mat martin | Playing

  • Sketches, ideas, field recordings, demos and other such nonsenses are collected here, and can be filtered or searched below. Field recordings are often made while someone else takes a picture, and in those cases end with the shutter click.

    Readers are reminded that this is an intermittent service and despite all good intentions is often neglected in favour of proper work.

  • 13 November, 2016 | Blog · Music · Playing · Recording

    Bass player on Chris Cundy’s new album ‘Gustav Lost’ – Dominic Lash – had the foresight to put together this little ‘Looking for Gustav’ film from the sessions at Wincraft Studios in Bourton-on-the-Water last year. Chris’s album comes out in December 2016, and can be ordered via his Bandcamp page. He’s written a nice accompanying piece to the release over at his site:

    Rather than blurring lines I want to see how a coexistence between composition and improvisation can bring out eccentricities in the music, where they interrupt each other, and how this throws things into high relief. For a number of years I have worked with songwriters, in popular music, and theatre. Rather than keeping my interests separate I wanted to combine some of these elements. To some extent this project follows on from Gannets – the tea dance gone wrong band, which also features Fyfe Dangerfield and Dominic Lash as well as myself. The aim with Gustav Lost was to keep the spontaneity we had enjoyed in that group but to combine it with some rather different energies and structures. The joy of doing this is that I can create segments of music which sustain cyclical moods but also enter sudden changes of direction. It was important that compositions work as fully formed ideas that can exist in their own right. I’m not interested in composing music that attempts to mimic the complexities at the heart of improvisation. In many ways I want to respect the improvisations that we as musicians have made together and are still in the process of making. This music should be given its own space in which it can breathe, surprise, express a madness of its own, or whatever it is that liberates that part of our psyche. I wanted an aspect of music-in-the-making, a playfulness of it being toppled, and of it being picked up again in these recordings.

    Each musicians’ contribution enhances the writing and arranging I put into place in ways I wouldn’t have imagined at the outset. Hannah Marshall is an experienced improviser with a flare for the cello that goes far beyond its wood panelled historicity. Mat Martin is a multi-instrumental string player and although we have worked together previously, this is the first time we have explored anything using partly improvised elements. Mat had a lot to offer the group in terms of temperament and lyrical expression. I have worked with Fyfe Dangerfield in many different guises, initially in a hip hop outfit we called The Executive Caveman and later as an additional member of his indie-pop group Guillemots. I have garnered a great deal from working with Fyfe over the years, leading to my own desire in striking a balance between popular and experimental music. Dominic Lash is a multi-faceted bass player with an ability to absorb a wide range of traditions and techniques yet his own playing remains vibrant and entirely his own. My first exposure to Mark Sanders was seeing him with the saxophonist Evan Parker, and this sparked a desire to discover the ecstatic possibilities of free improvisation on my own terms. Mark’s drumming on these recordings remains brilliantly relaxed yet he offers a sharp ability to corner the compositional lines exactly where and when it matters. Stuart Wilding offers some additional textures using a rarified assortment of junk yard instruments and percussion.

    12 November, 2016 | Blog · Music · Playing · Recording

    James Brute - Here She Comes

    ‘Here She Comes’, from the recent recordings made with James Brute and the band we have built around his songs over the last few years. The sound is really coming together now.

    James Brute: Vocals & Guitar
    Mat Martin: Guitar & Vocals
    Dave Ferrett: Bass & Vocals
    Johnny Manning: Keyboard & Percussion
    Fin Brown: Drums & Vocals

    Well I feel like Don Quixote on mezcal and peyote
    Taking on the windmills of my mind
    With a bottle of chianti and my trusty Rocinante
    Sancho Panza rides along behind
    Sancho Panza, he rides along behind
    Then swimming through my vision like some holy apparition
    To the sound, the sound of distant drums
    My eyes they won’t believe me but my ears they don’t deceive me
    Here she comes, here she comes, here she comes

