The Squid's Ear Magazine


Caines, Ron / Martin Archer AXIS: Dream Feathers (Discus)

The "AXIS" of UK saxophonist Ron Caines and multi-reedist Martin Archer, also on organ and electronics, in a subtle septet with outstanding players including Laura Cole on piano and Johnny Hunter on drums, in a set of dream-like and lyrically beautiful improvisations, merging electronics and horns over a powerfully solid rhythm section that create warm textural cycles.
 

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Personnel:



Ron Caines-soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone

Martin Archer-bass clarinet, organ, electronics, horn section

Laura Cole-acoustic and electric pianos, harmonium

Herve Perez-field recordings, electronics, sound design, sound processing

Anton Hunter-guitar, electronics

Gus Garside-double bass

Johnny Hunter-drums


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UPC: 5051078973326

Label: Discus
Catalog ID: 88CD
Squidco Product Code: 28721

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2019
Country: UK
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded at Chairworks by David Watts, and at Discus Music Studio by Martin Archer, in 2019.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"In this continuing series of releases with Ron, we seem to have arrived at an interesting place where an ostensibly straight jazz group playing melodic material is somehow unexpectedly pulled sideways into a strange alternative electroacoustic universe. We like this little clearing in the forest which we've found for Ron's music - and in many ways it continues the pioneering work of his early music with East Of Eden, all be it with technology which was not available to those musicians in those days."-Discus



"There is just a bit of reference to many of the more abstract experimental bands such as Third Ear Band, but melody and a sombre gracefulness quickly call your attention to a more toasty atmosphere, smooth and inviting. Some free style jazz arises at times as well. The smooth sax, playful piano, exotic percussion, all quietly explorative and meditative air throughout, gives relaxation and mellow liberation to the listener. Only a spare amount of tension or chaos is introduced, to keep you alert and aware of possibilities. Incredible performance by everyone. The experience is like being in a cool wet dark jungle, where you are lost but safe, or so it seems. It is a trial of survival by acutely listening and using all your senses to survive. With music such as this, it could have fallen way short with lesser musicians, but the dedication of each person involved keeps zero weakness. The work is elevated to say the least. With a delicate edge to each composition, each minute is fine tuned, analysed by all, and famously made a masterpiece. RECOMMENDED." - Lee Henderson, Big Beautiful Noise


Artist Biographies

"Ron Caines began playing saxophone while at Bristol Art School, and during this time became enthralled by the music of Charlie Parker. He worked in commercial rock and roll bands which led to sessions at the Star Club in Hamburg. Returning to Bristol he formed the Contemporary Jazz Quintet with David Arbus on trumpet, and this led to a BBC 2 recording.

He founded East of Eden with Geoff Nicholson on guitar and Dave initially on trumpet. They played the 1969 Actuel Festival in Amougies where Zappa, Beefheart , AACM and Soft Machine were also performing. Caines contributed original music and lyrics, and introduced ska material by Don Drummond and eclectic material including Mingus, Coltrane and the folk heart of Bartok (uniquely so for a pop band on a pop label in that pre-niche music era). In the climate of post-1968 Paris, where the band frequently played, their combination of theatre and live improvisation struck a chord with audiences and critics. The band's single Jig-a-Jig, subsequently re-released by Decca and promoted as a novelty instrumental, anticipated the genre of Celtic Rock, but its success effectively overshadowed the true direction of the group, and this confirmed Caines' disaffection with commercial music.

In 1977 he joined Bristol Co-operative, the first improvisors' co-operative in the UK. He co-ordinated the Festival of Improvised Music, Arnolfini Bristol 1979 featuring Evan Parker, Derek Bailey and Leo Smith. He played in Keith Tippett's Ark, and various collaborations at venues including Glastonbury, Bracknell, and ICA. He worked with Larry Stabbins, Paul Dunmell, Julie Tippetts and others, and played with Steve Lacy.

Caines summed up his musical aims at this time:

"I am interested in improvised playing as a means of working directly with ideas, a process which the audience and musician can share at the moment of creation. To me it is not unlike drawing, and it is this evidence which is the work - unlike a 'finished painting', where the process which has taken it to that point, of being 'finished' has been brushed out."

