Items filtered by date: July 2016

Band leaves the stage

  • Published in News

The last chords were sounded by Red House this week as Geoff decided to call it quits on the band. He wants to devote his time and energies to composing and arranging, keeping control over the sound and mood he wants to achieve with individual songs. The band had its last practice last Saturday: Geoff informed Maggie of his decision the following day and the rest of the band found out at what was supposed to have been a special practice on Wednesday.

It was a sad but inevitable decision: after some three years, the band had reached a level it was unlikely to exceed. Friendship as well as music-making had underpinned everything and ultimately it was important to preserve the friendship in the face of perhaps a growing discontent in the music-making. Geoff and Maggie will continue to work together on songs under the title Red HouseWork.

“After the practice last Saturday I was trying to work out how to resolve the problems which were preventing us from making further progress,” said Geoff. “On the Sunday I decided that maybe we had just come to a natural end; that maybe the progress I was looking for was of a different sort than the scope of the band could offer. When you do something for the love of it but the pleasure is slowly being eroded by other factors, then maybe you need to look for a change. But we’ve had a great time and met all sorts of people and made new friends and so thanks to all those we’ve worked and played with: Nico, Norali, Juan, Matis, Marina and of course Sandro, Colin, Miguel and Tania.”

The website will continue and contributions are still invited.

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Antecedent Jonathan Swift???

Sometimes an idiom, a proverb or commonly-used expression can be the catalyst for writing a song, which was the case with Sight for Sore Eyes. It started with that phrase - incidentally first recorded by Jonathan Swift in 1738 - and was built around the expression and its sentiment. There are plenty of songs anchored to an idiom or a saying: I Heard it through the Grapevine, Bat out of Hell, Like a Rolling Stone, Lust for Life, Walk on the Wild Side, Heart of Gold... their titles immediately provoke a mental picture for the listener. It doesn’t matter if the picture doesn’t correlate to the lyrics, the imagination has been stirred and imagination is a great accompaniment to music.
This is a simple song and there’s not much to say about it other than the sight of someone you love and know intimately and all your shared experiences ultimately transcend any shit you might be going through. GR

AFTERWORD

Apologies to people listening without the benefit of a woofer as there is a fair bit of sub-bass going on and it might sound a bit distorted but don’t worry there is a solution: go and buy a woofer. GR

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CD laid down now he’s on the road again

  • Published in News

Itinerant musician Hugo Blouzouki, who earlier this year wrote for Red House about his global adventures as a music-maker, has finished his latest CD, Je Déménage, a collection of original songs recorded with a group of musicians in Istanbul over the early summer months. It is an inviting, rich mix of sounds, including horns and sax as well as guitars, harmonica and percussion. Blouzouki has a gentle approach, he sounds like a French Lou Reed or sometimes he’s reminiscent of Leonard Cohen. You can listen and see if you agree via www.blouzouki.com/music For me there are two stand-out numbers; the title track, Je Déménage, a lilting foot-tapper with a soaring saxophone interlude, and Le Porto, which introduces elements of Portugese Fado music and flamenco hand-clapping.

It’s to be hoped that sax player Hakan Kiltepe and his fellow musicians, as well as everyone at Drum and Bass Studio, Istanbul, where the CD was recorded, mixed and mastered by Aybars Gulumser, are safe and well after the catalogue of terrorism attacks in Turkey and the recent failed military-coup and all its casualties. Hugo himself had already left Istanbul: he contacted us in June from Berlin, just before setting off to Switzerland for some street playing. He might even head here to Pinzales in late summer... ML

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SASStonbury without the glas’ or getting stoned

Summer solstice this year saw the dawn of SASStonbury, a mini drink- and drug- free music festival organised by Sheffield Alcohol Support Service, a charity otherwise known as SASS, hence the derivative. It was a bit of a gamble. It was something we thought would be a nice idea but we were plagued by worries that there would be no proper ‘festival’ atmosphere once you removed the stimulants and we also wanted to do it properly, an all-day affair with different acts, food and lots of people. We needn’t have worried: apart from one dicey half hour when the power failed; SASStonbury was fantastic and a real eye-opener about not needing alcohol to have a good time. So here’s our mini guide on how to put on a mini music festival without the need for booze or other dodgy substances:

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Black Week heralds in (growing) culture clash

