New album with long term sparring partner Richard Harrison out now digitally. This was recorded in rehearsal for our first ever duo gig together (we’ve done various trios alongside Richard Scott, Matt Wand and Dave Jackson over the years: Dave J has actually published a number of those trio sessions from Hotspur House around 2010/2011 here.
A new CD with handprinted covers and a detail of artwork from a painting by Alexander Brealey Birchall is now out on Vernacular. Interesting for me as it explores recording quiet, end of the day, melodic improvisations, using lots of space: the kind of playing I did nearly everyday at this kind of dusk time but just as a private exercise. I realised though that sometimes very really great moments of music occur during this playing; so repeatedly recording these sessions over a couple of months this May & June has been really enjoyable; being able to capture some of these nice glistening moments.
Out today, two new releases comprised of studio recordings!
The first Tongues EP is lots of song form pieces made from homemade electronics, guitars, metal on pickups and voice.
The second Elapses is compositions made with feedback; guitar to amp and ebow combined with motorised cake display turntable. I don’t make pieces like this often so its nice to have been able to gather 4 together in the same place!
“David Birchall, Sam Andraea and Otto Willberg are part of an emerging cohort of players working at interface of fire music and free improvisation, a bunch of cats who relish blurring those borders and the resulting messiness of approach. It’s the opposite of the rather studious air gap built up between those two disciplines in the 1970s and 80s by the post-SME generation of improvisers, with untrammelled hybridity taking the place of ideological purity. (If you need more names, check out Raw Tonk maestro Colin Webster, drummers Andrew Lisle and Andrew Cheetham, guitarists Anton Hunter and Dirk Serries, and reedspeople Dee Byrne and Cath Roberts.)
There’s no membership card for this crew, and it’s by no means a closed shop. But the fact remains that that every time you bring someone new into the mix you risk upsetting a delicate balance of understanding and challenge built up over innumerable exchanges. In this instance, however, the resilience and adaptability of Birchall, Andraea and Willberg means it’s a gamble worth taking. Thus the addition of no-input guru Toshimaru Nakamura to a trio of musicians whose discographies, gigs and approaches are so intertwined they have become like branches of an extended family has a pleasingly destabilizing effect. Nakamura doesn’t so much change the group dynamic on this date, recorded at Tokyo’s legendary Ftarri record shop-cum-venue back in April 2017, as much as subtly deform it. His bone-dry crackles and white-hot screeches are a lens through which his co-workers’ interactions are refracted, intensified and occasionally disrupted.
Andreae’s sax honks and parps are as grouchingly well-judged as ever, his vocabulary ranging from the clicks and scrapes of extended technique to mischievous twirls of abrasive melody. Every huff and blart create their own spaces within hectic sonic environs – check his joyful, elephantine wails on halfway through ‘Prism Dialect’ – or puncturing the emptiness with the perfect timing of a stand-up comic. Likewise, Birchall’s gluey idioms always find ways to make themselves heard, tiptoeing through the wire wool carnage of ‘Gathering Micron Glass’ with an insouciant wink, elbowing Nakamura’s analogue splatter aside even as he glides across Willberg’s low-end grumble. Oh, and if you were expecting Willberg to play anchorman to the jagged pirouettes of the other three? Forget it. Whether he’s laying out grating, Henry Grimes-style arcos, yobbo thumps or careful, ninja-style plucks, this guy gets involved. The result is a band that’s less like quartet and more like a gaggle of rowdy planets, continually in motion around an invisible sun.”