Sunday, 23 September 2007

Equilibrium is Experienced

My 'top secret' project, which entailed 2 weeks in a studio in central Paris recording all manner of weird and wonderful noises from the human body and its interaction with a few carefully chosen artefacts, has unfolded most thrillingly. A lot more work to do with her (or him etc.) in October.

I had the privilege and pleasure of working with Valgeir Sigurðsson as sound engineer for this project. Yesterday I listened to his own album ‘Ekvílibríum’ on my creaky old Discman (yes, yes, I’ll get an iPod when I know I’ll use it) whilst walking up the Montmartre hill to Sacré Coeur. It just so happened that I landed on track 7, ‘Equilibrium is Restored’ as I reached the summit, and as my eyes were filled with the eternally breath-taking vista of all Paris unfurling beneath me. Buy Valgeir’s album, and experience your own out of body experience.

As I focused on the glimmering gold angels of the Opéra Garnier I saw a strange object float up into the sky – it was kind of shuffling side-to-side, all the time climbing. I concluded it must be a pair of black helium balloons. As they darted off ever-upwards into the late afternoon sunshine, I enjoyed a truly mesmerising moment as sound and image combined to magical effect. Takk fyrir Valgeir!

Friday, 7 September 2007

Pop Goes The Concept

This week I’ve taken some exciting steps forward in most of my current projects. And yes, I shall use asterisk bullet points.

* Final preparations were made for studio sessions next week for a certain top secret project that must remain secret or else it won’t be a secret anymore. I think I’ve already said more than I should have.

* I recorded all the bass parts for the album I’m producing for Canadian-Haitian singer/songwriter Melissa Laveaux. The man for the job was Martin Gamet with whom I performed on Camille’s tour in 2005 - 2006. Here’s a little sneaky peak of how funky Mr Gamet is and what a great voice Ms Laveaux has... Break it down now:

Melissa Laveaux - 'Tiptoe' (work-in-progress, bass and vocal clip)

* Finally, and this is my big news… I can proudly announce that I have booked the venue for the first ever concert for my own project Body-Piano-Machine (BPM)! It’s going to be 29th November 2007 at Mains d’Oeuvres in St Ouen (5 mins walk from the northern limits of Paris.) This is obviously enormously thrilling and slightly daunting for me, especially as I do not yet have a show to perform. But hey, I’ll worry about that later.

Helping me to create and develop the performance and featuring on stage in a performative capacity will be Bénédicte Le Lay , a theatre maker with whom I studied at Dartington College of Arts . We are collaborating to create a performance that lies somewhere between contemporary theatre and a pop concert, which seems appropriate considering the nature of my album.

I’m actually massively inspired by concept in pop music, especially when it forces the creators to explore new ground in their lyrics, arrangements or structures. The usual suspects could be listed but did you know that one of the most persistent exponents of Pop With A Concept was Donna Summer? Check out I Remember Yesterday, where Ms Summer adds a twist to her disco universe by adding in sounds from the 40's , 50's and 60's on the first three songs respectively. She ended the album with a track representing ‘The Future’ and so successful was her conceptual challenge that this track still sounds futuristic 30 years later. That track was I Feel Love. So if ever proof were needed that having a conceptual approach to making pop music can lead to marvellously creative results, then there we have it.