15 January 2024
Here's another tune we recorded on a recent gig. This is a composition by Richard Iles and it features Richard on Flugelhorn (and Piano) and Jose Canha on Double Bass. I'm on guitar on this one.
Download (right click)
"At times intense, at other times joyous but always groovin'!"
My name is Jeremy Platt. I make music. Examples can be found through the above links and my albums can be accessed through the Releases page. I write poems and essays and my short story “Playing Bass at A Wedding” is available in Dreamcatcher magazine issue 40.
This is a place where I share music, words, thoughts and ideas.
12 November 2023
I was recently in Sevilla where I attended a concert by the Cuban Canadian musician Alex Cuba. It proved to be a thought provoking experience. Alex Cuba has built a career by developing a devoted audience while singing in both Spanish and English. None of his song videos or even his Tiny Desk performance with a (great) band convey the human warmth that was generated in the room of around 300 people. Armed only with his expressive voice and subtle rhythmic guitar skills, Alex created an incredibly intimate dialogue with those in attendance. The Andalusian audience, which may have included some with Cuban heritage, knew all the words. Alex encouraged their participation from the beginning, creating call and response opportunities. This being Andalusia, his guitar flourishes generated frequent “Ole’s”. The clapping along of the audience was subtle, influenced by the “palmas” of Flamenco and utterly unlike the groove killing hammering of beats one and three which still blights some European concert halls. The audience were certainly celebrating the music but I think a better word for their attitude would be “reverence”. They showed reverence for the performer, the songs and the occasion. From the moment Alex Cuba appeared on the stage, he established a deep connection with his people. This was through a mixture of charisma, humour and the knowledge that he was loved. It was a privilege to witness this meeting which eliminated any traditional notion of a distinction between audience and performer. In truth, the audience was the gig.
25 August 2023
A long time ago I recorded "Accelerate The Years", a track featuring piano and multitrack vocals. It's now available on my Bandcamp page. https://jeremyplatt.bandcamp.com/track/accelerate-the-years
5 June 2023
I would definitely recommend Nick Drnaso's graphic novel "Sabrina". It's an examination of the way in which people's lives are affected by the online world. I was struck by the way in which individuals are frequently depicted as the only human figure against domestic or other backgrounds, often at night and without text. The cumulative effect of this is to create an oppressive atmosphere of loneliness with which the reader can empathise. This subtle and gradual building of emotion by purely visual means is an interesting feature of the graphic novel. In combination with text it can make for an extremely powerful impact.
1 February 2023
I've always paid close attention to the sound of the drums as well as what is being played on them. Snare drums in particular seem to possess a fascination for me. My preference is usually for something tuned highish and tight but as ever, it depends on the context. There's little point in trying to precisely replicate a snare sound from an existing recording as it usually sounds the way it does because of the sounds which surround it. Having said that, one of the top snares to be committed to vinyl can be found on the 70s recordings of Johnny Guitar Watson when Emry Thomas was the drummer and indeed, co-producer. This one for example - they knew how to do it in 1976!
22 January 2023
A few weeks ago , former England rubgy union scrum half Danny Care described the firing of England coach Eddie Jones as “surreal”. Will Collar recently employed the same term when describing his hat trick for Stockport County in their FA Cup tie with Charlton Athletic. Both these cases suggest that the word “surreal” has moved away from its origins in the world of dreams and the unconscious and has shifted towards being an expression of disbelief or a descriptor of absurdity. In contemporary poetry, the term is still in use and has been applied to the work of poets such as Selima Hill and Caroline Bird. I found that “ The Art of Recklessness” by the late poet Dean Young caused me to think about whether old school surrealism has survived in contemporary poetry. Has it become more of a synonym for “absurd” or is it something else entirely?
Young quotes from “Free Union” by Andre Breton, the seminal figure in the surrealist movement. A couple of lines will serve as examples of the work.
“My wife whose shoulders are champagne” or
(My wife) “whose waist is the waist of an otter caught in the teeth of a tiger”
While lines like these are perhaps absolutely typical of the originators of surrealism, they are also pretty much what a contemporary poet might produce if asked to parody the style. So has surrealism lost the power of its original impact?
Young says “even before the poem ends, a modern reader, rather familiar with eyebrows that are nests of sparrows, grows a bit bored, a bit too clued in to the system…this raunchy, racy poem seems a bit quaint’.
It’s interesting to compare this with Caroline Bird’s “Checkout” a playful and moving description of an end of life scenario. Here, it’s the situation and its consequences which might be described as surreal, as the protagonist is asked to fill in a customer satisfaction questionnaire before exiting life.
The central image in the poem is this -
“Your face like a cartoon treasure chest glowing with gold light”
To me, it’s an image that feels materially different from those of Breton, yet it could certainly have originated in a dream. Are they both surreal in the same way? My instinct is to say no but perhaps I’m wrong! It’s interesting that I can’t currently articulate the difference in a meaningful way! Am I being affected by the word “cartoon” which suggests contemporary animation or is it just that the poets have very different voices?
I’m still thinking about this stuff and if anyone else is, I’d really recommend Young’s “The Art of Recklessness’ as a stimulating read.