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The duo of Joachim Nordwall and Mark Wastell performing live at London's Cafe Oto in a long dark and concentrative improvisation on tone generator, synth, and tam tam.

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product information:

Label: Confront
Catalog ID: ccs 10
Squidco Product Code: 11812

Format: CDR
Condition: New
Released: 2009
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Cardboard Sleeve Sealed
Recorded September 21, 2008 by Jonathan McHugh at the Cafe Oto, London.


Joachim Nordwall-tone generator, synths

Mark Wastell-tam tam

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Artist Biographies:

"Joachim Nordwall co-founded Swedish experimental label Börft Records. He Left the label and Sweden in 1994, and later returned to form the iDEAL Organization including the iDEAL Festival in Göteborg and iDEAL Recordings. He is a sound creator, a µember of The Skull Defekts, and is a festival and concert organizer."

-Squidco 4/19/2021

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"Mark Wastell Born 1968; cello.

Much of Mark Wastell's relationship with his chosen instrument is concentrated on the tactile, textural and sonic possibilities of both violoncello and bow. He is increasingly interested in working with extreme elements drawn from frequency, timbre and pitch.

His early activity was consciously and subconsciously influenced by a variety of improvising musicians including John Stevens, Barry Guy, Phil Durrant and John Russell. Subsequent exposure to contemporary composers lead to a greater understanding and appreciation of the works written for strings by Feldman, Cage, Nono, Lachenmann and Sciarrino. The use of live electronics and music concrete by Tudor, Parmegiani, Xenakis and others was another important early influence.

Wastell's current instrumental material primarily focuses on using abstract principles of space and texture - encompassing elements of new London silence, pro-instrument minimalism, new complexity and electro-acoustics. Because of the very nature of his chosen instrument, he tends to favour 'chamber' style ensembles and is a member of a number of regular groups:

• Chris Burn's Ensemble, with John Butcher, Rhodri Davies, John Russell, Matt Hutchinson

• Derek Bailey's Company - with, for example, Will Gaines, Simon H. Fell and Rhodri Davies

• Evan Parker's String Project, with Peter Cusack, Hugh Davies, Rhodri Davies, Phil Durrant, John Edwards, Kaffe Matthews, Marcio Mattos, John Russell

• Assumed possibilities, with Chris Burn, Rhodri Davies and Phil Durrant

• The Sealed Knot, with Burkhard Beins and Rhodri Davies

• Necessaire with Alessandro Bosetti, Ignaz Schick and Burkhard Beins

• IST with Simon Fell and Rhodri Davies

• Quatuor Accorde with Tony Wren, Phil Durrant and Charlotte Hug

• Broken Concort, a duo with Rhodri Davies

Mark Wastell has also performed with many other leading musicians including John Zorn, Keith Rowe, Peter Kowald, Hugh Davies, Roger Turner, Veryan Weston, Lol Coxhill, Mark Sanders, Axel Dorner, Hans Koch, Phil Minton, Max Eastley and Steve Beresford.

As a soloist he has played at the Micro-classical Festival (London 1996), LMC Festival (London 2000) and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (2000). He has travelled extensively with various groups, performing on tour and at festivals in the USA, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Greece. Other work includes the launch in 1996 of his own record label, Confront Recordings. Wastell is also joint co-ordinator of the concert venue All Angels, together with Rhodri Davies."

-European Free Improv (EFI) (

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track listing:

1. Live at Cafe Oto 45:48
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"As darkness fell outside so the duo of Joachim Nordwall and Mark Wastell took their places behind their instruments, assorted tone generators/synths and a tam tam respectively. This was the third time I had seen this duo play, the first two occasions, both in 2007 had been in the tiny basement of the Sound323 shop and in a packed Red Rose club, two very different performances. these days the duo have (for some inexplicable reason!!) chosen the name Oceans of Silver and Blood for the duo.

Mark Wastell has become highly skilled with the tam tam these days. Of all of the instruments I've seen him play down the years (are there any I haven't seen him play?) he has probably made the tam tam his own more than any other. I don't know any other musicians doing similar things with the instrument in this area of music today. Yet I also feel it is his most limiting instrument. Whilst his incredibly deft touch is able to conjur up the most ethereal of sounds from the metal disc these days his palette is naturally limited. Where the tam tam comes into its own is when combined with other, complimentary sounds, but these are not always easy to come by. Often when I watch people play with him they spend quite a bit of time seeking out ways with which to work with the very particular soundworld of the tam tam. Its not an easy instrument to combine into your average improv grouping.

So it was very pleasing to hear the tam tam combined with Nordwall's droning bass-heavy synths again, as in this group the musicians have long since worked through the challenges of combining acoustic and electronic sound and have begun to build a very close musical relationship. As undulating, textured drone music goes this is as good as it gets for me. Yes the basic premise of the music was somewhat predictable, the synth sounds and resonating percussion mixing and merging in the air around the room to create a dense, highly detailed mass of sound, but it was done so well. Here and there it dropped away, leaving one or the other instrument softly purring in the spaces below. Some of these moments where gaps were left in the swathes of sound were truly gorgeous, like layers of polish peeled back to reveal the grain of a piece of wood below. I came to enjoy these little cameos of calm amidst the storm a lot more than the rest of the music as a whole.

As I had wanted Julie to get a good view of what the musicians were up to we sat in a corner alongside the playing area (thankfully there's no stage at Café Oto), but as the PA was peculiarly at a 90 degree angle to how the musicians were sat, the swarms of sound did odd things as they bounced around the walls of the room and reflected out from the corner behind us. Seeing the tam tam being played just a few feet in front of us, but hearing its sound coming from high behind our heads was a strange feeling. Sitting directly underneath a loose light fitting may not have been such a good idea either as when the waves of sound hit a certain frequency it vibrated madly, creating a quite remarkable and yet rather annoying sound.

This was a pleasing performance of really very beautiful music. It may not have been the most challenging set I've attended recently but it was certainly full of drama and excitement, underpinned by some strong musicianship. Did Julie enjoy the music? Well not much, though she said it gave her a better understanding of the music and what it is I enjoy so much in it."-Richard Pinnell

This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

The Squid
The Squid's Ear!
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Sound, Noise, &c.
European Improv, Free Jazz & Related
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Free Improvisation
Duo Recordings
Instant Rewards

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