LUME Lab Project Blog #3: Craig Scott

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!
  • Tri/bitonality.
  • 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!

LUME Lab project blog #2: Julie Kjær

For the second project in our LUME Lab series, we’re excited to welcome acclaimed saxophonist/woodwind player Julie Kjær. Her performance is on 16th March at IKLECTIK, and you can buy tickets in advance from the Luminous Bandcamp site. In this blog post, Julie gives us an insight into what she’s working on…

Jule Kjær: A study of the double bass (and a bit of the bass clarinet too)

What a great challenge and lovely opportunity to be asked to write some new music for LUME’s new constellation the ‘LUME Lab’. I’ve chosen to write for a quintet comprising 4 double basses and a bass clarinet. (and possible a bit of alto flute + sax)

For a long time now I’ve been wanting to get closer to the double bass, to dig into its lovely woody and stringy deep and to get a better understanding of the instrument. Such a lovely instrument with so many possibilities. Creaking woody sounds, screeching strings, low frequencies and humming sounds of the bow on strings.

During the last 3 weeks I’ve been investigating the world of the double bass. I’ve been listening to lots of music, reading wise words and meeting up with one of my double bass heroes, John Edwards, to watch him do his wizardry on the bass and take as many notes as possible. I’ve also been lucky to be able to borrow a double bass myself and get some hands-on experience to get a physical feeling of how it is to play – checking out the different sounds myself.

The next 3 – 4 weeks I will be processing all this collected material and info and use it as inspiration for the piece I will be writing. The compositing work will be based on the way I’ve been working with composing for the last 5 years, mainly with my trio, Julie Kjær 3, which is combining written material with improvised sections, experimenting with rhythm, sound and extended techniques.

After this I will be meeting up with the group for rehearsals leading up to the concert on the 16th March. The rehearsals are also an important part of the process, where the material is tried out, molded and shaped by the whole group.

The 4 double bass players I’ve asked to play are great players and improvisers. They are all busy on the London experimental and improv scene, but can also be heard in other parts of the music scene playing a.o. folk music and Jazz. I will be playing the bass clarinet part.

Lineup:

Seth Bennett double bass
Olie Brice double bass
Thodoris Ziarkas double bass
Tim Fairhall  double bass
Julie kjær bass clarinet/alto flute & composition

LUME Lab project blog #1: Word Of Moth


Dee Byrne (alto sax), Cath Roberts (baritone sax), Seth Bennett (bass), Johnny Hunter (drums)

Word Of Moth is a collaborative quartet set up by LUME founders Dee and Cath: we needed something musical to offset all the admin work we do together! The band has just got a new drummer, Johnny Hunter, and so we’ve used our LUME Lab slot to develop the new lineup, taking existing material in new directions as well as working on some brand new music together. The band is recording its debut album this month, and heading to Switzerland to play at the Jazzwerkstatt collective’s tenth anniversary festival, so this LUME Lab date is the start of some exciting moth times. A few words about what we’ve been doing before you join us on 8th February

Dee writes:

We had a good rehearsal yesterday [25th January], working on some new material, which we’ll perform at IKLECTIK on 8th February and will also be recording on 16th February. The line-up in Word of Moth (drums, double bass, baritone sax and alto sax) is a new challenge for me to compose for; the absence of a chordal instrument encourages me to take a new approach and look more creatively at the specific roles of each instrument. The horns can comp a bass or drum solo as well as play melodies and improvise, which is a fun extra element.

The new compositions I brought to the rehearsal were not polished arrangements, but instead took the form of a few distinct sections, which we then workshopped and arranged as a group. It’s a fun and collaborative way to work and led to some cool results! Some of the things we looked at were transitions between different sections such as introducing a riff/theme during a solo or half the group moving to the next section resulting in two sections overlapping (that sounded great!)

Cath writes:

For Word Of Moth I’ve found myself taking a different approach to composing than I usually might. My current concerns with my regular band Sloth Racket are about using a combination of graphics and conventional notation to create structures for us to improvise our way through. This involves lots of cutting, sticking and photocopying to create scores as if the computer had never been invented.

For some reason though, for WoM I’ve found myself writing pieces that are more like short rock/pop songs! For the LUME Lab rehearsals I’ve been bringing in simple riffs or hooks, sometimes with an attached melody, but not much in the way of fully developed structures. This has led to some pretty stripped-down sounding music, with a lot of space for us to improvise and develop the tunes together. Plus I get to rock out playing some heavy riffs on bari, or rock out while listening to Seth playing them on bass, which is extremely satisfying.

It will be good to pull the pieces together and try them out at our LUME Lab gig – by which time we should be a step closer to being ready to go into the studio too….

Word Of Moth’s LUME Lab gig is 8th February at IKLECTIK, near Waterloo. Doors at 8pm, music 8.30pm. Tickets are on sale now from the Luminous Bandcamp site, and we’d love to see you there.

New for 2017: LUME Lab

LUME is back with something new for 2017: LUME Lab. Making a space for artists to create new work, four evenings of brand new composition and improvised music will be accompanied by the LUME Lab project blog, letting the audience in on the creative process. LUME Lab marks a change of direction for us: we’re moving away from being a platform for guest artists, rolling up our sleeves and getting involved in creating new music with the community of musicians who have gathered around LUME over the past three and a half years.

