Saturday, November 14, 2009

Review - Upstream

Dusted Magazine

Geoff Leigh and Yumi Hara - "Upstream"

The prolific Moonjune label drops this duo offering from Geoff Leigh and Yumi Hara, two veteran improvisers. It essentializes each musician’s current concerns, highlighting what each does best in the process.

Both are multi-instrumentalists, with Leigh’s virtuosity and timbral diversity evident all the way back to one-off projects such as Mousetrap and the debut albums by Henry Cow and Hatfield and the North. More recently, he’s comprised one half of the ambient-drone duo Ex-Wise Heads, not to mention having performed and recorded with the enigmatic but visceral Faust. Hara’s earlier efforts include a beautiful set of soundscapes with the late Hugh Hopper, also released by Moonjune, but she’s also a composer, teacher and researcher, her scholarly work encompassing rhythm, improvisation and psychology.

The murky depths of human emotion are plumbed from the first gestures on Upstream, but sometimes the evocations go beyond one emotive state. Hara’s crystalline keyboard lines are matched gorgeously by Leigh’s flute trills and breathy swells, the timbres inhabiting a unified space. The two instruments bend pitches symbiotically, coming together on certain notes with satisfying synchronicity. On “The Mountain Laughs,” Hara switches to an edgy organ, adding tention to her rough-hewn chords as Leigh explores echoing expanses with each flute flutter and shake. These are meditative explorations that, in the spirit of Coltrane, conjure Orientalist themes without necessarily being specific as to geographic region.

Everything changes on “The Strait,” the proceedings becoming harsher and often more dissonant as Leigh breaks out the scronky saxophone. His long-cultivated “New Thing” figures alter and repeat over Hara’s craggy piano. A similar sheen of raw processing covers Hara’s voice and percussion on “Stone of the Beach.” It’s almost as if the disc was programmed to lead slowly to this stark but complex collection of overtones and syllables. Hara’s vocal range is impressive, as she runs the gamut from whispers to full-boar ululations, Leigh aiding and abetting at every turn.

A listening or two reveals the disc to be a series of well-placed tableaus that form an arch, so that when “Return of the Sirens” is reached, there is a palpable sense of completion. The meditative textures of Upstream are regained, the album ending in the gentle vain that began it. While electronics are used throughout, they never eclipse the human element. The sense of a duo in full improvisational flight is maintained, joining virtuosity and invention in contributing to the disc’s success.

By Marc Medwin

Nov 13, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Review - Upstream

Geoff Leigh & Yumi Hara - Upstream (CD, Moonjune, Progressive)

Upstream is an album aimed at listeners with an open mind. Geoff Leigh plays/uses a variety of things on this album including flute, soprano sax, zither, percussion, nose flute (?), voice drone, and electronics while Yumi Hara plays keyboards and sings. Leigh is probably best known as an early member of the British progressive band Henry Cow and also played in the bands Slapp Happy and Hatfield and the North. Hara was/is in the band Frank Chickens and also acts as a DJ under the name Anakonda. Anyone even slightly familiar with any of these other bands will have some idea of what to expect here which is...the unexpected. Upstream is a bizarre collection of tracks that go all over the place. Fans of the previously mentioned Henry Cow will find a lot to love here. Leigh still composes tunes that could almost fall into the modern classical category...but threads of popular music remain intertwined. Some of the tracks are more musical than others...while others are more experimental in nature. Yumi's strange dreamy vocals add a particularly odd element to these proceedings. Nine heady cuts including "Upstream," "Stone of the Beach," "Dolphin Chase," and "The Siren Returns."

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Meltdown #1

Meltdown #1

Geoff Leigh | MySpace Video



Geoff Leigh | MySpace Video

Review - Upstream

A West-East axis bold as love: the Canterbury vigor meets the Rising Sun delicacy.

Having played with Hugh Hopper in the HUMI project and ex-CRIMSO violin maestro David Cross, Yumi Hara isn't new to the specific English scene and now she teams up with Geoff Leigh who first came to prominence with HENRY COW and later was all over the Canterbury field. Together, the two find common ground in the meditative tones set by the opening title track where Leigh's flute navigates the electronically enhanced crystal-cold air between the mountainous walls from the left side of Hara's piano that sometimes echoes the barrelhouse and dwells there in the rolling avant-garde of "The Strait". More melodiously, "The Mountain Laughs" introduces Celtic folk motifs to the majestic Tibetan drone bordering on baroque fugue, and "Dolphin Chase" sees Yumi's ethereal voice and Geoff's saxes sending signals from underwater, while in "The Siren Returns" piano and flute rise Eastward-bound in a tired silky way. At the same time, "At The Temple Gate" repositions jazzy strain into the candescent cascades of Buddhist prayer, and "Stone Of The Beach" wraps up the vocals in a pulsating white noise glow. The result is strange but rapturously mesmerizing, and it's the music's deceptive simplicity that begs to try and sail upstream once and again.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Review - Upstream

Otra novedad de Moonjune, que también he escuchado este mediodia en casa, es un album de Geoff Leigh ( sí, el de Henry Cow) y Yumi Hara, titulado "Upstream".
El disco que Yumi Hara publicó el año pasado con Hugh Hopper, "Dune", me gustó bastante poco, así que no tenía demasiadas esperanzas con este. Quizás por eso me ha gustado. Aunque Leigh es multiinstrumentista, aquí se centra mucho en la flauta, aunque también hace algún solo de saxo soprano y se encarga de los efectos electrónicos y las percusiones. Yumi se encarga del piano y del órgano y de las voces (no me gusta nada cantando). Algunas de las piezas instrumentales me han sorprendido. Yumi toca el piano con mucha "tensión" y Leigh es muy bueno con la flauta. Sé perfectamente que no es un disco que me vaya a volver loco, pero tengo ganas de volver a escucharlo.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Review - Upstream

Not sure why the link isn't working here - usually fine - try copy/paste with this :

Geoff Leigh (ex-Henry Cow) teams up with Japanese singer and keyboardist Yumi Hara for this album of experimental ambient-jazz fusion.

