The Squid's Ear Magazine


AMM: Sounding Music (Matchless)

AMM's performance at the 2009 Freedom of the City Festival with AMM regular members Eddie Prevost and John Tilbury extended with John Butcher, Chritian Wolff and Ute Kanngiesser.
 

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Personnel:



John Butcher-tenor & soprano saxophones

Ute Kanngiesser-cello

Eddie Prevost-percussion

John Tilbury-piano

Christian Wolff-piano, bass guitar, melodica


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Includes an 8 page booklet, "Words on/and music" by Harry Gilonis

UPC: 502049207728

Label: Matchless
Catalog ID: MRCD77
Squidco Product Code: 12975

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2010
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Cardstock Gatefold Sleeve
Recorded at the 'Freedom of the City' festival, Conway Hall, Lonodn on Sunday May 3, 2009.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"[...] Certainly in places this sounds like AMM through and through. When Prévost and Tilbury are working together it really cannot be anything else. I find myself hearing the connections between these two musicians through everything else, no matter what other sounds are there to be heard. There are the little climaxes, the slow arcs towards the small explosions of expression, the way Prévost uses his bowed sounds as the scaffold for the others to climb up and over, the sprinkling of Tilbury's piano sounds throughout in just the places Tilbury leaves them, the connections between these two sets of sounds leaves the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end. They did eighteen years ago when I first hear them live, they still do now. Then though, there are the elements in this recording that stand out as something new, sounds that do not seem to belong traditionally in AMM, and yes most of them here do come from Wolff, the little burst of pocket harmonica, the tapping of stones together that ends the performance, the single plucked guitar note that ends a section of the music twenty minutes in, but they don't sound so intrusive here, just little elements that catch your ear as unusual. Kanngiesser also stands out now and again as something new, the moment two thirds of the way through when after a mini climax the sounds drop away to find her bowing a series of slow notes in a fluid, almost tuneful manner really catches the ear. So what we have is AMM as we know them, augmented by some new elements. John Butcher by the way, plays wonderfully, and sounds completely at home in the group, none of his contributions sound out of place at all. [...]"-Richard Pinnell, The Watchful Ear


Includes an 8 page booklet, "Words on/and music" by Harry Gilonis


This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

The Squid
The Squid's Ear!

Artist Biographies

"John Butcher's work ranges through improvisation, his own compositions, multitracked pieces and explorations with feedback and extreme acoustics.Originally a physicist, he left academia in '82, and has since collaborated with hundreds of musicians - Derek Bailey, John Tilbury, John Stevens, The EX, Akio Suzuki, Gerry Hemingway, Polwechsel, Gino Robair, Rhodri Davies, Okkyung Lee, John Edwards, Toshi Nakamura, Paul Lovens, Eddie Prevost, Mark Sanders, Christian Marclay, Otomo Yoshihide, Phil Minton, and Andy Moor - to name a few.

He is well known as a solo performer who attempts to engage with the uniqueness of place. Resonant Spaces is a collection of site-specific performances collected during a tour of unusual locations in Scotland and the Orkney Islands.His first solo album, Thirteen Friendly Numbers, includes compositions for multitracked saxophones, whilst later solo CDs focus on live performance, composition, amplification and saxophone-controlled feedback.

HCMF has twice commissioned him to compose for his own large ensembles. Other commissions include for Elision (Australia), the Rova (USA) & Quasar (Canada) Saxophone Quartets, reconstructed Futurist Intonarumori (USA), "Tarab Cuts" (based on pre-WWII Arabic recordings, and shortlisted for the 2014 British Composer's Award) and "Good Liquor .." for the London Sinfonietta. In 2011 he received a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists.

