Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Jazz Jam at the Am

I'm an occasional participant in the jazz jam sessions at the Amersham Arms in New Cross (map) on Thursday nights. The night is run by tenor player, Colin Humphries (pictured), and the vibe is always very friendly, and the music very good!

Now this jam has its very own blog, run by Rob Kenyon. Rob is a great photographer, so the blog is mainly a scrapbook of photos of the many musicians who attend.

The jam runs from around 9:45pm till 1am. Free entry before 10pm and £3 after that (I think - but don't quote me).

Saturday, March 25, 2006

It Fell from the Sky wins!

I'm pleased to report that one of the films I wrote the music for, It Fell from the Sky, has won the Best Animation Award at the Screentest Festival. So congratulations to the animator, Jason Ruddy. I understand that as a result, the film will now be shown at the Raindance Film Festival later this year.

Here's the film if you'd like to see it:

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Cat Incident #2

So, continuing my series of cat incidents, here's a cutting from the Boston Herald, when there was a fire in my apartment building and I grabbed my flatmate's cat on my way out.

You can't tell from the photo, but it was snowing a bit, so one of the firefighters gave me and Milké (that's the cat) a blanket. I suppose that 'worried-looking guy holding cute kitten wrapped in blanket' was an obvious target for the photographer. Click on the image for a larger, readable version.

I haven't had any dramatic cat incidents since, but I'll let you know as soon as the next one happens. (This one was almost 3.5 years ago, so I am probably due for one any day now...)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

A New Toy

I bought myself a didgeridoo yesterday. Last year I was messing around on one lent to me by my lovely neighbour. (In fact, she lent it to me at her Christmas soirée of 2004, and I finally returned it at her Christmas soirée of 2005. Sorry about that, Linda.)

I was in Camden anyway and had some time to kill, so I went to Ray Man Ethnic Musical Instruments on Chalk Farm Road. Such an interesting shop! I could have happily spent hours and hours there, shaking, hitting, plucking and blowing things. But I didn't have hours, so I just blew on a few didges, picked one, and went on my way. Happily, I managed to get it home through the Camden crowds without poking anybody in the groin with it.

At the moment, I think I can get a reasonable sound out of it (at least to my ears - probably not to a real didge afficionado), but of course the whole thing of playing the didgeridoo is the circular breathing, which I can't do yet. Maybe I'll post an mp3 when I get the hang of it, but it seems it is going to take me a lot of practice. So don't hold your breath.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Phew! Exciting Film Project Completed

The score for the Exciting Film Project was delivered on Friday, so finally I have a little time to blog more about it.

It's really been a crazy couple of weeks. First of all working on the orchestrations for Dominik's music (along with the other orchestrator, Richard Hammarton). Then we had to record everything. I already blogged a little bit about recording the strings, and on the same day we recorded woodwinds (all played by Andy Findon), and the trumpet (me), all at Dominik's Crimson Noise studio. To get a nice big trumpet section sound, we often layered three or even six of me on top of each other. Further recordings of vocals and rhythm section took place over the next two or three days.

I've been working nights for the final week, editing the recordings and generally preparing the cues for Dominik to mix the next day. I would get to the studio at 9pm, and work through till around 7am the next morning. Then I was off to Ponti's in Liverpool Street station for a big fry-up (which was very good, apart from that the restaurant was freezing). Incidentally, I found working nights to be a pretty unusual experience: usually, life seems to be clearly divided into days, but while I was on this schedule, this delineation disappeared; I appreciated how time was just a constant flow. Hmmmmm.. Sad to say, I was so busy contemplating this coming home one morning, that I managed to leave my glasses on the train. (So if you happen to find a pair of black-rimmed Specsavers' glasses between Liverpool Street and Chingford, please let me know.)

A final flurry of activity on the last night/day: Dominik asked me to write and play one or two final trumpet bits for the credits music - and then I was done.

So it's been pretty hard work, and I had to put my regular life on hold for a while, but of course I am very happy to have been involved in such a project (sorry - I'm still not supposed to go into details about it - as soon as I can, I will!)