Around 1989 he formed Parkers Mood, with Nigel Jefferies on piano, playing an Arts Council tour, including Brecon Jazz Festival. He also performed original compositions for film, television and radio.

He moved to Brighton in 1995, concentrating on painting, and gave up musical performance due to the long term effects of a tendon injury. However in 2008 he began performing again, initially with Brighton's Safehouse Collective and other local musicians.

Caines is essentially interested in the idea of 'presence' and 'expressiveness' and the concept of the artist or musician as 'author'."

-Ron Caines Website (http://www.roncaines.co.uk/musicalcareer.html)
6/17/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Martin Archer was born in Sheffield, England, in 1957. He started playing saxophone at age 15 and first got active on the Sheffield improvisational scene in 1973. In the early '80s, he recorded an LP with Bass Tone Trap, his first group. In 1983 he formed the saxophone quartet Hornweb, which, in ten years of existence, released three albums. It is during that time that Archer released his first solo album, Wild Pathway Favourites (1988) and founded the Discus label on which he since releases all his music.

In 1993, he disbanded Hornweb and turned to synthesizers and sequencers while shifting his activities from stage to studio. He developed a compositional approach in which he records improvisers soloing, then manipulates this raw material, combining it with electronics and structuring it into a whole new piece. This technique is illustrated on Wild Pathway Favourites, Ghost Lily Cascade (1996), and Pure Water Construction (with bassist Simon H. Fell, released in 1999). Later works such as Winter Pilgrim Arriving (2000) moved toward more constructed and less abstract pieces, even making room for melodies and rhythm tracks at times.

Apart from his solo work, Archer is also involved in Ask, a duo with guitarist John Jasnoch, and Transient v Resident, an ambient electronics project with Chris Bywater."-All Music, François Couture



"Martin Archer is a composer / improviser who is equally at home on stage or in the studio. His own distinctive saxophone playing is rooted in AACM jazz. Through his use of keyboards and electronics, and as a studio producer, he extends this interest into extended song form and leftfield rock music. He is also co-director of the uncategorisably avant choir Juxtavoices.

His principle music work is the Discus Music label, the imprint for his various releases, notably by the groups described below.

His current jazz based projects include Engine Room Favourites (current a 4 drummer, 14 piece big band), Story Tellers (6 piece group including shaman instruments alongside the conventional instruments), plus various ad hoc smaller groups. All of these are strongly aligned with AACM tradition and teaching.

Archer has a long running duo with veteran vocalist Julie Tippetts. Each of their highly acclaimed CD releases deliberately explores song from a different perspective - the duo aims to be truly progressive, and takes in elements from jazz, rock, soul and pure abstraction.

Archer's main live performance vehicle is the trio Inclusion Principle with Herve Perez and Peter Fairclough. The group operates in a space between electronics, nu-jazz, contemporary electroacoustic music and free improvisation. In performance you will hear pure jazz skill, electronic beats and areas of texture and abstraction all seamlessly woven into a fascinating and constantly shifting tapestry of sound.

The sprawling Orchestra Of The Upper Atmosphere was formed by Archer as an improvising rock group with shades of Terry Riley, Magma, Alice Coltrane and Sun Ra, very much in the progressive / krautrock tradition, and noted for its large scale string, horn and vocal arrangements.

Also in rock music, Archer is a member of the USA based heavier than plutonium prog / sludge / zeuhl group Combat Astronomy under the direction of Jamie Huggett.

Surprising, delighting and occasionally alarming audiences for a number of years now, Juxtavoices is a 30 piece choir for mainly untrained voices co directed by Archer with Alan Halsey which has racked up dozens of performances and issued three CDs.

This eclectic combination of sources and highly individual applications makes Archer a unique inhabitant of the school of English maverick composer / improvisers. "-Discus

-All Music, Discus Records (http://www.allmusic.com/artist/martin-archer-mn0000146946)
6/17/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Laura Cole is a jazz composer/pianist who lives in Leeds but whose band (Metamorphic) is based in London. Metamorphic features, Kerry Andrew (vocals), Chris Williams (alto),John Martin (tenor/soprano), Paul Sandy (bass), Tom Greenhalgh (drums).