Leigh has always been at the forefront of pushing the boundaries of music since his days playing with Henry Cow's brand of freely-improvised jazz and complex modern composition. Hara moved to the UK in 1993 and has since played with ex-Soft Machine bassist Hugh Hopper and with ex-King Crimson violinist David Cross. By night, in her alter-persona of Anakonda she spins as a drum 'n' bass DJ! Put the two together and you can immediately tell that you are not going to get an hour of easy, comfortable listening! You'd be right!

Indeed, the promotional notes accompanying the CD say that "it's difficult to discern whether Geoff Leigh and Yumi Hara are improvising freely or if they've pre-composed pieces on their collaboration. If it's the former, then their spontaneity has generated a good degree of melodic invention. If the latter possibility is so, then their works have an untethered nature, working through a succession of encounters that often sound ritualistic or meditative". Hmmm...Upstream was recorded in two days, so I'd suggest it is improvised – it sounds improvised, though I'd agree with the statement that there is plenty of "melodic invention". But let me just share this other gem from the promo notes with you, because it did make me laugh out loud: "Leigh coats his small gongs with an effects burnish, spangling into infinity"! I wish I had written that!

Anyhow, back to the music, which I'm calling ambient-jazz fusion. If you take a look at the album cover and the song titles then you could easily imagine that this is a concept album. Not that there are any real lyrics to guide you - although "Stone of the Beach" and "At the Temple Gate" do feature words by Japanese poets – but the album is coherent musically and its amenability to ambience also makes it amenable to creating images associated with the title concepts, should you wish to do so.

Leigh plays flute, soprano sax, zither, percussion, nose flute, voice drone and "electronics" and Hara tackles keyboards (mainly piano, but some keys and synths to good effect) and vocals/vocalisations. The instruments are often pushed to, and through, the limits of what is "normal", so that one can say that there is a certain amount of experimentation going on here. Similarly, Hara pushes her voice in the same way, treating it just like on of the other instruments of the ensemble. This leads, at times – thankfully few – where the vocal becomes unpleasantly screechy and, in my opinion, detracting from the music. Let me put it this way – should you be listening to, for instance, "Something About the Sky" on your iPod whilst travelling on public transport, and you decide to "sing" along, then you can be sure the men in white coats will be waiting for you at the next stop! The ambience created on these occasions by these "sung" sections comes close to that of the bells being tolled at the gates of Hades! Such is the nature of exploratory, adventurous, progressive music!

Notwithstanding this slight criticism, the majority of the album is extremely pleasant: the sonorities created are interesting and work well together, and there is much melody as well as discernable, enjoyable rhythm that creates comfortable ambiences.

If you're looking for an easy entry into exploratory ambient/jazz crossover, then this album could well be it!

Track Listing:- 
1) Upstream (7:12) 
2) The Mountain Laughs (5:28) 
3) The Strait (7:41) 
4) Stone of the Beach (5:41) 
5) A Short Night (5:08) 
6) At the Temple Gate (7:43) 
7) Something About the Sky (3:45) 
8) Dolphin Chase (10:52) 
9) The Siren Returns (5:39)

September 20th 2009

Reviewer: Alex Torres

Review - Upstream

GEOFF LEIGH & YUMI HARA / Upstream (Moonjune)

Le second disque de Yumi Hara chez Moonjune. Le premier était en duo avec Hugh Hopper. Cette fois, un duo avec le flûtiste et saxophoniste Geoff Leigh (Henry Cow, nombreux projets liés au jazz-rock de type Canterbury). Une collaboration solide, toute en nuances. Des pièces douces, introspectives, frôlant parfois le drone. Plus de chant de la part de Hara, dont la voix hante plus qu’elle n’envoûte (ce qui n’est pas un mauvais point). Leigh est plein de ressources, multipliant les approches et les instruments. Un beau disque à réécouter à tête reposée. Une belle découverte, plutôt accessible, pas tout à fait “impro libre” mais certainement pas jazz-rock non plus. [Ci-dessous: La page de l’album sur le site de Moonjune, avec plusieurs extraits audio et deux vidéos en concert.]

Yumi Hara’s second CD for Moonjune. The first one was a duo session with Hugh Hopper. This time, she is playing with flutist/saxophonist Geoff Leigh (of Henry Cow and several jazz-rock projects loosely tied to the Canterbury sphere). A strong collaboration, very nuanced. Quiet, introspective pieces occasionally verging on drones. More singing from Hara, whose voice is haunting more than rapturing (which is not a bad thing). Leigh is very resourceful, approaching the music in many different ways and with several instruments. A fine record I will happily listen to again once I’m well rested. A nice discovery, rather accessible, not quite “free improv” but definitely not a jazz-rock record either. [Below: This album’s page on Moonjune’s website, with several audio samples and two live videos.]

Review - Upstream (in German)

Geoff Leigh & Yumi Hara "Upstream" (Moonjune Records 2009)

