Category Archives: composers / musicians

Maggie Nicols

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Maggie Nicols  (or Nichols, as she originally spelt her name as a performer) (born 24 February 1948), is a Scottish free-jazz and improvising vocalist, dancer, and performer.
Nicols was born in Edinburgh as Margaret Nicholson. Her father was from the Isle of Lewis, and her mother is half-French, half-Berber from North Africa. At the age of fifteen she left school and started to work as a dancer at the Windmill Theatre. Her first singing engagement was in a strip club in Manchester at the age of sixteen. At about that time she became obsessed with jazz, and sang with bebop pianist Dennis Rose. From then on she sang in pubs, clubs, hotels, and in dance bands with some of the finest jazz musicians around. In the midst of all this she worked abroad for a year in 1966; as a dancer and hostess in Greece and Iran with the Jon Lei Dancers followed by a six month engagement as a dancer at the Moulin Rouge in Paris.
In 1968, she went to London and joined (as Maggie Nichols) an early improvisational group, John Stevens’ Spontaneous Music Ensemble, with Trevor Watts, later joined Johnny Dyani, and Carolanne Nicholls, and the group performed that year at Berlin’s first improvised festival, Total Music Meeting with guest musician John McLaughlin.
In the early 1970s she began running voice workshops at the Oval House Theatre (one of the most important centres for pioneer fringe theatre groups). She both acted in some of the productions and rehearsed regularly with a local rock band. Shortly afterwards she became part of Keith Tippett’s fifty-piece British jazz/progressive rock big band Centipede, which included Julie Tippetts, Zoot Money, Phil Minton, Robert Wyatt, Dudu Pukwana, and Alan Skidmore. Tippetts, Minton, and Nicols also joined Brian Eley to form the vocal group Voice. Around this time, Nicols began collaborating with the Scottish percussionist Ken Hyder (who had recently moved to London) and his band Talisker.
By the late 1970s, Nicols had become an active feminist, and co-founded the Feminist Improvising Group, which performed across Europe, with Lindsay Cooper. She also organised Contradictions, a women’s workshop performance group that began in 1980 and dealt with improvisation and other modes of performance in a variety of media including music and dance. Over the years, Nicols has collaborated with other women’s groups, such as the Changing Women Theatre Group, and even wrote music for a prime-time television series, Women in Sport.
mnicols2-2Nicols has also collaborated regularly over the years with Swiss pianist Irène Schweizer and French bassist Joëlle Léandre, including tours and three CDs and one DVD as the trio Les Diaboliques. Her collaboration with Ken Hyder also continues; the duo incorporate elements of the traditional tunes of their shared Scottish background into jazz improvisations in their most recent project, Hoots and Roots Duo. Other projects for Nicols include a duo with pianist Pete Nu, a singing duo with her daughter Aura Marina, a trio with avant-gardists Caroline Kraabel and Charlotte Hug, a duo with pianist Steve Lodder (“The Maggie Nicols Songbook”), and Light and Shade, a project with lighting designer Sue Neal. She has also been involved with many other groups, such as the a cappella group Inspiration (former Brixton Youth), Trevor Watts’ Moire Music, Very Varied, The Lewis Riley Quartet, No Rules OK, Pulse, Gustt, and Al Dente with Lindsay Cooper, Elvira Plenar and Michelle Buirette.
Nicols has performed internationally for several decades, including the Zürich and the Frankfurt “Canaille” festivals, the Victoriaville Festival. She also gave solo performances at the Moers Music Festival, the Cologne Triennale, and a number of other creative and improvised music festivals. She has worked with a great many improvisers from all over the world, including drummer Günter “Baby” Sommer, British soprano saxophonist Lol Coxhill, Dutch trombonist and violinist Annemarie Roelofs, the Australian Relative Band (with Jim Denley), tuba player Pinguin Moschner, the Loverly Band, Cats Cradle, and Sean Bergin’s Song Mob (with Han Bennink and Tristan Honsinger).
Vocalist Maggie Nicols has been an active participant in the European improvisational community since joining the Spontaneous Music Ensemble in the late ’60s. As a co-founder of the Feminist Improvising Group, she has also worked to further women in improvised music, dancing and other creative arts not only by example, but through workshops and extensive collaborating.

Improvisation

mnicols7-2Improvisation is part of our daily lives. It is a dance of outer influences and inner impulses. When we let ourselves, we can reflect and connect with each new moment and everything that has ever been.
I draw from the personal and the universal which olds everything we need for spontaneous and structured performance and composition. The challenge is what to express from this infinite resource. As a beginner in the late ‘sixties, I practised different approaches to this creative challenge, including beautifully designed pieces by John Stevens which led to a coherent language of individual and collective liberation and almost telepathic interaction, to just improvising freely and experiencing joy, frustration, confusion and clarity, depending on who I was playing
with or how trusting or not I was of myself, others and the process of improvisation itself. I found my background in dance and theatre; my political awakening, motherhood; all of these and more, becoming a part of my ongoing love affair with improvisation. When I went through a period of late nights and drinking and smoking too much and my singing voice suffered, I developed a strange kind of stand up improvised philosophising and comedy. Over the years these, and other approaches have been developed, fine tuned, contrasted and integrated into my performances and teaching…

Contradictions

Contradictions is an ongoing womens workshop/performance group, founded in 1980 as a performance group with Maggie, trumpeter Corine Liensol, pianist Irène Schweizer and dancer Roberta Escamilla Garrison. Maggie then developed it into an open women’s workshop and performance group which combines her love of spontaneity and structure, improvised, and written and rehearsed, multi media material.

Selected discography:

silver-2centiped-2iskra-2
voice2spontan-2varioII-2
SAJ-38bastille-2nulp-2assume-2nucd-2taktlos-2
storming-2invisible-2canaille-2
spirit-2ixesha-2ljco-2
nevergreens-2transitions-2glasgow-2

diaboliques-2splitting-2rhinefalls-2jubilee-2

Music Now Ensemble 1969 ‎– Silver Pyramid
Centipede ‎– Septober Energy
Paul Rutherford & Iskra 1912 ‎– Sequences 72 & 73
Julie Tippetts / Maggie Nicols / Phil Minton / Brian Eley – Voice
Spontaneous Music Ensemble & Orchestra ‎– Trio & Triangle
Maarten Altena / Günter Christmann / Paul Lovens / Maggie Nicols / John Russell ‎– Vario II
Maggie Nicols & Julie Tippetts ‎– Sweet And S’ours
Maggie Nicols, Lindsay Cooper, Joëlle Léandre ‎– Live At The Bastille
Maggie Nicols & Peter Nu ‎– Nicols ‘N’ Nu
Maggie Nicols & Peter Nu ‎– Don’t Assume
Maggie Nicols & Peter Nu ‎– Nichols’N’Nu (CD)
Irène Schweizer ‎– Live At Taktlos
Irène Schweizer – Maggie Nicols – George Lewis – Joëlle Léandre – Günter Sommer ‎– The Storming Of The Winter Palace
Tippett / Nicols / Tippett ‎– Mr. Invisible And The Drunken Sheilas (Supported By Mr. & Mrs. Disgraceful – Presented By Honest Spiv Faber And Eric Wetherall With The Kind Permission Of The Sheila Duncan Trio)
Various Artists ‎– Canaille: International Women’s Festival Of Improvised Music
Dedication Orchestra ‎– Spirits Rejoice
Dedication Orchestra ‎– Ixesha (Time)
Barry Guy / London Jazz Composers Orchestra ‎– Three Pieces
Pinguin Moschner, Maggie Nicols, Joe Sachse ‎– Nevergreens
Maggie Nicols / Caroline Kraabel / Charlotte Hug ‎– Transitions
Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, The with Maggie Nicols ‎– Which Way Did He Go?

Les Diaboliques ‎– Les Diaboliques
Les Diaboliques ‎– Splitting Image
Les Diaboliques ‎– Live At The Rhinefalls
Les Diaboliques ‎– Jubilee Concert (DVD-V)

