I took this moments before my final show of 2014 backstage at Le Poisson Rouge on Bleecker Street in New York.
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No fanfare. Just 30 minutes of music I was into today. Cold. November. Sunday. A mixtape.
Tim Hecker / Radiance
Mark McGuire / When You're Somewhere
Mutual Benefit / Advanced Falconry
Zachary Cale / Unfeeling
Shearwater / I'm So Glad
Meg Baird / All I Ever Wanted
Clifford Brown / Willow Weep for Me
Fryars / Love So Cold
Hiss Golden Messenger / Dreamwood
I took this in New York near Cielo in the Meat Packing District in August 2006. There was a heatwave in the city. The celsius temperature dial went into the forties. I could smell melting rubber through the taxi window on the way in from JFK. Never found out who lived there.
Last week we added some Hammond organ to a couple of tracks on my new solo album, and I realised again what an intoxicating noise they make when played by someone good while fed through a proper old Leslie speaker, such as the one we used (pictured here) at Eastcote Studios in west London.
Invented in the 1930's by Donald Leslie, the Leslie speaker is a combined amplifier and loudspeaker designed originally for Hammond organs. Leslie originally intended for the sound to approximate the sound of a theatre or pipe organ, but it's enclosed rotating horn and drum became a unique sound in its own right.
The speed of the rotation can be controlled by the the organist and the acceleration from the swirling ringing 'chorale' sound to the thrilling rush of the 'tremelo' at the flick of a switch, combined with the coming-and-going 'Doppler effect', was soon being used in American jazz by early adopter organists such as Jack McDuff and Jimmy McGriff. In the sixties it found its voice in r'n'b and rock and reggae through great players such as Booker T Jones, Stevie Winwood, Al Kooper (Bob Dylan's 'Like a Rolling Stone'), Ray Manzarek and Jamaica's Winston Wright. By the late sixties, the Leslie was a fixture in many recording studios and artists were experimenting with is uses. Even vocals (The Beatles' 'Tomorrow Never Comes') and guitars were fed through its idiosyncratic rotating sound.
I first used one, aged twenty, at Power Plant in 1983 during the recording sessions for Everything But The Girl's debut album 'Eden', enthusiastically adding it to the songs 'Frost and Fire' and 'Another Bridge'. Last week I asked Jim Watson to come and play it for me, and experienced some proper playing! Watching someone play a Hammond and Leslie properly is like watching a skilled rodeo rider. Really great. Hope you like the results when the album comes out next year.
Been on the sofa listening to music all afternoon, watching the autumn light fade over the trees outside. Tea. Beer. Biscuits. Leafing through the paper and books I might read. Watching the football on mute. Marvelling at the recent lyrics of Mark Kozelek. Here's what I've been listening to. New and old. Hope you like it.