Special single release

Special single release

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – P1ATE (Platform 1 and The Enablers)

A good friend and a musical collaborator passed away at the start of the autumn. Sean Townsend performed with some of us and was the sound engineer on a number of occasions for the others.

Near the end of his life, he reflected on the care he had received. Sean erred towards perfectionism, finding some fault, for instance, in most of his own work (the final productions of almost all the work he produced were labelled ‘Rough Mix’!). However, he had only good things to say about the Macmillan nurses who visited him – talking to him, providing what he needed (in terms of a human being with particular interests and specific needs) – as he approached his passing.

Platform 1 (Martha and Josh) and the Enablers (Andy, Jem and Jon) came together, mainly virtually, to produce this track as our first, very modest, tribute to Sean (How much we wish we could have added his keyboard playing to it) and, primarily, to raise some funds for Macmillan Cymru, an organisation whose compassionate, holistic approach was so valued by our friend.

All monies raised via the Bandcamp sales will be given, directly, to Macmillan Cymru.

Martha Lee – vocals and backing vocals

Josh Lee – electric guitars

Andy Ponsford (bass and production)

Jem Ponsford (drums)

Jon Airdrie (electric guitars).

The End of Summer – released!

The End of Summer – released!


It’s here!

The second album with the Enablers, with the band being joined by Martha Lee (vocals) and Josh Lee (guitar) of Platform 1.

Much influenced by the work and (contrary) character of poet, Patrick Kavanagh – an impressionistic and assimilatory reading of both.

Jon Airdrie – basic guitars, piano, organ, brass and string arrangements
Jem Ponsford – drums and backing vocals
Martha Lee – vocals and backing vocals
Andy Ponsford – bass
Josh Lee – seven string electric guitar
Julie Bailey – six string electric guitar on track #1

Engineered and co-produced by Mike Hopkins of Towpath Studio during the spring of 2020.

Artwork by: V. Airdrie, J. Matthews and T. Valentine. Image manipulation by A. Ponsford.

New album nearing completion

New album nearing completion

We’re almost there with the new record. Just a few mixes to fiddle about with, and – as was the case with ‘The Guest’ – the deliberating over the images and format of the sleeve taking almost as long as the album took to record!

The life and work of the Irish poet, Patrick Kavanagh, has had an influence on many of the songs included on the collection. The influence is both fairly direct (i.e. citing lines from his work) and allusive (i.e. a lay and subjective reading of the manner, perspective(s) and angst of the man).

All of The Enablers from ‘The Guest’ (Jon, Jem, Andy and Julie) make an appearance on this album, but they were joined by the young, talented and enthusiastic Platform 1, namely Martha and Josh Lee, who added both creative content and technical ability. Their contribution was significant…as you will recognise when you come to hear the album! The bulk of the recording has been carried out with the excellent Mike Hopkins at Towpath Studio. As he did with ‘The Guest’, Mike managed to capture the songs played ‘live’ in the studio, over just a few hours, and has carefully interpolated the addtional tracks.


More to follow in the next few weeks.

New project

New project

It is with a significant degree of excitement that I can annouce (‘Announce’? Pendantic?) a new project with The Enablers. Tracks have been ‘put down’ and other Enablers will add more. There are a variety of themes. Underpinning them all is, possibly, a reading of the poems of Patrick Kavanagh – and, also, reading of his life – over some weeks last summer.

More to follow.

‘The Guest’ – Fact #6

‘The Guest’ – Fact #6

‘Quantum Spin’ (Track 8): When much, much younger – when at university, in fact, and trying to make sense of subjects utterly unrelated to physics – I read just a book or two (or, perhaps, sections of a book or two) on quantum theory. While, it seemed, biological determinism of the most deprived kind can lead to limited/limiting world view (‘lumbering robots’), quantum theory returns us to a mysterious, yet to be fathomed, universe, where small things have possibly indeterminable lives of their own.

‘Spin’ is a concept within quantum theory: part of the understanding that physicists were gleaning during the first quarter (or so) of the 20th Century. Certain particles, it as suggested, (mathematically, within theoretical physics) ‘spin’, though ‘spin’ is an analogous concept, referring not to actual spin but to certain (predictable) angular momentums around the atom’s nucleaus.