Geoff Leigh, Gründungsmitglied in Henry Cow, und die japanische Keyboarderin Yumi Hara, die mit Hugh Hopper und David Cross in Duos zusammenarbeitete, aus der japanischen Kitschtruppe Frank Chickens stammt, Neue Musik in Gruppen wie Piano Circus und Ensemble Bash spielte und als Drum'n'Bass DJ einen Namen hat, gingen an zwei aufeinander folgenden Tagen im September 2008 an die Arbeit, Songs einzuspielen, von denen 9 auf "Upstream" zu hören sind. Die Kompositionen sind improvisativ aufgebaut, spontan, aus der kreativen Inspiration des Augenblicks entstanden. Beide Musiker, Leigh spielt diverse Blasinstrumente, Electronics und Perkussion sowie Zither, Yumi Hara akustisches Piano oder elektrisches Keyboard und singt an einigen wenigen Stellen, sind begabte, gewachsene Handwerker, die nicht das erste Mal expressionistisch-avantgardistische Klänge schaffen, sich auf den Augenblick, die Stimmung verlassen und auf die gegenseitige Inspiration.
Das Resultat ist sehr sperrig, etwas unnahbar, emotional kühl, von großer Verspieltheit, leider aber auch von erschreckender Strukturlosigkeit und wirrem Ablauf. Beide Musiker nehmen sich nicht zurück und lassen Töne zu, die nicht unbedingt angenehm sind, plärren und kratzen und rauschen; und sie verfremden Sounds elektronisch und lassen die Songs so lang werden, dass Hörer dem Duo sehr freundlich und aufgeschlossen gegenüber sein müssen, sich das Album am Stück anzutun.
Es gibt viel Freiheit im Spiel, aber das Duo wirkt nicht befreit. Zwar entwickeln sich im Laufe des Albums einige harmonische Ströme und melodisch nachvollziehbare Motive, die aber im Kanon der atonal unschönen Klänge keine Durchsetzung finden.
Extremhörer dieser Spielart werden das gewiss anders sehen, was das Duo erfreuen wird.

Review - Upstream

Geoff Leigh and Yumi Hara


Review by Gary Hill

Fans of RIO (Rock In Opposition) should like this album. It’s very freeform and a lot of it is dissonant. I’d even consider some of it jarring. Personally, a lot of it isn’t my thing – I’m not a huge fan of RIO, but for those who are into the genre, it’s going to be well received.

Track by Track Review

The flute on this certainly calls up comparisons to Jethro Tull, but this is far mellower and more classical in nature and yet there’s also some definite King Crimson in the midst here.

Mountain Laughs
Keyboard sounds bring this in dark and rather like horror movie music. The flute again makes me think of Tull. This is perhaps closer to “rock” music.

The first half of this is basically a noisy, riotous piano solo that at times calls to mind Keith Emerson. As other instruments, join, though, it becomes a screaming, wailing jazz journey that’s quite freeform and dissonant.

Stone of the Beach
This one is really weird. The music is sparse and spacey and it has vocals. They are plaintive and a little abrasive, but also pretty. This is very much a piece of performance art.

Short Night
Piano based, this is very dissonant and strange. 

At the Temple Gate
Just flute and voice, this is exceptionally strange and unsettling. It’s not pretty by any means and feels like it has transported you to some alternate horror movie dimension. This is another that’s definitely performance art. 

Something About the Sky
In a lot of ways this is similar to the last piece, but instead of flute we have something that feels a lot like throat singing.

Dolphin Chase
Spacey and jazz, this one is quite cool – at least early on. It moves into more weirdness – not that different from the last couple tracks as it continues, though. In fact, the last section is amongst the strangest music on show with weird sounds like 60 cycle hum ruling the day.

Siren Returns
This is more melodic and less free form than the last several pieces. I like this a lot more.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Review - Upstream

Upstream - Geoff Leigh & Yumi Hara - Moonjune Records - MJR027

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange by Mark S. Tucker

The 70s saw a profusion of wildly cross-collateralized musics emanating from groups with solid musical educations, a ton of woodshedding, and artfully abnormal ideas about what could and could not go into the processes of art. Among the more stunning, and thus least heralded, were ensembles like The Art Bears, Dzyan, Art Zoyd, and groups composing pieces and LPs still ahead of their time. And then there was Henry Cow (a group, not a guy's name!). This much-cherished identity saw the exceptional—indeed stratospheric—virtuosities of Lindsay Cooper, Fred Frith, John Greaves, Chris Cutler, Tim Hodgkinson…and Geoff Leigh, the gent here playing winds, zither, percussion, voice drone, and electronics alongside singer-keyboardist-colorationist Yumi Hara. The two, however, have credentials extending well beyond the just-noted. Leigh sat in with Slapp Happy, Hatfield and the North, Univers Zero, Faust, and others. He also duo-ed with Porcupine Tree's brilliant bassist Colin Edward in the Ex-Wise Heads band. Hara duetted with Hugh Hopper (Soft Machine) and then David Cross (King Crimson) while some of her songs have been covered by Piano Circus and Ensemble Bash.

Even the promo lit isn't sure if the pieces are spontaneous, composed, or a blend of both, but it hardly matters, as there's a hell of a lot of what made all the just-cited groups great. Leigh and Hara masterfully leash the familiar and the chaotic to come up with a disc leaning heavily into the latter with all the grace and coherence of the former. Thus, Upstream is neo-free-fuso-prog-jazz-noise music heavily invested with orientalist airs (Upstream, Stone of the Beach, etc.) and abstract imagery laid atop the familiar, the exotic, and the suggestive.

Almost all the cuts are lengthy (see the times noted below), taking the space necessary to create their atmospheres and then perambulate with gestural abandon within themselves. Such chartable discourse within opuses like these, of course, is what accounts for whether the result will be oblique or filled with marvels. Here, the latter is most decidedly the case, making a release that's going to attract both abstractionists and neoclassical traditionalists, not to mention all the niches between. It goes, then, without saying that Upstream is definitely not music for everyone, but, looking to those with advanced aesthetics and well-tuned ears, a CD that will repay many many re-listenings, trenchant with nuance and imbued with a formlessness that constantly re-creates itself.

