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cubest 021 by the cube orchestraI've found time to dive back into my folder of potential Cubest tracks and compile another selection, some of which never made it onto Cubest 020, which gave me a head start. Others were newer, yet sometimes I struggle to make sense of our meanderings and have to leave the track out as I don't feel it makes sense

Kon-Tiki could have presented such problems, starting life as a 24-minute track from which I hacked out seven minutes of playing. Sounds like synth washes can make edit points very tricky to find and unsympathetic cuts can make it sound disjointed. I wanted to keep as much of its length as possible to maintain the musical 'journey'

Other incidents, like differing recording levels, or people doing odd things while we play, are just par for the course and add to its character

Cubest 021 moves from straight up blues to interstellar weirdness with a big dollop of comedy for good measure ...

Jump to Download link ... Back to Cubest series ...

Me Duele Mucho

2015 09 30 - Tom Green: Guitar, Keyboards, Percussion; David Walsh: Guitar; Tim Robertson: Trumpet; Steve Radford: Alto Sax; Rob Hague: Bass, Trumpet, Vocals, Percussion; Andrew Price: Bass; Sharleena Ray: Vocals; Dalila Rabih: Vocals; Chema Gala: Sax, Vocals; Ollie Owen: Guitar; Ramon Sanchez: Trumpet, Percussion, Vocals; Jon Shepherd: Bass, Guitar; Keef Chemistry: Melodica, Effects; Marcus Valentine: Keyboards;

We open the album with a slow groove from 2015 to ease you in. Everyone's relaxed and larking around on the stage and a theme quickly evolves around the phrase "Me duel mucho" ("It hurts me a lot", or possibly "You hurt me very much"). There's a lot of laughing throughout the conversation. Slowly the tune grows until one and a half minutes in Sharleena lets loose a great bluesy vocal, tying it all together. Chema assists with whoops. There's some lovely blues guitar here and there, especially near the end, where it quietens down to a time check. The time was 6:39 ...


2017 01 25 - Marcus Valentine: Keyboards; Keef Chemistry: Vocals, Effects; Jean-Michel Maheu: Guitar, Percussion; Ramon Sanchez: Percussion, Vocals; Rhodri Karim: Synth, Vocals; Alberto Sciusco: Acoustic Guitar, Vocals; David Insua-Cao: Percussion, Kalimba; Martin Urmson: Bass;

Rhodri gave birth to this track. He set his synth to play a continuous, modulating chord and left the stage, chatting to Marcus while we dealt with it. I'm very happy when we enter drifting mode as it leads to unexpected results, so I have tried very hard to include as much of the 24-minute original recording as I could. There's a lovely floating feel, with Alberto's acoustic guitar taking centre stage. Light vocals drift over the top of the meandering bass and picked guitar. Rhodri jumps back onstage and adds his own delightful vocal. Around 2:40 some drums suddenly appear. This is testament to David's ability to listen at all times and contribute in a mindful way. The gentle beat gives the track some structure. It's all very dreamy. The guitars work with each other developing the music. It's beautiful to hear. 4:30 in it picks up a bit, then drops out into floating space. Martin's bass is fab. Then there's little but the wash of synth and David now on Kalimba and someone sits down on djembe. There's now a new direction and Jean-Michel lets rip with some super, crazed guitar work and I scream as it growls and broods. Then in comes David with some great snare work, pushing the sound upwards, as Rhodri and Marcus join us on keyboards. It builds with a fabulous energy until it explodes just after ten minutes in, a moment that grabs me every time I hear it. Synths modulate and guitars scream, as David builds the excitement, dropping out, steadying. 12:00 minutes in Martin holds the bass line and we slip into a section that sounds rehearsed, but it's not. Jean-Michel knocks out a motif, David quietens down the drums, Marcus lessens his synth bass line, until all that's left is a wiggly synth from Rhodri. And that might have been that, in fact I'd have been very happy to end the track at that point, but this is the Cube Orchestra and any opportunity to revive a tune is seized upon and more often by Marcus, who doesn't disappoint. He launches into a Gospel-infused piano intro and we all know what to do. Orchestra regular, Alberto, is even inspired to add some vocals, the only time I ever heard his voice over the PA! The final three minutes are taken up by us trying to find a place to stop, with increasingly comical results, until the beautiful ending, which continues to make me laugh out loud every time I hear it ...


