I have been producing an EP for the band SDF, and now it is up online. This is my favourite track of the five – as soon as I heard the original take, I could hear there was a really beautiful track bursting to get out. Music production is insanely fiddly and wearisome, but realising that vision in sound is satisfying like nothing else on earth.
Actually this is not a man-sized bird, nor an Egyptian god, but the lovely Liz Green performing at Rough Trade in Notting Hill. Beautiful songs, beautiful voice.
A couple of years ago I blogged about discovering an amazing busker who drums on plastic buckets, tin pots and the like. His passionate and unfettered musicality was a great relief from the consumerism of Oxford Street, which can be quite oppressive. Whilst walking along the Southbank yesterday, I found that he had moved to a new regular spot between the river and Waterloo station. Apparently the local authorities didn’t like him drumming on Oxford Street. Perhaps they couldn’t hear the traffic quite so well.
Anyway, it was great to meet Jo again. He is an interesting guy, and is clearly sustaining his life effectively (without going into personal details). What I think is so spectacular about Jo’s drumming is the overwhelming effect he has on passers-by. Some buskers are annoying, some are talented, some are fun, but Jo is in a different league.
Technically, it is fascinating to see him exploring the different ways of using the plastic surfaces, investigating the varying timbre and resonance. That is all very interesting. But each time he picks up his sticks and starts hitting those buckets people just stop and listen in amazement. There is a thrill you feel when encountering such visceral and exuberant musicality – it engages something inside you. People of all different ages, nationalities, backgrounds simply stop in their tracks and become immersed within moments. You can see for yourself in the video how the crowd builds up, it is the same each time he starts. Jo’s music may be unvarnished but he makes a connection, he really communicates with total strangers. It is easy to forget that music is language.
Mind, he was getting a spot of bother from the guys who control the begging and busking scene around Waterloo. It ended up in an amicable resolution, fortunately.