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Arnold, Martin : The Spit Veleta (Another Timbre)

Canadian composer Martin Arnold is based in Toronto, writing melodic works that contain a meandering, psychedelic quality, as heard in these three compositions performed by Philip Thomas on piano and Mira Benjamin on violin, the first two pieces solos from each respectively, and the last a duo with both musicians.

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product information:

Label: Another Timbre
Catalog ID: at106
Squidco Product Code: 23755

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2017
Country: UK
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
'Points & Walzes' and 'The Spit Veleta' recorded at St Paul's Hall, the University of Huddersfield, July 22nd 2015 'Slip Minuet' recorded at St. James Church, Midhopestones, near Sheffield, May 8th 2016


Martin Arnold-composer

Philip Thomas-piano

Mira Benjamin-violin

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Artist Biographies:

"Martin Arnold is a musician based in Toronto. His notated compositions are performed nationally and internationally. Martin is also an active member of Toronto's improvisation and experimental jazz/roots/rock communities performing on live electronics, banjo, melodica, and guitar. Martin is the Artistic Director of Arraymusic and he lectures in the Department of Cultural Studies at Trent University and the Department of Art, Culture and Media, at the University of Toronto, Scarborough."

-Continuum Contemporary Music (

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"Philip Thomas (b.1972, North Devon) specialises in performing new and experimental music, including both notated and improvised music. He places much emphasis on each concert being a unique event, designing imaginative programmes that provoke and suggest connections.

He is particularly drawn to the experimental music of John Cage, Morton Feldman and Christian Wolff, and composers who broadly work within a post-Cageian aesthetic. In recent years he has been particularly associated with the music of Christian Wolff, giving the world premiere of his Sailing By in 2014 and Small Preludes in 2009, the UK premiere of Long Piano (Peace March 11), having co-edited and contributed to the first major study of Wolff's music, Changing the System: the Music of Christian Wolff, published by Ashgate Publications in 2010, and currently recording all of Wolff's solo piano music for sub rosa. He is an experienced performer of John Cage's music, having performed the Concert for piano and orchestra with both Apartment House and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company as well as most of the solo piano and prepared piano music, including a unique 12-hour performance of Electronic Music for piano

He has commissioned new works from a number of British composers whose ideas, language and aesthetic have been informed in some ways by the aforementioned American composers, such as Stephen Chase, Laurence Crane, Richard Emsley, Christopher Fox, Bryn Harrison, John Lely, Tim Parkinson, Michael Parsons, and James Saunders.

In recent years Philip has pursued a passion for freely improvised music, after significant encounters with the music of AMM and Sheffield-based musicians Martin Archer, Mick Beck and John Jasnoch. He has worked with improvisers in a variety of contexts and recently devised a programme of composed music by musicians more normally known as improvisers as well as others who have been influenced by improvisation in some form. This led to a CD release, Comprovisation, which featured newly commissioned works by Mick Beck, Chris Burn and Simon H Fell. Other CD releases include music by Martin Arnold, Laurence Crane, Christopher Fox, Jürg Frey, Bryn Harrison, Tim Parkinson, Michael Pisaro, James Saunders, Christian Wolff, as well as with improvisers Chris Burn and Simon H Fell.

Philip is a regular pianist with leading experimental music group Apartment House, with whom he has performed in festivals across the UK and Europe. He has also performed with the Quatuor Bozzini, and in duos with Mark Knoop, Ian Pace and John Tilbury (piano duet and two pianos) and James Saunders (electronics).

In 1998 Philip was awarded a PhD from Sheffield University in the performance practice of contemporary piano music. Between 2000 and 2005, he was Head of the Sheffield Music School whilst pursuing an active performing and teaching career. He joined the staff team at the University of Huddersfield in 2005, and became Professor of Performance in 2015. Philip is one of the Directors of CeReNeM, the University's Centre for Research in New Music. He continues to live in Sheffield, where he premieres the majority of his programmes, with his wife Tiffany and children Naomi and Jack."

-Philip Thomas Website (

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"Mira Benjamin is a Canadian violinist, researcher and new-music instigator.

She performs new and experimental music, with a special interest in microtonality & tuning practice. She actively commissions music from composers at all stages of their careers, and develops each new work through multiple performances. Current collaborations include new works by Anna Höstman, Scott McLaughlin, Amber Priestley, Taylor Brook and James Weeks.

