so i had a free hand to manipulate the raw materials as i saw fit. Probably the most enjoyable recording i've ever done - i hope you feel something similar towards it.
Liverpool, Dec 2005
'The Institute of Mental Health (Burning)' was written by Peter Hammill and Judge Smith. You can find out more about Peter Hammill's work at the Sofa Sound website, and Judge Smith's stuff is here, at his personal website. Thanks to both of them for permission to use their song.