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Davies, Hugh

Performances 1969 - 1977

Davies, Hugh : Performances 1969 - 1977 (Another Timbre)

Limited edition archive CDR of 1960's instrument inventor the late Hugh Davies, solo and with Richard Orton, to accompany the Another Timbre release "For Hugh Davies".

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product information:

Label: Another Timbre
Catalog ID: at-r01
Squidco Product Code: 10204

Format: CDR
Condition: New
Released: 2008
Country: UK
Packaging: Cardstock Sleeve


Hugh Davies-invented instruments, shozyg

Richard Orton-shozyg

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Artist Biographies:

"Hugh Seymour Davies (23 April 1943 - 1 January 2005) was a musicologist, composer, and inventor of experimental musical instruments.

Davies was born in Exmouth, Devon, England. After attending Westminster School, he studied music at Worcester College, Oxford from 1961 to 1964. Shortly after he travelled to Cologne, Germany to work for Karlheinz Stockhausen as his personal assistant. For two years, he assembled and documented material for Stockhausen's compositions and was a member of his live ensemble.

From 1968 to 1971 Davies played in The Music Improvisation Company. The group's guitarist Derek Bailey later wrote that "the live electronics served to extend the music both forwards and backwards (...) Davies helped to loosen what had been, until his arrival, a perhaps too rarified approach". He was also a member of the group Gentle Fire, active from 1968 to 1975, which specialised in the realisation of indeterminate and mobile scores, as well as verbally formulated intuitive-music compositions (such as Stockhausen's Aus den sieben Tagen) and in the performance of its own Group Compositions.

Davies invented musical instruments that he constructed from household items. Among them was the shozyg, a generic name he used for any instrument housed inside an unusual container. The name is derived from the first of such instruments, which was housed inside the final volume of an encyclopaedia (covering the subjects from SHO- to ZYG-).

From the 1960s onwards Davies made very significant contributions to the documentation of electronic music history, and in 1968 published a catalogue in which he listed - ostensibly - all the works of electronic music ever composed worldwide. It has been argued that, through his research and documentation, Davies characterised electronic music for the first time as a truly international, interdisciplinary field.

Davies was also a member of the Artist Placement Group during the mid-1970s.

Davies was the founder and first Director of the Electronic Music Studios at Goldsmiths, University of London from 1968 to 1986 and was subsequently a researcher there until 1991.

Davies had been a part-time Researcher and Lecturer in Sonic Art at the Centre for Electronic Arts, Middlesex University, London from 1999 until the end of his life."

-Wikipedia (

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track listing:

1. music for 2 springs (1977) 8:04

2. music for 3 springs (1977) 13:17

3. solo at ronie scott's (1975?) 24:33

4. music for bowed diaphragms (1973) 10:18

5. salad (for egg- & vegetable slicers) 1977 14:06

6. shozyg I & II - duo with richard orton (1969) 8:52
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Hugh Davies was one of the pioneers of 'free improvisation' in Europe from the mid-1960's. With extraordinary creativity he designed and built several 'invented instruments' incorporating objects from everyday life such as springs, hacksaw blades and egg-slicers. He humbly characterised this as 'D-I-Y music', but by amplifying the small sounds his instruments produced he developed a unique soundworld which was years ahead of his time.

These previously unpublished recordings are taken from the first decade of Hugh's work as an improviser. The first five tracks are solos, and the last is a duo for two shozygs with Richard Orton, a fellow pioneer and on-0time member of the ensemble Gentle Fire which Hugh set up in the late 1960's. 'Shozyg' was the name Hugh gave to one of his early instruments, which was housed inside the cover of a large encyclopaedia covering the letters SHO to ZYG.

This CDR is being released to accompany the CD For Hugh Davies (Another Timbre AT 11). On that disc these same recordings of Hugh were plyed back to a trio of current improvisers (Adam Bohman, Lee Patterson & Mark Wastell) who improvised around Hugh's music.

This CDR is dedicated to the memory of Hugh Davies woh died in January, 2005"-Another Timbre

Related Categories of Interest:

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

Other Releases With These Artists:
Recommended & Related Releases:
1983 [VINYL 2 LPs]
(Honest Jons Records)
Trios [VINYL 2 LPs]
(Honest Jons Records)
Music Improvisation Company, The (Bailey / Parker / Davies / Muir)
1969, 1970 [VINYL 2 LPs]
(Honest Jons Records)

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