Track List:

Upstream (7:12)
The Mountain Laughs (5:28)
The Strait (7:41)
Stone of the Beach (5:41)
A Short Night (5:08)
At the Temple Gate (7:43)
Something About the Sky (3:45)
Dolphin Chase (10:52)
The Siren Returns (5:39)
All tracks written by Geoff Leigh & Yumi Hara except 
the words to Stone of the Beach (Ujo Noguchi) and the words to At the Temple (traditional).
Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Review - Upstream (In French)

Geoff Leigh & Yumi Hara

Upstream (2009)

(Moonjune Records) Enregistré par Yumi Hara 

01 – Upstream
02 – The Mountain Laughs
03 – The Strait
04 – Stone of the Beach
05 – A Short Night
06 – At the Temple Gate
07 – Something About the Sky
08 – Dolphin Chase
09 – The Siren Returns

Impossible de ne pas penser au précédent disque de Yumi Hara enregistré avec Hugh Hopper (Humi sorti en 2008 chez Moonjune Records également) en découvrant ce nouvel album de la pianiste et improvisatrice japonaise, enregistré en compagnie de Geoff Leigh, saxophoniste et flûtiste de Henry Cow, groupe mythique et ambitieux de la scène Canterbury de la fin des années soixante-dix. Les deux musiciens construisent leur propos sur des bases communes mais ténues, faisant de cette collaboration plus un duel qu’un duo, entre provocation, défi et musique sans concession. 

Geoff Leigh a ainsi pris la suite du patriarche Hopper disparu il y a peu ; et avec ses qualités, sa curiosité et son écoute, il propose à Yumi Hara d’autres horizons. Alors que rétrospectivement, Dune semblait empli de la colère sourde et désespérée du bassiste disparu, Geoff Leigh insuffle une certaine sérénité à ces compositions, et ce malgré les nombreuses aspérités dont elles regorgent. A la flûte, sans doute inspiré par son acolyte, Leigh verse dans une profondeur toute asiatique, évoquant l’ancestral et fascinant shakuhachi au point qu’une prestation dépourvue de tout accompagnement est à envisager sans inconvénient. Jouant de sa voix modulable à l’envie, Yumi Hara use aussi du legato et des grands aller-retours sur la gamme pour se lier au discours de son compère. 

A ce duo fascinant viennent s’agréger bruitages, éclats de piano et improvisations diverses, un didgeridoo parfois, ou un saxophone dans les mains de Geoff Leigh, autant d'instruments bienvenus qui ne contraignent jamais la direction prise par le binôme. Contemplatif sans être exagérément agressif ou abstrait, Upstream est fait pour être écouté en pleine nature dans le vent ou le ressac, il vibre doucement au rythme d’un monde qui nous dépasse.

Mathieu Carré

Note : 7/10

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mary-Anne Paterson - The Story

Possibly one of my more typically bizarre 60's yarns...

My younger brother Mike used to go on & on about an album I'd recorded with Mary-Anne Paterson in the 60's - he even remembered some of the lyrics to one of the songs, "Wandering So Far" - I honestly had no memory whatsoever about this, & was convinced he was just winding me up in his usual kid-brother-fashion.

Then a couple of years back,  one of the first albums I ever played on (to the best of my knowledge!), Gerry Fitz-Gerald's "Mouseproof", was released on cd for the first time by Sunbeam Records. I went to their website to check it out, & what did I find....a Mary-Anne Paterson album called "Me"!

As you can see from the reviews in my previous post, the backing musicians are listed as "unknown buskers". Well...the 3 mystery buskers were in fact myself on flute, John Doherty on percussion, & Alan Moller on guitar - the proof of the pudding is that the song my li'l bro remembered was actually written by Alan - his name is mentioned as composer. 

I contacted Sunbeam & told them about this - recently they released a vinyl version of the album, & very nicely added all our names on the sleeve.....big thanks for that  one!

So......"if you remember the 60's you weren't there".....tell me about it!

Mary-Anne Paterson - Reviews

1) From 'Left Hip' magazine ( )

Yet another essential reissue from the marvellous Sunbeam label, Mary-Anne Paterson's Me is purportedly one of the rarest records of its time. Sad, if it's true, for this is also arguably one of the most beautiful records of all time. Flutes, acoustic guitars and Paterson 's gently gorgeous voice bring life to a mix of original songs and traditional British folk-ballads such as "The Water is Wide" and "Come All Ye Fair and Tender Maidens". Nary a miss on this exquisite album. The sound bears a strong resemblance to Custer LaRue of the Baltimore Consort and new age folksinger Lisa Thiel. A reference to Paterson 's British contemporaries Vashti Bunyan and Anne Briggs is also well-founded. Then too, there are some ultra-weird gentle psych freakouts such as the one on "Black Girl" that might provoke comparisons to current free-folk artists such as Wooden Wand & The Vanishing Voice more than other British-Isles female folk singers from the sixties. Trying to put my own feelings about this album into print allows lots of delectable adjectives to flow: witchy, enchanting, magical, sprightly, spirited... This is essential listening for fans of any of the above mentioned folk-singers or the current free-folk and forest-folk movements. Absolutely wonderful!

2) From

Another good release on Sunbeam is the one I'm playing right now, the Brit femme folk of Mary-Anne, who I've been curious about ever since spotting her rather appealing visage in one of the "Record Collector Dreams" books. Well, she's a looker for sure, which shouldn't obscure the fact that her LP is very good moody, slightly spooky quiet folk with definite psych and ethnic strands -- like Vasthi Bunyan's elder and less cartoonish sister. Don't miss...

3) From

More rare '70s folk from the folks at Sunbeam, who brought us the great Roger Rodier and Fresh Maggots reissues. Mary-Anne Patterson's sole album is claimed to be one of the rarest records of its time, and after reading her story, it's no wonder. Patterson, daughter and granddaughter of famous Scottish painters, was a drama teacher (and hobbyist guitar player), who had a dream of opening an art centre for children. After a friend with music connections suggested that she cut a record to raise funds to build it, she quickly got a record deal and put together this album using local street musicians as her backing group. But reluctant to play the star and promote the record, the album sank without a trace, along with her dream. The songs here, mostly traditional, are very pretty, with a nice echo-y quality on the voice, guitar and flute accompaniments running through the entire production. The standout track is her version of "Black Girl", a Leadbelly standard, that devolves into a hippie tribal voice and flute freak out. This is a beautiful and overdue peek into the Scottish end of the '60s Folk Revival. For fans of Sandy Denny, Pentangle, and Josephine Foster.

