Brian and Roger Eno live / Tim Bowness live / Jon Durant collaboration

I lost the habit of updating this site during the pandemic, but plenty has been happening. So here’s a big catch up…

Back in 2020, as the first lock down took hold in the UK, I began collaborating with fretless guitarist Jon Durant. As a teenager, I fell in love with the great ECM recordings of the 70s and 80s. Recording with Jon felt like travelling back to that period and finding an undiscovered star. It was a joyful and effortless recording, a live album somehow recorded despite lockdowns on opposite sides of the Atlantic. We released an album (Vista) and an EP (Almost Golden Sands), both of which are available from my Bandcamp page.

As we moved out of the last (I deeply hope!) lockdown in 2021, something very unlikely happened. Brian Eno was asked to play live, and said yes. Specifically, he and his brother Roger were invited to play at the Acropolis. I was initially purely there as a technician, looking after generative visuals and keeping Brian’s keyboards working, but that soon shifted to having me actually play the keyboards as well. It was equal parts exciting and stressful, battling with post-Brexit travel, the precariousness of lockdown restrictions and, just to make things extra spicy, temperatures reaching 45 degrees. Laptops, we soon discovered, don’t like going above 38 degrees, which meant we couldn’t start soundcheck or playing until 9:30 pm. Also ash was falling from the sky.

Despite all the challenges, the gig was very enjoyable. There were pieces from Brian and Roger’s Mixing Colours album (with Roger playing piano and Brian providing live treatments), new tracks from Brian (the performances became part of FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE), a selection of songs Brian hadn’t played since the 70s (By This River is a personal favourite), plus more. The sublimely talented Leo Abrahams and Cicely Eno were also with us.

Much as I’d enjoyed the performance, it was a huge relief when it was over. That said, I ended up reliving it multiple times, first in assembling the pieces for Brian’s stereo mix and then in putting together the Atmos mix with some very nice people at Dolby. I love working the format, it’s amazing hearing sounds coming from all around, and it particularly suits Brian’s music. The concert was screened briefly in UK cinemas and can now be viewed on Stage Plus.

The stresses didn’t put me off gigging, and I performed several intimate gigs with Tim Bowness, for the first time in a long while. We were joined by guitar maestro and all round nice guy Matt Stevens, who gave us a much fuller and occasionally rockier sound. Hopefully we’ll do more together.

That brings me up to date, I think. Work with Brian continues as always, exploring strange new ways to use technology to make art. I’m currently working on some new solo material, as well as some very exciting collaborations, I hope to get back to releasing music regularly this year.

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