My new collaborative album ‘Cultural Thrift’, with Hull poet and writer Joe Hakim is now available to hear and download at Bandcamp. It was recorded by Dan Mizen at Active Audio Studios in Harrogate during 2014/15. Thanks as always to the excellent musicians who played on the album – Maria Jardardottir on vocals, Dave Kemp on saxes and assorted instruments (voodoo guitar anyone!) and Nick Dunne on guitar solos and E-Bow. The photographs were shot in Hull by Graeme Oxby.
Cultural thrift. Put your point of view to bed. Cultural thrift. They’ve been lying to us, so we’re lying to you. Cultural thrift. The organ of failure, the phantom limb syndrome of regret. Cultural thrift. Music makes mediocrity sufferable. Cultural thrift. My soul is clenched. Cultural thrift. Poetry makes a mockery of us all, watch quiz shows and play video-games instead. Cultural thrift. No one’s listening. Cultural thrift. You can pay a hundred to get it out today, or pay twenty to leave it until next month. Cultural thrift. The soundtrack of anxiety. Cultural thrift. A pound-shop promise. Cultural thrift. Waves of amnesia. Cultural thrift. The manifestation of will to affect change. Cultural thrift. I hate the sound of lawnmowers. Cultural thrift. Irony is your enemy, sincerity is bleeding out. Cultural thrift. Remember Jesus hates the money-lenders. Cultural thrift. A documentary about Hitler. Cultural thrift. One question away from the star-prize. Cultural thrift. Restricted access. Cultural thrift. Heaps of empty bottles on the pavement. Cultural thrift. Get good at science, struggle at maths. Cultural thrift. They’ve only gone and bloody well done it. Cultural thrift. No margin for error, no room for escape. Cultural thrift. The answer to a question we can’t be bothered to ask. Cultural thrift. Grow your own food. Cultural thrift. The gaps between tracks is where it’s at. Cultural thrift. You can’t teach a dog how to play chess. Cultural thrift. This obesity is infectious. Cultural thrift. It’s one rule for them, two rules for us. Cultural thrift. I haven’t eaten breakfast in over a decade. Cultural thrift. For when your knees hurt and your back aches. Cultural thrift. Look away now. Cultural thrift.
2014 was a very creatively fertile year for me.
I released 2 albums, the ‘concept’ album ‘Compassion Fatigue (1-8)’ as well as old school punk album ‘This Is Planet Grot‘ (album sleeve above). ’Compassion Fatigue’ was based around an idea where the first song would be exactly 1 minute long and in the key of A, the second song exactly 2 minutes long and in the key of B etc.. I built the album spontaneously starting with whatever riffs and words were occupying my mind at the time. Recording began with Mark Bhalla at Ocean Studios in London and further recording was done at Active Audio Studios in Harrogate with Dan Mizen. Long-time collaborators, voice instrumentalist Maria Jardardottir and multi-instrumentalist Dave Kemp were joined by drummer Mark Law and guitarist Nick Dunne. The album received many excellent reviews including ones from Stereo Embers and Louder Than War. Norwegian film-maker Ulf Kristiansen made a suitably creepy animated video for ‘Cold Body Pussycat’ from the album. Watch it here!
Punk album ‘This is Planet Grot’ was born from a set of songs that I’d had for a while but only recently decided to make an album out of. Recorded again at Active Audio Studios with Dan Mizen who also provided the monster drumming on the tracks. The album has had a fair bit of radio airplay and positive reviews all round. I was particularly happy as I’d had a few aborted attempts to record the songs before but wasn’t satisfied with the results – until now! The title track has a video with some of my art accompanying it here.
I also recorded a third album of new material called ‘Before Koresh’ featuring guest appearances from The Dickies singer Leonard Graves Phillips and Magazine/The Finks keyboardist Dave Formula, due to be released in March 2015. My final musical recordings of 2014 were with Hull writer/poet/wordsmith Joe Hakim who I’ve collaborated before with. I love Joe’s work and have been busy setting an album’s worth of his words to music which hopefully will see the light of day in 2015 as well.
My relentless art-making continued at a feverish pace in 2014. I made over 100 collages and couldn’t imagine a day not working on them for at least a couple of hours (though usually a lot more). I did a couple of gigs with The Dickies and one with Dave Formula and The Finks where I projected my art on a screen behind me as I played and was thoroughly entertained watching the audiences diverse reactions as the images appeared. I’ll finish with this piece, ‘The Eternal Child In Middle-Age’.
My new album ‘Compassion Fatigue (1-8)’ was born from an idea I’d had floating around for a while to write an album where the first song would be exactly one minute long (no fades) and in the key of A, the second song would be two minutes long and in the key of B etc… The other rule was that I wouldn’t use pre-existing ideas so that I would have to build the music out of whatever riffs and words were in my mind at the time.
Long-term collaborator Maria Jardardottir contributed her wonderful, mainly improvised vocals, Dave Kemp played saxophone and accordion, Ian Peak contributed a clarinet collage and Nick Dunne played some prog-tastic guitar and keyboards. Recording began at Mark Bhalla’s Ocean Studio in London and was completed and mixed by Dan Mizen at his excellent Active Audio Studios in Harrogate.
Norwegian film-maker and animator Ulf Kristiansen made a suitably dark and creepy video for ‘Cold Body Pussycat’.
There’s another solo exhibition of my art in Hastings, this time at The Dragon Bar. The opening night/ private view will be at 8pm on Wednesday 22nd January and the show will run for 2 weeks.
I have a solo exhibition of my art at the Electric Stag in Hastings until Jan 2014.