Recent groupings include The Apophonics with Robair and Edwards, Anemone with Peter Evans, Plume with Tony Buck & Magda Mayas and a trio with Okkyung Lee & Mark Sanders.Butcher values playing in occasional encounters - ranging from large groups such as Butch Morris' London Skyscraper and the EX Orkestra, to duo concerts with David Toop, Kevin Drumm, Claudia Binder, Paal Nilssen-Love, Thomas Lehn, Fred Frith, Keiji Haino, Ute Kangeisser, Matthew Shipp and Yuji Takahashi."

-John Butcher Website (http://www.johnbutcher.org.uk/Biog.html)
12/6/2023

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Ute Kanngiesser has played cello since early childhood, and for more than a decade, has only played unscripted, improvised music - solo and in collaboration with other musicians and composers in London and internationally. An important part of her work has developed in relationship to other art forms such as writing, dance, film, and site specific performance. More recently, she has begun to experiment with open form compositions, writing semi-graphic scores as a way of recording music, that can be retrieved later on and in new ways.

Recent collaborations have been with Evie Ward, Daniel Blumberg, Billy Steiger, Tom Wheatley, Crystabel Riley, Seymour Wright, Paul Abbott, Keira Greene, John Butcher, Eddie Prévost and Jennifer Allum."

-Cafe OTO (https://www.cafeoto.co.uk/artists/ute-kanngiesser/)
12/6/2023

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Eddie Prévost (Edwin John) (born Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England, 22 June 1942) is an English percussionist noted for founding and participating in the AMM free improvisation group.

Of Huguenot heritage, Prévost's silk weaving ancestors moved to Spitalfields in the late 17th century. Brought up by single parent mother (Lilian Elizabeth) in war-damaged London Borough of Bermondsey. He won a state scholarship to Addey and Stanhope Grammar School, Deptford, London, where to-be drummers Trevor Tomkins and Jon Hiseman also studied. Music tuition, however, was limited to singing and general classical music appreciation. Enrolled in the Boy Scouts Association (19th Bermondsey Troop) to join marching band. As a teenager began to get involved with the emerging youth culture music; skiffle, before being introduced to a big jazz record collection of a school friend with rich parents. With a bonus from the florist, for whom Prévost worked part-time after school, purchased his first snare drum from the famed Len Hunt drum shop in Archer Street (part of London's theatre land).

After leaving school at sixteen Prévost was employed in various clerical positions whilst continuing his musical interests. Although, by now immersed in the music of bebop, his playing technique was insufficient for purpose. New Orleans style jazz ('trad') offered scope for his growing musical prowess. He played in various bands mostly in the East End of London. It was during a tenure with one of these bands he met trumpeter David Ware, who also shared a passion for the hard-bop jazz music. In their early twenties they later formed a modern jazz quintet which ultimately included Lou Gare, who had recently moved to London from Rugby and was a student at Ealing College of Art and a member of the Mike Westbrook Jazz Orchestra.

AMM was co-founded in 1965 by Lou Gare, Eddie Prévost and Keith Rowe. They were shortly joined by Lawrence Sheaff. All had a jazz background. They were, however, soon augmented by composer Cornelius Cardew. Thereafter, Cardew, Gare, Prévost and Rowe remained as basis of the ensemble until the group fractured in 1972. Other more formally trained musicians were to enter the ranks of AMM after Cardew's departure. Those to make significant contributions were cellist Rohan de Saram and, in particular, pianist John Tilbury. The latter was a friend and early associate of Cardew and later became his biographer.

In contrast to many other improvising ensembles, the core aesthetic of the ensemble is one of enquiry. There was no attempt to create a spontaneous music reflecting, or emulating, other forms. The AMM sound-world emerged from what Cardew referred to as "searching for sounds". For Prévost, the following would become the core formulation which he would explore during his subsequent musical career and explain and develop in various writings (see bibliography) and workshop activities.

We are "searching" for sounds and for the responses that attach to them, rather than thinking them up, preparing them and producing them.

