Category Archives: Music

RIP John Renbourn

Thursday saw the passing of one of the great acoustic guitarists of the world – and one of the formative influences on my more limited technique.

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Hungry for You

I heard yesterday of the sudden and tragic death of a young friend of mine. In 2003 she played flute on one of my songs, which I attach here as a tribute to Claire’s memory.

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Fortune rota volvitur

Not much blogging this week, because I’ve been trying to do an arrangement for massed saxophones of Carl Orff’s totemic opening to Carmina Burana, O Fortuna. It rather tickles my fancy how it contrasts with the last arrangement I did, Driving in My Car by the ska band Madness. The idea was to have some kind of cosmic fanfare for a gig we’ve booked at the end of this year, to accompany the switch-on of our town’s Christmas lights. As you’ll hear from a clip of the original, it might require burning the whole town down to do it proper justice:

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The Eye of the Beholder

Still on arty-farty stuff, particularly uncritical Hump devotees may be interested to hear that my new album (in somewhat folk idiom), which has been slowly evolving since early summer, is finished and posted as a free stream or download on my main website here.

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Unswung heroes

I am gratified that what might have been seen as quite an opaque post  regarding the serious business of epistemology, and possibly a bit obscure regarding even its main subject music, should have hit the right buttons with some readers regarding humanness, holism and the limitations of analytic thinking. I’m especially gratified because, as usual with me, it takes the form of an analytic examination. To shake the foundations I should really have told you to listen to some piece of arcane jazz repeatedly until enlightenment came… something like the sound of one hand clapping in triple time, maybe. This post is more of the same. No new insights, except … Continue reading

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It don’t mean a thing…

…if it ain’t got that swing One of the recurrent themes on The Hump, which I’m trying to address from different directions, is the priority of mind within our reality, and hence the myth of objectivity apart from human ideas. That ranges from the mind-based metaphysics of Eddington or Dembski (coming from quantum and information science directions respectively), to the “personal knowledge” of Polanyi’s philosophy of science or the Goethian approach to knowledge. I’ve included the thought that contemporary science has an inevitable tendency to abstract reality into symbolic representations, most marked in the eliminative materialism that ends up rendering everything – even matter and the minds that conceive it – as … Continue reading

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Jurassic Lark The Hump is likely to be post-lite this week, as I’m preparing to play two solo guitar sets at the Lyme Regis Folk Festival, at the heart of the Jurassic Coast, as well as leading the civic parade on sopranino sax, in pied-piper style. Don’t ask how that came about since I’ve hardly played folk since the mid 80s. It’s a bit like Pink Anderson or John Hurt being dragged out of their rocking chairs on the Mississippi Delta to play after decades, except that those guys were actually good. Anyway, if you happen to be there on Friday or Saturday, say “Hallo.”

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Five-finger exercise

It’s music time again. Another old song finally brought to completion (though not as old as the last one I posted!)

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All work and no play…

I’ve not been posting much in the past week, partly because of our granddaughter being here, and partly because I was involved in playing in the first 3 large-scale performances of a new oratorio by a friend of mine, Andy Hague, called Christ Crucified. I was privileged to play lead guitar, classical guitar and bazouki (learned for the occasion) in a superb 7-piece  rhythm section that was part of a 40+-string orchestra accompanying a local choir of 60 or so.

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Cousin Caterpillar

One thing I have in common with Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury – apart from bad hair and a beard – is a love of the unique 60s music of the Incredible String Band. He calls their stuff “holy”, and while I wouldn’t go that far, it is because of them that I discovered the metaphysical poet Thomas Traherne, and made diversity and informality an ideal of my own songwriting. One ISB song was helpful in getting me through the changes and challenges of university, a quirky little thing called Cousin Caterpillar

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