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cubest 022 by the cube orchestraWhat does a cheeky skank, an Iberian waltz, an angelic march, the blues and lounge bar melancholy have in common? They represent just another day at the office for the Cube Orchestra as can be heard here on Cubest 024

I may have just categorised this collection, but when improvising you're never sure what's coming next and each track offers unexpected turns. It's a delight to play with musicians who can adjust and adapt to the vagaries of playing the unknown live together. If someone heads off in a new direction we can all flow that way too, instantly

On every track you can hear someone demonstrating true musical talent, able to provide the basis for the piece and yet still develop it at will, expressively. While each track sounds like a tune, I seriously doubt we could recreate the feeling if asked, so all we will ever have is this record of the event

Cubest 024 delivers both the expected and unexpected, much like every Cube Orchestra session ...

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


Wind The Clock Back Up

2017 07 19 - Marcus Valentine: Keyboards; Keef Chemistry: Vocals, Effects; Jon Shepherd: Guitar; Jean-Michel Maheu: Bass, Percussion; Steve Radford: Alto Sax, Vocals; David Insua-Cao: Drums, Squeaky Toy; Matthew Richards: Piano; Megan Smith: Sax; Tim Robertson: Vocals, Percussion;

We kick things off slowly with Tim delivering some lyrics while Marcus accompanies him. Then a piano joins in and sets the tone, closely followed by David's squeaky toy and the mood is set. It's a tuneful skank that builds up its momentum. Jean-Michel starts off on bass, but moves over to the djembe for a while. In fact everyone had been swapping instruments all evening, making it difficult to pinpoint who's doing what. A middle eight appears out of nowhere and we're all free-forming around it, going wherever it takes us. This is quite unusual for us and it impresses me how we cope with the changes. It settles back into the dubby beat, then drifts as Tim comes back with his lyrics. I figured this track would place the listener in a time capsule and set the mood for the album ...

¡Anda Ya!

2017 02 01 - Marcus Valentine: Keyboards; Keef Chemistry: Triangle, Effects; Jon Shepherd: Bass; Jean-Michel Maheu: Guitar; Alexandra Corral: Castanets; Alberto Sciusco: Acoustic Guitar; Steve Radford: Alto Sax; David Insua-Cao: Percussion; Sammy Weaver: Vocals; Jorge Gomez: Guitar; Amy Martin: Vocals;

Oh what a great bass line, straight out of the box. David's onto it quickly, while it takes the rest of us a while to find our place. You can hear two electric guitars, one in each ear, working away at the drone tones. Sammy's voice can be heard in the mix, Marcus' synth punctuates the main section and I join in on the triangle. Those guitars are working away, taking turns at finding new ways to express the theme, but the driving force is those drums. David's rhythms develop continuously, deep, expressive, now steady, now more intense, teasing the other musicians to react. I love Alexandra's castanets! You don't hear enough castanets in modern music. At around 3:18 the theme sticks in place as Jean-Michel finds some nice guitar licks, then suddenly at 3:50 the tune changes into a descending bass line, nicely accompanied by Marcus. This is another interesting development, quite out of our norm. Jean-Michel's guitar bursts forth, aggressive and emotional and it's all gone heavy. We drop back and you can hear Sammy better over Jean-Michel's extended feedback, easing off into a soft, drifting ending ...

Interference Fit

2017 09 13 - Marcus Valentine: Keyboards; Keef Chemistry: Effects; Jean-Michel Maheu: Guitar; Martin Urmson: Bass; Ramon Sanchez: Percussion; Steve Radford: Alto Sax; Matthew Richards: Percussion; Megan Smith: Drums; Nina Lifely: Vocals; Just Mike: Percussion; Bessie Spencer Vellacott: Violin; Chryselle Pathmanathan: Piano;

It's odd how tunes form. This has a rather unobvious beginning. Megan has sat down on the drums, Jean-Michel is playing acoustic guitar and I'm shoving him through my effects. The violin is nice. Around 1:45 it settles into a steady beat, with Marcus treating us to some of his synth sounds. Out of nowhere Nina begins singing and completes the tune. Jean-Michel adds some slide guitar over the steady bass line and the violin is working well. Here and there I add a touch of effects to the guitar, as the tune drifts away, leaving us with snippets of slide and violin. Spacey ...

