Pisaro, Michael: 3 compositions played by Philip Thomas & others
Fields Have Ears
Three compositions by Michael Pisaro for piano, piano & tape, and for 4 or more players (here with 14) as performed by pianist Philip Thomas, and with Sarah Hughs and members of the Edges Ensemble.
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Label: Another Timbre
Catalog ID: at37
Squidco Product Code: 14018
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded at the University of Huddersfield by Simon Reynell. Track one recorded on April 24th, 2010. Track two recorded on May 17th, 2010. Track three recorded on September 10th, 2010.
Patrick Farmer-natural objects
Stephen Chase-conical blow horn
Richard Glover-slide whistle
Johnny Herbert-spring drum
Liz Nicholas-frog guero
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1. Fields Have Ears 1 20:27
2. Fade 20:36
3. Fields Have Ears 4 27:46
Related Categories of Interest:
Piano & Keyboards
lowercase, micro-improv, sound improv
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
London & UK Free Improvisation Scene
Objects and Home-made Instruments
sample the album:
"fields have ears 1", for piano (Philip Thomas) and tape is disarmingly simple, its subtlety and depth yielding to this listener only after repeated listens and absorption. There's the tape, very rich (not sure if there's more than one layered in), with bird and insect sounds up top, moving air in the middle and a heady, deep thrum beneath, redolent of distant highways or miles high airplanes. Between these sounds, the piano appears at intervals, the chords fairly bright sometimes, tinged with doubt or melancholy others, spaced irregularly, dabs of relatively vivid color against the complex welter of the soundscape. It's the spacing and shift in dynamics of the piano that's so winning, even heartbreaking at times, very much like a lone hiker's thoughts, questioning and intensely personal, radiated into the forest for lack of someone else to listen.
"fade", for piano (again, Thomas) dates from 2000. The music is a series of single notes, each slice the same note repeated (I think) between five and ten times, generally (not always) fading during the sequence, the notes ranging across the keyboard. At first, each segment floats alone, suspended between ample and varying lengths of silence but soon there's a wave where two or three exist simultaneously, not heard as "chords" (at least by me) but superimposed one-note patterns. That shift of larger forms, which occurs throughout, in a cycle of a few minutes, coexists wonderfully with the jewel-like effect of the individual series. It's very calm, very surface-of-water-like, with slight shimmers that gather in a kind of natural manner, almost random but somehow purposeful. Like something from Feldman's even more serene cousin.
Finally, "fields have ears 4", for four or more players, here by the Edges Ensemble plus Thomas, Patrick Farmer (natural objects), Sarah Hughes (zither) and Dominic Lash (double bass). It's extremely difficult not to envision a door being gently opened and closed, allowing one to momentarily hear this quiet flurry of activity, then not. These small bubbles of sound, emerge and quickly recede, like smoke signals. These musical puffs are delicate, the piano heard among the fluttering instruments in a semi-similar regard as it was in "fields have ears 1", single chords wafting through the lovely fog. Really a stunning piece of work, a new favorite of mine among Pisaro's increasingly impressive recorded catalog. A great release."-Brian Olewnick, Just Outside
At The Squid's Ear!
• Show Bio for Philip Thomas
"Philip Thomas (b.1972, North Devon) specialises in performing new and experimental music, including both notated and improvised music. He places much emphasis on each concert being a unique event, designing imaginative programmes that provoke and suggest connections.
He is particularly drawn to the experimental music of John Cage, Morton Feldman and Christian Wolff, and composers who broadly work within a post-Cageian aesthetic. In recent years he has been particularly associated with the music of Christian Wolff, giving the world premiere of his Sailing By in 2014 and Small Preludes in 2009, the UK premiere of Long Piano (Peace March 11), having co-edited and contributed to the first major study of Wolff's music, Changing the System: the Music of Christian Wolff, published by Ashgate Publications in 2010, and currently recording all of Wolff's solo piano music for sub rosa. He is an experienced performer of John Cage's music, having performed the Concert for piano and orchestra with both Apartment House and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company as well as most of the solo piano and prepared piano music, including a unique 12-hour performance of Electronic Music for piano
He has commissioned new works from a number of British composers whose ideas, language and aesthetic have been informed in some ways by the aforementioned American composers, such as Stephen Chase, Laurence Crane, Richard Emsley, Christopher Fox, Bryn Harrison, John Lely, Tim Parkinson, Michael Parsons, and James Saunders.
