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Reissue of John Stevens' 1982 SME + SMO album using musicians positioned in triangular configurations; and 2 tracks from a live trio recording of a 1978 concert in Newcastle.

Spontaneous Music Ensemble & Orchestra
Trio & Triangle

Spontaneous Music Ensemble & Orchestra: Trio & Triangle (Emanem)
Label: Emanem    
Released in: Great Britain    

"The SME changed radically in 1976 ending up with John Stevens playing with unamplified string players Nigel Coombes and Roger Smith. (Cellist Colin Wood was also on board for the first year or so.) This group was announced to the world by the release of the 1977 Biosystem. The end of the group was announced by their very last performance, a 1992 studio piece called Surfaces that appeared on a Konnex CD. The only other post-1976 SME release issued before Stevens' untimely death in 1994 was SME + SMO in Concert which is reissued on this CD.

Most of this LP was given over to a larger group, the SMO performing "Triangle", one of Stevens' didactic works that appeared in his Search & Reflect manual. The basic version of this piece is for three musicians seated in a triangle, listening and responding to the other two as a stereo pair, and using their own instrument somewhat unconsciously as a sound source for the other two to listen to. The extended version of this piece, heard here, has a triangle of triangles (nine musicians), in which one expands from listening to one's own triangle to listening to the other two triangles, and thence on to a free group improvisation.

The other orchestra track is an extract from "Static", a variant of Stevens' earlier "Sustained Piece". The trio can be heard by itself on "Reciprocal" making what must then have been some of the quietest music around.

As more recordings of the trio were subsequently released in the later 1990s on Hot And Cold Heroes and Low Profile. When compiling these, I was strongly advised to consider a 1978 Newcastle concert. Both Coombes and Smith consider this concert to have been one of the best performances by the trio.

The drawback was that the only copy of this recording was a distorted cassette. An additional problem was that the performance was in an over resonant room. At the time, I decided that the recording was too bad to issue, even though the music was very fine. Since then, I have managed to clean up the sound considerably, so that it is now almost acceptable. The recording still leaves a lot to be desired, but that is the only way one can hear this magnificent music."-Martin Davidson, from the liner notes

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Price: $18.95
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Shipping Weight: 5.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

UPC: 5030243415021

Label: Emanem
Catalog ID: 4150
Squidco Product Code: 9817

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2008
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Jewel Tray
All analogue concert recordings:

1 - 3: London (Notre Dame Hall) by Gareth Jones

1981 May 8

4 - 5: Newcastle-upon-Tyne by Jolyon Laycock

1978 November 17

Tracks 1 - 3 were originally issued in 1982 as SFA LP 112


John Stevens-Cornet, Percussion, Voice

Nigel Coombes-Violin

Roger Smith-Guitar

Maggie Nicols-Voice (1, 3)

Jon Corbett Trumpet-(1, 3)

Alan Tomlinson-Trombone (1, 3)

Paul Rutherford-Euphonium (1), Trombone (3)

Lol Coxhill-Soprano Saxophone (1, 3)

Trevor Watts-Soprano Saxophone (1, 3)

Howard Riley-Piano (3)

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Track Listing:

1. Triangle 23:57

2. Reciprocal 14:54

3. A Fragment Of Static 5:31

4. Newcastle 78a 9:24

5. Newcastle 78b 23:01