In the 1980s, in response to various workshops and lectures, Prévost first formulated the twin analytical propositions of heurism and dialogue as defining concepts for an emergent musical philosophy, whilst acknowledging Cardew's construction (above). This line was explored and constantly redefined much through the London workshop experience, as his articles and his books show. (see below: The London Workshop). His 2011 book - The First Concert: an Adaptive Appraisal of a Meta Music - is described as a view "mediated through the developing critical discourse of adaptionism; a perspective grounded in Darwinian conceptions of human nature. Music herein is examined for its cognitive and generative qualities to see how our evolved biological and emergent cultural legacy reflects our needs and dreams. This survey visits ethnomusicology, folk music, jazz, contemporary music and "world music" as well as focusing upon various forms of improvisation - observing their effect upon human relations and aspirations. However, there are also analytical and ultimately positive suggestions towards future metamusical practices. These mirror and potentially meet the aspirations of a growing community who wish to engage with the world - with all its history and chance conditionals - by applying a free-will in making music that is creative and collegiate." (back cover of First Concert)History with AMM

When, in the early 1970s, Cardew and Rowe began to devote their time and energy to espousing the political doctrine of an English Maoist party a fracture occurred in the ensemble leaving the rump of Lou Gare and Eddie Prévost, who continued in a duo form making various concerts and festival appearances and leaving a legacy of two recordings. At the end of the decade a rapprochement was attempted and for a short while the quartet began playing together again. It did not last. Lou Gare departed and moved from London to Devon. While Cardew's commitment to politics made his complete withdrawal inevitable. It was during this period Prévost took an Honours Degree at Hatfield Polytechnic, exploring and developing his interests in history(especially East Asian) and philosophy. Musically, this left Rowe and Prévost playing together. Their recording for German ECM label "It had been an ordinary enough day in Pueblo, Colorado" is the single example of their duet period. By the late 1970s a reawakened association with John Tilbury was cemented into his permanent place in AMM. He is featured on all subsequent AMM performances and recordings (as is Prévost). In 2002 a more lasting schism occurred leading to Rowe departing from AMM and leaving Tilbury to continue with Prévost.Percussion

The investigative dynamic of AMM leads a musician to seek out new material. It is the fabric and constitution of stuff that is considered as more important than any historical or cultural heritage. It is Prévost's constant exploration's that has produced the range of sounds associated with his work, particularly within AMM and its extension to the many workshop ensembles. This philosophy leads to what Seymour Wright has so aptly described as the "awkward wealth" of investigation.(citation) It is a position of constant examination and artistic redress.Drumming

Drumming with AMM was principally replaced by discreet percussion work which by and large relied on sound and texture rather than rhythm. At the time of the Gare/Prévost period this position was reviewed. However, it was plain the AMM aesthetic, characteristic of the early formative period, was to have its effect. The "searching" method prevailed. And, whereas a saxophone and drums duet led to a more jazz-like expectation (amplified by Gare's reversion to a more rolling and modal post-Rollins kind of approach). Prévost's playing was noted to have acquired some unusual qualities. This lead one reviewer (Melody Maker) to remark in 1972: "His free drumming flows superbly making use of his formidable technique. It's as though there has never been an Elvin Jones or Max Roach."

Drumming however, was to take a back seat in Prévost's musical output as AMM developed and began to acquire and enhance its innovative reputation. And, apart from rare musical outings he did not commit himself, more fully, to the jazz drum kit again until 2007/08. Although, continuing to play percussion, a jazz-inflected project with Seymour Wright and Ross Lambert in an ensemble called SUM was the precursor of a period more devoted to drumming. Apart from various ad hoc ensembles, this led to various recordings including a series a CDs entitled Meetings with Remarkable Saxophonists. At date this consists of four volumes featuring Evan Parker, John Butcher, Jason Yarde and Bertrand Denzler respectively.The London workshop

