Songs & Videos

Music from Chris & The Ifso

Chris & The Ifso are Abbie Coppard (vocals), Alistair McEachern (bass), Iain Stewart (guitar) and Chris Ifso (vocals and ukulele). Peter Forbes played lead guitar on the first ‘album’ of Nearly Songs, Alastair Gavin plays keyboards on Unshouldering – and most of these videos are of Chris alone with a bit of overdubbing, making music in lockdown. Scroll down the page for recordings linked to What didn’t quite – the nearly novel.

recorded at the Alchemy Studios in 2019
An older song, one of the suite of Nearly Songs linked to ‘What didn’t quite’
First song completed and played in chemo 2020
Song of the open road
Another older ‘Nearly Song’
Truck Fump
featuring photos of many friends and family members

“This is BRILLIANT – like a lounge Robert Wyatt” – Samuel Moore @samoore_

These songs and soundscapes by Chris & The Ifso were written as part of the transmedia novel WHAT DIDN’T QUITE. You are encouraged to play them as you explore the book.

Science writer Peter Forbes plays amazing lead guitar on some of these tracks. He wrote:

Conceptual Continuity and the Nearly Songs

“Well, the conceptual continuity is this: everything, even this interview, is part of what I do for, let’s call it, my entertainment work. And there’s a big difference between sitting here and talking about this kind of stuff, and writing a song like ‘Titties and Beer’. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s all part of the same continuity. It’s all one piece. It all relates in some weird way back to the focal point of what’s going on.”—      Frank ZappaInterview by Bob Marshall,  October 22, 1988

Conceptual continuity is both easy to understand and elusive. As Zappa conceived it, it simply meant that he had a certain attitude towards everything: composing; arranging; band leading; the music business. But it also meant that themes kept reappearing in different guises throughout his career. And that there is a recognisable genre that is – not rock, not jazz, not classical – but Zappa music. As the Great Frank might have said: Conceptual Continuity isn’t dead it just needs shaking up a little. It is alive and well in the work of Chris Meade, who under some bewildering aliases –Jamie J,  C J Overleaf – and on websites and blogs is creating linked stories and songs under the banner of Nearlyology:

Nearlyologists call on all people to share freely and openly one with another whom they really and nearly areIn the analogue age we led linear lives with beginnings, middles and ends; in digital times we can be nearly many in various virtual spaces”

All a songwriter needs is the creative ambience that allows the words and music to tumble out. Nearlyology has created just such a fertile environment. The Nearly Songs aren’t nearly songs at all, they’re really songs.

Declaration of interest: I play on the tracks but that’s because I thought they were pretty good songs even before I got to mess about with them.


These videos are of the final concert given with Academy Inegales in 2016, making nearly music with an array of musical talent from different musical disciplines, co-ordinated by Peter Wiegold and Martin Butler. In the first clip I read the Nearly Manifesto with the band attempting to copy what I’m doing. Second is a range of nearly stories from band members illustrated by the ensemble. Finally Nouria Bah sings my song In The Nearly, with a nearly accompaniment.