The Squid's Ear Magazine

  Rapid SSL





  American Express

© 2002-2017, Squidco LLC

Orchestra of the Upper Atmosphere: 02 (Discus)

An absolutely impressive album blending advanced/progressive rock forms with improvisation, starting from collective improvisation and layering in the studio to create a sophisticated psychedelic music, the second album from this ensemble that is headed by Martin Archer (reeds & keys), Chris Bywater (keys & synth), and Steve Dinsdale (drums & percussion).

Price: $15.95

In Stock

Shipping Weight: 2.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Log In to use our Wish List
product information:

UPC: 5051078963723

Label: Discus
Catalog ID: 47CD
Squidco Product Code: 23733

Format: 2 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2014
Country: UK
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold


Martin Archer-organ, electric piano, electronics, Eb saxophones, clarinets, voice, VST trumpet

Chris Bywater-organ, synthesizers & electronics, samples, percussion, voice, electric violin

Steve Dinsdale-drums, floor percussion, synthesizer

Frostlake-voice, electronics, glockenspiel

Yvonna Magda-electric violin, loops, electronics

Walt Shaw-percussion, voice, electronics

Terry Todd-bass guitar, effects, voice

Mick Somerset-concert, alto and bamboo flutes, Bb saxophones

Paul Schatzberger-violin

Heather Cordwell-violin

Aby Vulliamy-viola

Angela Rosenfeld-cello


Highlight an artist name or instrument above
and click here to Search
track listing:


1. Dominant Growth Direction 14:46

2. Paratacamite 12:14

3. Bilateral Coordination Activities Are Calming 5:58

4. Modus 11:11

5. Noctilucent 11:33

6. Space Smells Of Strawberries 9:18

7. Across The Atmospheric Eddies 14:36


1. The Breaking Of Bonds and The Rearrangement Of Atoms 25:41

2. Curvature Of The Earth 14:22

3. Rmmv Asturias 14:10

4. Potent Lunation 23:03
Related Categories of Interest:

Rock and Related
Progressive Rock
Improvised Rock
Improvised Music
Large Ensembles
Unusual Vocal Forms
London & UK Free Improvisation Scene
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Rock Forms
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"The second album (and the second double album) by the Orchestra of the Upper Atmosphere, a British band whose core consists of Martin Archer, Chris Bywater, and Steve Dinsdale, among others. Think instrumental progressive/psychedelic rock blended it with experimentation. The album's tracks were borne out of collective improvisations, to which layers of composed material were added later, especially string quartet and choir interventions. I spent a lot of time with this record before writing about it, because it's long, dense, and ultimately very good. "Space Smells of Strawberries" has a strong "Atom Heart Mother" flavour that I truly like, and disc 1 as a whole is top notch. Disc 2 features four very long tracks that overstay their welcome, but I was able to appreciate it more when I approached it as a different proposition (i.e. at a different time). Is this one better than their debut? Honestly, that's too hard of a question."-Francois Couture, Monsieur Delire

Artist Biographies:

"Martin Archer was born in Sheffield, England, in 1957. He started playing saxophone at age 15 and first got active on the Sheffield improvisational scene in 1973. In the early '80s, he recorded an LP with Bass Tone Trap, his first group. In 1983 he formed the saxophone quartet Hornweb, which, in ten years of existence, released three albums. It is during that time that Archer released his first solo album, Wild Pathway Favourites (1988) and founded the Discus label on which he since releases all his music.

In 1993, he disbanded Hornweb and turned to synthesizers and sequencers while shifting his activities from stage to studio. He developed a compositional approach in which he records improvisers soloing, then manipulates this raw material, combining it with electronics and structuring it into a whole new piece. This technique is illustrated on Wild Pathway Favourites, Ghost Lily Cascade (1996), and Pure Water Construction (with bassist Simon H. Fell, released in 1999). Later works such as Winter Pilgrim Arriving (2000) moved toward more constructed and less abstract pieces, even making room for melodies and rhythm tracks at times.

Apart from his solo work, Archer is also involved in Ask, a duo with guitarist John Jasnoch, and Transient v Resident, an ambient electronics project with Chris Bywater."-All Music, François Couture

"Martin Archer is a composer / improviser who is equally at home on stage or in the studio. His own distinctive saxophone playing is rooted in AACM jazz. Through his use of keyboards and electronics, and as a studio producer, he extends this interest into extended song form and leftfield rock music. He is also co-director of the uncategorisably avant choir Juxtavoices.

His principle music work is the Discus Music label, the imprint for his various releases, notably by the groups described below.

His current jazz based projects include Engine Room Favourites (current a 4 drummer, 14 piece big band), Story Tellers (6 piece group including shaman instruments alongside the conventional instruments), plus various ad hoc smaller groups. All of these are strongly aligned with AACM tradition and teaching.

Archer has a long running duo with veteran vocalist Julie Tippetts. Each of their highly acclaimed CD releases deliberately explores song from a different perspective - the duo aims to be truly progressive, and takes in elements from jazz, rock, soul and pure abstraction.

Archer's main live performance vehicle is the trio Inclusion Principle with Herve Perez and Peter Fairclough. The group operates in a space between electronics, nu-jazz, contemporary electroacoustic music and free improvisation. In performance you will hear pure jazz skill, electronic beats and areas of texture and abstraction all seamlessly woven into a fascinating and constantly shifting tapestry of sound.

The sprawling Orchestra Of The Upper Atmosphere was formed by Archer as an improvising rock group with shades of Terry Riley, Magma, Alice Coltrane and Sun Ra, very much in the progressive / krautrock tradition, and noted for its large scale string, horn and vocal arrangements.

Also in rock music, Archer is a member of the USA based heavier than plutonium prog / sludge / zeuhl group Combat Astronomy under the direction of Jamie Huggett.

Surprising, delighting and occasionally alarming audiences for a number of years now, Juxtavoices is a 30 piece choir for mainly untrained voices co directed by Archer with Alan Halsey which has racked up dozens of performances and issued three CDs.

This eclectic combination of sources and highly individual applications makes Archer a unique inhabitant of the school of English maverick composer / improvisers. "-Discus

-All Music, Discus Records (

"Mick Somerset aka Michael Ronald Ward is signed as a writer to BMG Chrysalis Music. I also play all woodwinds and keyboards / percussion and vocals. He has written over 20 top twenty singles and contributed to many hit albums. He played piccolo on the number one hit "Everything Changes" by Take That which he also wrote, and he made two albums in the US with hit producer Don Was. He is also an improviser, performing on Selmer V1 saxes nino/s/a/t/b. King Super 20 tenor and King saxello . Uebel flute, Kuiper altoflute Kingma bassflute. Selmer bassclt/ Selmer Bb/ Patricola Eb."

-Theo Wanne, Discogs (

Other Releases With These Artists:
Recommended & Related Releases:

Search for other titles on the Discus label.