    As the fog it clears, I wake up in Ikea
    With a bag and a bucket and a basket and a buggy and a bin
    And they rifle my possessions and start to ask me questions
    Like who am I and where have I been?
    Who am I and where have I been?
    I traded beads for deeds of honour, she kept a bracelet on her
    And there’s rings on all her fingers and her thumbs
    Like the ghost of Pocahontas I swear she walks among us
    Here she comes, here she comes, here she comes

    I have been a thousand places, I have seen a thousand faces
    But there’s only one, one that I hold dear
    She has brought me to my senses, bust down walls, broke down fences
    Now I see so brightly, now I see so clear
    Now I see so brightly, now I see so clear
    She speaks with the Orishas, she swims among the fishes
    She feeds me figs and dates and oranges and plums
    I’ve smoked her chillum, drunk her gourd
    I’ve held her plastic sword
    Here she comes, here she comes, here she comes

    4 November, 2016 | Blog · Music · Playing · Recording

    The Gustav Lost album from my dear friend and wonderful musician Chris Cundy is finally being released in a limited run of physical copies via FMR Recordings and is already available for pre-order at Chris’ Bandcamp page. As well as being a superb composer and improviser, Chris has had the pleasure of recording and performing with (among others) the likes of Timber Timbre, Guillemots, Gannets, Devon Sproule, Little Annie and Cold Specks.

    As always, a real pleasure to play with not only Chris but a host of great players and improvisers. We had a lot of fun making this record last year and I’m very happy to see it come out.

    Chris Cundy: Bass Clarinet
    Mat Martin: Guitar
    Fyfe Dangerfield: Piano
    Hannah Marshall: Cello
    Dominic Lash: Double Bass
    Mark Sanders: Drums
    Stuart Wilding: Percussion

    The album saw a lovely early review from Downtown Music Galery, NYC recently, too:

    Featuring Chris Cundy on bass clarinet & compositions, Fyfe Dangerfield on piano, Mat Martin on guitar, Hannah Marshall on cello, Dominic Lash on double bass and Mark Sanders on drums. This is a most impressive debut disc by UK bass clarinettist Chris Cundy, of whom I hadn’t heard previously, as well as not knowing of his frontline bandmates, Mr. Dangerfield and Mr. Martin. I’ve seen cellist Hannah Marshall’s name on several disc over the past few years with Veryan Weston, Alexander Hawkins and a trio called Shoreditch. Bassist Dominic Lash also has been getting around and working with the Convergence Quartet, Alex Ward and for lower-case projects on the Wanderweiser and Another Timbre labels. I can’t say enough good things about drummer Mark Sanders who remains one of the most in-demand players on the UK scene (for Paul Dunmall, Evan Parker & Jah Wobble).

    I played this disc three times in a row last Sunday (10/30/16) while working alone and marveling at how great it is. The first thing that stands about this sextet is the combination of instruments: bass clarinet, cello, piano and guitar, warm, wooden-toned and most enchanting. Often the bass clarinet and cello either shadow or complement each other, playing thoughtful, rich harmonies together, gracefully at times, creating lush autumnal colors. There is one piece dedicated to the late British saxist Lol Coxhill, who always had an odd sense of humor. The piece is called, “Hello Pigeon” and it captures Coxhill’s quaint spirit just right. This song had me whistling along and even snapping my fingers, smiling throughout. I like that Mr. Cundy combines a blend of playfulness with more unpredictable arrangements. Thus making this disc most charming and uplifting. A pleasant departure from the more complex or darker side of music we usually review.

    – Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG

    9 June, 2016, 17:00 | Blog · Music · Playing

    This is from the sessions recording original music by Chris Cundy which explores the overlaps of composed and improvised sound. It was a pleasure to record at Wincraft Studios in Bourton on the Water, Glos., and an honour to play with an illustrious ensemble:

    Chris Cundy: Bass Clarinet
    Mat Martin: Guitar
    Fyfe Dangerfield: Piano
    Hannah Marshall: Cello
    Dominic Lash: Double Bass
    Mark Sanders: Drums

    9 June, 2016, 15:50 | Blog · Music · Playing

    Kirsty McGee - A Plague (Demo)

    Been playing with new electric sounds for the material Kirsty McGee has been writing lately. This played on a Daddy Mojo Cigar box through a Fender Champ 600 – I hope it’s the kernel of a great sound…

    I found this (from March 2011, along with another, similar demo) whilst clearing out my old tumblr blog and was pleasantly surprised by the sounds and the playing on it, so I’m re-posting it now. This is how I usually think I’d like to be able to play – I must have found it that day.

