Help, help, we are terribly late! The augustmass has not arrived in September, and all the little birds are a-twitter with amazement and chagrin. Or some sort of grin anyway. It is already October, and raining, and there is a hurricane on its way and we have not even sent out august yet. Heroic efforts by gangs of startled rodents, chewing desperately at the ancient mastertapes handed down through the generations have led to the new meshmass monthly clocking in at a mere 2 hours (or so). ‘praise be’, cry the poor porters and carrier pigs of the internet, whose thankless and entirely wage-free task it is to convey brimming barrels of meshmass over the invisible waves to your computer. But this will in the end avail them little – more meshmass is being prepared in bubbling vats and arising spontaneously in noisome pools. so do not fear, dear reader, meshmass is coming, enough meshmass for all..... more than enough! and this month we even remembered to include the lovely cover photograph we always promise and often forget.
desperately sprinting on our milipede legs towards the end of august we realise we have to release JULYMASS 2016 before the boiler explodes and huge gobbets of MESHMASS are deposited hither and yon. teams of carefully trained lunatics have been chiselling away at the piles of material we have accrued but despite our best efforts it seems that there will be no less (indeed, there will be very slightly more) than 3 hours of meshmass this month, for which we do not know whether to apologise or demand extra money - perhaps we will do both. in line with our policy of constant redefintion this monthly edition will include not less than a couple of pieces based on saxophone improvisations recorded in churches across sussex, england. i think of 'slow action in the science lounge' and 'translated from the gibberish' in particular, but there may even be others. i think the longest pieces are about 13 minutes and that there are 4 or 5 duets. there are 20 pieces in all. other innovations include richard's new guitar, a yamaha mg-k which features a 'sustainiac' pick-up and unlike most of his guitars is tuned in the 'standard' or 'spanish' style. peter is playing more tenor saxophone than before, mostly because he has got one he likes at last, a 'king marigaux' which was made by SML in paris, so now he plays SML soprano, alto and tenor saxes. the 'king marigaux' saxes are identical with SML gold medal mark 2's. meshmass are due to play the closing of sabine portela's exhiition of abstract canvasses at 3 fisher street, lewes, east sussex on saturday 3rd of september at about 7. we hope that next month's selection will be shorter (and easier to edit).
Inspired by justin hopper’s failure to update his blog I have decided that we must share our latest schemes and notions with the world, which is to say you, since you are the only person who will read this. We (that is to say MESHMASS) have been working away as usual on the monthly subscription releases, and sent out an e-mail circular seeking subscribers with the opportunity to download ‘maymass 2016’ free. some might think that 2 hours of meshmass is enough for a year – or indeed a lifetime – but some might not, and it is to these rare few we sought to appeal. But apart from this entirely normal behaviour we have also engaged in playing live at the open house in brighton and in remote internet collaborations with European poets Karin Tarobochia (austria), Henry Koek and Catherine Estrade (france) and scots exile Dave Migman in italy. Similarly, we have a sort of song made remotely with ‘crayola lectern’ supplying words, piano and vocals. this acts as a sort of response to the national vote against european co-operation which we have just been through. They have all been surprising and worthwhile, and we may seek to make a release out of them in due course. Further spoken word/vocal collaborations are planned. In terms of our own production we have embarked on a new phase of using saxophone improvisations to generate ableton material to use as the basis for yer actual meshmass, a process which is quite labour intensive, time-consuming and messy (messymass?) but rewarding. It’s time now that we should turn our attention to the ‘junemass 2016’ release: as usual we have no idea what will be on it or how long it will be – except that there will definitely be more than an hour of it and it will be provided to subscribers through the auspices of aural witness and ‘WeTransfer’, a very useful free service I truly recommend. There we are now, I almost feel better.
MESHMASS played at the regular improvised music night 'on the edge' organised by the safehouse collective in brighton, england. this happens on the last wednesday of every month and is often at the 'good companions' pub near 7 dials or at 'the verdict' more or less opposite the law courts, police station and american express building, a triumvirate or even trinity of holy powers. they played in support of the excellent 4:33 and what they played was an entirely improvised duet lasting 30 minutes or so which can be heard at the moment on soundcloud in its entirety. it went surprisingly well. the evening started with the 'wildcard quartet' drawn at random from the membership of the collective and then it was us. we were followed for no reason that could possibly justify such a thing by a duo who played what they described as 'standards' and which included the pathetic jingly earworm 'i don't know why i didn't come' made famous by ravi shankar's most anodyne daughter. standards! (my, but how they have slipped.) at an improvised music night. no bottles were thrown, which is a testament to the patience and good humour of all concerned. anyone interested in improvised music in the brighton area is hereby encouraged to come to the safehouse's regular improvising night hwen quartets are drawn at random from the attendees and they then perform for 10 minutes or so to the rest of the group. there are many good players involved and i think the event the best entertainment in brighton. it happens on the first wednesday of every month, again either at the verdict or at the good companions.
