22 July 2015


It's cold and wet in Canberra. Hippo is warm and enveloping but the numbers are down a bit. Pensive Phish were playing. It's Miro and James and Mark Webber with laptop and loops and the grooves are all Miles and Bitches Brew and the like. I caught one set and enjoyed it immensely. I imagine it's fully improvised, just a key and a groove and whatever effects appeal. Kay was sitting in on drums and this was determined and sometimes ornery with a few bar of suspended syncopations or the groove moving with new but sustained accents on snare or other. I loved hearing James with his firm grooves and deep octaves and various other effects, and Miro's trumpet, sometimes clear, sometimes speaking back from something happening on Mark's laptop. I didn't always hear Mark's laptop, but I guess the vibes fatten with it and certainly the few tunes (they only played two extended grooves for the first set) ended with fading loops and quotes from Miro and others. There was percussion there, too. I guess Miro, as he is wont to add, but also repeated by Mark, I also guess. Lachlan was the choppy, almost bluesy with, what, mutating minor third patterns (?), that give the slower grooves some scintillation. The beauty is in the insistence of the groove and the conversations of the variations of all the parts. But it must also be the tonal colours of instruments, the swirling sounds that repeat from the originals being formed right there in front of you. Electronics are key. It may use laptops, but it harks back to Miles in the late-60s. I just want to get out what meagre effects I have and toy with them. But then, it's not quite so easy, of course.

Pensive Phish were Miroslav Bukovsky (trumpet), Lachlan Coventry (guitar), James Luke (bass), Mark Webber (laptop) and Kay Chinnery (drums) and they played at Hippo.

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