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Intensely technical to beautifully pastoral dual acoustic guitars from Parisian Marzan, who has worked with Beresford, Rowe and Russell, and SME alumni Roger Smith.

Marzan, Pascal / Smith, Roger
Two Spanish Guitars

Marzan, Pascal / Smith, Roger: Two Spanish Guitars (Emanem)
Label: Emanem    
Released in: Great Britain    

Intensely technical to beautifully pastoral dual acoustic guitar work from classical guitarist Parisian Marzan, who has worked with Beresford, Rowe and Russell, and SME alumnist Roger Smith, both playing the acoustic Spanish guitar.

"This music came about following an invitation to Roger Smith from Pascal Marzan to play at an all-guitar concert in Paris held in honour of the great improvising guitarist, Derek Bailey, following his tragic death in December 2005. Smith's involvement in this event was significant, given his roots in the English improvised music scene of which Bailey was a key founder and mover from the late 1960s onwards and that he also studied with him. Pascal and Roger enjoyed playing together so much that they subsequently met on four occasions at Roger's home in North London to record several hours of fine music, some of the best of which has been selected for this CD.

Pascal Marzan is a classically trained musician active in Paris, his home city, both as an improviser and organiser of improvised music events. Although less well-known in England, he has performed on a number of occasions with English improvisers recently, including Steve Beresford, Keith Rowe, John Russell and the London Improvisers Orchestra. Pascal's solo performance at Freedom of the City 2007 was one of the highlights of the festival and was rapturously received by the audience at London's Red Rose club. He has also recorded in a quartet with Philipp Wachsmann, Teppo Hauta-Aho and Roger Turner. His playing has been influenced by his interest in the folk music of Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa.

Roger Smith is best known as having been a key member for 18 years of the late John Stevens' Spontaneous Music Ensemble. Other activities during the 1970s and '80s included performing with the Three & Four Pullovers (Emanem 4038) and in a duo with John Russell (undocumented, sadly). In recent years he has concentrated on solo and duo playing situations and recordings usually made in private domestic circumstances - most recently, for instance, with Adam Bohman (REALITY FANDANGO, Emanem 4135) - and only very occasional public performances. The latter includes a memorable meeting with Louis Moholo-Moholo at Freedom of the City 2004 (documented on Emanem 4215; also in a rare studio recording for Smith: THE BUTTERFLY AND THE BEE, Emanem, 4114).

Although two guitars is still a relatively unusual combination for free improvisation, Pascal and Roger in no way fall into the trap of the dreaded 'ball of wool' syndrome once identified as a hazard of this combination. This is due to the quite distinct musical personalities of Pascal and Roger, their mutual sensitivity to the potentialities of the nylon-stringed Spanish guitar and their use of timbre and space to create a dynamic filigree of sound and fragmented melody. Regarding influences, Bailey and John Cage (particularly the Cage of the Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano) are obvious ones although, for me, the ghostly presences of Debussy and Dowland are also there at times. While some extraneous sounds from a North London street seep through intermittently, this needs to be accepted as an unavoidable part of the context in which this wonderful music was created."-Ian Vickers, from the sleeve notes

See all items in the EMANEM & psi category

Related Categories of Interest:

EMANEM & psi
Improvised Music
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
Guitarists, &c.
November 2007
London & UK Free Improvisation Scene
Free Improvisation
Duo Recordings

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Price: $18.95
In Stock


Shipping Weight: 5.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

UPC: B001483AZE

Label: Emanem
Catalog ID: 4145
Squidco Product Code: 8965

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2007
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Jewel Tray
All digital home recordings made in London
1 - 4 by Ian Vickers - 2006 September 30
5 - 8 by Pascal Marzan - 2006 November 25
9 - 11 by Ian Vickers - 2007 May 9


Pascal Marzan-unamplified Spanish guitar (left)

Roger Smith-unamplified Spanish guitar (right)

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Track Listing:

1. Be Careful Of Cheap Imitations 10:39

2. Boiling Water 6:22

3. Flowing Water 14:31

4. Freezing Water 10:07

5. Holiday In My Head - Part 1 6:21

6. Holiday In My Head - Part 2 6:52

7. Holiday In My Head - Part 3 10:00

8. Chemical Warfare In Wood Green 1:12

9. Sparrow Amour - Part 1 2:00

10. Sparrow Amour - Part 2 1:37

11. Bye Baiji 5:07

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