Music: Met Marc & Mogwai

It was a breath of fresh air. Something very different, and very special to light up the middle of a working week.

My friend Richard, a friend since the age of about 4, with whom I have been in a band on and off since I was 18, is a Studio Manager at the BBC. Richard had mentioned a few months ago that I would be welcome to come along and watch one of the sessions on BBC 6music whenever he was on his shift for Marc Riley‘s program.  Last night, Mogwai were playing, and this presented a great opportunity to see Richard at work as well as a fascinating band who I’ve admired for a long time.

It was a truly enthralling evening from start to finish. I arrived at the Media city studios at about six and the sound checking that just about finished. I walked in to the studio to be very warmly greeted by Mogwai and Marc, which was strangely familiar for some reason. Meeting at DJ Is an unnerving experience because their voice is simply very familiar to you. When you say hello in the flesh, they seem like they are already part of your network. Marc presented something extra here, probably very predictably, by being incredibly warm and genuine. There was no pretension, not even the slightest hint of celebrity or any of that nonsense. Just a simple, warm chap (who just happened to once play bass in The Fall).   The “music” day was blighted by the death of Kevin Ayers at 68, which is the type of thing make anyone feel humble anyway.

For people who know anything about a band like Mogwai, the feeling was similarly remarkable in its ‘down to earth’ factor. Five people who play instruments. No pretension, no divas, just very nice to see people at work making such fascinating and polished tunes.  Their album out on Saturday is a soundtrack to Les Revenants – a French film, and they lovingly played three tracks from it.

Richard Aside from all that, seeing Richard at work was pretty enthralling for me. I’ve had an interest in sound engineering, and the qualities of the audio experience since I got my first computer and started to make music that way.  Seeing somebody handle a live band playing in a small room in front of a large national audience with such calmness and serenity was wonderful.  It certainly took a lot of qualities that I do not possess. Multitasking is a large understatement. But very calm. Incredibly, scarily calm.

And so, inevitably, after tidying away a few leads and mic stands, we went to the pub and had a couple of pints.  It’s really should have been more, but it was -2°C outside, and I had to cycle home 17 miles. I’m glad I didn’t have the third point. But it was really great to see Richard. An evening of live music, cycling and beer, then.  Pinching myself.   Thanks Rich.

Photos here on Flickr


Forty-and-a-half: Time to party

Having a birthday in the depths of January isn’t that good. At the butt-end of Christmas when schools have gone back and the daylight lasts about as long as dinner time, no-one feels like anything other than thinks like diets, holidays, or ending it all. When I turned 40 this January I kept it a low key affair. Not because I didn’t want to get lots of people together, but more because I didn’t want anyone to be doing it under duress. Continue reading “Forty-and-a-half: Time to party”

Remix of ‘Glitterati’ by Merchandise

Bolton friends and wonderful pop band Merchandise have just ‘released’ my remix of their track ‘Glitterati’ on their website.

The remix was an interesting experiment in cutting things back to the core; the original vocals by Brad Wood are used from the track but nothing else and I decided an orchestral arrangement would go well with the reflective mood of the track. The idea behind this was also inspired by Cinerama’s ‘Airborne’ which featured David Gedge’s vocals directly on top of Cello and not much else. It’s something about the subtle but definitely northern dialect that lends itself to this and something that Brad shares with Gedge.

Listen (for a limited time only!) to my remix on Merchandise’s website here: Glitterati (Minnellium Mix). The remix will also go out on CD as a B Side to a single in the new year.

In praise of the rockafeller skank.

This doesn’t come easy. I’m not a mainstream person. Well, I am, really – that’s what all this is about, but I don’t occupy the middle ground that easily still. I’m 38 and it’s getting so much easier. My love of the Carpenters and Doris Day will be confessed openly soon (and if you think I’m joking, Stop, wait a minute Mr Postman and Move Over Darling).

I was sorting out the overcrowded and badly tagged iPod this evening for the first time … ever. The pleasure that a clean brak has given me is possibly a bit anal but I’m happy to admit that a tidy home is a happy home.

One thing that’s never been on there is FGat Boy Slim’s “You’ve Come a Long Way Baby” album from 1998. I never got round to burning it as Katie and I (and th near neighbours of our house in Gloucester Road, Cheltenham) had played it seemingly to death in 1998.

However, a bit of an audio audit has rekindled the flame that played it to death in the first place. Despite being a mainstream radio staple, The Rockafeller Skank is just a plain old killer and summarises the era. Chapeau, Quentin.

>The Rockafeller Skank

Podcast: LAH

It’s a while since I uploaded a tune and even longer since I made one!

Just listening through some old stuff today and this came up… I really like it now, five years on. LAH is an acronym; someone who is currently singing her way through her favourite sound of music tracks whilst I type this… how appropriate.

‘Full of Energy, Full of Vitality, Very Happy in your Life’

Flippin hippy shit. Enjoy.