we, the unbelieved hereby declare februarymass 2018 'open for business' (and perhaps for other purposes less popular with our preposterous government). it contains 19 tracks ranging from the very short to the reasonably long (some say 'unreasonably long', but they are just spoilsports). 2 of them have vocals on, but the rest are free of any attempt to make sense. the whole shebang weighs in at 2 hours almost precisely. it is not a hebang. we recommend it to you. as for the wild excitements of our life in the sea of noise, i can announce quite truthfully that richard has been knocked off his bicycle by an errant mercedes and cracked his guitar finger as well as injuring his shoulderblade, his knifeblade and his razorblade. he now has to shave in a sling and wear a triangular warning sign round each neck. what do you mean, he only has one neck? oh. okay then. he only has one neck, but he stuck it out and a mercedes ran into it. so there is not likely to be much MESHMASS made in march - we already made some but had what we call 'technical difficulties' which resulted in everything shooting over to one side of the recording like a pile of beatles (have you ever noticed that? the psycho-acoustic effect of 'sergeant pepper's lonley hearts club band' (for example) is to generate the impression of little columns of beatles standing on each others' shoulders in wobbly heaps, banging drums and squeaking away in their charming falsettos like so many liverpudlian caryatids. we will not be hailed as universal geniuses for this achievement, and nor will we become the world's pre-eminent pop music producers, unlike the blithering fools who made that ghastly and overrated recording, but we do have half of december and a bit of february left over, so there will be enough MESHMASS to go round, never you fear. what's more, peter has sold several saxophones, but not enough as he still has some and threatens to blow through them. oh, woe is us. or should that be woe r us, since they have gone bancroft. bancroft? who is she? anyway, and regardless, MESHMASS is even now on its way to the deserving, rather like the blessings of the lord.
'well i never' we declare, each of us, as it is revealed to us that we are playing 'jazz', and that the place we are playing it is on radio 3's 'jazz now'. the question of genre is a particularly vexed and vexing one for the goo that is MESHMASS since we can honestly state that we have no idea what we are playing - only that it is MESHMASS and that there is always MORE of it and comes sometimes from the machines, or out of the vats, down pipes, and through the manipulation of electricity. we generally feel ourselves to be 'post-' something rather than 'alt-' anything, but this is the merest affectation, of course, except that in some sense we are not to be considered close enough to anything to be in the relationship implied by the prefix 'alt-' in regard to it. the closest i have recently come to being able to define it in any way is (in conversation, of course, and at someone else's suggestion) 'psychedelic'. this discovery was in reference to the so-called 'lewes psychedelic festival' which happened recently for i think the 3rd or 4th time without ever attempting to engage with anything that might be considered 'of lewes', (or indeed psychedelic, for all i know). it's certainly in any case not a festival since a (music) festival is an extended weekend of attempted debauchery in a muddy field. MESHMASS being IN lewes, and being (in lieu of anything else) 'psychedelic' to the considerable extent that people listening to it on acid get confused were nevertheless not at any time approached to play at the 'festival' and find themselves once more and indeed doubly bewildered. psychedelic is anyway and when used by me in particular, a quite loose term capable of swelling out to cover even MESHMASS, or at least parts of it, cotaining as it does the possibility of electro-acoustic semi-improvised instrumentals with occasional vocals and elements of dance, trance, techno, systems and ethnic musics also with reference to kwela and dub. of course it must be jazz if it is played on 'jazz now', but i have the feeling that it implies it was once something else. now, having not realised that it was (or had turned into) jazz, neither had i realised what it was before it became jazz, but i understand that it must have been something else. not jazz, then. but we must move with the times, albeit backwards in this case, and not stand in the way of regress.*[see footnote]~~~~~~ anyway, the essential thing to be stated is that whether or not we can be considered 'jazz' we are to be played on radio 3's 'jazz now' on monday 19th of february, to our considerable delight and surprise. the piece to be played is called 'altiplano' and is an entirely improvised duet. we are in fact and by inclination in terms of 'school' or 'skool' not old skool nor its presumed opposite new school but no skool. SO HERE IS OUR LESSON FOR THE WEEK, SOMETHING TO TATTOO ON OUR FOREHEADS. MESHMASS. NOT OLD SCHOOL BUT NO SCHOOL. ~~~~~~~~[footnote] "regress, i've had a few, but then again, too few to mention", after all. "non, je ne regress rien" is not appropriate in this case.
MESHMASS performed under the auspices of 'ceremonial laptop' at the rose hill in brighton on 1.11.2018. they were on at about 10 and played for nearly an hour. they used birdsong recorded at dawn in spain, 3 Strasser-Marigaux-LeMaire saxophones, a yamaha electric guitar, an i-pad, a laptop and some nervous energy. the other acts on that evening were 'undoing' and 'ninit'. it all went rather well, no-one knew what to expect (of course) but somehow ceremonial laptop had filled the place up with largely young people and they were attentive and appreciative. people clapped. people moved about as if they thought they might dance. people said they liked it, and it may have been true. the sound was great, not too loud and admirably clear. the rose hill is a splendid place. it has green tiles all over the front and is tucked away near preston circus where the fire station is. there's a great pizza house on the corner, called 'fatto a mano' (which doesn't mean 'fat bloke', incidentally, but 'hand-made'). they book creative and unusual entertainments and generally behave far too well to both audience and performers. we recommend them to you. we hope to go again.
