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Welcome (back) to the Machine

January 2016

Like a system reboot, I decide to move back home from Paris to London, "home of the brash, outrageous and free" and so here I find myself, 18 months later. Now seems like as good a time as any to reflect, and start to share some of my experiences, as well as explain what happens behind the scenes, at the core of a temporal comet, and to think about all the amazing, talented people I've met... and Carry.

Temporal Comet 2017, with Francesco "Carry" Carrer on bass, and David Pugh on drums

Temporal Comet 2017, with Francesco "Carry" Carrer on bass, and David Pugh on drums

Equipped with a Yamaha bass and an great ear for music, I met Carry at the Dissident Sound Industry (DSI) Jam in Tottenham (video here), North London and very quickly we both realised we should be working on a project together! I had been looking to re-create TC as a live group after the project had lost some momentum since its inception in Paris (more on this in a later blog).

On returning to London, the jam/ improv. scene seemed like the perfect place to throw myself in at the deep-end (perhaps London is all deep-end, or at least deep-house and deep tube tunnels), to improve my bass/ guitar playing and to meet new people. This couldn't have been a better idea, and the sheer volume of amazing players and excellent people still surprises me today. I sometimes wonder if All the best Italian musicians live in London, and I'm very glad they do!

You never know who you'll meet, and who these new friends can put you in touch with, and my advice for all players is this:

Once you have enough confidence to play with an open-mind, to let loose and to use your ear to play (more than using your fingers), there is a wealth of experience to be gained from jamming. It's all very well practising your licks, your scales in your room or rehearsal studio, but when you get to a jam-environment (I wanted to write jamvironment but you might not have got it) a whole new set of skills start to be honed...

Can you add dynamics to a track? Can you communicate to conjure up a crafty chorus on the fly? Can you stop playing for a minute, to accentuate that chorus when you come back in again?

When it comes to dropping out, even the best musicians fall flat on their faces! Sure we all get excited, we all want to play our part and contribute, but sometimes, there is so much more power in the notes we don't play... Look at those famed blues guitarists, from BB King to Eric Claptout... they all understand that less is, indeed, more.

Apparently thought, I don't, as this blog hasn't finished yet.

I wanted to talk more about how my new collaborator, Carry, has changed what we do in Temporal Comet, as we work to remix the existing songs (he is easily 10 times the producer that I am on a technical level) and creating new material, but his ego-boost will have to wait!

I'll leave you with a rundown of some of the best jams I have played at, and where to find them. Happy playing!

  • DSI - first Friday of every month - nearest station: Bruce Grove
  • Troy Bar - every Friday in Hoxton Square -nearest station: Shoreditch High St. Arrive after 10pm to catch the venue buzzing with incredible jazz and funk-fusion
  • Kayoubi Jam - currently finding its feet in Portobello, catch this house band supporting all sorts of open mic talent, from spoken word to blues. I have had the pleasure of playing as house guitarist a few times at this eclectic event with great food! 
  • Alleycat Blues Jam - if you like blues, and have a few screaming pentatonic licks in you (or beats or basslines or sax hooks!), this is a very authentic-feeling dive bar, and one of the last bastions of live music on Denmark Street, scene of many pilgrimages during my childhood!  

Hope to see you at a jam real soon! Thanks for reading!

 

Comet out.

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