The title reflecting violinist Angharad Davies' Welsh Roots, this duo with inside pianist Tisha Mukarji furthers the collaborations of these improvisers, recording in St Catherine's Church in South London, using the acoustics of the space to shape the form of their music.
Davies, Angharad / Tisha Mukarji
Ffansion | Fancies
Label: Another Timbre
Released in: UK
"Two of Europe's finest improvising musicians came together in February 2016 to produce a raw but delicate music whose form, detail and energy is largely shaped by the acoustic of the space where they recorded, St Catherine's Church on Telegraph Hill in South London. John Eyles writes "This is as good as anything the two have done, together or separately. An album to return to, time after time, year after year."-Another Timbre
"It is fitting that the duo of violinist Angharad Davies and inside pianist Tisha Mukarji is included in this series. While this album bears catalogue number at99, the duo's previous release on the label was the excellent Endspace (2007), bearing number at5, in the infancy of Another Timbre. Since then they have been stalwarts of the label, appearing together in a trio with zither player Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga on Outwash (2012) and separately on many more Another Timbre releases. So it is a pleasure to welcome another duo album by the pair, Ffansïon / Fancies, its bilingual Welsh-English title acknowledging Davies's Welsh roots.
Recorded in January 2016, the album consists of seven tracks, five entitled "Ffansïon / Fancies i-v" and the other two "For Lucio i & ii." The Another Timbre website describes this as "a disc of improvisations and composed pieces" but the actual music effectively blurs the boundaries to the extent that it is impossible to tell composition from improvisation. Comparisons between similarly titled pieces do not provide any definite answers. No matter. Davies and Mukarji are both such confident, sure-footed improvisers, and so secure in each other's company, that their music could be entirely improvised, entirely annotated, or anywhere on the spectrum in between.
Aside from that, the salient qualities of their music are the distinctive ways they each play their instruments, the understanding and empathy they display, and the logic and economy of their music, which carries the listener along with them. This album is as good as anything the two have done together or separately. An album to return to time after time, year after year."-John Eyles, All About Jazz
Interview with Angharad Davies
When did you first play with Tisha and how often have you played together in the ensuing years?
I first heard Tisha playing a solo set at the Bridewell Theatre in 2005. It was the LMC's 14th Festival of Experimental Music. I was instantly struck by Tisha's sense of poise, her ability to give sounds breathing space and her powerful palette. Her sense of timing and supersonic attentiveness contributes to a cohesiveness in structure that is impossible to ignore and makes for a luxurious position to build or destroy. I have a real sense that the music is continually unfolding even when it seemingly comes to a dead end.
Having heard Tisha in 2005, I didn't get to play with her again until May 2007 at Music Fields Companion at the Sage Gateshead organised by Barry Esson. This was a trio with Andrea Neumann. We recorded endspace in July 2007 and I've played with Tisha about eight times since then spread over 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, plus a recording in a trio with Dimitra Lazaridou Chatzigoga in 2011, and a residency at Q-02, Brussels in 2013.
So, the very first track on ffansïon/fancies is the first time we've played together since 2013.
Is it easy to maintain a musical relationship when you don't see each other for long periods?
I feel that some musical relationships are similar to very good friendships where there is mutual respect for personal growth but you can equally just pick up where you left off. This duo for me is very much like this.
In many ways the new duo disc ffansïon/fancies is quite different from your earlier CD endspace. How would you describe the difference and do you feel that your practice as musicians have developed along parallel paths?
I'm glad you think the music is quite different from endspace and personally I am in a very different place musically to where I was almost 10 years ago. These days it's all about finding a way to be more comfortable, and things that I found challenging then, thankfully, don't take up so much of my thinking time any more.
I was really struck by how much the building where ffansïon/fancies was recorded shaped and became part of the music. Though neither of you nor Tisha had been there before, it felt that the church's acoustic marked the music in many ways. Do you think that is right?
Absolutely. The building and its surroundings are integral to any improvisation and becomes the 3rd, 4th, 5th etc voice. I was very much affected by the church's gigantic proportions, its acoustics, the possibility of not finding the off switch for the droned pitched heating, the roadworks outside, the car alarm, the wind on the second day of recording.......the list is actually endless but all plays a part in shaping the direction of the music.
Yes, I felt that the space led you towards certain pitches that were particularly resonant in the church, and some of the pieces are built around these. Also I think it encouraged you to play louder than you might have otherwise in order to take advantage of the church's acoustic.
Everything sounded so good in there so, of course we were going to find ways of attempting to fill the space and make the building sing.
I was also struck by the way you and Tisha re-worked material across the two days. We hadn't originally planned to record over two days, but circumstances meant that we had to, and you really used the fact. Several of the pieces are developments of ideas which emerged in improvisations on the first day but which you then took further, or tried to explore more precisely on the second day. It struck me that this is a particularly fruitful way of using improvisation.
This is the first time we've worked like this and it focused the second day of recording but we still fucked up!
• Show Bio for Angharad Davies
"Angharad Davies is a violinist, one at ease in both improvising and composition, with a wide discography as part of varied range of ensembles and groups. She's a specialist in the art of 'preparing' her violin, adding objects or materials to it to extend its sound making properties. Her sensitivity to the sonic possibilities of musical situations and attentiveness to their shape and direction make her one of contemporary music's most fascinating figures. 2015 has seen her being commissioned for a new work at the Counterflows Festival, Glasgow and premiering Eliane Radigue's new solo for violin, Occam XXI at the El Nicho Festival, Mexico.
She's performed at, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, BBC Proms, Music We'd Like to Hear's concert series, is an associate artist at Cafe Oto, is a member of Apartment House, Cranc and Common Objects, been artist in residence at Q-02, and played live with Tony Conrad in the Turbine Room at the Tate Modern. Other collaborations have featured the likes of John Butcher, Daniela Cascella, Rhodri Davies, Julia Eckhardt , Kazuko Hohki, Roberta Jean, Lina Lapelyte, Dominic Lash, Tisha Mukarji, Andrea Neumann, Rie Nakajima, Tim Parkinson, J.G.Thirlwell, Stefan Thut, Paul Whitty, Manfred Werder, Birgit Ulher, Taku Unami and she's released records on Absinth Records, Another Timbre, Potlatch and Confrontrecords."-Angharad Davies Website (http://www.angharaddavies.com/biog.html)
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• Show Bio for Tisha Mukarji
"Tisha Mukarji (born 1979) is a pianist, composer, and artist who holds an MFA from the Master's Program in Fine Arts at Malmö Art Academy, Malmö. She has performed and recorded her work extensively in Europe. She is the author of Auscultation (2010) and released the CDs Outwash (2012), Endspace, (2008), and D is for Din (2006). Mukarji lives and works in Berlin. [Last updated 2013]"-Former West (http://www.formerwest.org/Contributors/TishaMukarji)
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Label: Another Timbre
Catalog ID: at99
Squidco Product Code: 22327
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at St. Catherine's Church, Gatcham on February 5th and 6th, 2016 by Simon Reynell.
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1. Ffansi | Fancy I 8:25
2. For Lucio I 2:27
3. Ffansi | Fancy II 8:58
4. Ffansi | Fancy III 7:03
5. Ffansi | Fancy IV 13:57
6. For Lucio II 2:37
7. Ffansi | Fancy V 9:20