Anthony Moore

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Anthony Moore (born 1948) is a British experimental music composer, performer and producer. He was a founding member of the band Slapp Happy, worked with Henry Cow and has made a number of solo albums, including Flying Doesn’t Help (1978) and World Service (1981).
As a lyricist, Moore has collaborated with Pink Floyd on two of their albums, A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987) and The Division Bell (1994), with Floyd keyboard player Richard Wright on Broken China (1996), with Kevin Ayers on various projects and also contributed lyrics to Trevor Rabin’s Can’t Look Away (1989) and Julian Lennon’s Help Yourself (1991).
Anthony Moore‘s musical career began when he met Peter Blegvad, while both were students at St Christopher School, Letchworth. They played in various bands, including Slapp Happy (the name was a reference to Blegvad‘s then-girlfriend) and the Dum-Dums. After school Moore studied Indian classical music with Viram Jasani in 1969, and went on to compose his first film soundtrack for David Larcher’s Mare’s Tale.
It involved extensive use of magnetic tape (time/pitch shifts, layering, splicing, loops, feedback). Since then he has created a number of soundtracks for European, independent movies, many of which have won international awards.
In 1971 Moore moved to Hamburg, Germany and worked in Hamburg’s experimental music scene, recording two minimalist albums for Polydor Germany. In 1972 Blegvad visited Moore in Hamburg and, along with Moore‘s girlfriend (and soon to be wife) Dagmar Krause, Moore (guitar, keyboards), Blegvad (guitar) and Krause (vocals) formed the avant-pop trio, Slapp Happy. Moore and Blegvad composed the band’s music.
Pieces From The Clouded Ballroom predated their founding, whereas Secrets Of The Blue Bag and Reed, Whistle And Sticks were recorded and released in tandem with Slapp Happy’s debut, Sort Of. (Details from the first two of these: no wave 2013-08-04)
Reed, Whistle And Sticks consists of a single piece split into 99 tracks, consisting mainly of tape loops of recordings of bamboo sticks dropped onto various surfaces.
slapp happy-2Slapp Happy recorded two albums for Polydor Germany with krautrock group Faust as their backing band. Polydor released the first, Sort Of in 1972, but rejected the second, Casablanca Moon. This rejection prompted Slapp Happy to relocate to London where they signed up with Virgin Records and re-recorded Casablanca Moon, released in 1974 by Virgin as Slapp Happy. (The original Casablanca Moon was later released by Recommended Records as Acnalbasac Noom in 1980.) In 1974 Slapp Happy merged briefly with avant-rock group Henry Cow, recording two albums in 1975, Desperate Straights and In Praise of Learning. However soon after recording the second album, first Moore, then Blegvad left the amalgamation on account of incompatibilities with the group. Blegvad remarked that the “chords and the time signatures were too complicated.” But Krause elected to remain with Henry Cow and that spelt the end of Slapp Happy.
Moore and Blegvad parted company at this point, but did reunite for brief Slapp Happy reunions in 1982-1983, 1997 and 2000. Moore, Blegvad and Krause also collaborated in 1991 on the specially commissioned opera ‘Camera’, which was made by the production company After Image and was broadcast two years later on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom.
After leaving Henry Cow/Slapp Happy, Moore relaunched his solo career in 1977 by releasing Out on Virgin Records, with backing by Kevin Ayers and Andy Summers. Out, however, was not commercial enough for Virgin, and they cancelled Moore‘s contract. In 1978 and 1981 Moore recorded Flying Doesn’t Help and World Service, respectively on independent labels. Both albums were well received.
anthony-moore2-2Moore has worked in various European locations as a freelance composer, writing songs and film scores. He has produced a number of albums, including This Heat‘s debut album and collaborated with Pink Floyd on two of their albums.
In 1996 Moore was appointed professor for research into sound and music in the context of new media at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, Germany. From 2000 to 2004 he was the principal of the Academy of Media Arts. Moore has also travelled to many European locations, presenting lectures on sound and music.
In 2002 Moore formed a music trio with Jörg Lindenmaier and Peter C. Simon called LMS, named after the first letters of their surnames. They performed in France and Germany between 2002 and 2003.

Selected discography:

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flying-2service-2choice-2
out-2camera-2arp-2

sort of-2shappy-2acnalbasac-2desperate-2praise-2cava-2live-2

Anthony Moore ‎– Pieces From The Cloudland Ballroom
Anthony Moore ‎– Secrets Of The Blue Bag
Anthony Moore ‎– Reed, Whistle And Sticks
Anthony Moore ‎– Flying Doesn’t Help
Anthony Moore ‎– World Service
Anthony Moore ‎– The Only Choice
Anthony Moore ‎– Out
Dagmar Krause, Anthony Moore, Peter Blegvad ‎– Camera
Arp & Anthony Moore ‎– Arp & Anthony Moore

Slapp Happy ‎– Sort Of
Slapp Happy ‎– Slapp Happy
Slapp Happy ‎– Acnalbasac Noom
Slapp Happy / Henry Cow ‎– Desperate Straights
Henry Cow ‎– In Praise Of Learning
Slapp Happy ‎– Ça Va
Slapp Happy ‎– Live In Japan – May, 2000

José Vicente Asuar

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José Vicente Asuar (born 20. July 1933 in Santiago de Chile) is a Chilean composer, who ranks among the pioneers of the electroacoustic music of its country. He studied in Santiago at the conservatoire and the catholic university and in Berlin (1959/60) with Boris Blacher and Josef Rufer and attended the courses of Daarmstadt. Also he is Civil Engineer. On 1958 he founds the first laboratory of electroacoustic music in Latin America, in the Catholic University of Chile, where he composes “Variaciones Espectrales”, his first electronic work. Soon he founds and he directs laboratories of electroacoustic music in Karlsruhe, Germany (1960), Caracas, Venezuela (1965) and in the University of Chile (1969). In 1978 he creates his own personal laboratory: COMDASUAR.
José Vicente Asuar is, along with Juan Amenábar, one of the pioneers of electroacoustic and computer music practise in Chile and in the whole Latinamerica region [Fumarola, 1998]. In 1958 he founded the “Estudio de Música Electronica” , the cronologically second one in Chile and in Latinamerica. His electroacoustic piece “Variaciones Espectrales” is one of the pioneer works in Latinamerica together with Juan Amenábar‘s “Los Peces”.
José Asuar was extremely aware of the computer music experiences that had been carried out in the USA, Canada and Europe from 1955 onwards, as he summarizes in his Paper “Un sistema para hacer música con un Microcomputador” [Asuar, 1980]. A sharp knowledge of the early and posterior achievements of Lejaren Hiller, Leonard Isaacson, Iannis Xenakis, and Max Mathews, among others, is undoubtedly present in the way he entered upon the COMDASUAR, and not only it; his background in the musical applications of computing science and programming is clearly noticeable in several of his previous pieces (both instrumental and electroacoustic), and in his articles published in the “Revista Musical Chilena” . His historical awareness is untypical in Latinamerica since most practitioners of electroacoustic music in Latinamerica in the time tended to work isolated with respect to their colleagues in North America and Europe.
If we are going to apply the distinction between ’electroacoustioc music’ and ’computer music’, it is very wise to state that whereas Juan Amenábar is the pioneer of electroacoustic music in Latinamerica, José Asuar is the pioneer of computer music in that subcontinent.
JV-Asuar-3-2In his book “La música electroacústica en Chile, 50 años” (The Electroacustic Music in Chile – 50 years) Federico Schumacher dedicates one chapter to introduce, describe and analyze the Asuar Digital Analog Computer: COMDASUAR, a personal computer dedicated exclusively to musical purposes built from scratch by José Vicente Asuar in 1978 in Santiago de Chile.
At the end of that chapter the author writes the following about the composer and engineer: “Hopefully these lines that we have written about everything done by him during more than thirty years of work in our electroacoustic music landscape, will pay a fair and perhaps forgotten tribute, to the person who has done more than anyone for electroacustic music in Chile”.
The construction of that laboratory gave him the opportunity to write his dissertation in order to get accreditation as Civil Engineer, and was also the origin of his activity as electroacustic composer. His text “En el umbral de una nueva era para la música” (In the Threshold of a New Era for Music, 1959) is a foundational theoretical text considering the possible impact of new technologies in musical production.
In his life, he won some prestigious composition prizes like the one in Bourges in 1975 for his work “Guararia Reparo” and the Dartmouth Arts Council Prize for his composition “Divertimento”. All along his career he was in contact with several important composers however Meyer-Eppler in Germany seems to be particularly important as wel as Juan Amenábar in Chile.
During his career as a musician and technician of electroacoustic music, Asuar mainly composes a great amount of works of electroacoustic, but also instrumental music, those that have been published in numerous discs in Chile and abroad. Asuar wrote the music to Imagén de Caracas, in one for 1200 visitors established theatres taking place performance for to eight film and forty-five still-picture projectors, music channels, singing voices and instruments. In addition it wrote compositions for electronic instruments, orchestra works as well as a Oktett for four flutes and four Schlagzeuger.

COMDASUAR

(from the writing of Martín Alejandro Fumarola – “Report Of The COMDASUAR” )