It Was A Bad Day For Rusky Boz

2017 05 24 - Marcus Valentine: Keyboards; Keef Chemistry: Melodica, Effects; Jean-Michel Maheu: Guitar; Martin Urmson: Bass; Steve Radford: Alto Sax; Miranda Mowbray: Clarinet; Matthew Richards: Drums; Megan Smith: Sax; Tim Robertson: Percussion; Rebecca D Andrea: Melodica;

Matthew kicks this track off with some nifty drumming and we try to form something over the top of it. I have a mad effect on my melodica, providing an alternative to Rebecca's sweet melodica playing. There's space in the tune for people to add snippets as and when. Steve, Miranda, Megan, Rebecca, Marcus, everyone can be heard. Even Martin plays around on bass. Jean-Michel adds some lovely bluesy guitar work here and there, alternating, then tuning in to my melodica. Then the tune finds a new direction after a couple of minutes. Even when it settles back Jean-Michel finds a melody to play and I join in, taking over, building. When it drops back out you can hear Rebecca's sweet melodica. Everyone seems to find something good to slip in, including Matthew. We manage to find an end point remarkably well and it slips away ...

Ordering Takeaway

2017 11 29 - Marcus Valentine: Keyboards; Keef Chemistry: Samples, Effects; Jon Shepherd: Bass; Jean-Michel Maheu: Guitar; Martin Urmson: 6-String Bass; Alberto Sciusco: Moog; Steve Radford: Alto Sax, Vocals; Spudd Connor: Drums; Mark B: Ukulele;

This is the track that prompted me to work on Cubest 024. It was a kind of leftover from Cubest 023 in as far as it's pretty much complete from beginning to end. The only snippet missing is some melodica playing near the end that I didn't like as it sounded out of place, so I saved the track for the next compilation. There's a thread running through it, a conversation between a man and a woman about ordering food that I'm triggering on my iPad, but it really only serves to stitch together what is a quite amazing piece of improvisation. It's a slow start, mainly samples, but once Spudd begins his beat it begins to take shape. Jean-Michel finds a lovely chord sequence, Marcus finds a superb sound on his keyboard and Alberto plays around on his Moog, the first time we've seen it. Steve adds some extra comments here and there, alternating with his alto sax. My ears can't help but tune in to Jean-Michel's wonderful playing in the right speaker. Marcus is listening well and they interplay like they've been practising. The bass and beats are the platform over which they play. As we pass the six minute mark Martin begins playing a solo on bass and the track dissolves into sweet chaos, like the acid's suddenly kicked in. It might have dissolved altogether if not for Spudd, who begins playing an excellent beat and somehow manages to keep it up for the next eight minutes. We're drifting a bit, but Spudd perseveres thankfully and, after a few minutes which is nothing in Cube Orchestra terms, Jean-Michel finds another tremendous tune to guide us towards a new melody. The melody changes into a fuzzy riff over which Steve plays and under which Spudd maintains that beat. Alberto's Moog is crying out, while Marcus provides a glistening wash. It's crazy but beautiful. 14 minutes and there's a lull allowing you to hear Martin playing with his gizmo. By the time the man wants more rice it's properly calming down and we work our way to our get-out point, a touch of feedback. Magnificent stuff ...

Cubest 024 is sprinkled with delightful musical invention and some great musicianship with something for everyone ...
- keef chemistry

Download the zip file here (5 tracks @ 320kbps = 83mb):
https://www.keefchemistry.com/cubeorchestra/zipanddownload.php?f=cubest024
(The files need to be zipped before download. This may take a while, so please be patient ...)

Creative Commons License

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Last edited January 26, 2018 2:43 pm by Keefchemistry (diff)
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