film music

Fern Fronds

I know I just put my song a clef at the end of the last post so this is a bit of repetition but I’ve also had a fern film hanging around waiting to be done and there is a line in the song which goes

fern fronds gently sway

and so I decided to use it as a soundtrack for the film. I have a few of these hastily thrown together moving still lifes which are best watched in full screen mode with the sound set to max preferably in a darkened room hanging like a bat from the ceiling.

On watching it I noticed towards the end a small fly trying to grab everyone’s attention and it made me think of another piece I did a few years ago where a bee steals the show so here’s that one as well. In this one the music is bespoke and uses a couple of samples from my song The Lost Keys which is on the Dry Rib cd Whose Last Trickle.



The new Neureille album is now available on Itunes. It’s a digital release but I have had 200 hard copies made for promotional purposes. I’m packaging these simply in soft plastic cases with some rudimentary homemade art work and notes.

This is the front cover…

and here’s the back

There wasn’t a lot of space for too many words so I’d like to just provide a little bit more extra information here.

Paul Wigens also did the drumming on Disparue. He’s a great bloke and ideal for me to use because of his musical knowledge, experience plus of course his drumming ability. He has a number of musical projects on the go usually, but I’d like to particularly recommend his duo with Pete Judge, which is called Eyebrow.

Jim Barr is another superb musician, his principal musical project being Get The Blessing. He played some guitar on the jam we recorded which was used to produce the 3 extra tracks – Eurapsid, Vega and Altair as well as the Tibetan singing bowl on Cup & Bowl plus all the engineering. But also I should point out that all the recording was done in 2 days and it wouldn’t have been possible to get the tracks to sound as good as they do in that time without his ability to assimilate the music so quickly almost like in the back of his head. For example, most of the saxophone parts were recorded in 3 takes. Pretty much as soon as the takes were done, Jim would have worked out which were the best parts to use.

Someone who isn’t credited at all on the cover who should be is Rob Williams of Ruby Studios who spent a few hours with me tidying the whole thing up and mastering the album.

In addition I want to thank all the musicians in Bristol who have supported and encouraged me, in particular, Everton Hartley and Ant Noel.

Here’s the first song on the album.

A Clef


frost web thing

my frost web video is a forerunner to the amanogawa album which is now pretty much ready except i have to get it on the internet in a downloadable manner before releasing it to the general public because that’s a horse and cart situation that i can understand in a canny sort of way it’s just to besmirch the underlying quotient power of must have some sort of carrying potency

if i don’t make myself clear then all the more so it was selected then rejected predilected then subjected to other sorts of maintenance mainly peripatetic and sojourning in immaculate long phrases

this is the intial launch for the amanogawa album and i’ve many variations to deliver for purely fantastical derivative and heretical presentations designed to leave froissart behind i’m not sure why i said that turned to something else and completely lost the thread


2 new songs

Here are a couple of songs that I wrote recently. These are just my home recorded demos so they’re just sketches not finished articles. I’m not sure whether the songs are good or not. Well I know they’re ok, I can continue to work with them, I’m not going to drop them, but it takes time before you know whether a song is just ok or whether it is something more.

The first one is called waiting for my map and is particularly designed for taking out into small pubs and clubs and presenting as some sort of offering to try and evoke a latterday oracle. Generally that feels like a Sisyphean task, but maybe tenacity is the best thing I have to offer.

Waiting For My Map

Then there is the more recent little crusader, which I can only perform using a loop pedal and haven’t yet done so. One day I may judge an audience to be sufficiently sympathetic to witness it. Actually both these songs are recorded with the use of the loop pedal and that accounts for the occasional strange slightly out-of-time edit. I quite like that.

Little Crusader

There are 2 things that particularly influence my use of the loop pedal. Firstly the things that Terry Riley used to do using a couple of Revoxes to create a delay and then later using more advanced technology to build up repeating patterns. Persian Surgery Dervishes is my favourite example of this. You can hear a bit of that here.