LUME Lab gigs will take place at IKLECTIK, the South London arts space that played host to our inaugural festival last summer and the LUMEkestra’s debut in November. The series opens in February with a new incarnation of our quartet Word Of Moth, then we settle down for the ride and get ready to enjoy new music from three of the most exciting artists on the UK scene right now. We invite you to join us.

Tickets are available for individual gigs, and for slightly less you can purchase a season ticket for all four, or a ticket to use at two dates of your choice. Buy tickets now from our Luminous Bandcamp page.

8th February: Word Of Moth
Word of Moth’s ‘spontaneous group explorations and tightly-scored, big-booted riffs’ were praised by Daniel Spicer in the Wire magazine after their appearance at LUME Festival. The collaborative quartet explores the intersection of freedom and structure, with LUME founders Dee Byrne (alto sax) and Cath Roberts (baritone sax) joined by Seth Bennett on bass and Johnny Hunter on drums. wordofmoth.co.uk


Photo: Tom Ward

16th March: Julie Kjær
Saxophonist Julie Kjær is firmly established on the European stage. Her acclaimed trio with Steve Noble and John Edwards released its debut recording ‘Doppeltganger’ on the Clean Feed label in 2016, and she tours with Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love’s Large Unit as well as being involved in many other projects in the UK and beyond. juliekjaer.com


Photo: Dawid Laskowski

19th April: Craig Scott
Craig Scott’s music is ‘part human, part machine and revelling the glory and error of both.’ His studio project Craig Scott’s Lobotomy transforms recordings of improvisations by Craig and others using homemade equipment, re-constructing them with digital audio software. He is a member of formidable Leeds quintet Shatner’s Bassoon. craigscottslobotomy.bandcamp.com


Photo: Josh Crocker

24th May: Anton Hunter
Improvisation is at the core of Anton Hunter’s work. His Article XI project incorporates the personalities of eleven improvising musicians into the compositional process, exploring the relationship between composer and large ensemble. He leads his own trio with Seth Bennett and Johnny Hunter, and co-founded the long-running Manchester free improvisation night The Noise Upstairs. antonhunter.com


Photo: Mark Whitaker

LUME Lab is supported by Arts Council England.

LUMEkestra successfully unleashed!

Quick post to share Dan Paton’s photo of the LUMEkestra in action last night at IKLECTIK. It was a fantastic night: the venue was packed out, good times were had and new music was made. There will be more…..see you next time!

lumekestra-by-dan

14th November: LUMEkestra + Entropi + Ripsaw Catfish (EFG London Jazz Festival)

Regular LUME gigs are on hiatus until 2017, but we’ve coaxed the LUMEfish off its sofa and put together a special one-off show as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival. Convening at IKLECTIK on Monday 14th November will be the first incarnation of the LUMEkestra, our brand new large ensemble project. Featuring:

Trumpet
Kim Macari

Saxes
Dee Byrne
Cath Roberts
Colin Webster
Julie Kjaer
Oliver Dover
Tom Ward

Trombone
Tullis Rennie

Guitars
Anton Hunter
Paulo Duarte

Keys
Adam Fairhall
Rebecca Nash

Vibes
Martin Pyne

Basses
Dave Kane
Olie Brice
Tim Fairhall

Drums
Johnny Hunter
Matt Fisher

Supporting this behemoth will be our very own Dee Byrne’s space-jazz quintet Entropi and Ripsaw Catfish, the duo of Anton Hunter and Cath Roberts (also our very own).

Doors are at 7.30pm and the music will start at 8pm sharp! Tickets are available now from the Luminous Bandcamp site.

The venue is IKLECTIK, 20 Carlisle Lane, SE1 7LG.

lumekestra-poster

See you in the Autumn…

We’re taking a summer break, and we’ll be back later in the year with more great music. Thanks to all who have supported LUME this season!

While we’re away, why not check out Live At LUME Volume 2? The second edition of our fundraiser compilation features some choice live recordings from the last year or so.

Have a lovely summer and we’ll see you here soon…

It’s a wrap!

Well, it’s all over and we had a fantastic time! LUME Festival was a brilliant day. Thanks to everyone who came, all the bands who played, Gina Southgate, Alex Fiennes, Alex Bonney, Lucknow 2 London for the amazing food, Arts Council England and Austrian Cultural Forum for their support, our awesome 131 Kickstarter backers….and last but not least Eduard at IKLECTIK for being the perfect host!

Until next time….

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LUME Festival is upon us!

The time has come: LUME Festival is this Sunday! If you’ve already bought your ticket online, all you need to do is turn up and give your name at the door: there are no physical tickets. All the advance tickets have gone, but there will be a small number left on the door.

It’s all happening at IKLECTIK Artlab: Old Paradise Yard, 20 Carlisle Lane, London SE1 7LG, and the entire programme will be captured on canvas by Gina Southgate. Here’s the running order:

13.00: Doors open

13.30: Word Of Moth

14.45: Ant Traditions

16.00: Hot Beef Three

17.15: Little Church

18.30: Musson/Kjær/Marshall

20.00: Blueblut

21.30: Article XI

01.00: Bar closes

See you there: it promises to be a great day of music!

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