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COMDASUAR stands for “Computador Analógico Digital Asuar” that translates “Asuar Digital Analog Computer”. This machine was conceived and assembled entirely by José Vicente Asuar in 1978.
His experience creating studios in Chile, Venezuela and Germany gave him mastery in the knowledge of sound studios and music labs. At the time he faced difficulties of starting the process of making a personal computer in a country in South America where no industry was ready to receive his technical research the critiques about his computer based compositions were in general quite positive. COMDASUAR was made with the idea of creating a tool to explore different possibilities of computer music, on the one hand there is a system to generate sound that was a mixture between a digital and analog process and on the other hand there is a system to create algorithmic musical pieces, called “heuristic software” in the words of Asuar himself.
There are many things that make his work unique, amongst other things there is the equilibrium between his role as technician, as composer and as writer; in every step of his career there are texts, albums and technical achievements that show the coherence and consistence of his production.
By the time José Vicente Asuar built COMDASUAR he already had composed music using computers, for instance he worked at the beginning of the seventies with the PDP 8 computer.
The CPU of COMDASUAR was an Intel 8080 processor, the sound was produced using 2 timers, each one with 3 voices, therefore COMDASUAR was polyphonic (6 voices). COMDASUAR’s software was completely programmed in machine language; some of the software that Asuar coded and called “heuristic software” can be considered today as algorithmic composition software. Asuar produced one educative and artistic album using COMDASUAR, that album is entitled “Así habló el computador” (Thus Spoke the Computer) he published a comprehensive report in 1980 about COMDASUAR in the journal “Revista Musical Chilena”.
Both the hardware and software (with 26 subprograms) components are further explained pointing out the computer-related compositional possibilities.
COMDASUAR has unique and pioneer role in the world history of computer music since it does not register any equivalent at the end of the seventies and serves for the revalorization of Latinamerica in the world context of electroacoustic and computer music.
His formation as engineer helped him out, evidently. The COMDASUAR puts into evidence, among other things, Asuar‘s deep understanding of the electronic side of computers’ architecture. Besides, the differenciation between supercomputing and microcomputers is mentioned in his articles, something that no other composer did in Latinamerica at that time. On the other hand, his musical training was very profondous, making easy for him to develop a very particular compositional thought, in which his influence from the serialism as well as from the stochastic approach are distinctive qualities. The COMDASUAR is the first computer music instrument in Latinamerica, bringing computing sciences applications and music together.
Before to the design and implementation of the COMDASUAR, José Asuar had several important accomplishments in electroacoustic and computer music, including meaningful instrumental pieces devised by computer music methodologies. Above all, the most important is “Formas I” (1970) produced in collaboration with the “Grupo de Investigaciones en Tecnología del Sonido” [Asuar, 1972]. That work makes application of probabilistic processes to composition, algorithms based on serialism but with probability, “directed probability”, histograms, sequences, and it is programmed in FORTRAN IV. Two vinil disks with Asuar’s pieces had been released before to the birth of the COMDASUAR: “El Computador Virtuoso”, and “Música Electrónica de José Vicente Asuar”.
comdasuar2The COMDASUAR is able to perform any musical score in an authomatic manner (i.e., with no human intervention), having a poliphonic capacity of up to 6 voices. It is completely tuned and sincronized, with the feasibility to choose the timbre for each voice. Its most outstanding compositional features include, for example: the possibility to develop heuristic programs, and to propose musical ideas based on probability and musical gambles. The COMDASUAR was the first musical instrument based on a microcomputer developed in Latinamerica. Some of its general characteristics are the following:
-unexpensive: the total cost of its components was around U$ 1,000 in 1978.
-broad range of use: from a home use replacing a piano until a concert performance including its use as a   tool for a composer.
-sounds produced in real time. It is possible to modify the musical results while they are listened to. Its    frequency range is equivalent to the audible range (8 octaves).
-poliphony of up to 6 voices
-standard QWERTY keyboard for data entry as well as a TV-like monitor
-sounds obtained from the microcomputer are square waves, which are passed on to analogical units    which transform them in the resulting timbres. It gives a balanced and equalized mixing result of the 6  voices that must be able for performance or recording.
-it can perform any musical score, offering heuristic possibilities.

SOFTWARE

The software is written in machine language and ocupies 5 Kbytes of memory. It has 26 subprograms, each one named with the letters of the alphabet from A to Z. Those subprograms are divided into:
A1 – Commands for the computer:
1) displays in the screen the content of the memory, 2) erases the screen (2 pages), 3) stores information in memory, 4) changes data in memory, 5) moves memory allocation, and 6) executes programs (2subprograms).
A2 – Operations with musical data:
1) introduces data (3 subprograms), 2) changes data, 3) removes data, 4) interpolates data, 5) moves pitches, and 6) moves durations.
A3 – Heuristic:
1) Canon, 2) Retrogradation, 3) transmutes tones, 4) transmutes durations, 5) probability, and 6) inserts groups of durations.
A4 – Convertion to sound:
1) with sincronism (2 subprograms), and 2) without sincronism.
A5 – Control of periphericals:
1) it records cassettes, and 2) plays cassettes.

All those programs of A are recorded in the EPROM so it is possible to resort them at any moment. In addition, other programs were developed, specially heuristic ones, which are stored in cassette and can be utilized from a certain location of RAM memory. In those cases, it is necessary to trespass the desired program from the cassette to the foreseen memory location. In fact, this allows to extend the memory capacity to an undefinied quantity of programs.

B – Musical Codes, each one expressed by its pitch and duration:
asuar-2B1 – Pitch, expressed in 3 ways:
Octaves: a number from 0 to 7, which implies 8 octaves
Grade in the scale: with letters according to the standards of American format: A, B, D, E, F, and G. R for the silence Cromatism: the standard, S, W, and Q
Quarter tones alterations: U = ascending quarter tone, T = three ascending quarter tones, V = descending quarter tone R = three descending quarter tones
B2 – Duration
It is expressed according to the terminology in Spanish: R = redonda, B = blanca, C = corchea, N = negra, S = semicorchea, F = fusa, M = semifusa, L = lunga, P = punto (it multiplies the previous value by 1.5). Any duration value can be obtained by the addition of the aforementioned values. Besides, the following ciphers are defined: 0 = normal, 3 = triplet, and so on for the irregular values.
B3 – Final Denomination
For the reading on the screen, the computer numbers automatically each tone. As soon as it is finished to write the pitch or duration of a tone, the composer presses the space bar, what is represented in the screen with the symbol /.
B4 – Redundancy
In order to simplify and speed up data introduction, the COMDASUAR takes advantage of the enormous redundancy of musical data. In this sense, only it is indicated to the computer those elements that change from tone to tone. Any element of notation like an octave, grade, cromatism, duration that keeps constant, it is not necessary to mention it, the computer assigns the value it had in the previous tone.
The COMDASUAR also takes advantage of redundancy by defining different modes of introducing musical data:
Mode 0 (J0): it is the usual mode. For each tone, its pitch and duration are indicated.
Mode 1 (J1): Constant duration. At the beginning, the value of the common duration to a tones series is indicated.
Mode 2 (J2): Constant pitch. At the beginning, the value of the common pitch to a rhytmical sequence is indicated.
Mode 4 (J4): Reiteration. This mode is utilized when a tones succession is repeated at least once. First, it is indicated the number of times it repeats, and then, the tones succession, which is limited by another mode indicator. This mode is specially useful for representing trills, tremoli, etc.
Mode 5 (J5): Repeats a sequence. This mode inserts a sequence that has already been written before. There is no limitation in the extension of the sequence to be repeated. Both the first and the last tone of the sequence to repeat are indicated.
B5 – Texture. Asuar defines the texture of a sound to “its variation like a glissando or a vibrato”.
Glissando. It is expressed like Mode 3 (J3) and defined indicating the pitches of the beginning and of the end of the glissando and its duration. The glissando is obtained as a fast succession of tones whose difference of frequency is very little and follows the direction of the glissando. The computer calculates the number of tones it must output and the frequency of each one, based on a fixed speed for the succession of tones. By employing this procedure it is possible to obtain any design of frequency variation.
Vibrato. It is calculated by points of a sinusoide whose axis is the central tone and its amplitude the 16th part of a tone. The frequence of repetition depends on the position of the Tempo regulator. For a Tempo N = 60, it is of 8 cicles per second. The computer calculates 32 points of this sinusoide according to a table. Due to the speed those sounds are issued, it happens something similar to the glissandi and a continuous vibrato is heard. The beginning of a vibrato is indicated as Mode 6 (J6) and its end as Mode 7 (J7). Between those 2 indications, any quantity of tones can be placed.

C – Heuristical Programs.
For José Asuar, heuristical programs are those ones in which the computer has a creative intervention (it issues a score in the memory) or acts as a performer (it manipulates a score stored in memory). The following programs are stored in the EPROM of the COMDASUAR:
C1 – Canon
C2 – Retrogradation. It is necessary to indicate the initial and the ending tones of the section that is retrograded.
C3 – Tones Transmutation. It can be run with at least two voices in memory. It allows to exchange the pitches of the tones corresponding to the 2 voices while the durations remain unchanged. It is mandatory to indicate from which tone in each voice the transmutation is realized.
C4 – Durations Transmutation. Similar to the previous one. It exchanges durations while keeping the pitches. José Asuar states that he developed these 2 programs influenced by his former Professor Boris Blacher. At this point, we have a wide spectrum of possibilities for composing music.
C5 – Probability. For this program it is necessary to define and quantify the musical elements that will be affected by probability. The COMDASUAR allows the simultaneous and independent probabilistic organization of registers, pitches, durations, harmony, and sound texture (vibrato and glissando).
C6 – Insertion of group of durations.
Normally, the tones lists sprouted by probabilistic programs are monotonous and unarticulated. With this program is possible to interpolate pauses and to make possible that tones groups of the probabilistic series have the same duration. The quantity of tones, its location and the constant duration are also calculated by probabilities.
C7 – Another heuristical programs.
José Asuar developed several additional heuristical programs for meeting the requirements of specific musical fragments. One of the best examples is the piece “Asi habló el Computador”, appearing in the LP of the same name, which was composed based on a numerical series and in various arithmetical gambles that determine the rhythm of some of its voices. In other compositions, José Asuar utilized aleatoric combination of groups of durations with groups of pitches. Of special interest are the weird mixtures, such as, of modal series with rhythmical series belonging to the serialism as well as using the melodies of the Argentinian vidalita, as in pieces of the LP “Asi habló el Computador”. Several procedures of the serialism were utilized.

