Mar 2012


Been wanting to see Fishtank for a while. Very happy to have seem it. A compassionate and troubling work.

Thich Nhat Hanh at RFH

“True Peace and Happiness”

I have heard
Thich Nhat Hanh speak before at Friends House in London, and was very moved, so when my wife bought tickets some months ago for this talk in the Royal Festival Hall in London I was delighted.

When the evening came I was “busy” at work of course, and it felt quite a strain to break off and go to hear the Master speak. In fact we were a bit late, so we missed the group meditation that opens these talks.

Nevertheless we were allowed in after the meditation was complete and before the Master began to speak. He is, of course, a remarkable man and has a wonderful wise and loving presence. I find him incredibly inspirational (I have read a couple of his books) and each time I open myself to his teaching I am hugely rewarded for a minimal effort on my part.

It would be impossible (and impertinent?) for me to try to summarise his words here. He is wonderfully simple and enormously deep and so he is a great guide. We just need to pay attention, to our breath, to ourselves, to his words and we need to practice the techniques that he offers to us.

Even as he spoke I felt that I could let tensions in my body go, a smile came to my face, I felt I was in the right place doing the right thing. I learnt how important it has been for him to bring his teachings out of the monastery into the world, our busy world, and to help us deal with the pain and suffering and sorrow that we all experience in our lives.

Compassion is a hugely important human quality, and The Master highlights it, personifies it, and draws our attention to it time and time again.

A couple of details.

He spoke about the power of collective energy in any group I guess, but particularly in a group of right minded people. The

And he spoke about recognising emotions, and through recognition disempowering them. We are, he said, so much more than emotion.

This great spiritual master honoured us with his talk and I am hugely grateful.

I am breathing in and I am breathing out.



I had a breakfast meeting recently with Laura, who manages Emmy the Great and she turned me on to "Walls". I bought their new LP "Coracle" and their previous self titled LP both of which are nice pieces of vinyl on Kompakt.

I really like the fact that Kompakt giveaway a CD in each vinyl package. Wonderful. And I have really been enjoying the music of "Walls".

Julia Holter "Ekstasis"

I have played this CD several times in the last few days, and it’s really become part of my life. I was not familiar with the work until I read about this CD on Boomkat but I’m very happy to have discovered her music, even though I am late to the party.

Incredibly accessible yet enjoyably left-field. Really good stuff. Read a review on the BBC website
here. Check out a Guardian review here.

Mini RBMA Italy

Or, to give it its full title, Red Bull Music Academy BassCamp Italy.

Some pics I took

I was invited as a "guest lecturer" to this mini Academy and was delighted to accept. The guest lectures at the Academy that I've been involved in are essentially a chat on the couch with a really nice supportive and well-informed person about music and my career. Then a question and answer session. This makes it fun, and relaxed, and easy to do. So of course I was delighted to accept.

I had such a great time at the Academy in Madrid last year that I asked the Italians if I could stay for the whole weekend to hang out, and to hear the other guest lecturers (Patrick Pulsinger and Morgan Geist) and, to meet up again with Tiger and Woods who I first met at a Red Bull event in Berlin, where I was blown away by their performance skills. They were gracious enough to put me up for the whole weekend and I had a great time.

The collective energy of the group is something remarkable and a wonderful positive energy feedback arises with lots of mutual inspiration and some great collaborations.

I hope I offer something to this collective energy. I know I take away a great deal from it. I know it helps me to raise my game, it refreshes me creatively, it restoreth my soul.

So a very big thank you to all the participants and the Red Bull Italy culture team Francesca, Laura, Damien and to Damir who was my kindly host, and who made my chat on the couch so enjoyable and relaxed.

I have had a few different projects with the Red Bull music team over the last couple of years, and each one has been fantastic in its own way. The whole thing always seems to be all about the music, full of music lovers, musicians, DJs, producers and incredibly knowledgeable music fans. Wonderful.

I wish all applicants the best of luck for the Academy in New York later on this year.


Emmy The Great

It was a real pleasure to hear Emmy the Great at the Queen Elizabeth Hall this evening. The band were in fine form.

John was playing drums. I worked on the drums with him in rehearsal and in the Red Bull studios in London when we tracked the basics of the album “Virtue”.

Grace also performed on the album, and she was playing keyboards this evening.

