March 13, 2008
Last Saturday I spent the afternoon working with ‘the legendary’ Geoff Leigh (pictured above in his cave like studio in Hastings) on some electro-acoustic improvised pieces: Geoff playing flute and various wind instruments which I processed live using granular sequencing software. This will hopefully be the beginning of a longer, currently anonymous, musical collaboration (if you can think of any good names, let me know). Geoff is a renowned multi instrumentalist probably best known for having played in an early incarnation of Henry Cow* in the early seventies, Moiré Music in the eighties and more recently with North African musicians and with those other old hippies, Faust.
*Over Christmas a ‘friend’ of mine insisted on playing the entire ‘concerts’ album by the ultra-hippy prog-rock group Henry Cow, notorious for their mix of turgid introspective jazz-rock symphonies and Stalinist dogma. The resulting extreme psychic trauma was such that i gave up listening to music, any music**, for three months and almost gave up making music altogether. What is it about Henry Cow that causes this effect? The reality is that no one likes or ever liked Henry Cow. They only sustained their existence because in the seventies there was NOTHING ELSE TO LISTEN TO!, to maintain your hippy, lefty credibility you HAD to pretend to like it. This unopposed vacuum allowed the group to develop their own, once heard, never forgotten, idiosyncratic style; pompous self indulgence fired by uncritical ‘communist’ ideology and dogmatic musical strictures. On this basis i propose a new usage of the phrase ‘Henry Cow!’(to be used in the same manner as the English ‘Gordon Bennet!’) to be loudly exclaimed whenever one encounter something that meets the following criteria: boring, pompous, arrogant, indulgent, irritating and ultimately irrelevant.
**For instance, due to the depth of trauma suffered (can you sue a prog rock band?),three months later I can now only listen to one particular type of music, Sundanese Degung; a soft, harmonic, undemanding pop Gamelan from the Sunda Islands. Here’s a video of the Fabulous Nining Meida, not really Degung (More like Jaipongan) but good nonetheless. Benefits immensely from karaoke style lyrics (in Sundanese).
Nining Meida ‘Kalangkang’