4) From The Arkansas Traveller ( ) Originally issued in 1970 on UK label President Records, Me is a minimal, minstrel-esque dip into British folk typical of its era. It is Scottish songwriter Mary-Anne Paterson's only marketed work. Paterson remains fairly grounded in traditional folk stylings for the majority of the duration of Me. The echoey, minimal instrumentation gives a nod to the less-is-more philosophy of Nick Drake. (That is, as long as the "less" is well done, of course.) Most songs contain only lead vocals, flute, chorusing and acoustic guitar, but here and there, Paterson and company grace the listener with electric guitar and assorted hand percussion. Most of the songs on Me are traditional folk ballads, including a haunting cover of the Leadbelly standard "Black Girl." It begins as a straightforward cover, eventually working its way into an acid folk-pop oddity along the lines of Vashti Bunyan. Paterson 's telling vocals tend to carry the album, making it an easy recommendation for fans of Joni Mitchell and the like. File under singer/songwriter, Scottish folk. For fans of Vashti Bunyan, Nick Drake, Linda Perhacs and Anne Briggs.

5) From (translated from the Italian)

Me by Mary Anne Paterson is an extremely rare LP - so rare that, from the time she recorded it, she heard nothing more until the folks at Sunbeam decided to reissue it. Mary Anne was a girl from Edinburgh , whose father passed away when she was small, giving her a secret dream: to manage an arts centre for children. Music was little more than a hobby until a friend, seeing the financial difficulty which the newborn centre was experiencing, encouraged her to sign a contract with President Records and record an album. In keeping with the naive spirit of the period, and the importance that the project with the children had in her life, Mary Anne accepted. The album was recorded in one sole session, with a group of buskers recruited from the tube, and no rehearsal. These were the years of the British folk revival, which Mary-Anne had been overwhelmed by. Mostly accompanied only by a classical guitar, Mary Anne interprets traditional pieces in her light and delicate voice, spanning from songs for children to The Water is Wide, all taken from the repertoire that she had learned to play with the guitar from the age of 14. The album opens and closes with two original compositions, completing an delightful album... but, in keeping with the rest of her story, things cannot end without another surprise. And it can be considered a happy ending, for she is still alive in England today, pursuing her ancient ambition of spreading the arts for all, a goal that the notes emphasise she will be pleased if this reissue furthers. As for the album, relations with the label broke down after only a few months - unsurprising, given her indifference towards the project. She didn't promote the album or play any gigs to support it , and never heard again from the buskers - so, to close the circle, no one ever paid ever her, condemning the album to become one of the rarest in the history of English folk music.

6) From (by Richie Unterberger)

BIOGRAPHY: Scottish folksinger Mary-Anne Paterson made a nice, if modest, acoustic traditional-oriented album in 1970, Me . It matched her high, clear vocals, acoustic guitars, and flute with sparse echoed production and very occasional touches of acid folk and pop, though overall the LP had a haunting medieval tone. Most of the songs on the record were traditional folk tunes, though she did write a couple of them herself. Paterson fell into a recording career somewhat by accident in the late '60s, when she was a drama teacher who wrote songs for educational television on the side. A friend convinced her to go to London to make a demo in late 1969, though she did so primarily in hopes of raising money for a children's art center she hoped to set up. Me was done in one session around the beginning of 1970, Paterson backed by some buskers from a London tube station with whom she barely rehearsed, and never saw again. In fact, not many people ever saw the album itself; as she was interested in starting her arts center rather than establishing a professional career, she didn't promote it with any concerts, and no publicity was done on the LP's behalf. In subsequent decades, Paterson worked as a teacher and wrote songs for TV and radio, with Me getting reissued on CD in 2006.

REVIEW: Mary-Anne Paterson's rare 1970 Me album is a nice British folk recording that, while grounded in traditional acoustic material, avoids stiffness in its execution, though it's delivered with a fairly restrained, reverent tone. Paterson has a high voice that should appeal to fans of British folk of the period, as that genre had so many clear upper-register vocalists in a roughly similar mold, à la Jacqui McShee of Pentangle and Judy Dyble of Fairport Convention/Trader Horne. Her voice might recall very early Marianne Faithfull, except that there's somewhat more of a Renaissance-medieval flavor, which carries over in a lesser degree to the material and arrangements. Most of the material is traditional, save for a couple Paterson originals in "Love Has Gone" and "Reverie for Roslyn," which combines with the stark, slightly echoed production to create a haunting anachronistic atmosphere. It's not an entirely traditional acoustic-guitar-and-voice production, however, with touches of flute throughout the album, and an electric 12-string guitar in "The Water Is Wide" that seems to have wandered in straight off a mid-'60s Byrds record. "Black Girl" takes an especially eerie jump into near-acid folk, suddenly leaping into a near rave-up where stormily busked guitars and jazzy flutes fight it out with each other while Paterson 's ghostly vocals wail wordlessly in the background. It's not at all typical of most of the album (though it's a highlight), though it occasionally leans very slightly toward singer/songwriter pop, particularly on "Wandering So Far."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Upstream - Listen Here!

Click on header for link to more info, videos, & mp3's

Reviews - Upstream

Title: Upstream 
Label: Moonjune 027 
Country: USA 
Format: CD                    

Featuring Geoff Leigh on flutes, soprano sax, zither, electronics and percussion and Yumi Hara on keyboards & occasional vocals. Saxist Geoff Leigh was the first member of Henry Cow to leave the group after their first album in 1973. He went on to form Radar Favourites, Black Sheep, Kontakt Mikrophoon Orchestra and Red Balune and has a trio disc on one of those Voice Print labels from a few years back. We haven't heard from him in quite a while so I was pleasantly surprised to get this promo in the mail. You might recall Ms. Yumi Hara from another duo disc she did with Hugh Hopper last year. Yumi also played a fine solo set at our store on the Bowery a few months after that CD was released.
The title track is first and it starts with spooky flute and eerie e-bow-like keyboard sounds. Geoff Leigh's flute playing is consistently superb, spirited and riveting at times. Ms. Hara changes the sound of her keyboard on every piece from the great Hammond organ sound on "The Mountain Laughs" to the sparkling grand piano of "The Strait" in which Geoff sounds as if he is playing an electric sax. Now there's a sound I haven't heard in quite a long time, yet it is done most tastefully. Yumi uses her voice to a good effect on "Stone of the Beach", somewhat operatic and exotic yet still low-key and enchanting. Although much of this sounds improvised there is a sympathetic connection between both players as they seem to flow around one another magically, always connecting on some level. I like the they explore sounds together yet never lose their way. The psychedelic many layered mountains on the cover seem most appropriate. 

Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery (use search box!)


Featured Artist: Geoff Leigh - Yumi Hara 
CD Title: Upstream 
Year: 2009 
Record Label: Moonjune Records 
Style: Free Jazz / Avante Garde 

Musicians: Geoff Leigh (flute, soprano sax, zither, percussion, nose flute, voice drone, electronics), Yumi Hara (keyboards, vocals)


For starters, the musicians’ respective careers bring quite a bit of diversity to the table. Woodwind artist, multi-instrumentalist Geoff Leigh was a member of avant-garde, prog-rock icons Henry Cow amid stints with many legendary British bands, such as Hatfield And The North and Slapp Happy. Keyboardist Yumi Hara is a psychiatrist, DJ and possesses a PHD in composition from City University in the U.K., and engages in numerous artistic related endeavors in Europe. On this duet release, the duo forges a multifaceted plane of notions and concepts, as no two pieces are distinctly alike, especially when considering various song-form and improvisational aspects. Among other attributes, the musicians are resourceful. They set down an imprint, awash with mind-altering abstractions, marked by Leigh’s ethereal flute lines, Hara’s haunting keys, and the avant component. They keenly alter the pitch in a range of interweaving movements. Then on “The Mountain Laughs,” Hara emulates a church organ via her keyboards while imparting a solemn framework for Leigh’s genial flute lines. Elsewhere, the artists invert a hodgepodge of themes into bizarre environs, where Hara’s vocal chants over the top, offer quasi-mystical propositions. On “Dolphin Chase,” Leigh’s soprano sax phrasings intimate a whirling, free-form set of paradigms, countered by Hara’s response mechanisms, shaded with droning textures and colorific EFX treatments. Here, Leigh soars to the cosmos under the auspices of attaining some sort of spiritual cleansing. Unlike similar projects of this ilk by others, the duo sustains interest throughout the entire program. It’s a study in contrasts, marked by the artists’ clear-sighted game-plan, that is sprinkled with plentiful surprises along the way. 

Reviewed by: Glenn Astarita 
Copyright© 2009®. All Rights Reserved.


MoonJune Records - Album Profile: 

It's difficult to discern whether Geoff Leigh and Yumi Hara are improvising freely, or if they've pre-composed the pieces on their Upstream collaboration. If it's the former, then their spontaneity has generated a good degree of melodic invention. If the latter possibility is so, then their works have an untethered nature, working through a succession of encounters that often sound ritualistic or meditative. Although a multi-instrumentalist, Leigh concentrates mainly on the flute, although it's frequently fed through an entanglement of electronic effects, lending a subtly harmonised burr. Hara plays keyboards, changing her palette from acoustic piano to hard-edged organ sounds. Often, she can be gently ruminative, but there are also spells where Hara rumbles with great intensity on the piano's bass notes or charges up to a Gothic organ sustain. Their music possesses some highly contrasting densities. Leigh coats his small gongs with an effects burnish, spangling into infinity. Hara also alters her voice at times, again with a subtly harmonised displacement. Leigh sometimes overblows, creating a harsh edge, suggesting the sound of a Japanese shakuhachi flute. This is made all the more gripping when surrounded by the overall atmosphere of slowly evolving calm. The pair also evoke a specific Tibetan Buddhist feel, with bells and a vocal drone, or alternatively matching their high-vaulting voice and soprano saxophone ranges to the imaginary sounds of ocean-deep whale communications. Leigh and Hara have produced a deeply sensitive soundscape, populated by a number of surprising (and exciting) forays into a more intense form of expression.  (more info, vids, & mp3's)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Starr Of Iran?

Good to see Ringo's got himself a nice cushy new number....

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Drugs Do Work....

About time people got wise to the facts!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Art Is Not A Mirror

"Lo-Tech Audio-Visual Extravaganza"

"Art Is Not A Mirror" - reflections on the erosion of sub-urban culture where everything is destroying itself, with a little help from us non-alien-inter-planetary-inhabitants.

"The Human Tape Loop"
- interactive performance for analogue tape & human beings.

Geoff Leigh - body movements, soprano sax, flutes, zither, khene, voice, percussion, prepared sounds, live electronics, loops, as-yet-unfound objects etc.

Ariane Bratz - video projection / live recording.

Ateliers Mommen

37, Rue de la Charite
St. Josse-Ten-Noode
Brussels 1210

20.30 21st May 2009

Free Entrance

Monday, February 23, 2009

Kraak Festival - Brussels - March 7th 2009

Geoff Leigh is a veteran in the prog, RIO and jazz world. He was one of the key figures of the Canterbury scene and played in legendary bands as Henry Cow, Slapp Happy, Aksak Maboul and Univers Zéro. Leigh is a virtuoso sax, clarinet and flute player, and still practices in the art of experimentation. Leigh still digs into his musical possibilities, while most of his pals from those days are enjoying an easy retirement.

Geoff Leigh is een oudgediende in de prog, RIO en jazzwereld. Hij stond mee aan de wieg van de Canterbury scene en speelde in legendarische bands als Henry Cow, Slapp Happy, Aksak Maboul en Univers Zéro. Leigh is een virtuoos blazer (sax, clarinet, dwarsfluit...) en het experimenteren zit hem nog steeds in het bloed. Terwijl veel van zijn toenmalige genregenoten aan een makkelijk pensioen denken, graaft Leigh nog steeds verder in zijn muzikale mogelijkheden.

