|| Wednesday, 3rd August 2005
Listening mode: Soundscapes in Helsinki with G3 (2004).
09.28 A dense, claustrophobic wall of sound with controls set to terror & despair.
11.26 John is on the floor with the Solar Voyager. Mundane stuff assails & almost overwhelms me.
Listening: Soundscapes from The Grove At Anaheim.
13.59 The Solar Voyager has not yet lifted into earth orbit, but continues to hover just below the stratosphere while making a lot of noise.
23.29 This afternoon: despair.
Today was critical for constructing & testing the SV. We couldn't find the manual for the GR1, which made editing & programming unnecessarily difficult. Problems with the power supply of the GR30 infected all operations & output; studio monitoring is noisy in one channel. Noise everywhere & on everything, and hard to determine the origin. Eventually, we discovered the two independent sources: one within the SV complex, one without.
On this critical construction day, Alex our assistant engineer (and qualified plumber) was away fixing his uncle's hot water. Most music company operations of my acquaintanceship would inform the assistant engineer with-plumbing-skills that their uncle's hot water could wait. This is not The DGM Way. But we called Alex around 16.30 and asked him to come to HQ when his uncle's hot water was fixed. Alex arrived not long afterwards & retrieved the GR1 manual from a red bag by a pile of tapes in the tapestore: he intuited that it would be there. I mentioned to Alex that, on the critical day preparing for the Big Chill Festival, he was away plumbing. But my Uncle didn't have hot water! Alex replied. So, quite rightly, Alex The Plumber took the day off to get his uncle's hot water back on.
This is somehow characteristically DGM HQ – a mess that bodges along, and mostly gets there. Of course Alex's uncle needed hot water! Of course this takes precedence over the new Soundscape performance rig being built for a large event in two days' time! The human difficulty triumphed over the professional problem.
And we ran out of batteries to power the guitars.
This evening: changed strings on the Tokai (used with Sunday All Over The World, David Sylvian & The RF String Quintet) and then an evening test-driving the new rig. A chill set is just about do-able right now.
John left just after 22.00. AOL crashed when I attempted to open an inbox of 47 e-mails. So, an opportunity to catch up with some online diaries…
00.08 From the GC Journals for Tuesday 2nd of August, 2005:
(FM) Some phone calls in the afternoon. One of them was from my drummer. He made a deal with a big label for an international distribution of our (?) album, and we'll film a video after the holidays.
He will also ask me to sign a piece of paper in which I will give him all my rights and possible royalties.
This is a Crafty whose professional life I follow from time to time, and whose drummer I feel I know intimately at this point.
The piece of paper is not something I would sign, nor would I work with anyone who asked me to assign my rights to them without significant consideration. Were the drummer to ask this of me, I would consider it a clear declaration that my life & work lay elsewhere. In similar cases, I have picked up the tab for responding-otherwise. The repercussions are not always comfortable, and the consequences often problematic. In the long run, this changes.
(AP) Uriah Heep / High and mighty and Mogul Trash. The first cd is one of the first things I listened when my attention pointed to music, a casette was borrowed to me together with Dylan / Desire and two recordings from Genesis, remember myself listening to this musics hipnotized, not really understanding what was going on but just there listening and vibrating, way back in the car we listened to it and found it very good.
Moving associatively along… Mogul Thrash had John Wetton on bass, Ed Bicknell (Dire Straits' manager) on drums, and Bill Hoade (of the Wimborne Bookshop during the 1980s) on saxophone. In 1970 I reviewed their album & in 1975 John joined Uriah Heep after KC ceased to exist.
Andrew Keeling's diary on KNews for Tuesday, August 2 2005: …King Crimson's Islands is playing in the back room. I felt I should remove it from its home on the CD shelf and play it this morning. Sailor's Tale. RF has bad memories of this period KC. PS thinks it's the route KC should have taken and sees Islands as (quote) 'my Islands'…
This explains a lot, and raises questions.
I'm not sure why Peter Sinfield would consider Islands to be his album, although it became clear at the time that Peter was increasingly using KC as a vehicle for his personal ambitions, rather than a joint/group undertaking. On Islands Peter expanded his brief to include cover design, rather than using an outside artist (in the US Atlantic declined to use Peter's cover, preferring the inner sleeve of the nebula cluster). At live shows, VCS3 explosions & effects from Peter's FOH desk suggested a metaphorical climbing-onstage. EG Management, experiencing the difficulties of managing an offstage member of KC who wanted the visibility of an onstage presence, put the sound mixer of their next band onstage right from the beginning, in order to head-off the problem: Eno with Roxy Music.
The creative power that brought KC to life in 1969, which we called the "good fairy", did not originate in the young men that formed the band: it acted through & upon them. As an older player, I look back with greater experience of the workings of the creative process; and find the creative impulse that came into our lives unimaginably more generous than I could appreciate at the time, and even more mysterious.
When the creative current turns on, genuine insight can move to fantasy. This is particularly so with young people who suddenly become successful & the centre of attention; suddenly become important income-generators (for their managers & handlers rather than themselves). Whims tend to be humoured & demands (not always reasonable or measured) addressed, at least for a time, to keep the artist within the loop.
Aspiration pulls us forward, towards the aim. Ambition pushes us forward, the aim serving as the vehicle to achieve our personal ends. A prime distinguishing characteristic between aspiration & fantasy is in knowing where we are, where we are going, our talents & resources, and the particular contribution & tasks that are required of us. In a word, realism.
I don't doubt that Peter's feelings are genuine, that he honestly believes himself to be KC's Good Fairy. This would explain the bitterness, ongoing to this day. But realistically, how was Islands Peter's album? Peter didn't compose or play music; his contribution was not of the catalysing & conceptual kind that Eno brings; and Eno's "non-musicianship" was of a different order. Peter's exceptional talent & contribution lay elsewhere; as the world has justly recognised.
Which musical route did Peter want for KC? That of Formentera Lady? Ladies Of The Road? Scored music for chamber orchestra? And how could any route have been continued, even were Peter to have remained within the band? Peter's considerable talents were not musical. Peter had no musical & performing experience, compositional or executant skills. And personally, I prefer Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Fracture & Red to Formentera Lady; with due respect to all the talented characters involved.
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