January 23, 2018

5.20 am: Thereafter, sleep was denied me. With ME, restless nights come as part of the meal deal, as it were. I sat in my study and reflected on those things that are no longer, will be no longer, never were, cannot be, and ought not to be. I talk to myself too often these days; and rarely do we see eye to eye. I’m riddled with contradictions, irresolutions, and convolutions. A fragment from a simpler and more predictable time in my life:

Abertillery (26 December 1968)

8.00 am: A communion. 8.30 am: I spent half an hour on postgraduate admin before reconnecting with the conference paper. I planned to spend the morning on writing and the afternoon furthering one or more new compositions for the I. Nothing. Lack. suite;(this will be released in a streamable format shortly after the paper is delivered). 9.15 am: An unexpected discovery: feedback (of one kind).

The paper is now beginning to cohere. The way ahead is evident, paragraph by paragraph. (If only life in the round was as straightforward.) Yesterday evening, I pulled out Pedalboard 1 in readiness for the arrival of a new feedback (of another kind) pedal. This board is the finest and nastiest ‘dirt’ array that I’ve ever designed. It’s capable of producing ‘some raunchy sh*t’, as Miles Davis is on record (quite literally) as saying to the guitarist John McLaughlin:

McLaughlin is now 76 years of age. And he still plays like a demon possessed; he remains the best. My ambition is to be wielding an electric guitar at that age too.

11.40 am: Off to school to conduct my last two assessments with Dr Forster. A good ending to a long period of evaluation. I, for one, will be happy to get back to teaching again next week. The aforementioned pedal had arrived in the post, early. This is clearly a day for unexpected feedback:

The effector permits the production of feedback, which usually requires a guitar amplifier to be cranked up fairly loudly, at low volume. So, its ideal for generating the phenomenon in the studio. It enables notes to be played and sustained on the cusp of feedback indefinitely – a technique that’s been exploited, to very different ends, by guitarists such as Carlos Santana and Robert Fripp (as exemplified by the sublime closing section of ‘Groon’, on King Crimson’s Earthbound (1972) album).

1.30 pm: Back at homebase, I wrote up the reports on my morning’s ‘inquisition’. 2.00 pm: Having completed text slides for the paper’s PowerPoint, I returned to the sound compositions and addressed the various beat tracks. Decisiveness is of the essence; this next composition needs to be evolved rather swiftly. I found disrupting the continuity of the rhythms, deliberately, very difficult to do. It was counter instinctual. But doing what comes naturally doesn’t promote radical action, in my experience. By the close of the afternoon, the spine of the composition had begun to emerge.

Evening. I fitted up my new pedal and took her (pedals are always feminine) for a spin. Bliss!:

After a period for correspondence, I continued radicalising my composition until the close of the evening.

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