Towards the end of 2017 I started playing clarinet – a bit of a surprise to a man who considered himself to be a total non-musician. But here I am in 2019, collaborating with some very fine musicians, playing live and recording. I don’t know what I’m doing – I have no idea what key I’m in… really, I haven’t a clue. There are even still quite a few levers on my clarinet that I haven’t even explored, so I know that I’m limited and a very naive player. That is not stopping me. From my humble beginnings with shakuhachi, clarinet and sruthi box, I am now experimenting with live looping technology.
I just think that I am very lucky to have stumbled upon an instrument that suits me. Even with my simple abilities I find that I am starting to fully express myself creatively through this instrument – a thing I have tried to do for years with visual art and craft with a small measure of success and for which I am relatively well-known. Music though is very different, I feel – there is no intellectual process – it is direct emotional expression and I find it exhilarating to attempt this.
Through my move to Huahin, Thailand last year, I have had the very good fortune to have met up with some very fine musicians – notably Gary Hall – an early innovator in the field of digital looping and a very interesting man. You can find a fascinating article here from the Bangkok Post that explains very well the ethos of his music making.
Through meeting Gary at the first Live Loop Huahin festival last year, I was introduced to Randolf Arriola from Singapore – a leading exponent of LiveLooping in South East Asia. You can see his interesting TED talk here.
I also met Nanoi Nanon from Thailand – a wonderful Lap Tapping acoustic guitarist at the same show. You can find his wonderful music here
I was totally inspired by this concert and through other great musicians I have met, and had the privilege of playing with, to develop my own style of musical improvisation and experimental looping. With the help of Gary’s invaluable advice on the right equipment, I now have a very nice, neat setup for both recording and playing live.
The Emperor clarinet I have, is probably not one of the best – I bought it without really thinking I would be able to play it. I thought that if I couldn’t I would at least put it on the wall as it is a beautiful object. To my surprise, and delight, when I picked it up for the first time I found wonderful resonant sounds coming through it. I use a shure microphone though an irig pre-amp into an ipad and am using AUM software to control the use of Kosmonaut, Enso, Eos and other audio applications. At home I use an old set of Harmon Kardon soundsticks for output, but ‘live’ I plug straight into the mixing board and I’m away… and I don’t know where I’m going.
A very big factor in my musical adventure, and equally instrumental, is the finding of the Ssshhh bar in Huahin where all this took place. A wonderful place where the owner, as well as being a lovely guy, is also a great DJ and what I’d call a musical facilitator. Have a listen to his great work here
I can see some more collaboration coming here for sure.
Things have certainly been happening for me this last year. As well as meeting all the creative people mentioned above, I opened a small cafe in Huahin called Mister Shakespeare’s. Over the high season 2018/19 another fortuitous meeting occurred. Francis Booth, the author and music producer dropped into the cafe and we struck up a friendship which has resulted in some fine and totally unexpected collaborative work.
Planckmusic is just one of the many strings to his considerable bow and he very kindly asked me to contribute some clarinet improvisations for a couple of his projects – The Tempest Suite and The Death of Tintagiles
The latest musical collaboration is with another creative musical talent I met through the cafe – Simon Barnes, who also asked me to contribute to a beautiful piece of music (along with very striking video) he has created – Sama
Once again – I think you can expect some more collaboration here.
You can follow my adventures with a clarinet on Facebook
Thanks to everybody who has encouraged me to pursue this adventure.
#music #relaxation #meditation #Contemplation #improvisation #clarinet #looping #livelooping #liveloop #chillout #downtempo #ambient #experimental