HARDVER

asuar-1D – Tones obtainment
All tones are attained from an only quartz oscillator. This oscillator resounds at the frequency of 2,048 kilocicles and the different tones are obtained by divisions or subarmonics of this generating frequency. Let’s take the example of an oscillator that resounds at 28,160 cicles per second: it is outside of the audible spectra but if it is divided by 64 (the subarmonic of order 64), we obtain a pitch of 440 c.p.s. (A). Between 64 and 128 we have 64 possibilities of division or subarmonics, and if we choose all those that are nearer of the values of the tempered scale, we can obtain a musical scale of aproximate tuning. Therefore, the worse tuning, which corresponds to the high pitches, has a definition in the subarmonic 70, which is equivalent to a quarter tone, aproximately. The lower the pitch the better the tuning.Tones are get by a system of division of frequencies supplied by the INTEL Timer 8253. This Timer is capable of obtaining simultaneously 3 different subarmonics from the same generating frequency. With that purpose, the microprocessor delivers the dividing cipher, with a definition of 16 bits, to each one of the 3 dividers of the Timer, attaining the 3 tones as subarmonics of the same oscillator, having stable intervalic relations. In the COMDASUAR, it is possible to work either with a quartz oscillator that delivers a fixed frequency of 2,048 kilocicles or with an oscillator of variable frequency, which can be used manually or with voltage control. Therefore, there are two possibilities for obtaining the tones: by fixed tuning and by variable tuning.

E – Rhythm Obtainment
For producing rhythm, the COMDASUAR makes use of a quality of the microprocessors: the possibility to be ctivated by interruptions of the external media. The inner logics of the COMDASUAR has a program for interruptions waiting. When an interruption comes, the microprocessor goes to execute the main program, which consists in decrementing the counters in charge of counting the duration of each tone. As soon as the counters are decremented, the microprocessor goes again to the program of interruptions waiting in order to repeat the process. The COMDASUAR employs a multivibrator of variable frequency for generating the interruption pulses which allows to manually obtain accelerandi and retardandi. The maximal speed is around the 19 or 20 tones per second and per voice.

F – Analogic equipment
For each voice, one filter with voltage control, one envelope generator, and one amplifier with voltage control are built. The control voltages for the filters are obtained from six digital-analogic converters connected to 7 bits of each port of two paralel interfaces (Programmable Peripheral Interface, INTEL 8255). The 8th. bit is used as trigger for launching the envelope generator. Three of the voices have at their disposal a wave form generator, which consists in a demultiplexor that divides the square wave in a wave of 8 segments. The original frequency is divided in eight parts as well, i.e., the pitch of the tone decreases in 3 octaves. By passing this stepped wave through the filter, it is possible to attain different spectrums, in which it is possible to gamble with the relative magnitudes of the first 8 harmonics. With this procedure it is possible to achieve a very convincing synthesis of many well-known timbres, such as of some acoustic instruments.
The COMDASUAR also includes additional analogic equipment for the generation of effects: a white noise generator, a rose noise generator, two ring modulators used for getting inarmonic espectra like bell sounds, two tremolo generators, two generators of functions oscillating at low frequency with the goal of generating sinusoidal, triangle, and square voltages, which control filters and amplifiers for attaining different effects (vibrato, tremolo, etc.). A dephaser for accomplishing spatial-like effects as well as complementary units like inverters, multipliers, mixers, reverberators, etc. are also available in the COMDASUAR.

G – Scores storage.
The RAM memory where musical data are stored has a size of 2 Kbytes. Because of the simplicity of many codes and to the information reduction by redundancy, this memory size allows to store up to 2,000 tones in the 6 voices. This information is physically placed within a cassette. The ransference of music data from the cassette to the memory of the COMDASUAR is very fast, it takes only a few seconds.

H – Synchronism.
As it was stated before, the poliphonic capacity of the COMDASUAR is up to 6 voices. For producing performances of more than 6 voices, it allows to syncronize them by resorting multi-track equipment. In the case of a 4 track recorder, one track is appointed to record a pulse for originating the interruptions. In the remaining 3 tracks, up to 18 voices (up to 6 in each individual track) can be recorded with total sincronism. For the recording of the pieces featured in the LP “Asi habló el Computador”, a 2 tracks REVOX A77 tape recorder was utilized. The sincronism in the 2 tracks was obtained by recording a reference tone at the very beginning of track holding the first recording. After the issuance of that tone, the COMDASUAR counts certain amount of time and starts to perform the score. For syncronizing the second recording, it is necessary to play the track with the reference tone, and after this last one, the computer begins to play the new score.

CONCLUSION

The COMDASUAR has been useful not only for high-end computer-based composition but also for pedagogical and teaching purposes. Many of its features were an advance of computer music developments that came years later. José Asuar then suggested several new additions and improvements that made the COMDASUAR an authentical tool for
composing and real-time performing music, for instance, the inclussion of piano-like keyboards, firstly one monophonic, then two monophonic, and finally one polyphonic. Sensors and optoelectronic devices have also been tried and this could have the most important potential field for its development. The COMDASUAR is a pride for Latinamerica and has to be included in all the manuals and handbook listing and describing pioneer computer music instruments. The uniqueness of the COMDASUAR as a sequencer, a score editor, an algorithmic composition tool, and a sound synthesis program puts it in the same seat of honor as the key computer music developments of the USA and Europe.

Selected discography:

borító3

Jose Vicent Asuar ‎– Obra Electroacústica (3xCD)

阿部薫 (Kaoru Abe)

Abe2

阿部薫 (Kaoru Abe) (born May 3, 1949 Kawasaki Cityben, Kanagawa prefekture) was an influential Japanese avant-garde / free jazz alto saxophonist who generally played solo, and is often regarded as having the greatest abrasive saxophone sound. He died young from a drug overdose, and has been romanticized in the Japanese jazz underground. He was married to the author Izumi Suzuki, and was the subject of the film Endless Waltz by the director Koji Wakamatsu. Self-taught at a young age. Collaborators included Masayuki Takayanagi, Derek Bailey, Sabu Toyozumi, Aquirax Aida, and Motoharu Yoshizawa. Those said to have been influenced by Abe include Otomo Yoshihide and Masayoshi Urabe. He was cousin with the famous singer Kyu Sakamoto.
To some listeners, this avant-garde Japanese player from the ’70s wins the sweepstakes for the most abrasive saxophone sound in history, an important competition indeed in this genre. With some saxophonists claiming their tone can remove coats of varnish from antiques, cook a 20-pound goose in one hour, or even wound a small rodent at 200 feet, there is no denying the impact of Kaoru Abe on alto sax; and on clarinet, he hardly harbored ambitions to be the new Artie Shaw. Unfortunately, his premature death meant he never lived to see the heyday of Japanese avant-garde music, nor enjoy the prestige his type of abilities on saxophone might have garnered him as the interest in free jazz increased in the ’90s. He also never held at least half of his releases in his hands, since some of the best material from this player was only released in the years after his death.
The entire CD format, allowing the expansive playing time required to properly document his unfolding energy discourse, was also not something he lived to enjoy. Several small labels have practically created cottage industries out of his posthumous releases, pumping out an annual multiple-CD set for several years running. Fans of his playing tend to count backwards from the date of his death to the recording date, the higher the resulting number basically indicating the greater possibility of genius contained within. There are several explanations of this, one rooted in debauchery, and the other in perhaps a worse curse, multi-instrumentalism.
wind2At any rate, this performer’s lifestyle is said to have been soaked with liquor, stuffed with drugs, and sniffing with loneliness and tragedy. It had enough of these elements to inspire a movie treatment, nonetheless, so fans of Japanese free jazz have the option of searching for the film Endless Waltz, which supposedly tells the tale of his marriage to the writer Suzuki Izumi — who had even more problems than he did, if the screenplay is to be believed. In the decade that he didn’t quite finish out, the ’70s, some fans feel his talents sizzled with the inevitability of a roaring fire that is repeatedly doused with filthy water. If this was the case, he certainly shouldn’t be blamed personally for following a lifestyle that many believe to be required for such a career. Dexter Gordon performed brilliantly after drinking entire bottles of vodka, and several acknowledged free jazz masterpieces were recorded by players whipped out of their minds on LSD.
Some of the lack of appeal of Abe’s later material has got to come not from the perception that he is out of it but from his introduction of other instruments, including the dreaded harmonica and crudely played guitar. Historically, there are few known cases of saxophonists being praised for adding other instruments into their arsenal, so any critical about-face on this issue can be considered an important development in itself. Other Japanese music scholars have praised the later-Abe material and his use of diverse instruments, but even they seem to feel his work on the alto saxophone has never been equalled. One thing is for sure, no matter how extremely noisy the Japanese music scene has gotten, it has yet to produce another reed player as good as this one.
His solo sets were said to be the peak of his creative form, but he also took advantage of opportunities to record with the master American free jazz drummer Milford Graves and the British father of free improvisation, guitarist Derek Bailey. Abe contributes immensely powerful playing to these two completely different contexts. He also can be heard on recordings with other Japanese free players, such as the Aida’s Call album, in which he holds forth with dynamic trumpeter Toshinori Kondo and virtuoso bassist Motoharu Yoshizawa. One of Abe’s earliest groupings was the New Directions duo in 1970 with Masayuki Takayanagi.
He died September 9, 1978.

