New song ‘Primavera’

I recently wrote this song, Primavera, which you can see performed here with my fabulous band at The Poly theatre in Falmouth. Its an amazing space to play in. The song started with a beautiful 9th chord I found when tinkling with my uke. Its a Fm9. I played the chord to a friend and he said it sounded like a white open top Jaguar driving into Monaco in Technicolour in the 1960s. I couldnt have summed in up better. This led me to write a meandering lead melody on the bass and I wrote the rest around that. I chose bongos, to give a simple but carnal pulse to the song. The ukulele and guitar weave around these two elements. The song is about spring but those 9th chords remind me so strongly of Italian psychedelic soundtrack composers like Trovaioli and Morricone that I gave it the Italian name for spring instead. Enjoy!

Minko, Playhouse and Red River Dialect at The Poly Friday 21st January 2011

LOno Presents Three Bands at The Poly

“To begin 2011 we here at Lono are bringing three of our favourite bands to the Poly stage where their evocative and inspiring sounds can have their full effect upon the audience. These bands all draw their influences from folk, but achieve remarkably different blends due to the diverse influences acting upon their imaginations. There will be a cracking licensed bar & DJ’s playing between the sets”. For a full description of the night go to Lono Presents

Music Videos and Experimental Cinema

My love of experimental film and surrealist cinema would fill a list longer than my blog will ever be, but Meya Deren, Kenneth Anger, Sergei Parajanov, Jaromil Jires’s 1960s surrealist gem Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, Installation artist Pipilotti Rist, and Jean Luc Godard are a few of my favorites. I have started to work on experimental films and music videos in conjunction with my songs. My first film is a collaboration with Nick Duffy which explores the nature of performance in short films. It started out as an experiment on a mobile phone a year ago. I wanted to see how good the video quality was so I put on one of my favorite obscure 60s songs, Flowers by Ferris Wheel (impossible to find on vinyl), and danced away.

Just recently I found this bit of bogus footage and we decided to play with it. We filmed the sequence onto tape and put it back onto digital which altered the texture dramatically. We also extracted the music. It was interesting at this point because without without the blended synchronizaton of motion and music it became more documentary in style, a sort of memory from the past, rather than a dance. The mood changed to something more melancholy and nostalgic without the music.

The idea at this point was to experiment with some of my songs. The ones that were most in sync looked the most uniform and conventional. Just a figure dancing to music again. It was the pieces where there wasn’t strict synchronicity that were the most interesting. In the end we decided to use One Snowflake where the movement falls in and out of time, and the mood of the music and the mood of the dancer are very different. This disjunction between the dancer and the music creates a feeling of two places in time; past and present, and induces a feeling of memory and nostalgia as if looking back at the footage at a later time with reflective eyes and observing this lost fragment of happiness from the past.

Working this way round, the visuals first and then adapting the music was an interesting way to work rather than creating visuals for the music. Closer to the way films are made than music videos. Our next film approaches it the other way round. The more traditional way. More coming soon…