Thursday 24 May 2012


Collision Music.

Anyone who has heard Ex-Wise Heads will guess already that I have always had a very strong interest in hearing music from all over the world.
I can trace this back to being about 16 and getting out random cassette tapes (remember them?) from the local library in order to discover things like Balinese ritual music, Bulgarian Wedding music or Sufi music from Pakistan. I've continued to delve into so-called "World Music" (a bit of a ridiculous term to me) and explore the unfamiliar over the years, sometime unearthing real gems, other times just feeling mystified.....

However, I have to say, although I have taken the time to listen to some music from Eastern Europe, folk music from Ukraine is something I really know next to nothing about. (edit: on reflection, about which I know nothing at all.....)

The whole notion of folk music is quite interesting to me; song forms that have existed for a long, long time, handed down through generations, often describing events, things or people from ages past and which are perhaps even a strong part of the self-identity of an individual or group of people.
In the UK, I always sense that people are perhaps embarrassed by their own folk culture, I guess the closest you can get is that some summer evenings, in the right places, it's possible to see see Morris Men, generally much older guys, who always look to me to be looking for an excuse to drink beer rather then connect with their ancestral root culture.

Anyway, shortly after I visited Kiev with Ex-Wise Heads last March, I was invited to collaborate with the vocal talents of Astarta, a female vocal duo “updating” Ukrainian folk music for the present time, by specifically mixing contemporary elements with ancient songs.


Although I have really no idea about the language or the meaning of the words, the sounds of the two voices working together is something I find quite compelling, containing an almost pagan “joie de vivre” quality rarely heard these days, and the flowing nature of the melodies often conceal odd rhythmic patterns which appeal to my love of exotic time signatures.

Therefore, I'd like to present here a two track digital download single “Kalina/Vesnanyochka" the first two tracks in what is developing into an ongoing collaboration, hopefully a full album length before too long:

Given that I have no real knowledge or experience whatsoever of the folk idiom, I'm thinking of this as being almost “Collision Music”, exploring the unknown (for me at least), I sincerely hope it's as rewarding to listen to, as it is to be involved in.



Wednesday 23 May 2012

Tuesday 22 May 2012

PVZ....last copies...


After being out of stock for a while, a very small number of the Limited Edition USB key versions of my solo album "PVZ" are up now at burning shed

For more info about the album, please see my previous blogs here and  here and for some background about the inspiration behind the album please click here

"PVZ" is also available as as download from burning shed,  iTunes, and here

There's a preview of selected tracks over on my SoundCloud page.

....and finally I'd like to extend my thanks to those who have taken the time to write to me, comment, and indeed buy the album so far....

Best to all,


Sunday 6 May 2012

Recent stuff....

Just a short update about some of the music I've been working on in recent months.

First off, I have contributed bass performances to some tracks for a forthcoming album by New York based Lo-Fi Resistance, which is due sometime later this year. I was very pleased to have been contacted by main man Randy McStine, as previously I didn't know of his project, but the music is exceptionally good, and it's been a total pleasure to work on. I'll have more to say about this before too long I hope.....

Earlier this year, I got involved with Italian band 'Sound Wall Project' on a one-off guest basis (see previous blog post here), but I have ended up tracking bass on around 10 new songs.

The new material has a strong TripHop influence but there's also a firm progressive element to the material, and some cool guitar parts too. I've just been listening to recent mixes featuring James Hester's drumming, which has given the material an extra dimension.

A short while back, took I delivery of a very fine new fretless bass from Spector, and this has seen action already with yours truly guesting on a couple of tracks from Herd of Instinct's forthcoming album.
Herd of Instinct describe their sound as being influenced by 'Tribal music, Horror film scores and assorted elements of Rock, Minimalism and Crimson-esque prog' so there's plenty to enjoy there.

Last year, I had the pleasure of working with US guitarist Jon Durant on his “Dance of the Shadow Planets” album, and currently, Jon and I are about halfway through a follow-up, only this time I am also contributing both double and electric bass, as well as electronics/programming.

After not having worked on any new material since Schemata, Ex-Wise Heads (myself and Geoff Leigh) have just kicked off a new set of material. Nice to see that Geoff can still encourage me to try completely new things despite us having worked together for well over ten years now....
There's no timetable, but we might have something out later this year.

Following on from PVZ, forthcoming solo material is also in the mixing stage, but this next batch will be different again, having a roughly equal mixture of instrumentals and songs.

There's a few other things I'm working on that I hope will see that light of day soon, but that's all for the meantime, in the rack, some of my tools:

All the best,


Solo Work

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