Abe3-2

Selected discography:

nord2Exif_JPEG_PICTUREmort2
gaya1-2gaya2-2gaya3-2
gaya4-2gaya5-2gaya6-2
gaya7-2gaya8-2gaya9-2gaya10-2gayabox-2partitas2
kurai nichiyoubi2kaze ni fukarete2akashia no ame ga yamu2
last2studiosession2solo19720121-2kagayakeru nintai2trio2bed2abe713-2
winter2abe30-2Koseinenkin2gradually2mass2aida2lastrec2senzei2box7-2box4-2

Abe ・ Yoshizawa ‎– 北 [Nord] Duo ’75
Abe-Toyozumi Duo ‎– Overhang-Party – A Memorial To Kaoru Abe
Kaoru Abe ‎– Mort À Crédit
Kaoru Abe ‎– Solo Live At Gaya Vol. 1
Kaoru Abe ‎– Solo Live At Gaya Vol. 2
Kaoru Abe ‎– Solo Live At Gaya Vol. 3
Kaoru Abe ‎– Solo Live At Gaya Vol. 4
Kaoru Abe ‎– Solo Live At Gaya Vol. 5
Kaoru Abe ‎– Solo Live At Gaya Vol. 6
Kaoru Abe ‎– Solo Live At Gaya Vol. 7
Kaoru Abe ‎– Solo Live At Gaya Vol. 8
Kaoru Abe ‎– Solo Live At Gaya Vol. 9
Kaoru Abe ‎– Solo Live At Gaya Vol. 10
Kaoru Abe ‎– Solo Live At Gaya
阿部薫 ‎– 彗星 (Partitas)
阿部薫 ‎– 暗い日曜日 (Kurai Nichiyoubi)
阿部薫 ‎– 風に吹かれて (Kaze Ni Fukarete)
阿部薫 / 佐藤康和 ‎– アカシアの雨がやむとき ‎(Akashia No Ame Ga Yamu)
Abe Kaoru ‎– Last Date 8. 28, 1978
Kaol Abe ‎– Studio Session 1976.3.12
阿部薫 ‎– またの日の夢物語 [Solo.1972.1.21]
阿部薫 ‎– 光輝く忍耐
阿部薫 ‎– Trio 1970年3月, 新宿
阿部薫 ・ 山崎弘 ‎– Jazz Bed
阿部薫 ‎– Winter 1972
阿部薫 ‎– 遥かな旅路
高柳昌行・阿部薫 ‎– 解体的交感
高柳昌行・阿部薫 ‎– 漸次投射 Gradually Projection
高柳昌行・阿部薫 ‎– 集団投射 Mass Projection
Kaoru Abe / Motoharu Yoshizawa / Toshinori Kondo / Derek Bailey ‎– Aida’s Call
阿部薫 ‎– The Last Recording
Kaoru Abe & Sabu Toyozumi ‎– Overhang Party / Senzei
阿部薫 ‎– CD Box 1970-1973
阿部薫 ‎– 未発表音源+初期音源

Roberto Cacciapaglia

Cacciapaglia1-2

Roberto Cacciapaglia (born in Milan) is an Italian pianist and composer.
Cacciapaglia received his degree in music composition from the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Milan, under the direction of Bruno Bettinelli. While at the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi he also studied orchestra direction and electronic music. Roberto has also worked for the Department of Phonology at RAI (Italy’s national television station) in Milan and has collaborated with the CNR (National Research Council) of Pisa, where he studied computer applications in the field of music.
Cacciapaglia is a prominent figure on the more innovative Italian music scene and a point of reference in Italy and abroad, for his musical research between classical and experimental electronic and direction towards music without borders that goes beyond divisions. For some time, he was involved in studying sacred music and dance, and for a number of years he has conducted a research effort that studies the powers of sound. His music draws inspiration from these experiences and passes through emotions rather than through traditional rules and structure.
His full legacy extending not only over the field of electronic music, but also into avant-gardism, into a (decidedly) different language of rock, into computer-based music or natural experimenting, into classical opuses and into concept-filled fresh, generic art-leaning language.
In his music, Cacciapaglia generally blurs (or melds, better said) the line between classical and electronic, between orchestral and soloistic designated playing, between fully-researched and improvised music, between tradition(al) and emotion-driven ingenuity. Much of what he offers is down with avant-garde impulses and with an artistic superior code.

Cacciapaglia2-2

Selected discography: 

sonanzer-2seinoter-2generazione-2
angelus-2ann-2tra-2
arcana-2tempus-2quatro-2
canone-2ten-2live-2

Roberto Cacciapaglia ‎– Sonanze
Roberto Cacciapaglia ‎– Sei Note In Logica
Roberto Cacciapaglia ‎– Generazioni Del Cielo
Roberto Cacciapaglia ‎– Angelus Rock
Roberto Cacciapaglia ‎– Ann Steel
Roberto Cacciapaglia ‎– Tra Cielo e Terra
Roberto Cacciapaglia ‎– Arcana
Roberto Cacciapaglia ‎– Tempus Fugit
Roberto Cacciapaglia ‎– Quatro Tempo
Roberto Cacciapaglia ‎– Canone Degli Spazi ‎
Roberto Cacciapaglia ‎– Ten Directions
Roberto Cacciapaglia ‎– Live from Milan

Tony Oxley

oxley1-2

Tony Oxley (born 15 June 1938) is an English drummer, composer, painter, and one of the founders of Incus Records.
Tony Oxley is arguably one of the most significant British drummer of the latter half of the twentieth century. He created a style of improvised drumming, virtually from whole cloth, that has had a tremendous impact on three generations of jazz players. He developed a drum/percussion kit uniquely suited to his personal mode of playing, and in the early 1970s, became the first drummer to actively utilize electronic resources to modify the sound of his instrument. As co-founder of the Musicians Cooperative and Incus record label, he helped put the British improvised music scene on firmer ground. He has performed with a wide range of musicians, from traditional tenor players such as Ben Webster and Eddie Lockjaw Davis, to piano pioneers Paul Bley and Bill Evans, and musicians Cecil Taylor and Derek Bailey.
Tony Oxley was born in Sheffield, England. A self-taught pianist by the age of eight, he first began playing the drums at seventeen. In Sheffield he was taught by well respected local drummer Haydon Cook, who had returned to the city after a long residency, in the 1950s, at Ronnie Scott’s in London. From 1957 to 1960, after he was drafted into the British army, he became a percussionist in the the Black Watch military orchestra. While serving, Oxley studied music theory and he did more than just develop his classical chops performing works by Beethoven, Mozart, and Dvorak. He was also able to travel to the United States where he heard jazz greats, such as Art Blakey, Horace Silver, and Philly Joe Jones in concert.
Those jazz experiences in America were decisive for Oxley. By the time he left the service, he had made up his mind not to play other people’s music any longer. Back home in Sheffield, he formed a jazz combo which he led for three years.
oxley4In 1963, he had another decisive encounter: he met guitarist Derek Bailey who was living just around the corner. “A once in a century coincidence,” was how Oxley described the meeting to Bert Noglik in Jazz-Werkstatt International[1]. With bassist Gavin Bryars, they formed a trio called Joseph Holbrooke named after a long-deceased British composer. The group started out playing jazz standards, but quickly evolved into other kinds of music, fueled by the interests of the members. Bryars was interested in avant-garde classical composers such as John Cage, Morton Feldman, Christian Wolf, and Olivier Messiaen; Oxley was interested in the more radical players in contemporary jazz—John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, and Cecil Taylor, among others.
“From 1963-66 we moved away from the diatonic system to the chromatic system, forging a profound interest in Anton Webern and John Cage. It was a period of learning, of taming oneself, of discovering other ways of music-making.” – Oxley described to Harris Eisenstadt in Coda [2] about his work with Holbrooke. They were particularly fascinated by Webern’s music. They had no particular use for Webern’s methods, but they tried to translate his sound into their music. Free improvisation—which Oxley would later term European Improvised Music—was the bridge the group built between these extremes. It was music virtually unknown in England—or elsewhere in Europe—at the time. For Oxley and Bailey, it evolved sui generis in the course of Joseph Holbrooke’s playing.
In 1967, Oxley moved to London. Before long he had established himself as the house drummer at one of the city’s most popular jazz clubs, Ronnie Scott’s. Oxley had already moved beyond traditional jazz in his own music. But he enjoyed performing with the players who had helped invent jazz, legends such as Ben Webster, Davis, Joe Hendeson, Stan Getz, and Evans. In John Wickes’ Innovations in British Jazz, John Fordham described Oxley’s “traditional” drum style: “He would embroider the basic time in clusters of jostling beats, but still remember in some metronomic circuit in the depths of his brain exactly where the beat was, and come back to it at intervals with an emphatic crash that seemed to say ’told you so.’ He would frequently unsettle soloists, or lose them altogether.” Evans, however, was taken with Oxley’s drumming and more than once tried to persuade him to join his trio.
In the mid 1960s, a group of hardcore improvisers including Oxley, Bailey, saxophonist Evan Parker, bassist/composer Barry Guy, pianist Howard Riley, trombonist Paul Rutherford, and drummer Paul Lytton, had come together and were performing together regularly in London. Their music was quickly moving away from anything resembling jazz, fostering hostility in the British music press and at record companies.

