ORE – New album update

The new ORE album – provisionally entitled Base – is coming along well and I have some exciting news to share about the approach/format.

The album will be split; one half featuring ORE only – Native – compositions and the other featuring collaborative – Compound – tracks. Each half will include five tracks and I am *delighted* to announce that the collaborating musicians on the Compound half are: Khyam Allami, Sophie Cooper, Thomas Stone, Beck Baker and regular ORE collaborator KK NULL.

It’s hard to say when the album will be finished exactly and what the plan is thereafter but please keep your eyes and ears open for further updates, demos and giveaways!

New album – early 2017

It’s over 18 months since my last blog post about ORE. In that blog post I stated that I was working on a new ORE album and that the working title was Michael. That was my father’s name and my intention was to complete the album before his death. Sadly this was not to be and much of the rest of the interim period was spent looking after him and dealing with the fallout relating to his death.

I tried to finish that album to no avail. I guess the emotional significance was too great. So, it was binned and I started from scratch a few months back. I am still at the stage of writing it at present; aside from some recording tests and building some interesting instruments to feature on it.

Recording drums


Plate & outdoor drums

I am in the process of sorting a demo to approach labels with. I am all ears if anyone has any suggestions on this front.

Lastly, here is a tune that did get finished as part of that lost album…enjoy.

Bubbling under


A brief update from the land of ORE…

New ORE Album

Working title Michael

First and foremost, I have been working hard on the new ORE album, which is to be released later this year. This is proving a fairly lengthy process as it involves a number of collaborators; from other brass players to vocalists and the like. Here is a hint at the sort of thing to expect:

This track was recently played on BBC Radio 3, on Late Junction + cheekily on If Wet Radio, as part of our tuba show.


I was recently asked to take part in an international collaborative piece by composer and lead vocalist/bassist with OBLIVION, Nick Vasallo.

I was delighted to hear / see the results.



I have formed a new trio with turntable-fiddler Graham Dunning and saxophonist Colin Webster, called DunningWebsterUnderwood.

We have our dĆ©but album “Bleed” in the can and are looking for labels at present.
Here is a taster…

Tarnlavadust by DunningWebsterUnderwood


Statement – ORE

After a period of reflection Stuart and I have decided to cease ORE as a duo project. This decision is predominantly Stuart’s as he plans to focus his attention on a number of other musical projects. It is with no hard feelings that we part ways as a tuba duo and we have no doubt we will work together again in future.

As well as working as Mr. Underwood and Glatze, Sam will continue to make tuba doom under the moniker ORE. This will most likely be in the form of tuba and other low brass/reed instruments, and as a studio project featuring electronics.

Stuart will continue to release collaborative drone-based studio projects as Lachenalia, as well as playing bass and tuba in Isle of Everywhere and returning to his explorations of English folk music under his own name. He will also be morris dancing.

We have had many wonderful times playing as ORE and we would like to thank everyone that has made this a possibility.

Sam and Stuart.

Recording the new album

As a follow-up to the Stuart’s post yesterday I just wanted to give my take on the technical aspects of recording our third album…

The session we had over the weekend represents the achievement of a major goal for me. We just sat down in comfortable surroundings and recorded an album, without technology getting in the way. It has been a challenge achieving this; one which has required a substantial investment both financially and in terms of time refining techniques etc. In an odd way it was the fact that my studio downstairs got flooded late last year that drove us to a better solution for recording tubas. The ever knowledgeable David Morton had advised us on how to approach this but being forced upstairs (into a much taller space) led me to sort stuff out much more quickly. Plus the space has a better vibe, even if the soundproofing isn’t as good šŸ˜‰

For now, my studio downstairs still remains unusable, which just makes the pleasure of what we achieved over the weekend even greater. We look forward to sharing the results with you!

New album details

We’ve been holed up at Sam’s studio this weekend recording the studio follow-up to Granolithic, with a working title ofĀ Three Fountains. The result of the sessions is a very different record fromĀ Granolithic – it certainly feels more focused, more varied, and for the first time there are guitars along with the tubas, organ and percussion.

Another break with existing ORE convention is that there are a couple of cover versions, both of which will be familiar to those of you who have seen us in concert a number of times. We’re paying our dues to two men who have been a massive influence on us, namely Dylan Carlson and Mark Hollis – the covers areĀ Ouroboros is Broken by Earth, andĀ I Believe in You by Talk Talk. In view of the latter it’s no coincidence that all of the improvised material on the album is the very first recorded take.

