Violinist and percussionist Nick Smith, having access to St. Mary's Church at Great Baddow for music performance and rehearsals, made his first use of the space in 1996 in a duo with Mark Wastell on violincello, preparations and percussion, where they used the acoustics of the church to enhance their detailed and absorbing improvisations.
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Packaging: CD in a tin case
Recorded at St. Mary's Church, Great Baddow on May 8th and June 24th, 1996, by Mark Wastell.
Nick Smith-violin, preparations, voice, percussion
Mark Wastell-violoncello, preparations, percussion
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"St Mary's has been my local church pretty much all my life, and I've been going there on and off best part of 45 years. Since 1989 I've played drums regularly at services, which has been an enlightening, entertaining and at times exacting enterprise. An unwritten trade-off from that arrangement is I've had free rein to use the church and it's several outbuildings for music rehearsals, and over the years I've been fortunate enough to play with some great musicians in a wide variety of styles. But the sessions with Mark were the first.
As far as I can recall, Mark and I played in there as a duo twice, from which these recordings are drawn, and once with Rhodri Davies, although I don't think that was recorded. Mark also recorded me playing a series of percussion solos in there, primarily to see how the acoustics of the space would capture and enhance certain sounds, (One day, with adequate time and resources, I'll release the recordings from DAT confinement. One day!)
Apart from that, I've no comprehensive memory of the sessions themselves, other than where we sat. We were in a small alcove that leads into the Kitchen, a stone wall inset with a wooden screen and a couple of leaded-light windows behind us, wood panelling above, and stone walls and two huge stone pillars on either side. The DAT recorder was about 10 feet away in the body of the church, with high ceilings, thick stone walls, tiled floor, hard/soft furnishings, and we had a view of the stained glass window behind the altar at the other end.
When Mark gave a me a cassette of the recordings, I was very pleased with the results. The music had a coherence and a focus, which surprised me, given my lack of experience and ability on the instrument. And also the recordings really captured the sound of the building. When Mark said he was interested in putting out a cassette of the recording, I think I came up with "refraction", then left Mark to do all the hard work!"-Nick Smith
• Show Bio for Mark Wastell
"Mark Wastell Born 1968; cello.
Much of Mark Wastell's relationship with his chosen instrument is concentrated on the tactile, textural and sonic possibilities of both violoncello and bow. He is increasingly interested in working with extreme elements drawn from frequency, timbre and pitch.
His early activity was consciously and subconsciously influenced by a variety of improvising musicians including John Stevens, Barry Guy, Phil Durrant and John Russell. Subsequent exposure to contemporary composers lead to a greater understanding and appreciation of the works written for strings by Feldman, Cage, Nono, Lachenmann and Sciarrino. The use of live electronics and music concrete by Tudor, Parmegiani, Xenakis and others was another important early influence.
Wastell's current instrumental material primarily focuses on using abstract principles of space and texture - encompassing elements of new London silence, pro-instrument minimalism, new complexity and electro-acoustics. Because of the very nature of his chosen instrument, he tends to favour 'chamber' style ensembles and is a member of a number of regular groups:• Chris Burn's Ensemble, with John Butcher, Rhodri Davies, John Russell, Matt Hutchinson
• Derek Bailey's Company - with, for example, Will Gaines, Simon H. Fell and Rhodri Davies
• Evan Parker's String Project, with Peter Cusack, Hugh Davies, Rhodri Davies, Phil Durrant, John Edwards, Kaffe Matthews, Marcio Mattos, John Russell
• Assumed possibilities, with Chris Burn, Rhodri Davies and Phil Durrant
• The Sealed Knot, with Burkhard Beins and Rhodri Davies
• Necessaire with Alessandro Bosetti, Ignaz Schick and Burkhard Beins
• IST with Simon Fell and Rhodri Davies
• Quatuor Accorde with Tony Wren, Phil Durrant and Charlotte Hug
• Broken Concort, a duo with Rhodri Davies
Mark Wastell has also performed with many other leading musicians including John Zorn, Keith Rowe, Peter Kowald, Hugh Davies, Roger Turner, Veryan Weston, Lol Coxhill, Mark Sanders, Axel Dorner, Hans Koch, Phil Minton, Max Eastley and Steve Beresford.
As a soloist he has played at the Micro-classical Festival (London 1996), LMC Festival (London 2000) and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (2000). He has travelled extensively with various groups, performing on tour and at festivals in the USA, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Greece. Other work includes the launch in 1996 of his own record label, Confront Recordings. Wastell is also joint co-ordinator of the concert venue All Angels, together with Rhodri Davies."-European Free Improv (EFI) (http://www.efi.group.shef.ac.uk/musician/mwastell.html)
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