Howard Riley Trio – Cirrus Live French TV 1972

However, Oxley’s work at Ronnie Scott’s, where he played regularly until the early 1970s, had given Oxley a solid reputation as jazz drummer—however outside the jazz standard he was interested in playing. In 1969, after he performed on John McLaughlin’s first LP, Extrapolation, he was offered a recording contract by CBS. The first recording, The Baptised Traveller,featured members of another group, the Spontaneous Music Ensemble: Parker, Bailey, Kenny Wheeler on trumpet, and Jeff Clyne on bass. The results sound at times like an elegy to the jazz they were all leaving behind. Oxley’s next record for CBS, Four Compositions For Sextet, added Paul Rutherford’s trombone.
By the early 1970s, Oxley was doing well for a performing musician. He had regular work at Ronnie Scott’s, which brought him popularity, and he was recording regularly. Despite Oxley’s success, however, improvised music was suffering in Britain. Venues were shutting down or booking only the most traditional jazz acts; the music was be littled by the general music press and record labels simply ignored it completely. In 1970, Oxley co-founded the Musicians Cooperative with Bailey, Parker and several other musicians. The group’s purpose was to help the musicians help themselves and it was almost immediately able to secure grant money for the group from the local arts council.
At Oxley’s suggestion, Incus Records, an independent artist-owned record label, was founded. “I proposed to Derek Bailey that maybe we should have a company of our own. Whilst I was being recorded, there were important developments and musicians who were not. A friend of mine, Mike Walters, provided the money and didn’t want to be involved with running the company, so Derek suggested Evan Parker.”[2] With Incus, musicians were finally in a position to document their music, and to have a measure of control over its release and distribution.
oxley5
By the time he started recording for CBS, Oxley was beginning to realize that the traditional drum kit, made up primarily of snare, toms, and cymbals—even as he had expanded with unusual noise-making devices— was not adequate for reproducing the music he was hearing in his head. He started to experiment with various forms of amplification and electronic devices such as ring modulators to alter the sounds he made. Using the electronics on the drums themselves didn’t interest him as much as using them on the foreign objects he had incorporated into the kit: bowls, pieces of wire, screws, and other metal objects that were able to create a wide range of pure sounds.
“On my record February Papers, for example, there’s a piece of mine you can hear that came about from amplifying electronically drawing a bow across the blade of a knife. It is unbelievable what kind of sound possibilities you can find in a little piece of metal.” – Oxley told Noglik. His first electronic work appeared on his first LP for RCA, Ichnos, which Oxley thought was his best of that period. Surprisingly, few drummers in improv, jazz, rock, or other music have picked up on Oxley’s experiments with electronic modification of percussion.
However, Oxley’s electronic drumming did come to the attention of Martin Wesley Smith, the head of the electronic music department at the Sydney Conservatorium in Australia. Smith arranged a three-month-long artist-in-residence position for the drummer.”I think what probably interested him was my approach. As professional electronic composers require a large desk of treatment possibilities I had the idea to cut this down to a minimum in order to improvise. I also constantly changed my sound source. I could quite easily move my equipment to any situation.”[2]
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the early 1970s, Oxley met Alan Davie, a painter who would have a profound impact on Oxley’s artistic life. Davie phoned Oxley to ask if he, Paul Rutherford, and Evan Parker were interested in performing at a gallery where Davie had an exhibit. When Oxley accepted, he discovered that Davie was profoundly interested in music, and often performed on an array of instruments. They began meeting regularly at Davie’s home where they performed together and recorded their music.”Besides Bailey, Davie is one of the people that I owe the most to for my musical development. As a musician, Alan Davie doesn’t start from either classical music or jazz. He looked for his own path very singlemindedly and found it.”[1] In 1974, Davie gave Oxley a violin. Oxley quickly discovered the rhythmic possibilities in the instrument, and has since had an abiding interest in working with string ensembles of all kinds.
In 1978, Oxley formed the Celebration Orchestra, an under-documented big band that played on and off until well into the 1990s. His compositions for the group were as adventurous as anything else he has done. They have called for Scottish pipe and drum band, three prepared pianos, a pre-recorded tape of a steel factory, and electronics, along with the more or less regular orchestra line-up of brass, piano, strings, voice and, of course, Oxley’s drums.
The 1980s and 1990s saw Oxley performing with a number of important European and American improvisers, including Peter Brotzmann, Phil Minton, Phil Wachsmann, Anthony Braxton, Paul Bley, and Alexander von Schlippenbach. A particularly fruitful collaboration began when Oxley first performed with Cecil Taylor. Oxley played with Taylor in a number of settings during the pianist’s epochal stay in Berlin during the summer of 1988: as a duo, with William Parker in the Feel Trio, and in the 17-piece Cecil Taylor European Orchestra. Taylor subsequently introduced Oxley to American trumpeter Bill Dixon, which set another productive collaboration in motion.
Since Oxley and Bailey began making their individual music in the early 1960s, people have asked,”Yes, but is it jazz?” Oxley prefers to call what he does”improvised music.” But by and large he finds the entire question to be academic and uninteresting. He is grateful to American jazz of the 1950s for leading him to improvisation, but he has moved far beyond the music he was playing in Sheffield and at Ronnie Scott’s club in London. He does see his musical role as very different from that played by jazz drummers.”I consider myself more a percussionist, in contrast to a jazz drummer who keeps time. In the new improvised music, a percussionist can interrupt the flow of his playing without affecting the nature of his relationship to the other players.”[1]

Some of his pictures:

oxley-rajza-2oyley rajz1-2
oyley rajz5-2oxley-rajz9-2
oxley-rajz7-2oyley rajz4-2

 

Selected discography:

baptist2sextet2Ichnos2
Ichnos2davieduo2PENTAX Image
february2gumpert-malfatti2wachsmann2
ctaylor-leaf2battaglia2soho2
dixon2avs2advocate2
quartet2ctaylorlp2jh1-2
jholbrooke2

Tony Oxley Quintet ‎– The Baptised Traveller
Tony Oxley ‎– 4 Compositions For Sextet
Tony Oxley ‎– Ichnos
Tony Oxley Alan Davie Duo ‎– The Alan Davie Music Workshop ADMV
Tony Oxley ‎– Tony Oxley
Tony Oxley ‎– February Papers
Ulrich Gumpert / Radu Malfatti / Tony Oxley ‎– Ach Was!?
Tony Oxley and Philipp Wachsmann ‎– The Glider & The Grinder
Cecil Taylor & Tony Oxley ‎– Leaf Palm Hand
Stefano Battaglia – Tony Oxley ‎– Explore
Derek Bailey and Tony Oxley ‎– Soho Suites – Recordings From 1977 & 1995
Bill Dixon With Tony Oxley ‎– Papyrus – Volume 1
Alexander von Schlippenbach & Tony Oxley ‎– Digger’s Harvest
Tony Oxley / Derek Bailey ‎– The Advocate
Tony Oxley, Derek Bailey, Matt Wand & Pat Thomas ‎– Tony Oxley/ Derek Bailey Quartet
Cecil Taylor & Tony Oxley ‎– Ailanthus / Altissima: Bilateral Dimensions Of 2 Root Songs
Joseph Holbrooke ‎– ’98
Joseph Holbrooke Trio ‎– The Moat Recordings