Over the years Prévost has conducted many improvised music workshops. However, as a result of a seminar he conducted at The Guelph Jazz Festival, Canada in 1999, Prévost began to formulate a framework for a workshop based upon a more thorough working of AMM principles and practice. He wrote:

"I had, of course, already had long previous experience of improvisation and experimental music mostly through my participation in AMM and working closely with the composers Cornelius Cardew and Christian Wolff. From this experience I had begun a working hypothesis in my book 'No Sound is Innocent'. However, there is always more to discover. On my long flight across the Atlantic, I intuited more could be found out. Not through introspective, if rational, thought alone but, through discovery or experimentation: praxis. It can, of course, be very discomforting to watch a proposition die in practise. No theory is worth its salt unless it is fully tested. The best ideas - this experience suggests - emerge through activity. Hence, the working premise of the improvisation workshop had to be based upon an emergent set of criteria constantly tested within the cauldron of experience.

In November 1999 I made it known that a free improvisation workshop would start weekly in a room at London's Community Music Centre, near London Bridge. Originally, under the auspices of the London Musicians' Collective, [...] these premises were found and minimal lines of communication to possible interested parties were opened. The first Friday evening (not thought to be an auspicious evening of the week because people 'went out' to have a good time) duly arrived. The room was available precisely because no one ever hired it on a Friday! I waited. Edwin Prévost, The First Concert: an Adaptive Appraisal of a Meta Music, (2011) p.115/6

Since then the workshop has continued weekly. It has a strong collegiate atmosphere. Those who participate are themselves formulating and refining a programme of enquiry and empathy. The working premise is one of 'searching for sounds' (Cardew). The emphasis is upon discovery and not on presentation. It is a place to risk failure and develop an open and continuing processive relationship with the materials at hand and other people. As hoped and anticipated, Prévost's continual presence is no longer required. In his occasional absences senior colleagues (in particular Seymour Wright and Ross Lambert) more than adequately move the project along. To date there have been over five hundred people who have attended the weekly workshop in London, representing over twenty different nationalities. This activity is further augmented by occasional forums for discussion and London's Cafe OTO programmes ensembles drawn from the London workshop every month. There have also been occasional extended periods of collective workshop musical experimentation. And, in 2010 there was a residential workshop held in Mwnci Studios on the Dolwillym Estate, west Wales. (see various other texts: including Philip Clark's Wire piece)] There are now workshops based upon this general premise functioning in Hungary, Greece, Slovenia, Japan, Brazil and Mexico. Mostly started by alumni of the original workshop in London.Intermediate and experimental compositions

Cardew's 'Treatise' etc. Cardew's introduction to AMM in 1966 owes something to his search for musicians to perform his (then unfinished)193 pages long graphic score, 'Treatise'. The AMM musicians (at the time Lou Gare, Eddie Prévost, Keith Rowe and Lawrence Sheaff) seemed perfect candidates to embrace this bold work of imagination. And, with others (including later AMM member John Tilbury) all participated in the premier performance at the Commonwealth Institute on 8 April 1966 (check year!). But the initial impact of Cardew's induction into AMM was to bring a halt to his compositional aspirations. However, over the years since, AMM has had a long relationship with particular indeterminate and experimental works particularly those of Cardew - especially after his death in 1983. Most prominently 'Treatise'. Other favourites were 'Solo with Accompaniment', 'Autumn '60', Schooltime Compositions' and the text piece Cardew wrote particularly for AMM, 'The Tiger's Mind.' These pieces (which for a long time had been neglected within 'new' musical schedules), and occasionally others by Christian Wolff and John Cage, were sometimes played in conjunction with an AMM improvisation. Some concert promoters were, it seems, more interested in these pieces being played than the principal musical output of AMM. Hence, Prévost's ambivalence about the inclusion of such material in concert programmes. The creative search for primary performance material was diverted, in such works, in keeping with the demands of the notation or compositional scheme. This inevitably prevented the musician from (to use Cardew's own words) "being at the heart of the experiment". (Cardew, 'Towards an Ethic of Improvisation; CC R p. 127).Matchless Recordings and Publishing

