William's Study (Diary Of A Hyperdreamer)
Tuesday 22nd February 2005 -- 9 pm
Snow these last two days. Heavy yesterday. I decided to drive Emi to work rather than let her risk the treacherous roads on her own. Today a slight thaw and now a freeze. Icy conditions tomorrow. Still working intensely on the website images with Dave Graham. Slowly but surely coming together. This is just the 'skin' for some areas of the site... Soon, the cavities beneath the skin will have to be created and filled with content from my archived 'private' sources and also from the Permanent Flame files supplied by Chuck Bird. Still a long way to go before we're fully operational but things will be added as time progresses. It will be several months before the site approaches the kind of strength and complexity I've got in mind.
I'm also working on visual content for Paul Sutton-Reeves book about my career. Due to various things beyond his control, he's had to come back to me for more photos to go into the book. I've spent the last few days scanning things from my own collection and have just put out an appeal to fans to send in any photographs they may have of Red Noise. As Red Noise's career was relatively short, I don't have much visual material relating to the band. It's one area where my archives are a lacking. Duncan Ahlgren and Garry Nichol have sent in some of their own personal shots of Red noise though and we should be able to use a couple of these for the book.
Also working on the possibility of major label re-releases... the EMI box set and Universal's proposal to re-issue the 'Mercury' years. It's a complex project though, particularly the latter as much of the material has been issued as part of my Cocteau Records catalogue. Adrian at Opium is trying to get to the bottom of it.
Adrian just got back from the Grammys in L.A. Sounds glamourous. Not sure I'd want to go though, other than to ogle those girls in almost non-existent frocks. Oh, yes... I saw them on TV and thought, 'lucky Adrian'. Yes, maybe I would go, given the chance... drool all over their chiffon like the shameless old dog I am. Adrian shared a table with the Foo Fighters who, so Adrian told me, said very nice things about my music. Credibility time with Elle and Elliot again, then. A brownie point for me.
My acoustic guitar based instrumental album at a standstill. Frozen like the weather. No time available to work on it right now. I hope I can get it finished in time for a spring release. I've got more ideas in mind for it though... more little snippets of composition that I ought to record before they melt into air. I'd like to assemble a guitar instrumental compilation album too, as I may have mentioned before in these pages. Pull together some of my favourite pieces from across the years and add in a couple of unreleased tracks for good measure. Could be an interesting combination of things.
Lots of other little things nagging away in the background. Some I can't speak about here yet... but some very interesting developments coming up soon. Quite exciting, I think. I'll tell more when the time is right. Enough work for today. Maybe I'll watch TV for a while until bedtime. Unwind. A short diary entry but, to be expected considering my tiredness. Some more website visual promo attached to make up for it.
Saturday 26th February 2005
The snows have melted and the view across the field from my studio window is green again. Quite cold, nevertheless.
Became frustrated by the constant visual scanning and photoshop work I've been so busy with and decided to put it all to one side and spend a day or two recording some new pieces for my electro-acoustic guitar album. This thing seems to take a different turn each time I return to it after a lay-off. Two new tracks completed and more ideas bubbling under. For an acoustic album, it seems to have developed a jazzy turn of phrase. Jazz has always been a subliminal force in my music, even from the pre-Be Bop Deluxe days. ( I didn't chose the words 'Be Bop' just for the sound they made.) As the years advance, however, I seem to be mutating into some kind of 'jazz' guitarist, though not in the sense that other musicians would generally recognise within the academic implications of the term. As a man who neither reads music nor has ever had a guitar or music theory lesson in his life, I'm ill equipped to deal with jazz in its orthodox, commonly accepted sense.
Perhaps I shouldn't really use the word in this context at all. It's just that, for some time now, I've found myself feeling increasingly more inspired by (and empathetic with), the lives of jazz musicians. For all the glittering (if dumb), excess of rock music's iconic figures, it seems to me that jazz music's icons lived their musical lives more completely, intelligently and profoundly. Equally as self-destructive as some rock musicians (sometimes perhaps)... but even so, as a species, it's obvious that there's something a bit more evolved going on. My real bottom line is that it's all just music and that categories are as much a restriction as a help. We're all victims of the kind of conceptual packaging that sorts music into conveniently labelled boxes... boxes that not only divide the music up but also restrict our free movement within music's ocean of sound.
Perhaps it is naive of me to believe that it is possible for anyone to respond positively to the whole range of musical expression available to us as 21st Century consumers but I like to think that an ability to appreciate a broad range of music is everyone's birthright... even the girls who work with Emiko in the flower shop who seem blissfully unaware of any music outside of the radio and disco 'norm'. I've said it before but, we need a higher standard of musical education in our schools... the subject needs taking much more seriously than at present, particularly with reference to music's wider implications. By this, I mean abstract thought, pure aesthetics and philosophical development. For me, naturally, it's the one true religion and always has been. All else is heresey.
Which brings me to a very special event: I've now been given permission to write about a concert that I'm to be involved in on the 21st of May this year. It is (for want of a better term), a tribute concert to my long-time and very dear friend Harold Budd. Harold announced his retirement from performance and recording last year, his latest album, 'Avalon Sutra' purporting to be his last. He played a farewell concert in Los Angeles towards the end of 2004 but there is now going to be a similar event here in the UK as part of this year's Brighton Arts Festival. A number of artists are to take part in this and a band is being put together around Harold for the final segment of the concert. The artists involved in this are myself, Michael Nyman, Jah Wobble, John Foxx (of Ultravox), Steve Cobby (of Fila Brasilia), Robin Guthrie (of Cocteau Twins), Steve Jansen (of Japan), The Balanescu Quartet and others still to be confirmed. Channel Light Vessel was once given the title 'ambient supergroup' by the music media but this event promises to take that term somewhere else entirely.
Harold has been dropping me letters and e-mails over the last couple of months or so about the project and I'm pleased to see that it is finally coming to fruition. Harold naturally had some personal reservations about the project, unsure of what stresses and strains might be involved but I think these have been overcome. Everyone taking part in this event has a personal respect and love for Harold and his work and it will be a privelege and sheer thrill for me to take part and honour Harold alongside everyone else. And of course, I will be absolutely terrified too. Neverthless, when all's said and done, it will be an absolutely unique, one-off event that anyone who gives a damn about the possibility of art within music should not miss.
I should spend time with Emiko today. I've been working late in the studio every night for some weeks and Emi has to sit downstairs watching TV when she comes home from work. Saturdays and Sundays are usually the only time we get to do anything together socially. I'll switch off the music and visuals and take her out somewhere. Recharge my own batteries too.