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ISKRA 1903 (Rutherford, Paul / Wachsmann, Philipp / Guy, Barry): Chapter Two, 1981-1983 [3 CDs] (Emanem)


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product information:

Label: Emanem
Catalog ID: 4303
Squidco Product Code: 7207

Format: 3 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2006
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Box
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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track listing:

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

Related Categories of Interest:

EMANEM & psi
Improvised Music
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
Electro-Acoustic Improv
December 2006
London & UK Free Improvisation Scene
Free Improvisation
Trio Recordings

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

Artist Biographies:

"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 (

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