I originally put this set of discographies together to make myself learn more about this music. I'll explain: since first encountering ReR's music some 10 years ago, and then later on (suprisingly) hearing Henry Cow and pursuing the RIO world, I've been drawn quite intently to finding all that I can of this music and it's many relations. All the elements of music that I've been raised on, immersed myself in, been inadvertently exposed to culminates, for me, in this kind of music. A music of European perspective, structured or planned, criss-crossed with improvisation, openness, with humour backed by a level of seriousness that makes the individuals involved the artists that they are.
You may be suprised at how quickly limited my knowledge of most of these artists and their catalogues actually is. I tend to agree with comments to the order that you can't talk about music with any more accuracy than you can dance a painting, and the only thing to do is to actually hear the music itself. So my pursuits have involved finding the names of related artists, the links that bind the musical and social aspects of this music, and to ignore where possible the often overarticulated discussions of likes and dislikes. I may pursue the history or training of an artist who particularly interests me, but generally I'm content simply hearing their resulting work and judging for myself.
Which makes ReR so fascinating to me: the whole of the RIO movement put a stake in the ground that a set of musicians would work together, collectively, towards the goal of getting their ideas heard. I'm a bit of a practical anarchist... the coordination of small groups working together seems like such a useful concept to me. And it's what built the Canterbury, RIO, and Downtown NY scenes. And more wonderful than that, all of those groupings overlap, carry over, both musically and conceptually. Find a link to M-Base (and it's probably not that difficult to do) and you'll have my favorite musical assemblages, sorts of musical manifestoes embodied in musical groups. Wyatt to Cutler to Frith to Zorn to Parkins to Sharp to.... you get the picture.