“The Sun is not a sphere — it is a cube. The cube (sun) tumbles and gyrates upon its central point. This tumbling is so rapid that it creates the illusion that the cube (sun) seems to be a sphere. In fact, all extant stars in the cosmos are cubes tumbling and gyrating so rapidly that they appear to be spheres.” — Amitakh Stanford
It’s not all junkets and jollity in the heady world of improvised music, O no my brothers and sisters. Hard work for Orchestra Cube in these times playing spreading the good Cube word at the Sunrise Celebration in Somerset.
In attendance, Orchestra members Ale, Belinda, Hugh, Simone and me, fire jugglers Bryn and Merlyn, and rock god Hugh’s groupies Jess and Naomi. Cube Kyra and Cube Mike came too with the Invisible Circus, demonic phantasmagoria of urban decay, existential dread and hula-hoop twirling.
Played up the Saturday morning sun with an acoustic set at the Tiny Tea Tent. Much instrument swapping. Cruelly upstaged by a duo of eight-year-old folkies. The black fire of hatred flashed in the Orchestra’s eyes as it vowed revenge.
That afternoon, combative Orchestra set out to crack open the permanent funk-rock workout that was the jamming tent and feast on the goo inside. An hour or more of Hugh’s ecstatic E-bowed noise hovering like the angel of death over some fine kit drumming from Ale, pierced by weird violin/trumpet space harmonies by Bel and Simone. The Orchestra exited in triumph, flashing its crocodile grin, trailing cowed, yelping funk-rockers in its wake.
On Sunday morning Ale, Hugh and I enjoyed a very satisfying long, loose set driven by Ale’s rococo guitar in the Avalon Rising tent; site of mystical illumination and ley lines spangling into the distance. Various collaborators contributed flamenco, blues and gospel. The Orchestra felt itself becoming one with the spirit of Peter Gabriel.
Later, a set in the bar, partly conducted by Ale. On one side, a trance sound system, on the other a drumming circle, our sounds collided with these other sounds and returned to us deformed by the impact. Sometimes playing with the sounds around us, sometimes against them, we began in trepidation but built up to a loud twenty-minute finale with the Orchestra piling noises on my fragile little riff, a shiny black ant carrying six times its body weight. The Orchestra laughed its devil-may-care laugh and went forth in courage, humour, cunning and fortitude.
My one-man side projects included learning to dowse, comparison-chanting with the Hare Krishnas, earth worshippers, Vedic people and gong ceremonialists, and playing Beefheart balalaika for food.
Though Simone and I are safely home, other Orchestra members are still in the field. Till their safe return, our prayers are with them.