Here’s a short video David Griffith shot of one of our fantastic composers, Howie Reeve playing the song Past Perennial from his new album, Friendly Demons.
Howie Reeve – Friendly Demons ****
12 intricate and expressive solo compositions from former Tattie Toes member
Howie Reeve’s album Friendly Demons reviewed by The List’s Matt Evans
(Sausage Shaped Lobster Records)
Anyone who saw Glasgow’s Tattie Toes play live will surely be familiar with genial shorts-wearing bassist and bell-ringer Howie Reeve. To an already extremely inventive band comprising wildly disparate stylistic elements, he brought a (post) punky sensibility, a lean, wiry bass tone and plenty of genial humour.
Alas, Tattie Toes are no more. The other members can be found playing with The One Ensemble, Alasdair Roberts, Hanna Tuulikki and others, but Reeve has decided to go it alone. Switching his gnarly electric four-string for the subtleties of acoustic bass, he delivers 12 intricate and expressive solo compositions. Reeve describes this as the most personal music he’s ever made, and you can certainly hear why: a sense of warm intimacy pervades the whole thing. Recorded live and (mostly) unaccompanied in his living room, Friendly Demons is very much a home-made concoction, and that’s very much its strength.
The tracks are alive with ambience, dotted with string-squeak and fretbuzz, and even feature the sound of Reeve breathing as he focuses during the more difficult, tricksy passages, recalling the iconic jazz mumbles of Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Thelonious Monk. An extremely proficient player, but never gratuitously showy, Reeve’s focus is on tunes and songwriting, even though only a handful of tunes feature his soft, understated vocals. His approach to bass is beautifully expressive, melodic and thoughtful, but also takes in flamenco-style flourishes, charging post-punk grooves, choppy, percussive passages and one surprisingly violent bout of chaos.
Named in tribute to his local greengrocer, ‘Stalks and Stems’ features a fantastically wobbly and boisterous attack of string-bent low end, while ‘The Playroom’ unexpectedly blossoms into an avant-folk refrain with honeyed harmonies from Foxface alumnus and the album’s recording engineer, Michael Angus. As inventive and playful as it is richly emotional, Friendly Demons will appeal not only to admirers of RM Hubbert’s delicate acoustic portraits, but also to fans of the complex rambunctiousness of Minutemen and The Meat Puppets.
Here are some of the many, many to articles about Hubby and his fantastic win at this year’s Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Awards.
Says Hubby, ”This award means I’ll be able to tour again, make a new record…and hopefully pay off some debts. And I’ll be able to pay the collaborators on the album.”
The soundman speaks out – Marcin Knyziak on working as a sound recordist on ‘TimeLock’
“Working on Timelock was for several reasons a memorable experience. First of all since we only had two weeks for the shoot it was a pleasant surprise to discover that main actors John and Alton were well versed in their parts. I think that they spent few months rehearsing the script with David and that was the key component which allowed us to shoot the movie in time. Frankly with the dialogue heavy scenes running up to ten minutes in a single shot it was the only way to do it.
Now the style of shooting was another interesting aspect of the film. Due to length of the takes actors really had time to warm up and build up their performances. Time wise the whole shoot was on the hectic side with us shooting up to ten pages of the script a day. That said due to good organization we hardly ever run overtime which I found a miracle. Since big parts of the film were shot with hand held camera sound department had to be always on their feet and ready to follow the action.
If I had to pick up the single aspect of the process that had the biggest impact on our filming it would definitely be the pre-production done by David and our producer Inge. First of all director really knew what he wanted to shoot which is not always the case. Although we did embrace a few happy findings during the filming process, the vast majority of the shots were pre-planned and there was never confusion of what we need to shoot on the day.
Our cast and crew may have been limited but was never less a great fun to work with and it’s because of they hard work that shoot went smooth and provided some good memories.”
Sound Recordist / Designer
Scotland is a fantastic place to make films — Danielle Stewart reflects on her experiences making ‘TimeLock’
Thinking back on my experience on Timelock the best way I can describe it is that it felt like relaxed professionalism. When I met David Griffith for the first time alongside my good friend John C Gilmour and soon to be co-star Alton Milne, I was expecting an audition with the hope of having a recall and maybe I’d get lucky by being offered the role. What I didn’t realise was that I already had the part of Maria – the meeting was to make sure I wanted to be involved (which of course I did!). This has led me to believe that the aspect I feel worked so well on Timelock was that intuition was used to trust that people would get on with their job and do it well. There was no pretension or room for ego; it was about a story and how to bring it to the best possible outcome on screen.
The team were professional, focused and very visual on what they wanted, but yet they were genuine and respectful. It’s a rarity and privilege to be on a set where you are amongst people with no other agenda but to make the best film they can. No matter how long or short we were on set for, there was friendship, friendly faces and a community spirit and I feel those elements are how you get the best out of people – and of course laughter.
Scotland is a fantastic place to make films as I feel that it is the people who make it such an enjoyable experience as they are supportive and want to see each other do well. I cannot wait to see Timelock on the big screen at the Go North Festival. One: to be reunited with the cast and crew who worked so well together, but also to see the final product and witness the hard work that everyone has contributed towards. Plus John C. Gilmour is an excellent drinking partner.
A composer’s perspective from Howie Reeve
“Our remit as composers on TimeLock was principally to augment, to suggest rather than spell out the various motifs within the film. We composed in two pairings: myself and RM Hubbert, and myself and Rafe Fitzpatrick. There was also a third, equally vital musical component, namely David McAulay’s excellent sonic atmospheres.
David Griffith had a clear idea of what he wanted, but his role was very much one of trust and facilitation. As such, we were given broad templates to work to. Hubby and I created themes for Mark and Cal, musical sketches that implied either character’s flawed emotional make up, framed within the predicaments they face in the film. Rafe and I created an overall ambience, mostly applying a feel of slight disembodiment, which goes hand in hand with Mark’s general torpor, and the almost fly on the wall detachment of some of the camera shots.
There is a claustrophobic feel to much of ‘TimeLock’, not only on a literal level, but also in the basic emotional states of its characters – a kind of fatalism which portrays Mark, Cal and others as virtually helpless in their drives and debilitating thought patterns. However, this is not absolute, and especially at the end of the film, the notion of an individual’s power to make redeeming choices is lightly touched on.
The whole of the film invites the viewer to make choices themselves, and, generally, our job as musicians was to insinuate, rather than to hammer home: we weren’t looking for blatant riffs – our approach was far more textural.”
Howie Reeve, composer on TimeLock together with RM Hubbert and Rafe Fitzpatrick
Howie Reeve, RM Hubbert and Rafe Fitzpatrick had never composed for a feature film composer until they agreed to work on TimeLock. That said they are supremely gifted musician and we never had any doubts that they would come up with a fantastic soundtrack for the film .