The second edition of Paul Rutherford's trio Iskra 1903, with Barry Guy and Philipp Wachsmann, lasted from around 1977 to 1995. Yet, until this release, the only issued recordings of this superb group are from its latter years. Fortunately, Wachsmann recorded many earlier performances, and he recently selected these five superb gigs from 1983.
The three December concerts from Liverpool, Birmingham and Bristol come from a Contemporary Music Network tour of Britain. These represent Iskra 1903 when it was using more electronics than before or since. In addition to the strings using pedal-controlled amplification, Guy and Rutherford used bespoke electronic boxes made by Ian Mackintosh, and Wachsmann used his own system of electronics which he developed during this period. All were characterised by being 'self controlled' by each musician. The result is a soundscape that is, at times, more electronic than acoustic. An additional colour comes from Rutherford's occasional use of a tambourine as a mute.
The Southampton concert was not part of this tour, even though it occured between the first two tour concerts - the November 30 London concert not being included here. Rutherford plays euphonium on the first Southampton piece, PHELGSTAR, and trombone on all others in this collection.
The final two pieces come from a London gig earlier that year, when the electronics were less pronounced. Evan Parker is added on the second piece, EPIS, to make the group Iskra 1904. (Parker also played with the first edition, but no usable recordings appear to have survived.)"-Martin Davidson, from the sleeve notes
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A1 - DIEPTAUR - 26:32
A2 - PHELGSTAR - 26:54
A3 - PANSHANTON - 24:13
B1 - VEPROL - 24:36
B2 - EIVERL - 8:02
B3 - EMINGHA - 28:55
B4 - MARIB - 6:14
C1 - STOLERI - 35:24
C2 - VENDIA - 24:12
C3 - EPIS - 16:34
All analogue concert recordings by Philipp Wachsmann (except A1):
A1 - London (Pied Bull) 1981 August 16
A2, A3 - Southampton (Arts Centre) 1983 December 1
B1, B2 - Liverpool (Bluecoat Arts Centre) 1983 December 2
B3, B4 - Birmingham (Aston University Arts Centre) 1983 December 4
C1 - Bristol (Arnolfini) 1983 December 6
C2, C3 - London (Seven Dials) 1983 March 17
Total time 222:37