Geoff Leigh est un vétéran dans le monde du prog, RIO et jazz. Il était un pionier de la scène de Canterbury et a joué dans des groupes légendaires comme Henry Cow, Slap Happy, Aksak Maboul et Univers Zéro. Leigh est un virtuose (saxophone, clarinette, flûte traversière,...) qui ne cesse d'expérimenter. Pendant que ses contemporains d'autrefois pensent à leur pension, Leigh continue à explorer les possibililités musicales.

"Mortons Object" - Brussels - March 6th 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Socks And The City?

Infamous Henry Cow 'LegEnd' album cover by Ray Smith.

The life of a man depends on a pair of socks

12.02.2009 Source: Pravda.Ru

Socks play maybe not the most, but a very important role in men’s life. Men’s socks were honored in an episode of Sex and the City TV series, when Carrie Bradshaw presented her philosophic views on this piece of men’s apparel. This seems to be quite surprising because socks may often drive women mad when they see or smell them. Socks may also become the reason of family scandals.

Socks play a very important role in the life of every man. His professional career or romantic achievements may often depend on a pair of socks. A woman may find out a lot about her man if she takes a closer look at his socks.

Needless to say that women, just like men, pay a lot of attention to men’s tastes in clothes. A pair of socks is a very important accessory in men’s clothes, just like ties, watches, sleeve buttons and wallets.

Indeed, a pair of socks can tell a lot about its owner. Rational and practical men mostly choose black socks for black is a universal color that fits everything. Gray or brown socks would be the choice of conservative men who do not welcome changes in their lives. Green socks attract military men and those who associate themselves with Greenpeace activists. Blue socks indicate the romantic nature of a man. White socks are the best choice for those men who like sports and those who go on holiday. White socks give a lounge look to a man, especially when he wears them with jeans or shorts. White socks are out of the question when it comes to wearing business suits.

If a man wears red socks, it means that he has his own sense of style. Red socks may also mean that he does not care a thing about style.

World’s leading designers scratch their heads over the appearance of men’s socks. Socks are quite familiar with modern-day fashion trends. Socks can be adorned with various ornaments which may also point out men’s character traits.

Ornaments of rhombs or lines indicate that a man is searching for his place in this life, or maybe for the point of this life. Flowers, little suns and rabbits may expose a playboy or just a man with a good sense of humor. Those who prefer classic style choose pinstripe and checkered socks.

Socks have a glorious history. They evolved from leather shoes that covered the sole, the heels and the toes. Greek women used to wear those shoes to keep their feet warm during sleep. Afterwards, people began to put pieces of fabric inside clodhoppers to protect feet from calluses and scratches. Socks celebrated their triumph in Rome 100 years later when they covered both the foot and the shank, slowly turning into stockings. Ancient poets began to glorify socks as the best clothes that human feet could have.

Knitted stockings appeared in Spain only in the 16th century. Those were very expensive and hard to find garments – a pair of stockings could be an excellent present to noblemen and even kings.

Stockings turned into socks during the second decade of the 19th century when men donned tight pantaloons. Finally, socks became even shorter during the First World War to economize fabric.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Where's The Money Gone?

Always a good question.
Click the header for news on how major corporations avoid paying tax in the UK.

Monday, February 02, 2009

John Martyn RIP

I first met John Martyn in 1968 (69?) - I used to busk with Alan Moller, a guitar player who later played bass with me in Mouseproof & Radar Favourites. There was a folk club in London's Soho district called Les Cousins - every saturday they had a gig by well-known musicians, & if you got down early enough, you could book a short spot to play before the main act. Alan said we had to get down there to see John - being a bit of a jazzer I'd never heard of him, but Alan said I'd probably like it. So we got there & booked our spot - we used to play quite jazzy modal kind of stuff when we weren't busking. John liked what we did & asked us to join him for a couple of numbers at the end of his set. Alan was of course over the moon - I was still head in the clouds - we did the tunes with John & it went down pretty well. Later Alan disappeared somewhere, & John came up to me & said "I didn't want to upset your mate, but I really like your flute playing, & maybe you can do a few gigs with me if there's enough money" - he handed me a copy of "The Tumbler", his latest album, saying "There's some flute on a few tracks - if you can play more or less something similar that would be great" - we swapped phone numbers & off he went. Of course Alan was a wee bit jealous, but understood the situation. When I looked at the album, I saw the flute player was Harold McNair, one of my heroes! So being a bit shy & wet behind the ears, I already felt a bit intimidated & out of my depth, but also pretty chuffed by the offer. After listening & playing along to the album I phoned John, & he invited me to a flat in Kensington somewhere for a rehearsal. Things got off to a good start - the usual endless supply of real 60's spliffs put me in a relaxed mood - we went through a few songs, then into a long very abstract impro, which I hadn't been expecting - pretty experimental to say the least. (I also had my first taste of muesli there, the result of which was an extremely long visit to the loo, emptying the old bowels!). His lifestyle was already pretty chaotic - people came & went - Sandy Denny from Fairport Convention, American singer Jackson C. Frank, & many other musicians & hangers-on - I was quite a heavy dope smoker in those heady days, but these people were way out of my league! I don't think I've ever smoked so much in such short spaces of time & still been capable of playing....all pretty wild. The first gig I did with him was at Chelsea Art College - he said he'd play a few songs then invite me up. I was quite nervous - he was very relaxed as always, tuning his guitar differently for almost every song, chatting & joking with the audience while he did it.....very impressive! Then he said "Ladies & gentlemen, I'm pleased to introduce a good friend & great flute player - give a big hand for DADDY LONGLEGS"! I was mortified! Hadn't expected that one at all! So on I shuffled, thinking "you bastard!", but also pleased to be part of the action. A great experience. Over the next couple of months we got together once or twice a week to rehearse, but his chaotic lifestyle didn't always help - he would sometimes just disappear for days on end - nobody seemed to know where he was or what he was up to - once he missed quite a few gigs after inadvertently taking an overdose of acid, resulting in a three day trip which was so powerful he just unplugged the phone, drew the curtains, & locked the door, refusing to see anybody. In the end I only played 4 or 5 gigs with him - musically he was a loner at heart, until his partnership with bassist Danny Thompson & drummer John Stevens a few years later - they were all serious heavy drinkers, & I guess John knew I couldn't hack it on that level, so we just kind of drifted apart. But it was a great period while it lasted, & like most people I'll miss him - his contribution to the more jazzy & experimental side of "folk" music will live on through his recordings, & anyone who ever saw him performing live will never forget the experience.
Wherever you are Johnny boy, aka Jack The Lad, rest in peace.
(The name "Daddy Longlegs" stuck - see Black Sheep).