Can

can_lost_tapes2

Can was a German experimental rock band formed in Cologne, West Germany in 1968. Later labeled as one of the first krautrock groups, they transcended mainstream influences and incorporated strong minimalist and world music elements into their often psychedelic music.
Can constructed their music largely through collective spontaneous composition –– which the band differentiated from improvisation in the jazz sense. Holger Czukay referred to Can’s live and studio performances as “instant compositions”. They had occasional commercial success, with singles such as “Spoon” and “I Want More” reaching national singles charts. Through albums such as Monster Movie (1969), Tago Mago (1971), Ege Bamyasi (1972) and Future Days (1973), the band exerted a considerable influence on avant-garde, experimental, underground, ambient, new wave and electronic music.
The roots of Can can be traced back to Irmin Schmidt and a trip that he made to New York City in 1968. While Schmidt initially spent his time with avant-garde musicians such as Steve Reich, La Monte Young and Terry Riley, he was also eventually exposed to the world of Andy Warhol, Hotel Chelsea[1] and, The Velvet Underground. In his own words, the trip “corrupted” him, sparking a fascination with the possibilities of rock music. Upon his return to Cologne later that year, an inspired Schmidt formed a group with American avant-garde composer and flautist David C. Johnson and music teacher Holger Czukay with the intention of exploring his newly broadened horizons.
[1]The Hotel Chelsea is a historic New York City hotel and landmark, known primarily for its history of notable residents, which has been the home of numerous writers, musicians, artists, and actors.
schmidt2Schmidt said in a 2004 interview: “When I founded the group I was a classical composer and conductor and pianist making piano recitals, playing a lot of contemporary music but also Brahms, Chopin and Beethoven and everything. And when we got together I wanted to do something in which all contemporary music becomes one thing. Contemporary music in Europe especially, the new music was classical music was Boulez, Stockhausen and all that. I studied all that, I studied Stockhausen but nobody talked about rock music like Sly Stone, James Brown or the Velvet Underground as being contemporary music. Then there was jazz and all these elements were our contemporary music, it was new. It was, in a way, much newer than the new classical music which claimed to be ‘the new music’.”
Up to that point, the inclinations of all three musicians had been exclusively avant-garde classical. Schmidt chose to play organ and piano, while Czukay played bass and was able to record their music with a basic two-track tape machine. The group was soon fleshed out by with guitarist Michael Karoli, a 19-year-old pupil of Czukay, and drummer Jaki Liebezeit. Can was ahead of its time in a number of ways. can-live2Czukay and Schmidt had studied with Stockhausen, and Schmidt had also performed and conducted works by Cage, Feldman and Gorecki. Drummer Jaki Liebezeit free-jazz hátterű had a free-jazz background and had played with Chet Baker and Manfred Schoof, and guitarist Michael Karoli had studied Gypsy music and served time in dance bands. Their varied backgrounds, their dedication to experimentation and their mutual ignorance about rock music allowed them to develop a beautifully unclichéd sound, one that treated drums and bass with inordinate respect. As the group developed a more rock-oriented sound, a disappointed Johnson left the group at the end of 1968.
The band used the names “Inner Space” and “The Can” before finally settling on “CAN”. In mid-1968, the band enlisted the creative, highly rhythmic, but unstable and often confrontational American vocalist Malcolm Mooney, a New York-based sculptor, with whom they recorded the material for an album, Prepared to Meet Thy Pnoom. Unable to find a recording company willing to release the album, the group continued their studio work until they had material for what became their first release, Monster Movie, released in 1969.
This album contained new versions of two songs previously recorded for Prepared to Meet Thy Pnoom, “Father Cannot Yell” and “Outside My Door”. Other material recorded around the same time was released in 1981 as Delay 1968. can-duo2Mooney’s bizarre ranting vocals emphasized the sheer strangeness and hypnotic quality of the music, which was influenced particularly by garage rock, psychedelic rock and funk. Repetition was stressed on bass and drums, particularly on the epic “Yoo Doo Right”, which had been edited down from a six-hour improvisation to take up a mere single side of vinyl. Liebezeit’s tight but multifarious drumming was crucial in carrying the music. Mooney suffered a nervous breakdown. He returned to America soon afterwards on the advice of a psychiatrist, having been told that getting away from the chaotic music of Can would be better for his mental health.
He was replaced by the more understated Kenji “Damo” Suzuki, a young Japanese traveller found busking outside a Munich cafe by Czukay and Liebezeit. Though he only knew a handful of guitar chords and improvised the majority of his lyrics (as opposed to committing them to paper), Suzuki was asked to perform with the band that same night. The band’s first record with Suzuki was Soundtracks, released in 1970, a compilation of music made for films that also contained two earlier tracks recorded with Mooney. Suzuki’s lyrics were usually in English, though sometimes in Japanese (for example, in “Oh Yeah” and “Doko E”).jacki2 Tago Mago was followed in 1972 by Ege Bamyasi, a more accessible but still avant-garde record which featured the catchy “Vitamin C” and the Top 10 German hit “Spoon”. It was followed by Future Days in 1973, which represents an early example of ambient music, as well as including the pop song “Moonshake”. Suzuki left soon after the recording of Future Days to marry his German girlfriend, and become a Jehovah’s Witness. Vocals were taken over by Karoli and Schmidt; however, after the departure of Suzuki, fewer of their tracks featured vocals, as Can found themselves experimenting with the ambient music they had begun with Future Days.

Extract an interview of January 1997 with Holger Czukay by Richie Unterberger 

RU: I wonder if you could compare the band as they were with Malcolm Mooney and as they were with Damo Suzuki.
HC: With Malcolm Mooney, we were very fresh. Malcolm was a great rhythm talent. He was a locomotive. That was the right singer from the very beginning, as this was our weak point. Maybe we were creating rhythms, but you could say we were not very stable in ourselves in doing that. That means [we needed] someone who was pushing us into the rhythm, and giving us the feel that this is the right thing to do. This was Malcolm Mooney, and he got integrated very much into what all the other musicians did. suzuki2I think he was the right singer in the right place at the right time. When he left because of psychological reasons, Damo came in. The group was far more experienced by that time. Damo is not such a pusher. He is a different sort of a singer, and therefore the group achieved such a stability. Again, Damo fitted perfectly into that. So you can say by the follow-up by the musicians who came in. Everything was really perfect.
The problem was, when Damo disappeared, Can was now without a singer. Suddenly we felt a hole in our music. Michael was singing, but he is not – a guitar player actually should not sing. Except like Jimi Hendrix or something like that. Actually, a guitar player should play guitar. That was our problem, suddenly, what we had. We tried out so many singers at that time. And nobody really fitted again into this group. It was somehow Can’s fate, or tragedy, or whatever you call that, that it happened like it happened. But that’s what was given to the group.
The later albums Landed (1975) and Flow Motion (1976) saw Can moving towards a somewhat more conventional style as their recording technology improved. In 1977 Can were joined by former Traffic bassist Rosko Gee and percussionist Rebop Kwaku Baah, both of whom provided vocals to Can’s music, appearing on the albums Saw Delight (1977), Out of Reach (1978) and Can (1979). During this period Holger Czukay was pushed to the fringes of the group’s activity; in fact he just made sounds using shortwave radios, Morse code keys, tape recorders and other sundry objects. He left Can in late 1977 and did not appear on the albums Out of Reach or Can, although he was involved with production work for the latter album. The band seemed to be in a hiatus shortly afterwards, but reunions have taken place on several occasions since.
Since the split, all the former members have been involved in musical projects, often as session musicians for other artists. In 1986 they briefly reformed, with original vocalist Mooney, to recordRite Time (released in 1989). There was a further reunion in 1991 to record a track for the Wim Wenders film Until the End of the World, and Can have since been the subject of numerous compilations, live albums.
Rebop Kwaku Baah died in 1983 following a brain hemorrhage. Michael Karoli died of cancer on 17 November 2001.

Selected discography:

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Monster Movie                    Soundtracks                        Tago Mago (40th Anniversary Edition)

Ege Bamyasi                        Delay 1968                           The Peel Session

Music (Live 1971-1977)       Unlimited Edition                The Lost Tapes

Maryanne Amacher

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Maryanne Amacher (born on February 25, 1938 in Kane, Pennsylvania) was an American composer and installation artist. She was a pioneer in the field of electro-acoustics and computerised music at a time when new challenges were presented regularly. She was born, to an American nurse and a Swiss freight train worker. As the only child, she grew up playing the piano. Amacher left Kane to attend the University of Pennsylvania on a full scholarship where she received a B.F.A in 1964. While there she studied composition with George Rochberg. She also studied composition in Salzburg, Austria, and Dartington, England, and privately with Karlheinz Stockhausen. Subsequently, she did graduate work in acoustics and computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
In Ms. Amacher’s “City-Links” series, which she began in 1967 and returned to periodically through the 1990s to create 22 installations in all, sounds from different locations within a city — or several cities — were transmitted over telephone lines and mixed together.
While in residence at the University of Buffalo, in 1967, she created City Links: Buffalo, a 28-hour piece using 5 microphones in different parts of the city, broadcast live by radio station WBFO. There were 21 other pieces in the “City Links” series, and more information can be found in the brochure for an exhibition on the series by Ludlow 38 in NYC ((available on their website http://www.ludlow38.org/index.php?/archive/maryanne-amacher-city-links/ ).

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A common feature was the use of dedicated, FM radio quality telephone (0-15,000 Hz range) lines to connect the sound environments of different sites into the same space, a very early example of what is now called “telematic performance” and preceded much more famous examples of this by Max Neuhaus and others. Neuhaus was involved with the original ’67 work in Buffalo.
Other pieces in the series used sounds from the harbors of Boston and New York. In “City-Links 15,” Ms. Amacher combined sound from New York, Boston and Paris for a live broadcast carried by WBAI-FM in New York and Radio France Musique in Paris.
After presenting early works, including the first few pieces in the “City-Links” series, during fellowships at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she was invited by the composer John Cage to collaborate on several projects. She produced a storm soundtrack for Cage’s multimedia “Lecture on the Weather” (1975), as well as a sound environment piece, “Close Up,” which accompanied Cage’s 10-hour solo voice work, “Empty Words” (1978). For Cunningham, she produced “Torse” and several other evening-length works from 1974 to 1980.
Her major pieces have almost exclusively been site specific,[1] often using many loudspeakers to create what she called “structure borne sound”, which is a differentiation with “airborne sound”, the paradox intentional. By using many diffuse sound sources (either not in the space or speakers facing at the walls or floors) she would create the psychoacoustic illusions of sound shapes/”precense”. Amacher’s early work is best represented in the three series of multimedia installations produced in the United States, Europe, and Japan: the sonic telepresence series, “City Links” 1-22 (1967- ); the architecturally staged “Music For Sound Joined Rooms” (1980- ) and the “Mini-Sound Series” (1985- ) a new multimedia form which she created, that is unique in its use of architecture and serialized narrative.

