The Prospectors are a 12-strong band of disabled musicians who’ve been meeting once a week in Heaton Moor near Stockport for over 6 years. They blend live bass, guitar and keys with assistive music technology to create unique versions of pop and dance classics. Ableton is at the heart of the Prospectors’ arrangements. Samples within Ableton are triggered using a range of switches, including hacked Playstation controllers (pictured).
The band also uses Soundbeam (an ultrasonic beam device) and iPads to add texture to the songs. Vocals are supplied by Vicky and Steve (pictured). Drake Music associates Fil, Vicky and Andy lead the sessions.
The Prospectors were recently invited by Manchester District Music Archive to work with dance music pioneer and experimental artist Graham Massey on a short set celebrating both Greater Manchester music and some of Graham’s wider musical inspirations.
The results are to be performed at the city’s legendary Band on the Wall venue as part of the ‘Defining Me – Musical Adventures in Manchester’ project on Feb 24th 2014.
For the first stage of the project, Graham invited Fil and Andy into his studio to sample some of his vintage analogue synths, including some classic Moogs and ARPs.
The next stage was to go through some tracks relating to Graham’s life in music and decide which could best be reworked by the band.
In the end the band picked
- A Guy Called Gerald’s ‘Voodoo Ray’
- ‘Welcome’ by John Coltrane (chosen, in part, for its suitability for Soundbeam)
- ‘Brainstorm’ by Hawkwind
- Gong’s ‘Fohat Digs Holes In Space’
The latter two tracks reference Graham’s boyhood passion for space-rock, and chime in with his recent contribution to MDMArchive’s ‘Defining Me’ exhibition at The Lowry.
Following the studio sessions, Fil, Andy and Graham created basic arrangements of the tracks in Ableton, which the band have since been developing in rehearsal. A short film is being made of this process.
The Musical Adventures concert also features a band of young disabled musicians from Bolton called Nice Touch, plus members of Salford’s ‘Strummers and Grinners’ – a collective of septuagenarian ukelele enthusiasts. The night will be compered by performance poet Longfella and engineered by students from Manchester College.
If you would like to attend the free Musical Adventures in Manchester gig at Band on the Wall, please email firstname.lastname@example.org requesting a guest list place. Please use the words Musical Adventuresin the subject field. (Exact words!)
This project is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund.
Photos by Matthew Norman