    23 September, 2014 | Blog · Music · Playing · Recording

    New single from James Brute, featuring me on clapping and packing crate and lungs etc. Directed by David Fishel and filmed shortly after James broke his collar bone.

    Released September 23rd, 2014

    Performed by James Steel & Mat Martin
    Recorded by Nick Foots

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    1 April, 2013 | Blog · Music · Playing · Recording

    The song Sandman is from the album ‘The Kansas Sessions’ (HPCD004, 2008), and features in the 2013 movie ‘Trance’ by Danny Boyle.
    The song ‘Setting of the Sun’ is from the album ‘Contraband’ (HPCD007, 2012).

    Released April 1, 2013

    Kirsty McGee: Vocal, Guitar
    Mat Martin: Banjo Uke
    Katie Euliss: String Bass
    Colin Mahoney: Drums, Percussion
    Larry Maxey: Clarinet

    Produced by Mike West
    Recorded by Mike West at The Ninth Ward Pickin’ Parlour
    Mastered by Denis Blackham at Skye Mastering
    Artwork & Graphic Design: Mat Martin

    12 January, 2013 | Blog · Music · Playing · Producing · Recording

    Released January 12, 2013

    Joanna Chapman-Smith – Vocals, Guitar, Copper Pipes (track 11) and Clarinet (track 1)
    Todd Biffard – Drums
    Patrick Metzger – Double bass
    Albert St. Albert – Hand percussion, Vocals
    Mat Martin – Banjo, Tenor guitar, Guitar
    Jaron Freeman-Fox – Violin

    Produced by Joanna Chapman-Smith and Mat Martin

    19 November, 2012 | Blog · Music · Playing · Recording

    Released November 19th, 2012

    ‘Greedy Magicians’, singer-songwriter Matt Hill aka Quiet Loner’s third album, is a collection of contemporary protest songs seething with disgust and shot through with melancholy at the state of our coalition-led nation. It’s an album which responds both personally and politically, reflecting on recent events and rewriting them as chapters in a long and historic struggle of the many against the few.

    Rejecting the securities of a conventional recording studio, Hill instead recorded in an 18th century church in Salford, an area steeped in radicalism. Over a single evening in May 2012, lit only by candles and fairy lights with around 100 people present to witness it, Hill and his fellow musicians (with members of Samson & Delilah and Last Harbour) recorded the songs totally live in single takes.

    The album sleeves are handprinted using 19th century machines, the techniques used to print radical pamphlets now deployed to produce a 21st century form of protest.

    ‘Greedy Magicians’ is a strong and self-assured artistic statement and there’s a powerful atmosphere that permeates this record. Quiet Loner has made a record about standing up and speaking out, about knowing your history and, most importantly, about how community is our strength and our hope.

    Mike Doward: Double bass, Vocals
    Tammy Hermann: Vocals
    Matt Hill: Vocals, Guitar
    Mat Martin: Tenor guitar, Percussion, Vocals
    James Youngjohns: Violin, Mandolin, Guitar
    Anna Zweck: Accordion, Flute, Vocals

    4 November, 2012, 17:53 | Blog · Music · Playing · Touring

    Myshkin's Ruby Warblers - BBC Radio 3

    World On 3 - Myshkin Live Session

    The live session Myshkin and I, as official Ruby Warbler on tenor guitar and banjo, recorded for BBC Radio 3 this autumn, was broadcast this week. As far as I know it will be archived for listening indefinitely at the World on Three page.

    Super happy with these arrangements, and with the Ruby Warbling in general, and looking forward to more work with Myshkin next year. This music is amongst my favourite to work on – harmonically it goes to some of my favourite dark places, and the chance to be inventive is always present. There are only a few artists I’ve played with who give the chance to get your chops around such a variety of styles and ideas.