the mighty and frankly disturbed meshmass played at ZU STUDIOS in lewes, england last night (and this morning). ZU is part of the complex of abandoned warehouses and factory sites in the so-called 'phoenix quarter', which was once lewes' industrial estate. now of course there is no industry in lewes apart from retail outlets and a bit of distribution, the harveys' brewery and a builder's merchant or two. it should have been easy, of course for meshmass to play there since they live within honking distance, but despite having just passed its MOT the little van's power steering failed on the way there and the resultant vehicle was less easy to steer than an old volvo, which is to say that it was like wrestling a water bison round corners using the horns. (a thing i do frequently but only in dreams). nevertheless we got there at about half-past eight and poor richard had to lumber all the stuff in. we set up when the very friendly and positive martin had cleared us a bit of space in the chill-out room and erected a table for us, and then we sat around talking for a bit. at about 10:30 martin told us the dj hadn't turned up and asked us to play early (we were booked to play our usual 2 hours from midnight). so we did, and played for about an hour. around about midnight we started again, and this time played for the allotted period or even probably a bit more. all in all it went very well. ZU was occupied as usual - packed, indeed - by indescribable people, mostly young, dressed up in unlikely costumes and enjoying themselves. this shouldn't be allowed and probably isn't. indeed, so popular is ZU that the developers Santon who have ownership of the site are determined to evict them, raze the area to the ground and build nasty new dwellings all over it to sell to people from London and probably chinese russian arabs as well on the hong-kong property investment market. this is how creativity is supported in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. anyway, MESHMASS are delighted to have played there, it is an exciting and entirely worthwhile place run by dedicated people with a real understanding of their audience and their culture. we even have a recording of the event which extends over 3 and a quarter hours.... more if you count the soundcheck. subscribers may get to hear more of this recording......
a huge vat of meshmass has been bubbling noisesomely in the centre of the warehouse for over a fortnight. on inspection all that is left from this process is the usual acrid smell and a sticky residue which we are not too proud to label FEBRUARY (produce of more than one country, may contain traces of nuts). this will soon be (all too soon – nay, is already) winging its way to disgruntled customers all over Britain and America who will find it gumming up their i-tunes, i-pads and eyewash and causing the internet slow to a crawl, swell in the middle and get indigestion. Or possibly grunting its way to whingeing customers…. who can tell? who could possibly care? so it is time to let you into a little secret. this month’s meshmass has not only been boiled, pasteurised and simmered for several weeks to reduce and thicken, but it has then been spread out to dry in front of an industrial heater fuelled by the frustrated cries of helpless maidens and cut into leathery strips which could possibly be mistaken for biltong, but taste even more peculiar. these strips were then soaked in effluent until they expanded and dissolved again, whereupon they were returned to the vat. what could be simpler or more rewarding? apart from something simple and rewarding, perhaps. anyway, this glimpse into our production values is more than you deserve, now be off with you.
meshmass have just held their first recording session for february, what with one thing and another, and brought out several strange things to play with including a highly eccentric 12 string guitar which was once half of a double-neck prog-rock nightmare. this was apparently used by "the enid" when it was a 12-string/bass guitar monster but has since been divorced and what's more cut in half and only the top bit remains. it's still enormous however and richard says it weighs a ton. the headstock is enormous, almost as long as what remains of the body. this preposterous machine was made by shergold (not shergar, the champion racehorse famously stolen by the IRA), the same people who made hayman guitars in the 60's and 70's. syd barrett used a hayman on the 'piper at the gates of dawn' sessions. not only did we have that to confuse us but peter has bought a new blue box (a digitech jamman delay (discontinued)) which conspires to add to the general sense of bewilderment in meshmass towers at recording time. and it seems like a very long time since we did such a thing in any case, so that as usual we seem to have forgotten how we are supposed to do it. nevertheless we have generated an hour of new material to worry about and in any case we never really knew how or indeed whether we were supposed to do it and can only presume that we weren't.