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Putin to become Russia’s highest-earning painter

The paintings of Russia’s prominent politicians, public figures and athletes are going to be exhibited at Evropa Hotel in St. Petersburg January 14. Vladimir Putin promises to become the highest-earning painter at this point. The painting, which was painted by St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko, was sold at 11 million rubles ($366,000), whereas the work by the former Russian president and the incumbent prime minister is expected to bring a higher profit.

(Don't get me wrong - I have nothing against Russians at all - just find Pravda one of the unintentionally funniest online tabloids. As usual click on heading for full story).

Saturday, January 31, 2009

More Alien Nonsense

So the French have released their "Alien Archive" photos - amazingly wonderful & convincing wotwot? When I first started blogging here, I made it very clear that I DO NOT believe in aliens.
I live by the sea, & see a lot of alienated humans around me all the time. Hence Aliens@C.

If You Can't Beat Them.....


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Russians Get The Illuminatus Bug...

All-seeing eye curses US dollar

21.01.2009 Source: Pravda.Ru (Extract - click on heading for whole article).

"From the very beginning the U.S. dollar has been having some kind of destructive influence on the world's financial system. The people, who created first U.S. dollar notes, placed some mystical signs and symbols on them. The financial crisis may force the USA to issue a new currency because of those signs.

Any changes in the U.S. currency system will lead to changes in other countries. The signs, the symbols and even the size of U.S. dollar notes indicate the terrifying role that the dollar may play soon. Everyone is aware of the sign depicted on the back of the 1-dollar-note - the all-seeing eye. Many sacred books including the Koran say that one of the distinctive features of Antichrist include the following: "It has one eye which looks like a grape berry." The fact that the width of the note makes exactly 66.6 millimeters (Satan's number) may seem to be the most striking one. It is worthy of note that the all-seeing eye appears on Ukraine's 500-hryvna note too."

Well who'd have thought that even in this day & age of Conspiracy Theories those pesky Russkies would have got onto this one? As you probably know, Pravda means "The Truth",'d better believe it. The all-seeing eye on the dollar bill figured prominently in "The Illuminatus Trilogy", & has been pure conspiracy fodder of the highest order ever since. But what about Communist Mystic Symbols? Nothing of note on the rouble as far as I know, but what about the (in)famous Red Star, Hammer, & Sickle?

The Red Star has 5 points - in Kabbalistic terms a 5 pointed star is the "Star Of Man" (or "Star Of The Microcosm", the 6 pointed Star of David being the "Star Of The Macrocosm"). On the Kabbalistic Tree Of Life, the 5th Sephiroth is Geburah, associated with the planet Mars (The Red Planet), symbol of courage & destruction, (war, power, domination, & leadership in the real world).

In pre-Communist times the sickle was
commonly associated with The Grim Reaper, symbol of Death - in Tarot-speak this means regeneration, transformation, change, but also destruction. The Communists used it as a symbol of agriculture, just like Freemasons had for centuries. "Death" in the Tarot is connected with the astrological sign of Scorpio, ruled by the planet Mars.

The Hammer is a bit more tricky - also used by Freemasons, for the Communists it symbolised construction & building, but is most commonly associated in the crazy world of Other Worlds with the Nordic god Thor. Now there's a nice touch - Communists using Nordic Pagan symbols?
I always thought that was more in keeping with Adolf & his Thule Society buddies - just goes to show - nothing left & nothing right, only up & down so slight. Type in "Thor" on Wiki for more info.
And straight from Wiki : "Thursday is the fourth day of the week according to the Judeo-Christian calendar and the ISO 8601 international standard adopted in most western countries. In countries that adopt the Sunday-first convention, it is the fifth day of the week".
(Thursday being derived from Thor).

As for The Koran, The Antichrist, The Great Beast 666, & a bit of Ukraine-bashing, well....these guys are just nuts!

So there you have it in a nutshell / nuts' hell - it's all a bloody conspiracy mate.....or just coincidence?

NB : The online version of Pravda this article appeared in is NOT in any way connected to the Communist Party of Russia.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

More Sonrise Church

So....more infamy heading my way....any publicity is better than none etc escape for the wicked.....the bea(s)t goes on + on + on ad infinitum..

Click on the heading above for link.

This is my response >

"Dear Glenn.

Sorry for not replying earlier - I rarely use this blog & don't check for comments very often.

Let me say straight away that I disapprove of the "scare tactics" used against you personally & your church - rather an ill-informed debate than an ill-conceived "outing" strategy!

Answers to your questions:

1, 2, + 3) I assumed that "sonrise" applied to a single organisation - I found nothing to contradict this, & only found American websites using it. Obviously I should have searched further.

4) Well come on good sir! "Interesting, funny, & at the same time quite sad & frightening all at the same time!" *

Wishing you the best of luck for the future - by all means do reply, but don't expect much of a response from me.

Job done.

Move on."

(* Glenn's own carefully chosen words describing my original post).

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