Performing/ collaborating with Australian guitarist/ composer Mick Turner on new album and a new surfing film.
A highlight of the last couple of months has been working with guitarist/composer Mick Turner on both his recent album Don't Tell the Driver and the soundtrack for a new project Spirit of Akasha, which re-imagines and celebrates the 1971 cult surfing classic The Morning of the Earth. I'll be in Sydney tomorrow eve at the Opera House performing GWayne Thomas' song The Morning of the Earth for the world premiere of Spirit of Akasha at the Sydney Festival, I'll also be guesting for Mick at his Melbourne launch for Don't Tell the Driver on Jan 31 at the Northcote Social Club, as well as his support slots for Cat Power at the Thornbury Theater.
See this powerful video from Mick's new album (Song: The Bird Catcher) – it's truly something from heaven:
Here's a promo for Spirit of Akasha:
Read about the projects in the Sydney Morning Herald here
See you soon Sydney.
Takeo Toyama from Onomichi – pianist extraordinaire!
I played shows with the interesting pianist Takeo Toyama in Kobe, 2012 and in Osaka, 2013. His music comes across like happy dreams, with dark undercurrents. They have soul and they are fun. Like windup music boxes you find in your grandma's cupboard.
He took the shot (at the top) of Onomichi – where he lives in Southern Japan, down Hiroshima way. There’s an ace bike ride you can do from Onomichi to Imabari, and back called the Shimanami Kaido. You must cycle this path!
Fave stuff from 2013
+++ This Opera by John Adams documents Richard Nixon's visit to China and explores some of the minutiae of their conversations in an unusual and beguiling series of vignettes. This opera is magic. I saw it early in 2013, I didn't want to go to the theatre, I was tired; from the moment I sat down, those pulsing melodies worked their way in, and changed the way I felt. Not often I can say that. Here's part one from a series of clips from the Houston Grand Opera. Directed by Peter Sellars. Worth a look/ listen.
+++ 2 live concert recordings that got to me this year: Well the first is really a collection of recordings, not a single concert per se, from Birthday Party gigs from '81 and '82: The Birthday Party Live '81-'82. Terrifying and vibrant. "I am the King…."
The 2nd is an album I've posted about previously – it's John Coltrane, Rashied Ali, Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Algie DeWitt, Jimmy Garrison and Juma Santos at the Olatunji Center, New York, 1967. Everything I thought I thought I knew about what Jazz was/is was changed. Listen through both these live albums top to bottom and you'll feel something, probably strongly.
+++ This one I don't know much about. I started listening to Japanese Bon Odori music after I got roped into dancing at a festival in a little village outside Shioya, Kobe. It is hypnotic and melismatic. This album isn't Bon Odori (I have posted about the amazing singer previously = Akiko Kiyono), it's like country folk. It's like a razor sharp pinpoint Blues…I don't have a link, but if you're rifling through the epic Record barns of Japan one day and you come across this then have a listen (side 2, I never listen to side 1).
+++ Speaking of the Blues, Mississippi Delta Blues. Whatever. Just a singer and a guitar. When I heard this Son House recording later in the year I felt like he was the only person to ever sing this way and that everyone else copied him. It's not true but it feels that way.
Also have a look at this clip of Bon Dancing and music in relation to the previous previous album:
+++ Honourable mention goes to Joe Sacco – thanks for your books. They've kept me turning pages all year. And to the films Les Miserables, Mud and Gravity. All musical and beautiful in their own ways.