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cubest 029 by the cube orchestraLet's face it, it hasn't been that long since the last release and I had no list on the go, but as is often the case, a single recording sparked the need for me to issue a new collection by way of Cubest029

The track is 'Skullduggery LARP' and, unlike most Cubest offerings, is presented uncut and weighs in at 11:36 in length. The rest of the track selection is based around this big tune, to provide balance and a coherent journey from start to finish. Most are from 2018, but I did dig back as far as July 2017 in the shape of 'Gwendolen', for which I did the opposite of 'Skullduggery LARP' and hacked out a good twelve minutes of performance!

So sit back and enjoy our eclectic ramblings that make Cubest029 what it is, 36 minutes of pure Cube Orchestra, whatever its shape ...

Jump to Download link ... Back to Cubest series ...


2018 02 21 - Marcus Valentine: Piano; Keef Chemistry: Vocals; Jon Shepherd: Guitar; Martin Urmson: Bass; Alberto Sciusco: Acoustic Guitar; Steve Radford: Alto Sax; David Insua-Cao: Percussion;

I thought it prudent to ease the listener into the album with a gentle meandering piece and, to be honest, Iím happiest when weíre wandering around each other, exploring the soundscape weíre creating, with little or nothing to pin the tune down. Mainly harmonic, occasionally dissonant, everyone can be heard, colouring in as we go, creating mood and atmosphere. The bass is the lynchpin. Itís short by our standards, but is a nice introduction to the method of improvisation and I love a fade-out

Skullduggery LARP

2018 10 31 - Marcus Valentine: Keyboards; Keef Chemistry: Drums, Effects; Jean-Michel Maheu: Guitar; Martin Urmson: Bass; Steve Radford: Alto Sax; Roger Woodhouse: Trombone; Catherine Deas: Vocals;

This is the track that compelled me to produce Cubest029 and is presented uncut because itís simply too good to chop up. Jean-Michel lures us in with a pulsating guitar rhythm, with Martinís lazy bass running under it and Astro Steveís sax over it. I soon follow with the drums. Roger pushes on his trombone and Steve accompanies him. Marcus picks up on the pulsating rhythm, augmenting it and Catherineís scat completes the line-up. Jean-Michel is now free to serve up tasty licks here and there. I stop playing for four beats, hoping no-one else does and it works well. I do struggle on the drums, loving the beat but slipping with my timing. I could have cut bits out here and there, condensing it down in true Cubest stylee, but thereís nothing to cut out and why risk losing the vibe and missing the interplay between Catherine and Jean-Michel at around the four minute mark? There's plenty to tune into with each pass. When I decide to drop out, it was with the intention of dropping back in again, but I couldnít find the right moment, which was a real blessing, as the middle section is superb, pulsing along, sparse and unhurried. I take the opportunity to get up and walk over to the mixer, dropping a little echo on Catherine and Steveís channels. After a while Iím happy with the sound and go back to sitting at the drums, waiting. Jean-Michel lets out delicious licks of wah-wah. Marcus in the meantime has shifted from pulsing to straight stabbing on the piano and the tone of the whole tune shifts with it as we enter the next phase. Martin breaks into a jazzy run up and down the fretboard, Steveís sax is low and sultry, while Catherine scats above it all. Eventually I find a place to enter the fray with a steady beat. I say Ďsteadyí, but itís slippery as. I donít know why I was having so much trouble with such a simple beat, but you can hear me pulling everyone else back, like a pack of huskies having to drag an unconscious body. Catherine has properly warmed to the theme and expresses herself well, interspersed with Steve's sax. The ending, when it comes, is surprisingly swift and stylish


2018 10 24 - Keef Chemistry: Drums; Jon Shepherd: Guitar; Martin Urmson: Bass;

This track comes from a session attended by just three musicians, so the instrumentation is sparse, giving everything prominence. The complimentary bass and guitar lines feel North Africanesque and my accompanying beat is lilting and syncopated. I'd have liked to have heard some chanting and was tempted to overdub some extra vocals, but that would overstep the mark and become meddling. It's a workout around a simple enough motif, yet within a few bars we drop into a weirdly thrashy section from nowhere right to the end. I love the way musicians can respond to unspoken cues in an instant

By My Mother

2017 06 21 - Marcus Valentine: Keyboards; Keef Chemistry: Drums; Jean-Michel Maheu: Guitar, Percussion, Vocals; Steve Radford: Piano Strings;

Jean-Michel is caught talking about a housemate and musician whose music he's never heard, while Steve plucks the strings of the Cube piano. This was the trickiest track to make work. The echo on the claves is out of time with Marcus' piano and my drum beat and the unedited version is peppered with mis-timing and consequently lurches uncomfortably as it progresses. This is heavily edited, garnering the few sections that worked well enough into a relatively short piece. Once Jean-Michel drops the claves and picks up his guitar we are treated to some ear-plotting feedback, delicious. It's quite a sophisticated tune for us


2017 07 19 - Marcus Valentine: Keyboards; Keef Chemistry: Vocals; Jon Shepherd: Guitar; Jean-Michel Maheu: Guitar; Steve Radford: Alto Sax; David Insua-Cao: Drums; Matthew Richards: Bass; Megan Smith: Sax; Tim Robertson: Percussion;

There's no hurrying the Cube orchestra, the simplest of motifs can be played for very extended periods before anything coalesces. This track had been limping along for a full twelve minutes before properly falling into place and kicking off. I grabbed some of the initial meandering, including David bowing the cymbals. I think it builds well. The lead harp sound is actually Marcus on his trusty keyboard. There's some tasty drumming and a floating bass. Three and a half minutes in Jon blasts us with distorted guitar and we react. It's out of place but well-handled by everyone. From there on the tune finds it's way out in classic style, right down to the bass stabs, until it ends too soon and Martin's left holding the final notes

I Hear What You Say

2018 02 21 - Marcus Valentine: Piano; Keef Chemistry: Vocals, Synth; Jean-Michel Maheu: Intro, Guitar, Drums; Steve Radford: Alto Sax;

Lead by Jean-Michel's stirring introduction we launch into a cacophony of sound, sax, a growling synth and swirling feedback. As it forms the feedback recedes and Marcus steps up with a piano motif to which I sing my refrain. Jean-Michel moves over to the drum kit, launching into a flailing roll and maintaining it throughout. To be honest nothing much happens of note, save my refrain extends as the idea develops in my mind. There's some nice light and shade, helped by the pounding drumming, which bursts back to the rolling beat. The tune finds a nice if sudden ending. Still, I thought it would fit well at this point in the compilation

Time Wasted Is Not Wasted Time

2018 10 17 - Keef Chemistry: Synth; Jon Shepherd: Guitar; Martin Urmson: Bass; Matthew Richards: Drums; Steve Radford: Alto Sax; Becky White: Melodica; Roger Woodhouse: Trombone;

I don't think I do enough fade-ins, or fade-outs for that matter. A few synth sweeps which everybody picks up on and we're off. It annoys me that I didn't stick to the motif I started with, but sticking with something simple is quite difficult to do in the moment. with hindsight it's obvious. At the time I was exploring the limits of my range! There's a lovely symbiotic relationship between the bass and drums, keeping everything afloat. Jon's guitar playing is sublime, starting simply and developing into a solo. There's a lot to be said for the restraint of the other instruments. Matthew helps to build the vibe with his riding cymbal and when it drops out again the space is palpable to it's nice and gentle end. We even get a round of applause to replace the usual silence

- keef chemistry

Download the zip file here (7 tracks @ 320kbps = 82mb):
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Last edited November 9, 2023 4:41 pm by Keefchemistry (diff)