All this led to Wolfgang Pauli, an Austrian physicist, who was the author of the ‘Pauli exclusion principle’, regarding ‘spin’ (where certain electrons – fermions – could not share the same quantum space with the same electron). What was interesting about Paul, also, was his correspondence with Carl Jung. They exchanged many letters. Jung referred to Pauli’s dreams in some of his books and lectures. Pauli was intrigued by Jung’s conception of the notion of personal consciousness, the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. There is much on the internet about all this (Google it. I have).

Pauli looked towards a link between the physical (for him, the quantum) and the psychological world. He seems to have shared Jung’s idea of ‘synchronicity’ (though he called it ‘meaningful-correspondence’: a link between the psychological state of a person’s mind and activities taking place in the world.

I don’t know what to make of all this, but, sometimes – especially in the world of music/creative discourse – an pen and curious state of mind is more exciting and productive than a closed one. (Interestingly, there was also a ‘Pauli effect’, whereby Pauli, even at a distance (!), seemed to interfere with or break equipment used by experimental physicists in their labs!).

More recently (within the last couple of years), I have been reading many of the books of Japanese author Haruki Murakami. How to understand Murakami in total is beyond me, but his writing is, I think, wonderfully freeing and highly compelling. We become entwined with the (magical realism) of the world he (often) presents. This passage was particularly interesting (from ‘Men Without Women’, a collection of short stories): ‘He picked up a metal pot and poured coffee into a white ceramic cup. The pungent fragrance recalled something to him. It didnot come directly, however; it arrived in stages. It was a strange feeling, as if he were recollecting the present from the future. As if time had somehow been split in two, so that memory and experience revolved within a closed cycle, each following the other. He poured a liberal amount of cream into his coffee, stirred it with his finger, and drank. Although the coffee had cooled, a slight warmth remained. He held it in his mouth before warily allowing it to trickle down his throat. He found that it calmed him to a degree’.

So…the song draws on all these things, in a very unpredictable way! When playing the song, I have always altered the lyrics, from performance to performance – and I don’t plan to sing one lyric or another when the song is started, as some sort of tribute to the ‘quantum act’.

Face 17.03.19

‘The Guest’ – Fact #5

‘The Guest’ – Fact #5

The album was conceived – or the prospect of it described – initially at a party on New Year’s Eve. There was talk of an approach to making a record that was quite different from that of the last few albums, which were assembled bit by bit over many months (and, in the case of the very last, two years) and in a number of different recording spaces, but mainly at home. We spoke of doing something relatively raw and as live as possible: a live space, with musicians all playing together; possibly an acoustic piano.

I had an album’s worth of piano songs. The notion was hatched of, within a pre-determined and fixed time-frame, learning these songs before going into a studio to record them.

And so it was: from January to March, we rehearsed weekly, mainly together, with the also band listening to (and therefore bringing edits to) and working out parts in the comfort of their own homes. There were twelve songs in all. Two were discarded, one by Jem (as he felt it sounded like an inferior of another song), and another because it was a piano/acoustic guitar song, not fitting with the rest of the album’s arrangements and not being of a quality that the band were convinced to do it anyway.

Part of the reason for recording with a band is that each member brings something of themselves to the process and, particularly, to the sound. I can play (mainly in a quite basic way) a number of instruments, but, on any instrument, the most simple thing that I may play – say an A minor chord on a guitar – will sound different to someone else doing it. I was tired of hearing my A minors on recordings! I wanted to hear what others would bring to a set of songs that had been written relatively quickly (in this way, more akin to my writing in the 20th than the 21st century…with the only difference being a refashioning of words right up to the recording, rather than going with the first thing that dripped from the pen).

The recording session had Ju, Andy and I in one room – with Mike – and Jem in a room (the garage) below. There was not, however, much eye contact, as I remember, between those in the upper space, but we had rehearsed with piano to the wall, so this was what we were used to. Mike was asked to record everything, with the first takes best understood as run throughs as we adjusted to the headphones we were all wearing: it takes a while to get used to the sound coming through these rather than travelling through the air. Nevertheless, at least one track (see previous ‘Fact’ came from these first takes.

The lack of eye contact and Jem’s absence from the room led, clearly, to the coming into prominence of primitive telepathic capabilities as, in ‘Mindful Attachment’, the very last note (where each instrument plays a single ‘hit’ together) is the live capture (i.e. not moved post-recording); something we had not managed in any of the rehearsals!Drums01