ISKRA 1903 (Rutherford, Paul / Wachsmann, Philipp / Guy, Barry)
Chapter Two, 1981-1983 [3 CDs]
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Catalog ID: 4303
Squidco Product Code: 7207
Format: 3 CDs
Country: Great Britain
Analog concert recording by Philipp Wachsmann at various locations between 1981 and 1983.
Paul Rutherford-trombone, euphonium, electronics
Philipp Wachsmann-violin, electronics
Barry Guy-doublebass, electronics
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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
EMANEM & psi
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
descriptions, reviews, &c.
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
• Show Bio for Paul Rutherford
"Paul William Rutherford (29 February 1940 - 5 August 2007) was an English free improvising trombonist. Born in Greenwich, South East London, Rutherford initially played saxophone but switched to trombone. During the 1960s, he taught at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
In 1970, Rutherford, guitarist Derek Bailey and bassist Barry Guy formed the improvising group Iskra 1903, which lasted until 1973. The formation was documented on a double album from Incus, later reissued with much bonus material on the 3-CD set Chapter One (Emanem, 2000). A film soundtrack was separately released as Buzz Soundtrack. Iskra 1903 was one of the earliest free improvising groups to omit a drummer/percussionist, permitting the players to explore a range of textures and dynamics which set it apart from such other contemporary improvising ensembles as SME and AMM. The group's unusual name is the Russian word for "spark"; it was the title of the Iskra revolutionary newspaper edited by Lenin. The "1903" designation means "20th century music for trio"; occasionally Evan Parker played with the group (Iskra 1904) and Rutherford also at one point assembled a 12-piece ensemble called, inevitably, Iskra 1912. The group was later revived with Philipp Wachsmann replacing Bailey, a phase of the group's life that lasted from roughly 1977 to 1995; its earlier work is documented on Chapter Two (Emanem, 2006) and its final recordings were issued on Maya (Iskra 1903) and Emanem (Frankfurt 1991).
Rutherford also played with Globe Unity Orchestra, London Jazz Composer's Orchestra, Centipede, the Mike Westbrook Orchestra, and the Orckestra, a merger of avant-rock group Henry Cow, the Mike Westbrook Brass Band and folk singer Frankie Armstrong. He also played a very small number of gigs with Soft Machine. He is perhaps most famous for solo trombone improvisations. His album The Gentle Harm of the Bourgeoisie is a landmark recording in solo trombone and his 1983 Trio album Gheim, recorded at the Bracknell Jazz Festival is another acclaimed work.
Rutherford died of cirrhosis of the liver and a ruptured aorta on 5 August 2007, aged 67."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Rutherford_(trombonist))
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• Show Bio for Barry Guy
"Barry John Guy (born 22 April 1947, in London) is a British composer and double bass player. His range of interests encompasses early music, contemporary composition, jazz and improvisation, and he has worked with a wide variety of orchestras in the UK and Europe. He also taught at Guildhall School of Music.
Born in London, Guy came to the fore as an improvising bassist as a member of a trio with pianist Howard Riley and drummer Tony Oxley (Witherden, 1969). He also became an occasional member of John Stevens' ensembles in the 1960s and 1970s, including the Spontaneous Music Ensemble. In the early 1970s, he was a member of the influential free improvisation group Iskra 1903 with Derek Bailey and trombonist Paul Rutherford (a project revived in the late 1970s, with violinist Philipp Wachsmann replacing Bailey). He also formed a long-standing partnership with saxophonist Evan Parker, which led to a trio with drummer Paul Lytton which became one of the best-known and most widely travelled free-improvising groups of the 1980s and 1990s. He was briefly a member of the Michael Nyman Band in the 1980s, performing on the soundtrack of The Draughtsman's Contract.
Guy's interests in improvisation and formal composition received their grandest form in the London Jazz Composers Orchestra. Originally formed to perform Guy's composition Ode in 1972 (released as a 2-LP set on Incus and later, in expanded form, as a 2-CD set on Intakt), it became one of the great large-scale European improvising ensembles. Early documentation is spotty - the only other recording from its early years is Stringer (FMP, now available on Intakt paired with the later "Study II") - but beginning in the late 1980s the Swiss label Intakt set out to document the band more thoroughly. The result was a series of ambitious, album-length compositions designed to give all the players in the band maximum opportunity for expression while still preserving a rigorous sense of form: Zurich Concerts, Harmos, Double Trouble (originally written for an encounter with Alexander von Schlippenbach's Globe Unity Orchestra, though the eventual CD was just for the LJCO), Theoria (a concerto for guest pianist Irène Schweizer), Three Pieces, and Double Trouble Two. The group's activities subsided in the mid-1990s, but it was never formally disbanded, and reconvened in 2008 for a one-off concert in Switzerland. In the mid-1990s Guy also created a second, smaller ensemble, the Barry Guy New Orchestra.
Guy has also written for other large improvising ensembles, such as the NOW Orchestra and ROVA (the piece Witch Gong Game inspired by images by the visual artist Alan Davie).
His current improvising activities include piano trios with Marilyn Crispell and Agusti Fernandez. He has also recorded several albums for ECM, which often focus on the interface between improvisers and electronics, including his work in Evan Parker's Electro-Acoustic Ensemble and his own Ceremony.
Guy's session work in the pop field includes playing double bass on the song "Nightporter", from the Japan album Gentlemen Take Polaroids.
He is married to the early music violinist Maya Homburger. After spending some years in Ireland, they now live in Switzerland. They run the small label Maya, which releases a variety of records in the genres of free improvisation, baroque music and contemporary composition.
Guy's jazz work is characterised by free improvisation, using a range of unusual playing methods: bowed and pizzicato sounds beneath the bass's bridge; plucking the strings above the left hand; beating the strings with percussion instrument mallets; and "preparing" the instrument with sticks and other implements inserted between the strings and fingerboard. His improvisations are often percussive and unpredictable, inhabiting no discernible harmonic territory and pushing into unknown regions. However, they can also be melodious and tender with due regard for harmonic integration with other players, and at times he will even play with a straight jazz swing feel.
Similarly, in his concert works, Guy manages to alternate harmonic and rhythmic complexity worthy of 1960s experimentalists such as Penderecki and Stockhausen with joyous, often ecstatic, melody. Works such as "Flagwalk" for string orchestra and "Fallingwater - Concerto for Orchestra" display Guy's compositional skill in handling extended forms and writing for large instrumental groups.
Some of his compositions, such as "Witch Gong Game" for ensemble, use graphic notation in conjunction with cue cards to lead performers into playing and improvising material from numbered sections of the score.
He is also an architect."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Guy)
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