2016 07 20 - Marcus Valentine: Keyboards, Vocals; Keef Chemistry: Percussion; Jean-Michel Maheu: Vocals, Effects; Natasha Rosling: Vocals;

I love it when only a handful of musicians turn up to a session. Jon Shepherd was around, but not on stage at the time, so the four of us were left to get on with things. In fact, only Marcus is actually playing anything much, employing a little-used setting on his keyboard providing washes of sound. It's Jean-Michel who steps up to the plate, commandeering my iPad to deliver a narrative on the theme of cats. As he speaks his finger glides over the echo pad and we're transported into his world, with echoes from Natasha and odd beats from myself. Quite where all this stuff comes from is a mystery only Jean-Michel understands fully, but an engaging story unfolds worthy of any sci-fi screenplay. In fact, this track has already been featured in a Cube Orchestra video, starring Kitcat the cat! You can hear someone walking around the auditorium, occasionally tearing of strips of gaffer tape. Don't ask me what they were up to ...

The Best Things Come To Those Too Late

2016 11 02 - Marcus Valentine: Keyboards; Keef Chemistry: Melodica, Effects; Jon Shepherd: Bass, Guitar; Jean-Michel Maheu: Guitar, Percussion, Bass; Ramon Sanchez: Sax, Percussion, Vocals, Bass; Ghoufran Warlow: Piano, Percussion; Steve Radford: Alto Sax, Vocals; Spudd Connor: Saw, Vocals, Percussion; Gen Davis: Vocals, Percussion; Francesca Maria Solinas: Vocals, Percussion; Helen Farrell: Vocals, Percussion; Stephen Cumberland: Double Bass, Violin;

This one picks up from where the last left off, as by chance Marcus was using the same synth setting. It's actually the second part of a longer track, but I made a judicious decision to cut the first two or three minutes out. What we're left with seems to combine meditation with outer space. Voices chant to Ramon's distinctive drumming as Marcus' synth and my melodica provide the tune. Jean-Michel delivers some delicious wah-wah and Jon finds a bass line to back it all up with. I pumped my melodica through a savage tremolo setting that I'd never used before and was quite tricky to fit in, plus some distortion, and it makes the sound you can hear. Ramon responds to what's going on well, dropping down or picking it up as the feel takes us. After the four minute mark things take a strange turn as Spudd pipes in on his saw. I like unexpected turns and respond by just flicking the keys on my instrument, which sound like crashes. Quite appropriate for way the track ends ...

Toreador March

2016 12 07 - Marcus Valentine: Keyboards, Vocals; Keef Chemistry: Melodica, Vocals, Effects; Jon Shepherd: Bass, Vocals; Ramon Sanchez: Trumpet, Percussion, Vocals; Ghoufran Warlow: Piano, Percussion; Alberto Sciusco: Guitar; Martin Parkinson: Trombone, Pipes, Percussion; Miranda Mowbray: Clarinet, Vocals; Joanna Butler: Piano, Vocals;

This Spanish-flavoured track lurches along, ostensibly simple, our timing is all over the place all the way through. I like the parping of trumpets and shrill of pipes. 40 seconds in there's an odd change in volume where for some reason I'd decided to up the levels at the time of the recording, but I quite like the sudden burst. I've attempted to level it out. As with Kon-Tiki, the ending is delightful as we take it in turns to play that last note! Pure comic genius that also makes me laugh out loud each time I hear it ...

Cubest 021 hopefully has something for everybody and, if not, then at least the opportunity to laugh it off ...
- keef chemistry

Download the zip file here (5 tracks @ 320kbps = 80mb):
(The files need to be zipped before download. This may take a while, so please be patient ...)

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Last edited November 9, 2023 4:38 pm by Keefchemistry (diff)