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“A New Bounce…”

In these “unprecedented” weird times, when at all possible, I’ve found its a good idea to embrace the differences, to look for the positives that come out of having to do things differently, rather than bemoan the fact that I can’t do things the way I had planned/wanted.

There’s no doubt that by now, I’d have had a couple of sessions in the recording studio, and would have got a physical thing or two to say yes, done that, tick! We would have had a wonderful time, I know this because we always have. Is it odd that I enjoy being in a very small room not much bigger than a phone box, wrestling with the combination of glasses, headphones, earrings (quickly despatched to the depths of the handbag)?

But Michael’s studio has been closed to visitors for a while now. It is small, but perfectly formed, and in the small gap between lockdown 1 & 2 he commandeered his sitting room to create a separate, video-linked safe space for artists to record, with him in the control room. Brilliant.

But here we are again, unable to do even that for a while.

So what have we done instead? Embraced the unusual, just to see what happened. We have sent files backwards and forwards: sounds, loops, lyrics, melodies, chords, and even a few song sketches too. We have some bones on which to build. It is slow. But actually I am starting to see the advantage of slow.

In the studio with Michael I am a bit star-struck and blinded by the science, flashing lights and scary buttons. I definitely defer. Because he knows all this stuff right? That’s why he is in on this, because he knows this stuff. But here is the interesting thing: given the time conferred upon me by being sent things via email or drop box, I can think. My musical thinking is slow. He knows this and he doesn’t rush me, but still, in a separate studio, without pressure of time, I relax into it more and think it through. I will confess here that I probably listen to things he sends me probably 100 times. Can you imagine how time consuming and tedious that would be? Anyway… away from the time pressure and the embarrassment of feeling stupid and singing out of tune I can be exactly that! In my own studio, after listening 100 times, I can start to hesitantly pick out melody and harmonies from the chords. I can try them out, record them, out of tune mumblings and out of time, until I get it to the point where I feel ok to send him a recording. I have loved being able to do this, to give myself the time, so that when we do get together, our time will be spent differently, possibly more focussed because I’ve already done the workings in the margin. (I’ll let you know)

A few miles away in Kings Heath, I suspect similar things are happening… Michael sent me a photo this morning of him in his studio, with headphones, and casserole dish, and drumstick with adaptations… he has been playing, and improvising, because I had said I thought a bell would be a good idea for one of the songs. While I am listening and mucking about with the words and the singing, he’s walking round his house, bashing stuff with a stick. He has taken on my concepts and ideas and is diving in too. Love it!

I love it when I get a text saying “There’s a new bounce in the dropbox”

I’ve spent years expounding the value of play for children.

Adults need it too.

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