On July 18, 2019, my UK friends Michael Bearpark (guitar) and Andrew Booker (drums) travelled to the German Loreley “Night of the Prog” festival where they performed as part of the Tim Bowness band. On the way they stopped by at my place for a little in-between gig that I had organized at Café Franz in Cologne’s Stollwerck building (thanks to Bernd Keul for helping to make this happen!)
We played two entirely improvised sets although Andrew had prepared some minimalist polyrhythmic patterns on his pads and computer. I remember how much programming he had put into these instruments, turning them into something beautifully unpredictable. He wrote, ‘my usual electronic drums/synth goings-on. Particularly pleased with this gig, as the second half was one long fabulous foray into randomised synth remote-controlling played through the long polyrhythmic delay on the SPD-SX‘. Being a programmer myself, looking at his scripts made me think of ‘rocket science’.
Michael’s beautifully crafted guitar sounds were flying high above Andrew’s polyrhythms – a way of playing that is an integral part of his band Darkroom. I have no idea how he does it.
How many times have I heard him play? I forgot. We met on various European festivals and concerts over the years – my personal highlight was having Michael, his Darkroom colleague Os, and Andrew Booker play on my own 2011 livelooping festival in Cologne.
Because Michael already played guitar, I played the bass (something I love to do), not without adding some effects, some livelooping, occasional samples from my phone (such as the mysterious voice declaring ‘Number 18 Seed’), and the short Thumbjam arpeggiator sequence on my iPad at the very end of the long track that begins with this voice.
Listening now, I wish I had sometimes played the bass in a somewhat more restrained kind of way 🙂 I guess I was carried away by the overall hypnotic sound and rhythm.
Andrew Booker, creator of a long series of ‘Improvizone‘ concerts (I had participated in one of the earliest ones in London, back in 2007, also with Michael, Os, and Andrew), has recently started to put the Improvizone concerts on Bandcamp, and after some amount of editing and mixing, he published the entire recording of our Cologne concert here.
Many of my local friends had come to this gig, even my Wales based looping guitarist friend David Cooper Orton and his wife happened to be in the area and came to see us. If you couldn’t come, you can now listen and find out what you have missed!