The 2nd thing is hip-hop particularly the great producers of the 90s. Especially DJ Premier. On the subject of out-of-time loops I love what Arabian Knight did for GZA on this track.


Triumphs of Nonsense

All this time the Guard was looking at her, first through a telescope, then through a microscope, and then through an opera-glass. At last he said, “You’re travelling the wrong way,” and shut up the window and went away.
“So young a child,” said the gentleman sitting opposite to her (he was dressed in white paper), “ought to know which way she’s going, even if she doesn’t know her own name!”
A Goat, that was sitting next to the gentleman in white, shut his eyes and said in a loud voice, “She ought to know her way to the ticket-office, even if she doesn’t know her alphabet!”
There was a Beetle sitting next to the Goat (it was a very queer carriage-full of passengers altogether), and, as the rule seemed to be that they should all speak in turn, HE went on with “She’ll have to go back from here as luggage!”
Alice couldn’t see who was sitting beyond the Beetle, but a hoarse voice spoke next. “Change engines—” it said, and was obliged to leave off.
“It sounds like a horse,” Alice thought to herself. And an extremely small voice, close to her ear, said, “You might make a joke on that—something about ‘horse’ and ‘hoarse,’ you know.”
Then a very gentle voice in the distance said, “She must be labelled ‘Lass, with care,’ you know—”

Nearly 20 years after Edward Lear’s Book of Nonsense, a book called Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published under the pen-name of Lewis Carroll. (The excerpt above is from Alice Through the Looking-Glass which came out 6 years later). Carroll’s 2 Alice books were extended Nonsense works that took the genre into new territory. Both books are based around games, the first one being cards and the second one chess. In addition there was a good deal of fantastical invention that normally wouldn’t be expected from a clergyman and tutor of Mathematics. Further inspiration was drawn from the world of Nursery Rhymes, for example in Through the Looking Glass, Humpty Dumpty, Tweedledum and Tweedledee and the Lion and the Unicorn. A lot of the verbal humour comes from wordplay as in the last 3 paragraphs quoted above. Of course, Shakespeare did this too in his comic moments nearly 300 years earlier and even today some of the more childish of the British newspapers still delight in it (actually they’re all to some extent childish it seems to me these days).

Carroll wrote a more sophisticated fantasy/nonsense book some 20 years later which is called Sylvie and Bruno. It’s not very well known today but is worth a look if you like the Alice books. You can download it at The Gutenberg Project.

In 1935 TE Lawrence publically published his book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom and on the title page he sub-titled the work A Triumph. And why not? Both of Carroll’s Alice books could be sub-titled similarly I think. A Triumph of Nonsense.

Finally the only direct reference I have in a song to these matters comes in a rather schizophrenic ditty of mine which was written in 2006 and appears on my disparue album. I include it below. Apart from myself it features Paul Wigens on drums and Jeff Spencer on bass guitar.

Middle Age Wonderland


grain barge gig

music nonsense

Jars & their Anecdotes

There was an old man of Tobago,
Who lived on rice, gruel, and sago;
Till, much to his bliss,
His physician said this –
To a leg, sir, of mutton you may go

from Anecdotes and Adventures of Fifteen Gentleman (1822)

Long years ago, in the days when much of my time was passed in a country home, where children and mirth abounded, the lines beginning There was an old man of Tobago, were suggested to me by a valued friend, as a form of verse lending itself to limitless variety for Rhymes and Pictures; and thenceforth the greater part of the original drawings and verses for the first Book of Nonsense were struck off.

Edward Lear

The majority of nursery rhymes are not strictly speaking Nonsense except in that they are generally without point or purpose. For example,

what do you think
Of little Jack Jingle?
Before he was married
He used to live single;
But after he married
(To alter his life)
He left off living single
And lived with his wife


Robert Barnes, fellow fine
Can you shoe this horse of mine?
Yes, good sir, that I can,
As well as any other man.
There’s a nail, and there’s a prod,
And now, good sir, your horse is shod.