Maryanne Amacher--photo by Peggy Weil

Ms. Amacher was drawn to extremes: some of her scores — for example, the music she composed for the choreographer Merce Cunningham’s “Torse” (1976) — could be so soft as to be nearly inaudible at times. But more typically, she reveled in powerful, high-volume sensory assaults, combining high-pitched electronic chirping and solid bass drones to produce a visceral effect.
“With three tape recorders and a huge set of speakers spread out around a darkened room,” Peter Watrous wrote in The New York Times after a performance at the Kitchen in 1988, “she used immense volume to make sound feel liquid, all-enveloping, as if it were pouring into ears, between fingers and through hair. Ms. Amacher layered her noises — buzzing tones wrapped in sandstorm textures, rumblings like faraway thunder storms late at night, an idling motorcycle, jets swooping by — into an apocalyptic, terrifying landscape.”
Many of Ms. Amacher’s most notable works are known only by reputation. They were site-specific installations that would be difficult, perhaps even impossible, to recreate, although several have been staged in new versions for different locations. Moreover, the handful of recordings that offer samples of her scores barely do them justice: Ms. Amacher was less concerned with sound on its own terms than with the way sound was perceived in space and over extended time periods.
She worked extensively with the physiological (not psychoacoustic) phenomenon called otoacoustic emission, in which the ears themselves act as sound generating devices. Amacher composed several “ear dances” designed to stimulate clear “third” tones coming from the listener’s ears. It’s not yet adequately researched and clear as to whether these works are solely from otoacoustic emissions or perhaps also combination and difference tones.

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The subtitle of her first Tzadik Records album Sound Characters (Making the Third Ear) references these “ear tones”.
Amacher describes this phenomenon: When played at the right sound level, which is quite high and exciting, the tones in this music will cause your ears to act as neurophonic instruments that emit sounds that will seem to be issuing directly from your head … (my audiences) discover they are producing a tonal dimension of the music which interacts melodically, rhythmically, and spatially with thetones in the room.
Tones ‘dance’ in the immediate space of their body, around them like a sonic wrap, cascade inside ears, and out to space in front of their eyes … Do not be alarmed! Your ears are not behaving strange or being damaged! … these virtual tones are a natural and very real physical aspect of auditory perception, similar to the fusing of two images resulting in a third three dimensional image in binocular perception … I want to release this music which is produced by the listener …
“I was particularly interested in the experience of ‘Synchronicity,’ hearing spaces distant from each other at the same time, which we do not experience in our lives,” she told the composer Alan Licht in a 1999 interview for The Wire.
Over the years she received several major commissions in the United States and Europe with work in Asia and Central and South America.
In 2005, she was awarded the Prix Ars Electronica (the Golden Nica) in the “Digital Musics” category for her project “TEO! A sonic sculpture”. At the time of her death she had been working three years on a 40 channel piece commissioned by the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center in Troy, New York.
For the last decade of her life she taught at the Bard College MFA program.
She was also an important influence for a generation of composers who combined rock instrumentation and avant-garde sensibilities, among them Rhys Chatham and Thurston Moore. The documentary film “Day Trip Maryanne,” by Andrew Kesin, captures discussions and performance collaborations between Ms. Amacher and Mr. Moore.


She died on 22th October 2009 in Rhinebeck-ben (N.Y.).

Selected discographie:

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Maryanne Amacher ‎– Sound Characters (Making The Third Ear)
Maryanne Amacher ‎– Sound Characters 2 (Making Sonic Spaces)

Richard Lerman

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Richard Lerman (Dec 5, 1944 in San Francisco, CA) is a composer, filmmaker, sound artist and minuscule-microphone wizard whose, “work…centers around his custom-made contact microphones of unusually small size,” including, “piezo disks and other transducers”. While growing up in Milwaukee, Lerman played trombone, listened to jazz, and upon hearingDarius Milhaud’s “Le Creation du Monde” was inspired to begin studying modern composition on his own while still in high school. Lerman then studied film, as well as composition, at Brandeis College. There, he worked in the electronic music studio, first started working with piezoelectric transducers. He studied with Alvin Lucier, Gordon Mumma, and David Tudor.
Richard Lerman is the populist of field recording technology. He makes inexpensive microphones out of piezoelectric disks (small, flat pieces of metal), attaches them to blades of grass, and lets raindrops fall on them. Sometimes he lets hundreds of ants walk all over them in the desert. The sounds he produces are immediate, shocking, intensified, and brilliant. Numerous well-placed mics are essential to his work recording environmental sounds not easily heard (or noticed) by humans.

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Lerman’s work is often site-specific. Pieces include Travelon Gamelon, for amplified bicycles; A Seasonal Mapping of the Sonoran Desert, which includes cactus needles plucked by rainfall; and the collaboration (with Mona Higuchi) Threading History, for which he recorded prison camp barbed wire.[1] In the 80s he lived in Boston and taught at the Museum School and the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT.
Now a Professor of Media and Digital Arts at Arizona State University West, he has also screened his films and videotapes at numerous media centers including Pacific Film Archives, Millennium Film Studies, The London Film Co-op, Grierson State Cinema (Melbourne), Image Forum (Tokyo), and in 1999 at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC as part of Big as Life: A History of Super 8 Film in America. He directed Sound Art at Mobius, a two year series commissioning the work of 13 international sound artists from 1984-86 and also the Sound Art Festival at Mobius, with 18 sound artists collaborating in 10 events in June 1987

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His recordings and performances rely on everyday objects and traditional instruments as well as basic, self-invented equipment and state-of-the-art technologies, as they were available since the 1960s. Lerman’s scores and instructions are deceptively simple, yet produce extraordinary results. As a filmmaker, sound documentarian, installation artist, and collaborator with other artists, he demonstrates that his conception of sonic reality and musical experience is interdependent with visuality, motion, actual sites and moments, theatricality, live audiences, and politics. As the various pieces convey, his art takes him from studios and concert halls to cities and the outdoors worldwide.

Selected discography:

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Richard Lerman ‎– Within Earreach: Sonic Journeys
Richard Lerman ‎– A Matter Of Scale And Other Pieces
Richard Lerman ‎– Music Of Richard Lerman (1964-1987)

Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris

Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris, an American jazz cornetist, composer and conductor, was born in Long Beach, California, on Feb. 10, 1947, and grew up in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. The son of a career Navy man, he played trumpet in school orchestra, and after high school copied big-band arrangements for a Los Angeles music studio. In 1966 he served in the Army, as a medic in Germany, Vietnam and Japan. Once back home, he joined Mr. Tapscott’s big band, a creative and social hub in the Los Angeles experimental-jazz scene.
After studying music at Grove Street College in Oakland, Calif., he briefly moved to New York. In 1976 he left to play and teach music in France and the Netherlands. In 1981 he relocated permanently to New York, not long after his brother Wilber, the bassist through the 1980s and early ’90s in David Murray’s octet, did. Wilber Morris died in 2002.
He developed a method of collective improvisation, and he referred to his method as“conduction” (a term knowingly borrowed from physics), short for “conducted improvisation.” He defined the word, which he trademarked, as “an improvised duet for ensemble and conductor.”
He would often begin a performance by setting a tempo with his baton and having his musicians develop a theme spontaneously and then seize on the musical ideas he wanted to work with, directing the ensemble with a vocabulary of gestures and signals. An outstretched upward palm, up or down to indicate volume, meant sustain; a U shape formed with thumb and forefinger meant repeat; a finger to the forehead meant to remember a melodic phrase or a rhythm that he would summon again later.

He introduced this concept in 1985 and at first met resistance from musicians who were not willing to learn the vocabulary and respond to the signals; he was often in a position of asking artists to reorient themselves to his imagination and make something new out of familiar materials. But he demanded to be taken seriously, and he was. After 10 years he had made enough recordings to release “Testament,” a well-received 10-disc set of his work. After 20, he had become an internationally admired creative force, presenting conductions at concert halls worldwide and maintaining regular workshops and performances at the East Village spaces Nublu, Lucky Cheng’s and the Stone.
Mr. Morris, who also played cornet, began his career as a jazz musician in Los Angeles. After settling in New York in the early 1980s, he took his place among both the downtown improvising musicians of the Kitchen and the Knitting Factory and the purveyors of multidisciplinary, mixed-media art flourishing in the city.
Though the bulk of his conductions were with those trained in jazz or new music, many different kinds of performers could take part, as long as they had learned his method. (Five days of rehearsal was his preference.) Conduction No. 1, “Current Trends in Racism in Modern America,” was performed in 1985, at the Kitchen, with a 10-piece ensemble including the saxophonists John Zorn and Frank Lowe, the turntablist Christian Marclay and the composer Yasunao Tone. Others were for full classical orchestras; electronic instruments and music boxes; dancers, actors and visual artists; and gatherings of „Conduction No. 27, A Chorus of Poets” (19 poets) from 1992, or „Conduction No. 134, All trumpeter” (15 trumpets) from 2003.

Mr. Morris occasionally used written music or texts, by himself or others — he did this with the saxophonist David Murray’s big band and octet in the early 1990s, and in more recent years with the group Burnt Sugar, an ensemble influenced by his methods, for which he conducted a version of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” — but most often he used no written material at all.
In decades of workshops around the world, and for a stretch, from 1998 to 2001, at Bilgi University in Istanbul, he taught his signals and gestures.
He said he didn’t care whether people thought his music was jazz or not, although he himself saw it as derived from jazz but not beholden to it. “As long as I’m a black man playing a cornet,” he reasoned, “I’ll be a jazz musician in other people’s eyes. That’s good enough for me. There’s nothing wrong with being called a jazz musician.”
Conductions have received generally positive reviews, and are often considered quite unique, not quite fitting into any one musical genre: critic Thom Jurek has written, “There are no records like Butch Morris’ conduction sides, nor could there be, though he wishes there were.”[1] and Ed Hazell writes, “At his best, Morris can shake players out of their old habits, or place a microscope on one aspect of a musician’s artistry and build an orchestral fantasia around it.”
Morris died of lung cancer on January 29, 2013.