In 1979 Prévost began the recording imprint of Matchless Recordings and Publishing. Although there had been some interest by commercial labels to take on the new improvising music of the late 1960s onwards, it proved not to be satisfactory or long-lasting. Together with a number of similar initiatives, e.g. Incus Records in Britain and ICP (?) in the Netherlands, Prévost sought to take control of their own work. In the early years this was slow and painstaking work. Some years little was produced and few small sales accrued. Gradually however, Matchless recordings began to be the documenting and disseminating base for a developing body of work. Most of the AMM output is featured on Matchless and this has diversified (more so in recent years) to include other associated artists and ensembles.[see matchlessrecordings.com] In 1995, following the same principal for internal control over the output, production and dissemination of material, the publishing imprint Copula was inaugurated. The first publication was Prevost's No Sound is Innocent. Later followed by Minute Particulars in 2004. 2006 saw the publication of Cornelius Cardew: A Reader (edited by Prévost) which was a collection of Cardew's published writings accompanied by commentaries by a number of musicians associated and inspired by Cardew. This volume was an essential companion to John Tilbury's comprehensive biography Cornelius Cardew: a life unfinished which was also published by Copula in 2008. The most recent book to appear on this imprint is Prévost's The First Concert: An Adaptive Appraisal of a Meta Music (2011).

Eddie Prévost is the cousin of the ex-docker shop-steward and left-wing political activist also named Eddie Prevost."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Pr%C3%A9vost)
12/6/2023

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"John Tilbury (born 1 February 1936) is a British pianist. He is considered one of the foremost interpreters of Morton Feldman's music, and since 1980 has been a member of the free improvisation group AMM.

Tilbury studied piano at the Royal College of Music with Arthur Alexander and James Gibb and also with Zbigniew Drzewiecki in Warsaw. 1968 he was the winner of the Gaudeamus competition in the Netherlands.

During the 1960s, Tilbury was closely associated with the composer Cornelius Cardew, whose music he has interpreted and recorded and a member of the Scratch Orchestra. His biography of Cardew, "Cornelius Cardew - A life unfinished" was published in 2008.

Tilbury has also recorded the works of Howard Skempton and John White, among many others, and has also performed adaptations of the radio plays of Samuel Beckett.

With guitarist AMM bandmate Keith Rowe's electroacoustic ensemble M.I.M.E.O., Tilbury recorded The Hands of Caravaggio, inspired by the painter's The Taking of Christ {1602). In this live performance, twelve of the members of M.I.M.E.O. were positioned around the piano in a deliberate echo of Christ's Last Supper. The thirteenth M.I.M.E.O. member (Cor Fuhler) is credited with "inside piano" as he interacted and interfered with Tilbury's playing by manipulating and damping the instrument's strings, essentially doing piano preparation in real time. Critic Brian Olewnick describes the album as "A staggering achievement, one is tempted to call The Hands of Caravaggio the first great piano concerto of the 21st century."

Another notable recent recording of Tilbury's was Duos for Doris (like The Hands of Caravaggio also on Erstwhile Records), a collaboration with Keith Rowe. It is widely considered a landmark recording in the genre of electroacoustic improvisation (or "EAI").

In 2013 he collaborated with artist Armando Lulaj in FIEND performance at the National Theatre of Tirana (Albania)."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Tilbury)
12/6/2023