Metamorphic will play in Jazz in the Round at the Cockpit Theatre on Monday January 28th. They also have a gig at the Vortex on the 24th February with Frank Byng's (Slowfoot Records) quintet, Snorkel.

The group have one album out (The Rock Between, 2011, F-IRECD43 - reviewed by Chris Parker), and release their follow up (Coalescence, also on F-IRE) later this year (2013).

Laura also has a blog which discusses the issues that women face in music and holds a First Class Honours Degree in Jazz from Middlesex University."

-London Jazz News (http://www.londonjazznews.com/2013/01/artist-profile-laura-cole.html)
6/17/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Hervé Perez: Improviser, sound and visual artist, hervé performs spontaneous compositions with saxophones and laptop, using processed field recordings. His work is influenced by practices such as jazz, electro-acoustic, contemporary music, experimental electronics, free improvisation, immersive sound art and techniques of sound therapy.

His research approaches sound as vibration, the relation between sound and objects or spaces, architecture and the body.

Hervé works in sound design, sound recording and editing, post-production, mastering and composition, sound art and installation as well as performance which remains his main focus.

He has developed a very personal way to process and sculpt location recordings to reveal their musical features and maximise resonance with the listener and their experience of sound.

Hervé's use of field recordings is concerned with frequencies and harmonic relationships found in nature. How they relate to the real, physical world, and how the sounds of natural elements connect to our experience.

Playing the saxophone, hervé focuses on extended techniques and abstract peripheral sounds structural to the instrument as a physical resonant object - although he has been known to play melodies at times...

'sounding out', one of his current projects, is an exploration of architecture, outdoor acoustics and sacred sites. These recordings are documents of in situ improvisations, inspired by the spirit and the special characteristics of a location.

Further work in sound design, music for film/video:

Rain (dir. Carla mackinnon), cellotape (dir. Aitor gutierrez), henri & may (dir. Sally pierce)

sound art and video installation:

The pursuit of happiness (arsenal gallery, poznan), catalyst (bank street arts, sheffield), one square foot (mile end art pavilion, london).

Photography and graphic design.

Greatly interested in collaboration, hervé has performed with musicians and dancers whose practice is immersed in free improvisation,closely working with mick beck (sax, bassoon), martin archer (winds, electronics), peter fairclough (drums), philip thomas (piano), jez riley-french (el.), shaun blezzard (electronics), ian simpson (electronics, guitar), charlie collins (vibraphone, drums and percussions), constantin popp (live processing, diffusion), adam woolf (piano), aysegul balkose (dance, paint) etc. In the ukand also michel doneda (sop sax), jonas kocher (accordion), simon berz (dr, electro), christian muller (electro), rodolphe loubatiere (dr), d'incise (electro, objects), cyril bondi (dr), heddy boubaker (alto and bass sax), sebastien cirotteau (trumpet, electronics), andré darius (ebass), cia barbet (dance), anastasia hvan (dance), joe formanek (dr, el), roger mills (trumpet, el), henri herteman (p, trombone), guy bayssac (dr), marin beranger (p), mark alban lotz (fl) in europe."

-Herbe Perez Website (https://sndsukinspook.wordpress.com/about/)
6/17/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Anton Hunter is a composer and improviser living in Manchester. He leads his own trio, who have found airtime on Radio 3 and he can be found playing in a variety of settings with varying levels of improvisation, with musicians such as Mick Beck, Sam Andreae, Simon Prince, Rodrigo Constanzo, Cath Roberts, Phil Marks, David Birchall, Keith Jafrate and many more.

He was commissioned by the Manchester Jazz Festival to create an hour-long suite of music for the 2014 festival. His "Article 11″ project is an 11-piece ensemble and features improvisation at it's core, aiming to draw the personalities of the musicians into the final outcome. Also ongoing is a set of saxophone quartet music, a duo with baritone saxophonist Cath Roberts called Ripsaw Catfish, Cath's quintet 'Sloth Racket, the trio 'Beck Hunters'. He is perhaps still better known for his work as guitarist in the Beats & Pieces Big Band, a group he is a founder member of and who continue to defy the odds simply by gigging as a 14 piece jazz ensemble in the UK and Europe.

