WaveForms is the name I give to my instrumental music, inspired by the work of Robert Fripp and Brian Eno – wave because it uses a sustaining guitar, a guitar synth and looping techniques to set up gently rising and falling waves of sound.
For the listener
For the listener, WaveForms is intended to set up an atmosphere of calm and even contemplation. I’ve played in churches but also in coffee bars, where the aim is simply to create a pleasant ambience, as ignorable as it is listenable. For a number of years I played in St John’s Church in Edinburgh during the Edinburgh Festival as part of the Festival of Peace and Spirituality. Filling that huge space, candle-lit in darkness, with this meditative music was one of the highlights of my life.
For the player
For the player, the aim is to set up a framework within which to improvise, responding to each returning note as it arises with another note. Because each note you play will come back to you again and again, you must be alert and ‘in the moment’. Fripp’s term for it is ‘honour necessity, honour sufficiency’ – play what’s needed and no more. For me it’s an aspiration rather than a skill, and I’m still learning.
When I play at home, the whole thing is improvised, from the random selection of the first note. For public performance I’ve ‘composed’ a few structures where I know the key, the synth and guitar voices, and the stages in which I’ll add and change elements. The pieces still tend to take their own individual course.
Each track is the first take of an improvisation using a Fernades Sustainer guitar connected to a Roland GK20 guitar synthesiser, a Boss Giga Delay and a Digitech JamMan.