A View of

The Making of

The Adventures of

In music, when we go beyond the known and venture into the unknown, we begin to know there is more to know.

Astronauts, mountain climbers, deep sea divers and other explorers, risk their lives when entering the unknown. Whereas, when a musician explores the unknown there is no physical danger, just a wonderful series of enlightening experiences to be shared with other people.

The universe of sound which includes what we call music, is available to any musician or non musician willing to listen and respond in the moment, with no thoughts of past experiences and future expectations.

My passion for playing spontaneous music continues to develop by working with Adrian Chivers and Daniel Pennie; two adventurous musicians who also relish the risks and rewards of a 21st Century musical journey.

The dynamic radical nature of the journey is that Mad Band music is made in the moment – it is spontaneous.

            Jam sessions are often a competitive cacophony of old musical licks and clichés with little group empathy or listening. Improvised music is often made with preconceived ideas, guide notes, riffs, rhythms or chords on which to improvise or to improve.

However, I thought there was a possibility that we might nakedly improve on just silence.

After transforming an old piano, setting up and tuning instruments, preparing found sounds and checking recording equipment, the red light launched us on a short series of one hour journeys with no navigational aids and no known destination.

Having quietly agreed to abandon past musical conditioning, composition, rehearsal and discussion, we became silent with no ideas about what to play. Not even the melodious power of Ozzy Osbourne’s classic song “Don’t shag your mother when she’s shaving”, could seduce us into doing yet another cover version.

So with clean clear and pure minds, starting with either Adrian, Daniel or myself making any sound, large medium or small, we quickly took off flying blind by the seat of our pants with no safety net and in unknown territory, not knowing what would happen next.

We willingly became conduits for invisible energy and were  directed by the flow of that energy. We didn’t need to know what would happen next, because while we were listening and playing, something more powerful was playing us, providing the shape form and structure of the music. On various occasions we were individually exposed, suspended on a thin thread of creative incredulity.

The freedom and risks of moving around the studio playing anything at any time, created a heightened awareness of being in the present moment. By going beyond the bounds of conventional portion-controlled music making, Adrian, Daniel and I discovered a rare musical telepathy and we were blessed by many amazing incidents of coincidence.

The music was recorded continuously through each session, sometimes with wandering cameramen but with no breaks and no 2nd takes. Ambient grunting, noises-off, bemused head-scratching and wild humour, plus AD and Dan’s dash to don protective headgear during my drum solo, are all honestly included.

Such was the freedom of the sessions that there were times on playback when I could not identify who played what, until Adrian soloed different tracks.

The production was completed with a bare minimum of edits and overdubs purely in honour of the natural acoustics, dynamics, rough raw sounds, textural intimacy and spirit of spontaneity.

We are still astonished by the fruits of freedom harvested from our adventures, which only required surrendering to musical instinct and an openness to the unlimited possibilities available in the vast universe of sound silence space and time.

The Mad Band continues to make a creative contribution to the sum total of the world’s human madness – but is it improving on silence?

Answers please to