in sensational news MESHMASS are going to play a gig, or make a live performance, perhaps, at the rose hill (formerly the rose hill tavern) an alternative arts space situated not far from preston circus in brighton on the coincidentally-named rose hill terrace. this performance will take place on THURSDAY 11th of january and is arranged under the auspices of 'ceremonial laptop'. MESHMASS will play the last set of three. i can say from personal experience that the rose hill is a pleasant and welcoming place run collectively and not a rabidly commercial venue which seeks to charge performers, audience and bar-staff for the privilege of using their facilities. as for normal behaviours, or behaviours previously demonstrated, MESHMASS managed to make a november release without undue difficulty, and rather good it seemed, at least to them. however there were 5 sessions in december and the prospect of reducing that to between an hour and two hours looms large in the future, like a big, erm, simile. in other recent events, peter was playing one of his 2 SML gold medal mark 1 tenor saxophones at the last MESHMASSSESSION of 2017 when the neck crook became detached from the collar which seats the neck into the body, rendering the instrument flabby and useless, and making a comedic noise. (this was of course indistinguishable to the untrained ear from the other noises peter made in the course of the session.) luckily enough this has now been repaired by the splendid jim at ackermann music in hove. thanks jim. so, and in short, a happy new year to all our reader, and good wishes to all.
MESHMASS at last get round to sorting out their october release, now that we are (all of us, just imagine) halfway through december and heading rapidly towards christmas. there are various reasons (or excuses, as we like to call them) for our unusual tardiness in this instance - firstly and above all there was a distinct lack of october in these parts, the little-known october shortage being caused by members of MESHMASS suddenly leaving the country and staggering about in the increasingly distant reaches of europa. there is nothing wrong with october per se - it is a useful month, separating september from november and containing many birthdays belonging to people we know. and it can be very attractive - indeed, in france, spain and portugal (we are told) it was BOILING HOT. as for the music, which to be honest we retrieved from abandoned bits of september we found down the back of the sofa and stuck to the side of the cooker, it's probably not our best release to date. unless you think it is, in which case we are wrong, as so often before. september was already struggling due to the infamous 'adjustments' made by our highly-trained technical department which resulted in underwater saxophone effects and a general feeling of queasy distance. however, this has now been entirely cured, november was really interesting and december is shaping up to be something rather special. in other news richard has reformed his effects rig, resulting in a greater clarity of sound from that particular region also, and peter has retrieved 2 saxophones from headwind music in bristol, where they were repaired by the excellent john pratt. they are an extraordinarily rare SML 'superluxe' alto, built in 1941 and a precursor of the SML 'super' series, his favourite saxophones - or alto saxophones, because the other was an SML gold medal mk 1 tenor which is like some sort of smoky dream. the 'superluxe' has 2 extra trill keys, very rare on SML saxes and plays a lot like a super 45 or 46. how wonderful it is.
MESHMASS have got a bit of a sulk on with soundcloud because it takes so much work to keep up with everybody who once listened to you up there and we in any case have no time in our crowded schedule for listening to music which does not emanate from the frothing vats in our bleak industrial cellars. we cannot remember the last time we heard any music. certainly not in october, of which there was a complete absence round here, making the selection of OCTOBERMASS 2017 a question of finding something to select rather than casting out vast bucketsful of the stuff and sorting around in the remaining entrails as is usually the case, when we are in danger of drowning in the resultant tidal waves. there will not be, and has not been, so much MESHMASS on soundcloud in the future - we used to post something nearly every week but now we can't be bothered. in unrelated news peter has been moonlighting in an improvising group called THE BARE SPRINGS which has even played a gig or two and specialises (it seems) in a region of high volume. it is a four-piece with guitar, bass and drums and him squarking away on various saxophones.
juddy and the months..... we are assailed by more than the usual measure of confusion, as certain of our membership chose this juncture to disappear into the increasingly distant reaches of the european continent, returning weeks later bearing only honey, bagasso and blurred memories. this has placed us in the invidious position of having to release a septembermass only in november (an effort we are shortly to make) and also to be rather alarmed at the prospect of octobermass at all. we realise this will not worry our overburdened subscribers (many of whom have failed even to download the augustmass we so carefully prepared for them - and which is rather good) but it is after all in breach of our contractual obligations, which is a matter we take very seriously. not only that but many of the recording we made in september (upon which we rely because of the almost complete lack of october in these parts), due to certain 'adjustments' made by our highly-trained technical team have been revealed to feature a saxophone (or possibly two or three, it is impossible to tell) recorded apparently underwater at the far end of an enormous cavern populated by echoing ghosts. woe. oh, woe is us. however we are delighted to announce that Justin Hopper's book including sussex myths and legends (among whom or which we certainly are and reside) is about to be published (and i quote):- "The Old Weird Albion is a creative non-fiction <(book, work, piece of writing)> exploring memory, myth and the landscape of the South Downs by American writer Justin Hopper. Published by Penned in the Margins..... this poetic essay <(tells)> of encounters with forgotten histories, eerie suburbs, eccentrics and visionaries." as for our various instrumentalisings, Richard has procured a wonderful new guitar made by Parker, or Parker-Knowles, or Parker-Bowles, possibly - i belive it's called a 'nightfly' - and Peter has 'invested' in a number of SML tenor saxes, mostly gold medal mk 1, with rolled toneholes and switchable g# linkage. some of them even work. he also now proudly displays for the amusement of drunken passers-by a borgani macerata curved soprano saxophone as once played by dead blokes. so, fear not, september soon!