The guitarist (whose name, I am embarrassed to say, I have forgotten) made some wonderful huge warm organ like tones

The core band were supplemented by eight other women musicians called “Orchestrate”- 4 string players and 4 backing vocalists, so there was quite big sound from the stage.

Emmy was playing a lot of electric guitar - this is something we discussed when we were making the album, but at that time I don’t think she felt ready for the electric guitar. She is now!

They played quite a few songs from the album, all of which I enjoyed except “Exit Night” which seemed very fast and somehow throwaway! Emmy sung a new song “about” William Blake which was good.

Really enjoyed the gig, although I did have some problems with the sound where I was sitting. Okay, I was at the side of the auditorium, but the bass drum was ridiculously and disproportionately loud in my opinion. On the other hand Emmy sounded great. As she should. Happy

I was a bit nervous about the concert to be honest, but the hall was full and everyone seemed to enjoy it, including the band, so a good time was had by all.

The Smile Sessions


The Memory of Running

“The Memory of Running” by Ron McLarty

Someone recommended this book or I read a review somewhere, I don’t remember.I pre-ordered it on Amazon for Kindle, and then it just arrived one day. That in itself was a pleasant experience. The joys of whisper sync.

I really enjoyed reading this novel, with its simple alternating chapter structure between “past” and “present”, and I found it to be compelling. I felt involved with the characters, and moved by their trials and their experiences. I knew what was coming at the end, but it was no less satisfying for that.


Anthony Gormley Studio Visit

I want to mention the wonderful visit we had to Antony Gormley's studio in the region north of King's Cross. I was privileged to be invited with a group of people from Trinity College to an open evening at the studio.

First impressions were awe-inspiring. The size of the forecourt itself was very impressive. It immediately made me think of trucks pulling in pickup the huge pieces creates, or parts of those pieces.

The e-mail invitation suggested that the event would be crowded and so I didn't go on my collapsible bicycle, imagining that would not be room for it in the studio. Ridiculous. The studio was huge. Huge.At least three stories high it seemed, and there was a large selection of works and sketches hanging from the ceiling as well as massive incomplete works scattered about the floor. This was all wonderful.

Even more wonderful of course was hearing Mr Gormley speak intelligently and inspirationally and kindly for an hour about life and art and philosophy. I came away inspired and feeling indebted to be in the presence of such intelligent creativity.

As a creator of large three-dimensional pieces he was extremely interested in the technical details of mass and dimension. And, of course, he's very focused on the body. His body. He spoke clearly about how the inspiration for each piece was his body, and that became apparent as he used the different pieces in the studio to illustrate his thesis. Also he was very keen to stress the valuable input he gets from eth rest of his 18 person team.

Wonderfully (and he's probably said this before) he pointed out that much of his work involves taking a line for a walk (Paul Klee) in three dimensions.

Genius. I was very impressed.

Young Adult

I went to see "Young Adult" at the Aubin cinema in Redchurch Street. This is a small 45 seater which I've not been to before. Perhaps my expectations were too high. I heard about the movie initially on the Guardian's film weekly podcast, and the guys were really into it. Perhaps I'm missing something. I quite enjoyed it, but it hardly made me laugh and I didn't really care about any of the characters (again) so the film was kind of wasted on me. Still, it got me out of the house and it kept me off the street, so it had some value.

I particularly enjoyed the journey there and back listening to Ricardo Villa-Lobos and Max Loderbauer's remix album "re: ECM" which made a wonderful soundtrack to Saturday night on the Northern line to Shoreditch and the return journey on the overground. It was my first time at Shoreditch High Street station.


Saw Rampart and was impressed by WH performance and lovely photography of LA.His life is not glamorised, and it is not simplified. I guess that’s what makes it a good story. You don’t have much hope for him. And there is no real resolution either. Like life. I enjoyed the movie, but it left me a little cold as well. There was no one I really identified with, and there’s no message of hope. I’m not sure there’s a message at all


Listening to a preview of the new Gliss album - “Langsom Dans”

Screen Shot 2012-03-01 at 23.13.21

Great sounds and performances. Sad and beautiful songs. I would love to have mixed this one too. (I had the pleasure of mixing Devotion Implosion). It says on the streaming page “
The best description of the band is late night fucked up art pop” and that is a good description I feel.

David's Lyre

Dropped in at the 100 Club to hear the short D L set - always great to hearth songs. Drums and Bass very loud, so I guess the Sound Person had not heard the LP Happy