A view of the University of Glasgow from atop the hill in Kelvingrove Park

I have arrived and am a couple of days into work with Nick Fells. We started with a walk around west end Glasgow, getting the lay of the land, discussing the big picture of the piece and just getting to know each other a bit. Then we went directly into improvising together. I on cello and Nick processing, looping and diffusing me into 8 small speakers using an old Max patch we utilized in our 2015 performance together. This we followed with talking about what worked, what we liked, how the music might be incorporated into a piece,  etc. In general working with Nick is very easy, our communication is open, our senses of humour compatible, our aesthetics are meshing, and our senses of organization seem to be in line. (we’re organizers as well as artists, aware of the bigger picture and “practicalities” of building and presenting the work). So it’s very stimulating, and just what I love to do best: developing things through collaboration: And so far the playing has been really fun to boot!

Ah a practice room, note the institutional paint scheme and bars on the windows! This is where I can get real work done!

 

We’ve also eaten some good food, had a few pints with Sebastian Lexer, (my other, longer standing friend here) heard a show of 3 sets of improvised music, last night, and I’ve gotten to ride at the front of a double decker bus! And I’ve spent some time in a practice room enjoying the cello, wandered the streets a bit, and just basically tried to get my bearings here.

Glasgow seems to have been completely built in and around 1850. A lot of the buildings, at least in this part of town are of that vintage. I guess that was when times were good, ships were being built and labour was cheap. The buildings are very Victorian: large featured, austere, sometimes with a real Gothic flavour (like the main building at the University. Combine that with a little Scottish drizzle and things get

a view of Ireland. Just what you’d hope for. Note the clear skies….

pretty serious! The University is big, but the music department seems smaller and more specialized. People are very friendly.

Today we are meeting, doing some recording of cello sounds for Nick to practice and program with when I leave. Also I think we’ll head out into the city to do some field recording. We’re trying to capture some sense of this place, and later Nova Scotia, with the idea that New and Old Scotland will be a conceptual foundation for the piece.

It feels pretty luxurious to just think about music and making something out of music! Did I mention I’m here with the support of Arts Nova Scotia? Thanks to them, and the University of Glasgow, Nick and I can have this luxury!