  • Published in Venues

It had everything. You could buy an inflated Dalmatian bobbing high in the air on a length of string and then listen in on the latest in Scandi noir. You could gamble a couple of euros on some prize bingo and then pause to study an exhibition of harrowing photos of desperate people trying to float their way to illusory freedom across the Mediterranean. You could reach for EXSTAZY on one of the fairground rides before enjoying a sit and a beer while six authors round-table discussed the future of Latin-American literature. You could have your hair Afro-plaited, skewer your waistline on kebabs and sausages, marvel over the latest in explicit graphic-novel illustration, browse the ethnic market-stalls before takjng a selfie under the magnifying scope of Sherlock Holmes, then linger longingly along the terrace of bookstalls. What titles were there to covet! Somewhat pathetically I quite fancied a biog of the old Hollywood looker, Montgomery Clift, partly because of the very fact that it seemed so far out of its comfort zone. And so, as ever, all human life was here in Gijón at the Semana Negra festival last week. The 18th annual celebration of all things noir attracted the usual thousands of people and some of the most popular contemporary authors from around the world. Of course some thing are more “noir” than others: some aficionados believe that Semana Negra has developed a few too many grey areas. In recent years, cries have gone up that the whole festival has become too commercialised, forcing the real stars of the show – the writers, the books, the exhibitions – to take a back-seat in the shade. It’s not difficult to understand their point of view. Great though it is, for example, for such a great variety of food to be available to hungry festival-goers and for people in the catering trade to count on a bit of a boost in sales, not so great is the resulting stink that this accumulation of eateries throws up, an olfactory assault too reminiscent of oft-used frying oil and meat being seared/roasted/barbecued non-stop whatever the weather. But hey, in today’s economic climate no doubt the pitch rents help pay for the whole thing. What have fairground rides got to do with literature and film noir? Think Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train. What has communal fast-food got to do with sci-fi? Think Ridley Scott and Alien and actor John Hurt’s last meal. And they’re just for appetisers... But are appetisers enough if the main course has been served up the same way too many times?

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Play mates ring out the cash

  • Published in News

Two new arrivals who swapped their field nursery for the red house are after just one week showing signs of musical integration, not necessarily of the welcome kind. Chav (the tabby) and China (the other one) were rescued from a colony of cats in the gardens of an old house after their mother had had enough. China subsequently had to be rescued again. After a couple of hours spent hunting round the sitting-room investigating the source of relentless cheeping cries, Geoff eventually traced the by-now quavering kitten: China had entangled herself in the back of the piano. It has since become one of her (most inconvenient as regards furniture removal) hiding places. Meanwhile Chav shares responsibility for orchestrating the tinkling sounds of our money pouring into pet-shop tills – mother’s-milk substitute, special kitten food, eye-drops, anti-flea spray-with-comb, anti-flea bombs for when they’re old enough to be out of the house for three hours. All this has interrupted the usual work in red house. The kittens were crawling with fleas when they arrived, you could literally just sit and watch the pesky marauders taking the air (and the blood) at will and then the poor kittens demented with all the subsequent scratching. Morning bath sessions in washing-up liquid in the kitchen sink were initiated, followed by a routine of flea-spray combing then flea-zapping with a battery-powered flea-zapper; nothing intrusive, of course, they’re too young. The routine has proved quite successful: so many of the blood-suckers have been executed that Chav and China are having a bath-free morning today. Needless to say the Red House website has had to take a backseat this week.

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Goggle boxed

What has happened to television? Gone are the days when you’d search the schedules for a decent film rather than having to sit through a banal medical drama or some clichéd police show if you were thinking of a night in in front of the box. The end of the nineties and the beginning of the noughties brought us three ground-breaking series. The Sopranos: ostensibly a Mafia soap-opera but with intelligent dialogue and a degree of graphic content not really seen before. There was 24 which, before it descended into farce, gave us an original story, a tight plot and high production values (walls didn’t wobble if a door was slammed) and perhaps crucially it opened the door for established film stars to appear on television. The first series of The Wire opened a window on a different world: the low-life Baltimore streets rather than international terrorism or organised crime but, most importantly, the quality of the script-writing exhibited a respect for the viewer and set a new bar. HBO, the channel responsible for two of these shows, had already aired a series called OZ, set in a maximum security prison, but the series remained fairly marginal perhaps because its no-holds-barred content was a little too much and so in the UK was shown after midnight.

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About

Red House Work is the body of music, songs and videos written and produced by the band, Red House, based in Pinzales, Gijón. Here we also give you a flavour of our cultural and musical interests and those of others. Contact us on: redhousepostbox@gmail.com

Red House Work es el conjunto de la música, las canciones y los vídeos escritos y producidos por el grupo Red House, con base en el pueblo de Pinzales, Gijón. En esta web os ofrecemos también una muestra de nuestros gustos culturales y musicales y los de otra gente afín a nuestro proyecto. Podéis contactar con nosotros a través de:redhousepostbox@gmail.com