The Ramsgate Hovercraft at Pie Factory Margate

Surrounded by the entrancing and sometimes disturbing work of Margot Bandola at Pie Factory Margate on Friday, The Ramsgate Hovercraft performed two extended ambient electronic improvisations. The band’s musical response to the environment was assisted by an appreciative crowd and several dogs who occasionally voiced their approval. The experience could only have been enhanced had a mysterious and beautiful dancer emerged to perform a magical improvised dance as the band played. Which was exactly what happened. It felt like a blessing.

Found Out, Caught and Tried is on at Pie Factory Margate until 31st March

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Photo by Dik Ng

From the Mourning of the World

From the Mourning of the World is a new compilation of songs by “various uncivilised artists” curated by Marmaduke Dando for the Dark Mountain Project. There is a wide range of styles here; really what the songs have in common with each other and the Dark Mountain Project itself is that they are all musical responses to troubled times and rather from an outsider’s perspective. These are modern songs with deep roots, perhaps folk in the making in a very broad sense. Despite the variety the songs do not jar being side-by-side, rather this makes for an interesting and colourful experience, and despite the potentially bleak inspiration behind the project there are moments of humour too. Favourites on first hearing include Wildwood by The General Assembly, which also appears on their album Dark Mountain Music, and To The River by Look, Stranger, however this album needs several more listens and this may change.

The production of this album was financed by an Indiegogo campaign and I am very pleased to have been one of its sponsors and to see the project come to fruition.

From the Mourning of the World is available from Bandcamp now as a download or soon as an LP.

 

The Allen Family at the Belgian Café

IMG_9628I chanced upon local bluegrass band The Allen Family in Ramsgate’s Belgian Café and was immediately captivated. These are first class musicians and I was especially taken with young (15 years) Geary Allen’s banjo work, which is sensitive and technically accomplished. Their music is not strictly confined to bluegrass and they confidently convey the authentic working roots of American country music. Another unexpected great night out in Ramsgate.IMG_2672

The Buescher True-Tone

IMGP1273Here is my beautiful Buescher True-Tone alto saxophone. After many years of shameful neglect it has recently been completely overhauled by the lovely people at Crowthers of Canterbury. They took over two weeks and gave me back a transformed instrument – to the extent that I had to spend a while getting to know it again. But it’s a pleasure to play now and even the tone is subtly improved.

Buescher was a US saxophone manufacturer. There are plenty of web sites that cover its interesting history so I won’t repeat it here. Some of those sites also carry the company’s records of serial numbers by year so it was possible to find out that mine was manufactured in 1926, much earlier than I had expected. The instruments they produced have an excellent reputation, having a very good tone although a tendency to sharpness in the upper register. This one came into my possession in the mid 1970’s, I believe from a stint in the BBC Light Orchestra but I have no knowledge of its earlier history. It is intriguing to speculate what adventures it may have had along the way. The somewhat dilapidated state of the case, on the outside at any rate, suggests that it very well may be the original.

The True-Tone can be heard on several of the tracks we are working on for our forthcoming album – watch out for clips coming to this blog soon.