Aside from a medieval French tune,Ā C’est La Fin, there are four original pieces, two of which are completely new;Ā Beyond Tree and StoneĀ from our first EP, andĀ Morton from the live albumĀ Gullet are present in radically reworked forms.

We’re very excited about sharing this album – even at a rough mix stage we’re confident it’s the best thing we’ve done. Onwards!

Gig news

ORE support Anna Meredith in London at The Servant Jazz Quarters, Dalston on 16th January.

Venue details here:

For our set, we are delighted to welcome soprano Natalie Raybould as a guest – this will mark ORE’s first appearance with a vocalist and promises to be a unique performance.

We are hoping to announce additional collaborators for this gig in due course…

Oxbow Orchestra tour diary part 4.1 – Paris


I wake early to load the Land Rover; as I get to the hotel car park I discover I’m there just in time to unblock a couple of vans full of workmen.

We get back to the Union Chapel, our meeting point for departure. We are starving. Greg and Sam are, understandably, cold and aching after spending the night in the van, with only an insubstantial beer-blanket for warmth. There are no eateries immediately visible. We wonder whether the stylish but non-functional chairs in the shop next to the chapel are edible. I doubt it.

"Perhaps we could eat one of these?"

With Niko and Celine on the train to Paris, there’s more room in the main van, so David switches vehicle, leaving me, Sarah, and the two Sams in the Land Rover. We guess that we can get away without the roof bag, which necessitates more climbing.

"Can we bring step-ladders next time?"

The journey to Folkestone is relatively uneventful. Sam rings the Low Emissions Zone hotline and they’re ready to take Ā£200 off us until he mentions that their website says that a first offence can receive a warning letter. He reinforces this by saying that we wouldn’t even have come if we’d known about it. There’s a brief moment of suspense as the lady on the other end goes to speak to someone; when she returns to the phone she tells Sam that a warning letter will be sent out and there’s no bill to pay. Phew.

The journey to the Channel Tunnel in itself is pretty uneventful; it’s once we get to the various security barriers at Folkestone that the high-jinks begin. First off, we approach a barrier that says “please declare all firearms”. I wind the window down and say “Hello, we haven’t got any!” in a cheery manner. The lady in the red jacket isn’t amused.

When we get to French customs, the gendarmes are about to dismantle a car two places ahead of us in the queue. At this point we’re already late as although Eugene has bought our return ticket, the flexible pricing has buggered up and if we want a sociable return time after the Belgium gig there’s another fee to pay.

One of the gendarmes approaches the Land Rover with something in his hand. I misunderstand his hand gesture and pull forward, nearly flattening him in the process. Oops. He’s not a happy man. He shouts at me. By the time I remember how to say “sorry” in French he’s several yards away, and his replying gesture suggests that if circumstances allowed, he would probably spit at me.

Luckily, the gendarme in the window checking passports is much friendlier once I try to explain myself in French. He finds my spoken French quite entertaining. This will become something of a pattern.

We now need to get the crossing ticket thingy updated to mid-day-ish on the day of the return journey. We have about 5 minutes to spare before boarding finishes for our train. The woman at the kiosk hasn’t phoned ahead. We miss the train.

Boarding closed. Arse.

We queue for the next one, and after half an hour, tootle along to the top of the ramp for approaching the train. A grumpy French chap has parked a car there to stop us from going. Distracted by all the shiny things and big trains in evidence, I fail to apply the handbrake, and it’s only when there are cries of “DON’T CRASH! DON’T CRASH!” from the back of the van that I realise I’m about to squash his car. Again, oops.

On the tunnel train, I set the Land Rover’s alarm off more than once. Apparently loud noises and flashing lights scare the train. Oops.

Calais, and driving on the wrong side of the road proves easier than expected. The others get very excited when we overtake slow-moving lorries (being rather slow-moving ourselves). Needless to say, we don’t have a prayer of catching Eugene in the Mercedes van – they’re long gone.

We stop at motorway services for lunch. French bins look like spaceships.

French bins look like spaceships

After Little Sam, Sarah and I watch a very rude Indian lady demanding that her (salad) sandwiches be heated up (greeted with a resounding “NON!” from the waitress) we change drivers. Mr. Underwood does a couple of laps of the car park accidentally by missing the exit and then we’re on our way.

At this point, it all starts to go a bit Spinal Tap.

<– Back to part 3