THE TUNNEL AND THE CLEARING LIVE AT KINGS PLACE: “IMPLOSION-EXPLOSION” + “THE TUNNEL” + DIY KEYBOARD EXTENSION
March 25, 2022 § Leave a comment
March 22, 2022 § Leave a comment
RESET THE COUNTER TO ZERO, OR HOW THE COVID-DELAYED KINGS PLACE CONCERT WAS JUST WHAT I NEEDED.
(Written on the Sunday right after the show, held on 19 March 2022)
I am feeling so high from yesterday’s show at Kings Place, London. Every musician who has ever performed live knows that after a show, you can experience a myriad of feelings, mixed ones too, covering various areas: be delighted about one thing, disappointed by another, from how you played to the organization, the welcome you get from the venue, the sound, the audience…
For me the main question usually boils down to: did I get the reward of putting in a good performance relative to the amount of time I spent rehearsing, or did I get “unlucky” for X or Y reason and not reap the fruit of my labour? And sometimes the reply hurts, and it was one of the reasons I had decided to give up live playing last year: uncertain results for an always insane amount of work.
Yesterday though… everything just felt so *right* and the day was exactly what I needed to reaffirm the reversal of my previous decision: the joy of hearing sound beautifully amplified in a wonderful venue, for an audience that listens and cares, with exquisite treatment by everyone at the venue. It was also the first time I got a lot of help for a show (of my previous 230 + shows, 90% were done purely by myself, with me carrying more than half my body weight in gear). Literally without that human help the show would have been much less of what it was. To play those two very different albums (Captain of None and The Tunnel and the Clearing), I needed to bring 60 kilos of gear and instruments, and this would have been impossible without my awesome friend, colleague and now roadie/tech assistant David @furvoice @mutabor_music. Gid @lordgid from @soundgasltd drove down from Derbyshire to bring an Elka Drummer One and a Space Echo just for the show, thereby solving a problem for me and making the sound extra special with the real thing.
Hopefully Covid is now truly getting weaker, and if the worldwide situation allows, I will tour the States again, and do more shows elsewhere, with a renewed gratitude for how wonderful this can truly be.
MORE MEMORIES FROM THE SHOW AT EL PUMAREJO, BARCELONA, 11 MARCH.
My dear friend and collaborator Luis Torroja, who was responsible for my last press photos and made the mini-documentary on The Tunnel and the Clearing, took these beautiful pictures of my show in Barcelona.
FEATURE IN CATALAN IN ARA
Finally, I forgot to post here that I got a full (and beautifully-written) feature in Catalan in prominent newspaper Ara, read it here.
March 12, 2022 § Leave a comment
Yesterday at @elpumarejo was my first real live show since September 2019 (I played 6 shows in May 2021 in tiny gallery @chiquitaroom in Barcelona, where due to Covid capacity was extremely limited, so while these were real live performances, they felt more like a super intimate gathering than what we usually understand by “live show”).
This double album show is madly ambitious from a technical point of view, and this ambition comes with its own pitfalls: a great probability of problems and mistakes happening… and they did, which is hard for the perfectionist in me.
It’s all the more ironic that I decided to do this considering I was actually going to stop playing live, in great part because I felt I couldn’t handle the brain-and-nerves requirement of playing live shows that are so “freefall”.
Most decisions though happen because of complex reasons. In this case, the Captain + Tunnel idea was born of 1) the necessity of playing a long show in London @kingsplacelondon for what I thought was going to be my last show for a long time or forever, and The Tunnel being short, I knew I’d have to play more material 2) I didn’t feel like playing the previous album (A flame) because it reminds me of feelings I’d rather not revisit right now 3) I had dug out the treble viola to check it was doing ok, and before I knew it I was playing it again and remembering that Captain is one of my favourite albums.
So yesterday was equal parts bliss, equal parts feeling seriously challenged, but it’s had the advantage of shining a light on my tendency to immediately think in terms of extremes: “this is madness, why do I even bother playing live?” vs “I love this so much, it makes me feel connected with the world and with people in a way that being in my studio is never going to”. Obviously, the answer lies in the middle, so I’m already thinking about how I could still play live while making it easier for me in terms of performing. And I’ll work some more this week to try and pull off a good show next week 19/03 😀
🙏🙏🙏 @lilinterna for the beautiful photos, David @furvoice @mutabor_music and @elpumarejo ❤❤❤
March 6, 2022 § Leave a comment
Mañana 7 de Marzo 6-7pm CET tendré el gran placer de estar en el programa de radio @amuletos_radio en @dublab.es para hacer un recorrido por mis 20 años de música como Colleen (se puede escuchar aqui). Me hace especial ilusión hacerlo en la estación de radio hermana pequeña de Dublab, que me ha apoyado desde el principio, es decir también desde casi 20 años! Y me encanta que en el caso de Barcelona, la radio emite en directo desde un lugar publico (el bar La Rubia en el Raval), donde podéis venir si queréis.
También me hace muchísima ilusión tener ahora un nivel de Español que me permite hacer esto! Obviamente no solo pensando en los que viven en España, sino en todos los países donde este idioma se habla 😊 Eso sí, todavía tengo acento francés!!!
Pasaremos 1 tema (elegido por mi misma) de cada uno de mis 7 álbumes, y es que hay mucho que decir, visto mis cambios de instrumentación en cada disco, y mi stylistic merry-go-round, para llamarlo de alguna manera 😊
Y si estáis en Barcelona el viernes 11 de marzo, toco en @elpumarejo un show muy especial: 2 álbumes completos en directo, con instrumentación totalmente diferente, Captain of None (2015) con treble viola da gamba y pedales de sampling, delay y octaver, y The Tunnel and the Clearing (2021), mi último disco, grabado en Barcelona en 2020, con setup electrónico análogo, y en los dos casos mi voz también. Ambos discos publicados por @thrilljockey. Show organizado por @mutabor_music, llevado por @furvoice, que abrirá la noche con su estupendo set!!!
March 5, 2022 § Leave a comment
“Santa Eulalia – Gazing at Taurus” is the only song from The Tunnel and the Clearing for which I hadn’t done a video so far, so here goes…
It’s a song that’s particularly dear to my heart because of its lyrical content, and because I really struggled to actually make it work, so when it did, it was such a relief. For weeks (months possibly?) I had almost everything: the rumba rhythm on the Elka Drummer One, the chord progression, the lyrics, the basic sound (Hammond emulation with slow rotary on, percussion on and a bit of reverb from the Reface YC, into my MF-104M Analog Delay), and I knew what mood I was after (a kind of “groovy sadness”, I guess?), and yet I just couldn’t get it to sound right through the first 2 versions that I made of the song.
Then one day out of desperation I thought “OK, I’m just going to play the chord progression as flat as possible, just one chord after another”… and it worked. It was more church-like than I intended though, and with such a simple drum machine + organ combination, you either go the Suicide way (= ie minimal to the bone right until the end) or you go for evolution and changes of intensity through the way you play and subtle sound treatment changes. I’m not a real organ or keyboard player, but I came up with a couple of “strategies”.
I used my favorite MF-104M trick twice: switching the short/long switch in rhythm. The long setting gives you a darker tone, so that when you switch rapidly you don’t just get a barely perceptible (because it’s so fast) time delay change, you also get a kind of flickering, semi-liquid tonal change.I
alternate “flat” playing with staccato playing and a kind of “staggered/stuttering” style during the chorus.I sometimes drop right-hand chords altogether to just play a slurred bassline.
And for the ending, increased feedback so that the texture is way more noisy than the rest of the song.