Others are nonsensical as,

I had a little hen,
The prettiest ever seen;
She washed up the dishes,
And kept the house clean.
She went to the mill
To fetch me some flour,
And always got home
In less than an hour.
She baked me my bread
She brewed me my ale,
She sat by the fire
And told a fine tale.

It is typical that the Nonsense element involves other creatures acting in a human manner. Sometimes even inanimate objects are personified,

The sow came in with the saddle
The little pig rocked the cradle
The dish jumped up on the table
To see the pot swallow the ladle
The spit that stood behind the door
Threw the pudding-stick on the floor
Odd’s bobs! says the gridiron
Can’t you agree?
I’m the head constable
Bring them to me

Most of these examples come from The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, Iona & Peter Opie’s book written not long before I was born. I grew up with this book on a bookshelf somewhere nearby but it wasn’t until early 2009 that I actually read the book from cover to cover. While doing so I had the idea of writing a song that would try to be a contemporary nursery rhyme. Then one night on my way home from the Bank Tavern in Broadmead, Bristol, after having played there and drunk strong cider and vodka I muttered a number of incoherent babblings into my mobile phone voice recorder. Next day or thereabouts I reworked the words possibly adding a couple of lines. In actual fact it’s nothing like a nursery rhyme, except maybe the chorus. This song is on the new neureille album amanogawa which I am just finalising and you can hear it below. Myself on guitar and vocals, Paul Wigens on drums, Laura Lambell on bass guitar and vocals.

In My Jar


beech trunk

from oak to beech
from bench to bench
to soak a leech
just use a wrench

I have called this piece beech trunk number 1. that’s because I thought maybe I could make some variations on this. so more edits both visual and musical to follow.

I make up a lot of instrumentals which you could also call songs without words or in french chants sans mots which could be made into a new word shansanmo. I make up a lot of shansanmo from time to time and usually they don’t get named (individually that is not generically). if I can use one with a bit of film footage then that’s great because suddenly there’s an obvious name there. which can always be changed later anyway if something better occurs. beech trunk is probably not a great name for a piece of music, still it’s better than not having a name at all.


early rising late

A grateful cordial, and lightly restringent syrup, is made by digesting three pints of the clarified juice, with a dram of cinnamon, half a dram of ginger, the same of cloves , in warm ashes, for six hours, then adding a pint of red port, and dissolving nine pounds of sugar in liquor, and straining it.

Culpeper’s Complete Herbal

I keep trying this but I’m finding it difficult to keep the ashes warm for six hours. Think will give up soon. The juice in question by the way is quince.

On my old firegiver page, I had all the songs from my disparue cd downloadable as mp3s on the home page. This time round I’m going to make things a bit more difficult though hopefully it will also be interesting. I’m starting with the tracks which had already been recorded before back in the 80s and the first one is called early rising late.

It was a song written for the band I had then, sinking sun king. Most of my songs have at least a fleeting reference to death, but this one looks inexorably in that direction. I wrote the song when I was about 29 and this was recorded as a demo shortly afterwards.

1983 early rising late

Apart from myself on guitar and backing vocals the track features Lindsay Lancaster on vocals, Edward Ball on piano and keyboard and Richard Hutchings on bass guitar.

Now here is the later track recorded right at the end of 2007. The tone is a little darker and the death aspect of the song is rammed home by the addition of a spoken word section which culminates in a reference to the old woman tossed up in a basket (blanket in some versions) who features as some sort of angel of death.

2007 early rising late

In this recording I am joined by Jo Swan on backing vocals, Paul Wigens on drums and Jeff Spencer on bass guitar.


starting trees

as you can tell I am trying out how to present different forms. text pictures and now moving images otherwise known as films movies videos etcetera

this is the most recent of my youtube offerings. I’m just experimenting really and things will be rough but you hope by just doing it they get better. at least that’s what I’ve found generally. just keep doing it with humility and patience and diligence and keep your critical faculties open and things develop.

I’m putting this in the tree category because I’ve got quite a lot of tree things. trees are important to me and in fact they are and have been absolutely essential for the development of the human race. a few rarer things are now becoming key but they’re not very photographable