Improvisation is at the core of everything he does and in 2007 he formed free-improvisation organisation The Noise Upstairs. Initially a meeting place and jam session for improvisers, it is still going strong almost a decade later, and has grown to include occasional workshops on a range of subjects and a small record label.

In 2014 he was a "Sound and Music New Voice" - more information on which is here.

He teaches guitar and improvisation in schools and privately, visit the contact page if you are interested in lessons, or to book a workshop or similar."

-Anton Hunter Website (http://www.antonhunter.com/about-2/about/)
6/17/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Gus Garside, double bass: I have worked in a variety of musical settings - jazz, contemporary music, rock, cabaret, dance, theatre and, most importantly, improvised music.

I perform in a number of regular groups and one off projects as well as occasionally performing solo (see WHO I PLAY WITH). I often use electronics and occasionally voice. I have enjoyed working with dancers, visual artists and films.

I also create structured improvisational compositions including The Star Field, The Sleepwalkers (featuring 10 of the leading improvising string players in the UK) and Collective Stories (a commission in Quebec with Grand Groupe Régional d'Improvisation Libérée).

I am part of the Brighton Safehouse collective, a collective of local improvising performers which is now in its 13th year.

I'm also the national coordinator for Creative Minds, a project led by learning disabled artists and performers who wish to take their rightful place in the wider arts world."

-Gus Garside Website (https://gusgarside.wordpress.com/)
6/17/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Johnny Hunter is a northern UK-based drummer who comes from a background of both the Avant-Garde and the more mainstream Jazz. He has performed or recorded with such esteemed musicians as Benn Clatworthy, Mick Beck, Nat Birchall, Jamil Sheriff, Jamie Taylor, Pete Fairclough, Walt Shaw, Corey Mwamba, Steve Beresford, Graham Clark, Adam Fairhall and Steve Berry to name a few. He is also heavily involved in the Reggae and Dub scene.

He is currently playing with Misha Gray's Prehistoric Jazz Quintet, Liverpool-based group playing heavy modal Jazz inspired by John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders and the like; Nat Birchall; Engine Room Favourites, AACM inspired Free Jazz; the Blind Monk Trio, sax/bass/drums trio playing heavy rootjazz; the Dub Jazz Soundsystem, a mash-up of heavy Dub and psychedelic modal Jazz; Skamel, a Ska/Jazz/Dub ensemble inspired by the French Reggae group Raspigaous; his own "chordless" quartet set up to explore the freedom and limitations of having no chordal instrument; among several other projects. He also runs the Jazz jam night at Matt & Phred's Jazz Club."

-Johnny Hunter Website (http://www.johnnyhuntermusic.com/bio/)
6/17/2024

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Track Listing:



1. Rothko Veil / Dream Feathers 11:20

2. Mazeep 4:35

3. African Violets 6:24

4. Uccello / 1934 11:28

5. Marcel 3:49

6. Harmonix 7:01

7. Nico 2:58

8. Scratch Line 4:55

9. Almazon / 1934 Reprise 11:15

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
Electro-Acoustic
Electro-Acoustic Improv
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Septet recordings
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
Staff Picks & Recommended Items

Search for other titles on the label:
Discus.


Recommended & Related Releases:
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Adding bassist Jon Short to their lineup, the 4th album from Das Rad continues the band's genre-merging approach of rock & improv forms rooted in prog, kosmiche, and jazz rock, this post-pandemic album bringing the band back together for live interaction, their enthusiasm evident in their energetic intercourse, particularly in the extended suite "Expergefactor".
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Referencing the "laminal" style of AMM improvisations, the 6th album from the UK-based Orchesta of the Upper Atmosphere ensemble, led by multi-instrumentalist and woodwind player Martin Archer and Jan Todd, evolved from studio sessions of bass rhythms, free improvisation over those foundations, and then horn & voice arrangements shaped around the results, creating a superb hybrid of jazz rock, textural and free improv.
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