In recent years Philip has pursued a passion for freely improvised music, after significant encounters with the music of AMM and Sheffield-based musicians Martin Archer, Mick Beck and John Jasnoch. He has worked with improvisers in a variety of contexts and recently devised a programme of composed music by musicians more normally known as improvisers as well as others who have been influenced by improvisation in some form. This led to a CD release, Comprovisation, which featured newly commissioned works by Mick Beck, Chris Burn and Simon H Fell. Other CD releases include music by Martin Arnold, Laurence Crane, Christopher Fox, Jürg Frey, Bryn Harrison, Tim Parkinson, Michael Pisaro, James Saunders, Christian Wolff, as well as with improvisers Chris Burn and Simon H Fell.
Philip is a regular pianist with leading experimental music group Apartment House, with whom he has performed in festivals across the UK and Europe. He has also performed with the Quatuor Bozzini, and in duos with Mark Knoop, Ian Pace and John Tilbury (piano duet and two pianos) and James Saunders (electronics).
In 1998 Philip was awarded a PhD from Sheffield University in the performance practice of contemporary piano music. Between 2000 and 2005, he was Head of the Sheffield Music School whilst pursuing an active performing and teaching career. He joined the staff team at the University of Huddersfield in 2005, and became Professor of Performance in 2015. Philip is one of the Directors of CeReNeM, the University's Centre for Research in New Music. He continues to live in Sheffield, where he premieres the majority of his programmes, with his wife Tiffany and children Naomi and Jack."-Philip Thomas Website (http://www.philip-thomas.co.uk/biog.html)
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• Show Bio for Patrick Farmer
"Patrick Farmer (b.1983) is a musician and sound artist working within improvisation and composition. Commonly referred to as a percussionist, Farmer will often enlist the help of a drum or turntable to act as a resonator for natural materials or filtering field recordings. He has performed throughout Europe and America, including concerts at the ICA, Stockholm National Gallery, and The Radiator Festival. He has recently spent time as artist in residence at Q-O2 in Belgium and MOKS in Estonia, with a forthcoming residency at Soundfjord, London."-Sounds of Europe (http://www.soundsofeurope.eu/artist/patrick-farmer/)
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• Show Bio for Dominic Lash
"Born Cambridge, England, in January 1980; played bass guitar since 1994; studied with Hugh Boyd and Pascha Milner and at Basstech (London) with Rob Burns, Terry Gregory and others. Played double bass since 2001; basically self taught, with grateful thanks to Simon H. Fell. First class BA in English Literature from Oxford University (2002). Received MA Composition from Oxford Brookes University in 2003, having studied with Paul Whitty, Ray Lee and others. Received PhD from Brunel University in 2010, having studied the work of Derek Bailey, Helmut Lachenmann and JH Prynne and been supervised by Richard Barrett and John Croft."-Dominic Lash Website (http://dominiclash.blogspot.com/p/dominic-lash_5.html)
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• Show Bio for Joseph Kudirka
"Joseph Kudirka is a composer and performer of experimental music. His works have been commissioned and/or premiered by musicians and ensembles including Rhodri Davies, Daniel Plöger, Anton Lukoszevieze, Mark So, Phillip Thomas, Zinc & Copper Works, wandelweiser komponisten ensemble, edges ensemble, and Ensemble Neue Horizonte Bern. He was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, in 1978. He has, at other times, also been a legal resident of the UK and Switzerland. As a contrabassist, he has premiered works by numerous composers, including Michael Maierhoff, Antoine Beuger, and Eva-Maria Houben."-Joseph Kudirka Website (http://josephkudirka.com/)
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