A combination of cyclical themes, made-up folk dances, and invented improvisations from UK reedist Chris Cundy, performing on bass clarinet at the Cheltenham Synagogue for 10 compositions developed specifically for this Confront recording as playful pieces intended as popular music for solo bass clarinet.
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Catalog ID: ccs 77
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Packaging: CD in a tin case with hand numbered art insert
Recorded at the Cheltenham Synagogue, Cheltenham, UK, on September 20th , 2016, by Chris Trent.
Chris Cundy-bass clarinet
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• Show Bio for Chris Cundy
"Playing bass clarinet, various saxophones, and other unusual woodwind instruments Chris splits his time between the UK where he lives and Canada. He has toured internationally with Cold Specks, Timber Timbre, Guillemots, and Fyfe Dangerfield and regularly accompanies songwriters such as Little Annie, Baby Dee, Devon Sproule, and Edd Donovan. His practice extends from popular music to theatre, experimental and improvised performances and he has appeared on over sixty commercial recordings. Recently Chris has started to release a series of albums under his own name.
Chris grew up in Medway, Kent and was drawn into the local music scene at a young age where he become friends with Billy Childish - artist, musician, and founder of Hangman Records & Books. During visits to Childish's kitchen Chris was exposed to the exploits of homemade music-making. This formative period instilled a DIY approach and by the time Chris was 14 he had already started out as a street busker. After hearing the Eric Dolphy Memorial Album he took up bass clarinet. He is self-taught.
He went on to study painting at Cheltenham art college. During this period he began to establish experimental projects including Grace & Delete - a duo with fellow painter and electronics musician James Dunn. He also started to explore self-developed playing techniques such as multi-phonics, circular breathing, micro tonality and generally speaking a more tactile approach to the instrument. This led him to working with composers including Thanos Chrysakis, and Pete M Wyer. At Cheltenham he also met songwriter Fyfe Dangerfield who he has continued to collaborate with on a number of occasions since - most notoriously as an additional saxophonist for the Mercury Prize nominated indie-pop group Guillemots.
Other projects include several albums with electronica group Longstone and performing music for Nofit State Circus. One off sessions have seen Chris performing with Moby, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Vieux Farka Touré, Fatoumata Diawara, Alexander Hawkins, and Lisa Hannigan. He has also written theatre music and recently worked with composer Jon Nicholls on an original soundtrack for Florian Zellar's The Mother starring Gina McKee."-Chris Cundy Website (http://www.chriscundy.com/about.html)
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1. When We Root Up The Larches 2:58
2. Fou Walala Songs 4:40
3. The Lovers 3:40
4. First Upnor Dance 2:47
5. Winter Roses 4:15
6. Higher Lift Thy Branches 5:00
7. Puzzles 6:33
8. On A February Day 3:42
9. Second Upnor Dance 2:23
10. Burials 8:15
sample the album:
"Most of my recorded output over the past sixteen years or so has focussed on free improvisation and so I wanted a change from that. When Mark Wastell from Confront Recordings suggested I put out a solo record I had already been formulating ideas during long periods of working in pop music and from acting as an accompanist for a variety of songwriters including Little Annie, Baby Dee, Ladan Hussein (Cold Specks), Timber Timbre, Devon Sproule, Edd Donovan, and Fyfe Dangerfield.
The aim was to write a piece of popular music for solo bass clarinet, and this started to resemble a series of naive folk dances. I began writing out variations in February 2016 using a jumble of minute long sketches I already had lying around. Some of the sketches were just oblique melodies that were written between shows I had been playing in Montreal the previous year. These established the basic threads that I needed and I gave myself a set of rules about how to break things down, turning them into a series of fragmented rhythms.
A simplicity in the writing soon became exaggerated as I started to explore pinpointed phrases and staccato voicings. Smaller passages began to take shape from within by reducing melodic lines sometimes to a recurring series of just two or three notes. This is evident in the two Upnor Dances which both pivot around a recurring string of high F-naturals and B-flats. It was all a very playful and pretty random approach to composition.
The result is a combination of cyclical themes, made-up folk dances, and invented improvisations. On the most part I wrote it out in a very conventional fashion - but the score is filled with interruptions. I wanted to create windows of opportunity where I could also expand self-developed playing techniques. These moments sometimes use modular fragments and compound rhythms but otherwise the playing is allowed to open up and become quite free. They also help to throw exuberant measures of time and metre into altered states.
Improvisation allows a more tactile relationship with the instrument and I can conjure distortions in the music which I wouldn't want to contrive through extrapolated notation techniques or complexities of writing. In this sense the music is allowed to breath. There is something magical about a performance where you know it will never be heard exactly the same way twice, it places you in the moment."-Chris Cundy
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