Since 2011, Mira has co-directed NU:NORD - a project-based music and performance network which instigates artistic exchanges and encourages community building between music creators from Canada, Norway & the UK. To date NU:NORD has engaged 79 artists and commissioned 62 new works. Through this initiative, Mira hopes to offer a foundation from which Canadian artists can reach out to artistic communities overseas, and provide a conduit through which UK & Norwegian artists can access Canada's rich art culture.

Originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, Mira lived for ten years in Montréal, where she was a member of Quatuor Bozzini. Since 2014 she has resided in London (UK), where she regularly performs with ensembles such as Apartment House, Decibel, and the London Contemporary Orchestra Soloists, and is currently the Duncan Druce Scholar in Music Performance at the University of Huddersfield.

Mira is the recipient of the 2016 Virginia Parker Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts. The prize is awarded annually to a Canadian musician in recognition of their contribution to the artistic life in Canada and internationally."

-St. Martin in the Field Website (

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track listing:

1. Points and Walzes 21:15

2. Slip Minuet 23:42

3. The Spit Veleta 30:11
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"All the music I make is in some way melodic. I also think of all of it as being slack, meandering, psychedelic and, even at its most ponderously enervated, dance music. Moby once said of The Flamingos' version of I Only Have Eyes For You that, along with being a beautiful performance of a beautiful song, it sounded like it was recorded underwater in a Methadone clinic. Even at its clearest, my music somehow aspires to this ideal."-Martin Arnold

Another Timbre Interview with Martin Arnold:

"I'm still first and foremost a listener. Listening is where the real action is, where consciousness and identity can change, be altered (if only a bit), where imaginings of difference and change can flow from. I guess I do listen to a wide range of music, but how I'm drawn to and engage with any given musical experience is always very specific and particular to me. I don't like all of any kind of music. And I'm not really a collector in the sense of the collection having a character as a whole, or in the sense of being any kind of completist.

In terms of the music I produce, I make music that I want to listen to, that nourishes me, that I can't find elsewhere, and that I have the skill to pull off in a satisfactory way. I suppose something that goes with this primacy of listening in my practice is that I'm not especially driven to make music. Since getting out of university, I've never asked an existing group to play a piece of mine. In terms of opportunities that I've had a direct hand in generating, I've co-founded a number of ensembles with close friends who could play my music, initially people I had gone to school with. Beyond that, it has almost always been friends or friends of friends who have approached me with possibilities for collaboration. Very occasionally a stranger has got in touch with me about making music but they have almost invariably become a friend. I think many of my friends wish that I'd try a little harder career-wise, but I'm happy to say that, despite my lack of ambition, this network of friends currently includes astounding musicians from all over the world, people who not only get what I'm on about but who contribute massively to who I am as a musician (and a person).

So I make music for and with friends. I don't usually perform music, but there are a few notable exceptions: once a month, since 2000, I've played electric guitar with the Ryan Driver Quartet, performing standards from the great American songbook - always ballads - in a way that I call psychedelic lounge music rather than jazz. I said I play guitar, but really I play a 1968 Vox Invader; I don't know if I could play a guitar that didn't have all those effects on-board. And the strings are at least 23 years old; I'm not sure what happens if I ever break one but it wouldn't be good (the late great Brian Schultz of Avenue Guitars in Edmonton, Alberta found me the guitar in a pawnshop in Edmonton in 1993 with the strings that are still on it). I also play tenor banjo with a psychedelic folk group called Mermaids and have played a number of different things in a number of different projects with Eric Chenaux. He's based in Paris now but we are talking about doing more together sooner than later. I do go through periods where I improvise freely - most often on electric melodica or tenor banjo - with some amazing musicians from Canada and abroad, and I seem to be in one of those periods now. And thanks to Montréal's Quatuor Bozzini, I have also had wonderful and really unexpected opportunities as a performer, like playing Christian Wolff's music with the Wandelweiser Ensemble, or Cardew's Paragraph 6 from The Great Learning in a group led by John Tilbury. The Bozzinis have played more of my music in more parts of the world than anyone, and have often been the friends whose friends get in touch with me to collaborate.

All the music I make is in some way melodic. I also think of all of it as being slack, meandering, psychedelic and, even at its most ponderously enervated, dance music. Moby once said of The Flamingos' version of "I Only Have Eyes For You" that, along with being a beautiful performance of a beautiful song, it sounded like it was recorded underwater in a Methadone clinic. Even at its clearest, my music somehow aspires to this ideal."-Martin Arnold

Related Categories of Interest:

Compositional Forms
Duo Recordings
Piano & Keyboards
Stringed Instruments
Solo Artist Recordings
Duo Recordings
New in Compositional Music
Canadian Composition & Improvisation

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