So, 2011 was a good year for this device.
We began by polishing off Business, the second Perhaps Contraption album, which had been simmering in my vaults for a number of years (alongside 2 other, as yet, unreleased albums, of which the seeds were sown in 2007, but that’s another story…some of which will be realised this year)
As this was being done and dusted, eager & confused, I sounded the conch for the next incarnation; The Mobile Device.
This desire was inspired by performing in a massive marching band (The Transformational Fire Conclave All Stars Marching Band to be exact) at Burning Man in the Summer of 2010, and generally enjoying the freedom of playing acoustically, wherever and whenever you like.
After this dusty epiphany, I decided it was time to restructure my whole approach to song writing and performing music in general. This meant ditching the guitars. And the electricity (for now).
Dreams of being agile, completely acoustic & mobile began to bubble into my conciousness. As did thoughts of composing and performing with new instruments, limitations & personalities.
Luckily, after a number of months stumbling, cogitating and searching, the next incarnation began to take shape…
Through a process of serendipity, (a few new contraptionites oozed out of a fleeting-chance-meeting on a busy train platform, where (luckily) I spied something resembling a French Horn case hanging from Emily’s arm, this connection also led me to find two other key members…) and downright tenacity (placing numerous ads around town and quizzing numerous people about London’s (scant) Sousaphone population, & foraging for dynamic-multi-instrumental-enthusiastic other front-persons fizzing with talent) our glorious new musical family was unearthed.
Intensive rehearsals followed, in preparation for our inaugral teeth-cutting: the mighty Glastonbury Festival loomed.
Perhaps Contraption has always been a difficult DIY labour of love for me, yet as soon as I began rehearsing with these new recruits, things began to feel less, difficult. Everyone in the room knew there was incredible musical dynamic & energy brewing, compounded by future projections; just how far could this instant musical connection go & where would it lead us as artists & performers & learners?
It was this feeling that propelled us head first into the most prestigious music festival in the world, and which continued to drive us throughout the Summer, smashing as many festivals as would take us (a detailed 2011 gig listing is on the way).
It was exhausting, and expensive, but also massively inspiring and refreshing… to be playing anywhere and everywhere, completely acoustically; to be able to amass a crowd and a positive feeling through sound, wherever & whenever we chose.
And yet, the formula was so simple (even if the instrumentation itself was so unusual).
Ironically, by performing on the rock toilet circuit for many years, I had become disconnected/ disenchanted from the very things I had chosen to explore…I found myself beginning to lack those blissed out neurochemicals highs.
It was only through embracing music’s inherent simplicity —-moving air molecules in any given place and connecting and affecting any given person (hopefully in a positive way!) —– that I began to remember why I set out to explore this sonic world in the first place.
And so, at the beginning of this new year, I feel Perhaps Contraption stand in a very promising position. With new (musical & emotional) connections strengthening alongside new directions and goals. (All the while our first album as an art marching band simmering gently, scheduled to be released sometime near June…)
Here’s to another musical year around the sun. Hoping to see you in a sweaty club or muddy field very soon.