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Christian Wolff was born in 1934 in Nice, France, has lived in the U.S. since 1941. Studied piano with Grete Sultan and briefly composition with John Cage. Associated with Cage, Morton Feldman, David Tudor and Earle Brown, then with Frederic Rzewski and Cornelius Cardew. Since 1952 associated with Merce Cunningham and his dance company. Taught Classics at Harvard (1962-70) and Classics, Music and Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College (1971-1999). Published articles on Greek tragedy, in particular, Euripides. Writings on music (to 1998) collected in book Cues (published by MusikTexte) and in Occasional Pieces (Oxford University Press, in preparation). Active as performer, also improviser with, among others, Takehisa Kosugi, Keith Rowe, Steve Lacy, Christian Marclay, Larry Polansky, Kui Dong and AMM. All music published by C.F. Peters, New York. Much of it is recorded (Mode, New World, Neos, Capriccio, Wandelweiser, Wergo, Matchless, Tzadik, HatArt, etc.). Honors include DAAD Berlin fellowship, grants from the Asian Council, Mellon Foundation, Fromm Foundation, Meet the Composer, Foundation for Contemporary Performing Arts (the John Cage award); honorary degrees from California Institute of the Arts and from Huddersfield University (UK), membership in the Akademie der Kuenste, Berlin, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, lifetime achievement award from the state of Vermont."

-Dartmouth College (http://eamusic.dartmouth.edu/~wolff/)
12/6/2023

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. Sounding Music 51:07

Related Categories of Interest:

Matchless

Improvised Music
European Improvisation and Experimental Forms
John Butcher
Free Improvisation
Quintet Recordings

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A merging of free jazz and free improvisation in the UK/US West Coast quintet of legendary AMM drummer Eddie Prévost, guitarist Henry Kaiser on "ismguitar", N.O. Moore on "guitarisism", Blinker Golding on saxophone and Olie Brice on double bass, in a rollicking album of electric jazz recorded in the studio in London for two exhilarating "Doors" of quick shifting improv.
IST (Davies / Fell / Wastell) + John Butcher / Phil Durrant
A More Attractive Way [5 CD BOX SET + 20 page booklet]
(Confront)
A comprehensive album of live performances from IST (Rhodri Davies: harp, preparations; Simon H. Fell: double bass, preparations; Mark Wastell: violoncello, preparations) between 1996 and 2000, beginning with their concert at Club Orange in London and including concerts in London, Billericay, Norwich and Cambridge, with a 20 page booklet of photos and text from the band & collaborators.
Crispell / Prevost / Smith
ConcertOTO
(Matchless)
American pianist Marilyn Crispell joined London Improviser's Orchestra saxophonist & clarinetist Harry Smith and AMM drummer Eddie Prévost for this 2012 concert at London's Cafe OTO, playing in a melodic free jazz mode of passionate interaction and deep communication, resulting in an unforced and naturally masterful set of thoughtfully lyrical improvisation.
RED trio and Celebration Band
Suite 10 Years Anniversary [2 CDs]
(NoBusiness)
The Red Trio of pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro, bassist Hernâni Faustino and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini mark their 10th anniversary as a trio on this 2-CD set of an outstanding concert in Lisboa, PT, joining forces with the 13-member Celebration Band, whose members include John Butcher, Ernesto Rodrigues, Luis Vicente, Sei Miguel, Rodrigo Amado, Mattias Stahl, Carlos Santos, &c.
Kordik / Lucas / Prevost
High Laver Reflections
(Matchless / Earshot)
The Earshots duo of Daniel Kordik on modular synthesizer and Edward Lucas on trombone reprise their meeting a year earlier with free improvising percussionist and AMM legend Eddie Prévost, drawn by the natural resonance of the All Saints Church in Essex, England, recording these electroacoustic improvisations of astonishing sonic properties and astounding technique.
Moore / Prevost / Yarde
Nous
(Matchless)
A concert by drummer Eddie Prˇvost, electric guitarist N.O. Moore, and saxophonist Jason Yarde on alto & soprano recorded at the Vortex Jazz Club, in London, Moore deploying effects and Yarde using electronics to create subtexts of sounds, especially on the extended 25 minute "Impossible Meaning" where unusual structures meld with the acoustic free playing.



The Squid's Ear Magazine

The Squid's Ear Magazine

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