Tag Archives: 2015

ears judgement and ego in the edit

cubest 009 by the cube orchestra

what it is to have material to edit at will in the creation of the self-indulgent, best-of, self-imagined series of improvised music that is cubest*. wielding the director’s cut raises some difficult artistic decisions yet grants glorious, ultimate power

it involves ears and judgement and perhaps a little egotism

that’s what ‘cubest 009’ by the cube orchestra feels to me to be. it’s a compilation of four tracks recorded live at the cube microplex and edited in part to present a highlighted structure to the listener and in part to shorten the often lengthy musical journeys. no mean feat when an original track time might be over twenty minutes. if ‘cubest 008’ was dalila’s feature album, if unintentionally, then the four tracks on ‘cubest 009’ represent keef chemistry around the sound stage that is the cube orchestra

that this is coming from my perspective, journalistically, is not surprising, i was there after all, and it is easy for me to focus on my playing because i can recall what i was doing much of the time. but i wish here to focus your attention on my playing as a demonstration of how all the members of the cube orchestra move around the soundscape at our sessions

self-orientated, yes, like selective recall of a recorded event

it was without intention and in only in retrospect that i realise i have focused on four areas of my own performance within the orchestral shape we create. there’s often instrument-swapping as it helps create new dynamics among us and to the sound and the pieces we create are often journeys, yet they pursue an inventive approach, listening and responding. often with my playing, i feel the will to conduct from the back, somehow, or more directly when playing the drums. maybe my habit of listening to these recordings is having an effect on my playing and sense of structure? something i consciously try to avoid, yet must interject!

i’m hoping that my interventions are no more intrusive than any other member’s contribution. the nature of the orchestra is such that anything goes, even bum notes and poor timing. the point is the experience

so here is my quick guide to what keef chemistry got up to throughout cubest 009

over sea, sand and sky

keef chemistry singing

on this piece i take the unusual step of delivering some vocals. unusual because my voice has a habit of avoiding the notes i’m thinking of in my head. to compensate i pump the sound through the echo pad app on my ipad, swathing it in reverb and echo to disguise any inaccuracies

stomach pump

keef chemistry with his melodica

i now play my melodica through the same echo pad app, only with a different setting, more distorted and with a nice stereo panning effect. chema supplies a great melody on sax, i have my hook to repeat and play around, the groove serves as our backbone – happy days. the only thing putting me off is david’s foot pump, which keeps making me laugh

smokey joe’s

keef chemistry on drums

this is a good representation of my timing on drums. it’s slippery. thankfully i have the grinding bass to tune into and steady myself with. i lack the stamina and patience of other drummers at the cube, so at some point i decide i want to stop and my only impediment is getting the attention of enough players to initiate it, usually with a few loud taps or by simply slowing down to a stop

it came from the dark star

keef chemistry's ipad

my main contribution here is to fly the spaceship, while the rest of the crew man the sonic controls, so i’m sliding a single finger across my ipad screen at will. by sliding my finger up to the top i can take a sample of the ambient sounds on stage and loop it in self-oscillating delay feedback. that’s technical terminology for the spaceship sound. i’m not displaying any musical proficiency, but it’s addictive fun and i’m not ashamed

i would like to express my thanks and constant admiration to the cube orchestra members for allowing me to record and hack at their contributions

find out more about the cube orchestra
for more of my analysis and to download the compilation check out cubest 009
* check out the cubest series with free downloads on the cube orchestra website: cubest