The next LUME Lab is almost upon us, and this month’s artist is Leeds-based experimental guitarist Craig Scott of the excellent Wasp Millionaire Records. You can reserve your place at his performance on 19th April at IKLECTIK, by purchasing an advance ticket from the Luminous Bandcamp site. Craig has been away working on his music at a retreat in the Yorkshire Dales, and writes:
First of all I would like to say thank you to LUME for this opportunity; having the funding to take the time out to write music for a specific purpose is not something I get to do very often.
I chose to write this new set of material for the Gastric Band, which is the same group of musicians that have been performing my Lobotomy material live. The band also consists of the entirety of Shatner’s Bassoon – a band that I have been making music with for a long time now- with the addition of ‘psychedelic father of two’ Sam Bell on percussion.
Oliver Dover clarinets / saxophones
Michael Bardon standing upright on electric bass
Johnny Richards keyboards
Joost Hendrickx drums
Sam Bell percussion
Myself guitar and electronics.
I spent the majority of January writing for this commission. I started off with making a list of considerations as to what I consider the strengths/possibilities/identifying characteristics of both my recorded/studio work under the Lobotomy name and of this band (as a unit and individuals). I tried to keep all the individual parts as simple as possible and always trying to make the sum of the parts to something more complex for the purposes of both ease of rehearsal and to make all the material as malleable as possible for elaboration through improvisation.
Some of the aspects of the music that I wanted to exploit included:
- Simplicity in individual parts.
- Large scale forms developing very slowly, material being slowly revealed and re-contextualised. (It was a blues all along!)
- Space/lack of markers and its ambiguity to create false assumptions for the listener.
- Microtonal melodic material and its relationship to tempered contexts.
- Balance of duality and unity in time feel and weighting
- For the mind and the booty.
- An awareness and consideration of the different performers unique interpretation/ individual rationalisations of the material based on their different musical backgrounds.
- Emphasis of the importance/impact of relative silence
- Exploiting the joys of functional harmony!
- Enducing trance like states.
- The line between symmetrical melodic structures and diatonic structures in a tempered context.
- Extended palette using live processing/ sampling, pre recorded samples and custom made Nord sample patches.
A disparate collection of subliminal musical influences probably include Joseph Shillinger, Sanjo, Gagaku, The Melvins, Thelonious Monk, Maurice Ravel, Captain Beefheart, Trevor Wishart, Duke Ellington, Ornette Coleman, Bela Bartok, Gnawa, Shellac, Seben, Lazaro Ros, Maquam, Blues for dads. (Make of that what you will, but it probably gives a clearer picture of what the music actually sounds like than all the pomp above.)
I spent a lot of time thinking about how to transfer some of the aesthetic and functions of the post production techniques that have become part of my palette working on the recorded Lobotomy material to a live setting. This manifested itself both in how I wrote for the band and in the development of a new live sampling and processing setup.
I’ve been wanting to do this for some time now. A while ago my dear friend and long term partner in crimes against music Oliver Dover found a broken mixing desk in a skip outside a school he was working at. I managed to get it working again: recycling/making/repurposing/bending old audio gear has become quite a large part of the Lobotomy aesthetic. So, paired with some of my home-made microphones, circuit bent cassette and reel to reel delays and some samplers I had a setup that I could use live which greatly extending the palette of the band and gave me some sort of illusion of control over the band in more macro sense.
Alongside the four new pieces I wrote specifically for this, I also decided to include one of the pieces I had written and recorded for the new Lobotomy EP that I’m currently working on. (Coming soon!)
Between conceiving the pieces throughout January and rehearsing them in late March they started to feel more and more like a fictitious fairytale I had told myself about possible musical situations. So, it was very satisfying to finally actually hear the pieces vibrating the air molecules around me when the rehearsal residency rolled round!
We spent the first week of March together in relative isolation in a farmhouse in the Yorkshire Dales, rehearsing and recording this new material. It is becoming rarer and rarer nowadays to have the luxury of this amount of dedicated time to rehearse new material with a group. For this opportunity I am most grateful. It really gave us time to work into the material and explore the different ideas and ways of implementing the pre conceived material.
Having the ability to record the whole residency (the first time I’ve had the chance to hear my home-made microphone setup in action!) and the distance this provides – being able to listen from an outside view – has also been very useful in determining changes that need to be made to the pieces especially when it comes to decisions being made regarding form on a macro scale.
I am very much looking forward to performing this new material for the first on the 19th of April at IKLECTIK, I hope you can join us! (Tickets here)
I’d also like to say thank you once again to Cath and Dee at LUME for giving me this opportunity!