    A very early version of a Lorca setting from Myshkin at the end of this session, too. Such a treat to be involved in this project at such a formative point, too.

    1 February, 2012 | Blog · Music · Playing · Recording

    Released February 1st 2012

    Jenny McCormick – Guitar, vocal
    Yuuki McClure – Guitar
    Jon Thorne – Double Bass
    Mat Martin – Banjo
    Quinta – Violin

    20 March, 2011, 15:08 | Blog · Music · Playing

    Kirsty McGee - Salt (Demo)

    Another demo made prior to rehearsals getting underway for Kirsty McGee’s run of European dates this April. Still experimenting with the little electric cigar box and trying to squeeze just the right tone from it. Getting warmer. The shows themselves will help these songs to settle into solid forms, no doubt.

    The more I play this cigar box the more I feel like it’s the gateway into electric guitar playing again, and that I could use something to dig into a little harder, especially with some of the project ideas I have rolling around my head. Still on the hunt for the right gear. Will maybe try to visit the Höfner factory while I’m on tour in Germany…


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    8 November, 2010 | Blog · Music · Playing · Producing · Recording

    ‘The wordplay is pure Costello. Delicate songwriting, with hints of folk and Americana. Bleakly beautiful.’ – UNCUT (****)
    ‘The Loner’s acoustic guitar-gilded explorations shine.’ – DAILY MIRROR (****)
    ‘An outstanding record. Uplifting and inspiring’ – MAVERICK (****)
    ‘He gathers his songs around him and weaves them into works of wonder’’ – ROCK N REEL R2 (****)
    ‘Somewhere between Raymond Carver and Alan Sillitoe… dissecting heartbreak with surgical precision. Highly recommended.’ – AMERICANA UK (8/10)

    Released November 8th, 2010

    Matt Hill vocals and acoustic guitar
    Alan Cook dobro
    Inge Thomson vocals, fender rhodes, accordian, melodica, kalimba, kaossilator, percussion
    Mat Martin banjo, tenor guitar, mandolin
    Roy Dodds drums

    All songs written by Matt Hill (except Lucifer by Matt Hill and Jason Walker)
    Produced by Mat Martin
    Engineered by Michael Tedstone and Richard Mellor
    Recorded at the Paddocks, Wartnaby, Leicestershire.
    Mastered by Denis Blackman at Skye Mastering, Isle of Skye.
    Original artwork and design by Kevin Craig

    8 November, 2010 | Blog · Music · Playing · Producing · Recording

    For this joint release, Kirsty McGee & The Hobopop Collective have recorded ‘Wife’, a song from the ‘How The Caged Bird Sings’ album by The Brute Chorus. In return, the Brutes have recorded the previously unreleased Kirsty McGee song ‘Alligator Teeth’.

    Released November 8, 2010

    Kirsty McGee – Vocals, Guitars
    Mat Martin – Fretless Banjo
    Nick Blacka – Double Bass
    Rob Turner – Drums
    Clive Mellor – Harmonica
    Barkley McKay – Piano

    Recorded and mixed at Valley Wood Studios, Leeds by Barkley McKay
    Produced by Mat Martin
    Artwork by Mat Martin

    15 March, 2010 | Blog · Music · Playing · Producing · Recording

    On October 10th 2009 Kirsty McGee & The Hobopop Collective performed and recorded a one-off show at Contact, Manchester, UK. This album represents the band’s selections from that set and is presented here with no overdubs or repairs, exactly as the songs were performed on the night.

    Released March 15, 2010

    Kirsty McGee: Vocal, Guitar
    Mat Martin: Banjos, Tenor Guitar, Banjo Uke, Vocal
    Nick Blacka: Double Bass
    Rob Turner: Drums, Junk
    With Special Guests
    James Steel: Electric Guitar
    Clive Mellor: Harmonica
    Christopher Cundy: Bass Clarinet, Saxello

    Produced by Mat Martin
    Recorded on location at Contact, Manchester by Barkley McKay
    Mastered by Russ Hepworth-Sawyer for MOTTOsound
    Artwork & Graphic Design: Mat Martin
    Photography: Pauline Keightley
    Live Sound: Ibrar Haque