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News and Muse...

By Al, Jun 18 2012 03:24PM

I know - a month between posts is TOO LONG! Please accept the old excuse - "been busy" - and add my disorganised mind. So apparently it's the season of weddings - you wait for years, then three come at once. I mention this because I've been asked to play at one of them - as it's for close family, it transforms from being a chore that I'd probably turn down(*), to an honour which I'm very glad to accept (especially as I've been asked to play some of my own compositions).

Now the problem is that it's been a long time since I've done engagements/functions, so I need to put in some serious practice, as well as arranging each of a list of requested songs (I can never resist putting my 'stamp' on old favourites). And 'serious practice' falls into a familiar pattern for me: I sit at the piano with a plan of action and, after about an hour or so, realise that I've spent most of that time just improvising. Or I'm so off-topic that (as happened at the weekend) I've ended up composing a new piano piece. That's hardly time wasted (I'll probably post last weekend's piece on the site in the coming weeks and I'm tempted to put together a piano-only album in the next couple of years, so it's all useful), but it's not really addressing the task at hand!

All of which - to eventually get to the point - means that the new album is having to take a back seat for now. It's certainly not been mothballed - even while 'practising', I'm coming up with new ideas and fine-tuning existing ones, so please resist the temptation to lose interest - I don't intent to follow the Blue Nile's example of releasing the next album at least 5 years after the last!

So we know that the new album will include real drums - I'm lucky to have a talented brother...and, talking of which, Jim has been interviewed by respected drummers' website, which you can read HERE.

(* - Unless there's the offer of a substantial fee - we've all got to make a living!)

By Al, May 6 2012 01:38PM

"So how's it going?". Pretty well on the whole, since you ask. I'm building up a number of musical ideas - some developing nicely, others still sketchy (there's a new track for you to listen to on the 'Music' page). And I'm looking to include guest musicians this time (Jim Fleeman is already on board and will contribute to some tracks with his exemplary drumming) - watch this space for more later. At the moment, I'm thinking there'll be more choral 'stuff' on this album, and possibly some vocals from me. Due to the subject matter, the new album will be less overwhelmingly 'uplifting' than "The Water is Wide Variatiations", but hopefully there'll be plenty of the 'spine-tingling' moments that some of you have been kind enough to mention in relation to "The Water...". You can probably see that we're at the slightly disorganized, flood-of-ideas stage right now - I really enjoy this stage but the time has come to start developing the 'song-sketches'. I'll keep you posted.

By Al, May 6 2012 01:09PM

Sorry if I'm getting boring about 'Matilda The Musical' - my interest stems from my brother's involvement in it - but composer Tim Minchin was the guest on the legendary BBC radio show 'Desert Island Discs' this week. I didn't know much about Minchin before 'Matilda...' but he's an interesting character who has insightful things to say about all sorts of subjects (predominantly, the human condition). I liked this nugget:

"People don't even know how to spend their Saturday afternoons - what do I want with eternity?".

By Al, Apr 16 2012 04:22PM

It's unheard of that I can sit through a musical without drifting off into day-dream land at some point...but that's what happened a couple of weeks ago when I saw the brilliant Matilda in London's West End. Now it's picked up the major prizes at the Olivier Awards. If you've seen the show and thought "The drums and percussion are excellent" you'd be right - congratulations to my brother, Jim Fleeman. Oh, and 'well done' to his supporting cast and crew(!)...Bertie Carvel won best actor - his portrayal of Miss Trunchbull was SO GOOD (he leaves the show in July, so if you want to see his amazing performance, you don't have long).

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