The Squid's Ear Magazine

Brighton, Ian

Marsh Gas [REISSUE]

Brighton, Ian: Marsh Gas [REISSUE] (FMR)

Reissuing the 1977 album from UK guitarist Ian Brighton, written as an instrumental story for children, apparently very sophisticated children, in a mix of composed and freely improvised passages, using non-idiomatic approaches with unusual and extended techniques, open atmospheric passages and strange transitions, a peculiar and wonderful album of imaginative playing.

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product information:

UPC: 748079797048

Label: FMR
Catalog ID: 521-1018
Squidco Product Code: 26893

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2018
Country: UK
Packaging: Digipack
Tracks 1, 6 and 7 recorded at The Cathedral, in Chelmsford, Essex, England UK, by Simon Clifford-Smith.

Tracks 2, 3, 4 and 5 recorded at West Square electronic music studio, by Dave Rhodes and John Dodd. Originally released on vinyl LP in 1997 on the Bead Records label as Bead 3.


Jim Livesey-alto saxophone

Marcio Mattos-bass

Ian Brighton-guitar

Roger Smith-guitar

Sound In Brass-handbell

Radu Malfatti-trombone

Philipp Wachsmann-violin

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Sample The Album:

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"The background to Marsh Gas originated from when I took part in a concert at Battersea Town Hall back in the spring of 1975. The music, specifically written for children was part composed and part freely improvised. Entitled The Sun Tamer: a Polynesian folk tale, the children participated by playing blown and percussive instruments, all under the guidance of a narrator. As the story unfolded such was their involvement and enjoyment they appeared oblivious of the music being played.

I decided to try something similar and wrote a short story about a gnome like creature called the Plickie and his friends (and enclosure with the original album). They were Zoltaire, quiet and considerate and De-Boop, noisy and bespectacled who played a long horn that wrapped around him. Accompanied by the blind Wizard of a Thousand Eyes who steered them through the dark forest, passing the Old King and his followers, until they reached the Silver River. They separated when the Big apple appeared: the last place of happy jazz. Alone, Plickie journeyed deeper toward the chapel of Splintered Glass. Here he met the Flashing Wizard who consoled him to ignore others and find his own song. Engulfed in total darkness he sang until he found it, where-upon blidning light streamed in. As his eyes cleared he discovered himself back home inside the marshes.

"Wherever you go you cannot escape whoever you are, so just be yourself," the tracked recorded in Chelmsford Cathedral are of special significance my grandfather, a leading campanologist on the late 19th century, had rung there 70 years beforehand. One of the hand bell ringers playing with me that day had also rung with my grandfather when he was just a young seaman, home on leave during the 1940's; there I was, following in his gootsteps.

My love of playing in these atmospheres, albeit simulated, can be heard on Imaginings, also on FMR, and on a duet album with Henry Kaiser entitled Together Apart.

The independent collective label Bead Records kindly released Marsh Gas as Bead 3 in 1977, with financial assistance provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain. Although, as an LP, it sold out many years ago, Bead Records is still an active concern and contactable via its website -

With recent interest in my music and the non-availability of the original album I have decided to re-issue it as a compact disc. for that many thanks go to: Kevin Smith of foundry Studios Portsmouth for media transfer and mastering, Hugh Cutmore for his drawings and Trevor Taylor for layout and production. Marsh Gas lives on..."-Ian Brighton, October, 2018

See all Imaginings.

Artist Biographies

Jim Livesey is a British saxophonist and improviser known for his work with guitarist Ian Brighton and Mick Stevens.

-Discogs (

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"Marcio Mattos was born Rio de Janeiro, 20th March 1946; double bass, 'cello.

Studied acoustic guitar in early teens, switching to double bass and cello, mainly self-taught, after becoming interested in Jazz. Later entered the Villa-Lobos institute where he became involved in improvisation and electronic music. Since coming to Europe in 1970 has performed, recorded and broadcast both in Britain and abroad in groups including John Surman, Evan Parker, John Stevens, Keith Tippett, Derek Bailey's Company, Dewey Redman and Marylin Crispell amongst others. Has also worked with dance companies such as Ballet Rambert and The Extemporary Dance Theatre Company, and in electro-acoustic music groups such as the West Square Electronic Music Ensemble.

A long- standing member of the Eddie Prevost Quartet and various Elton Dean groups. Other current British projects include the "Bardo State Orchestra", Chris Burn's Ensemble, "Wooden Taps" with Maggie Nicols, "Embers" with John Butcher and others, "Lines" with Phil Wachsmann/Jim Denley and others, and "Full Monte" with Chris Biscoe, Brian Godding and Tony Marsh . International projects working in Europe have included Georg Graewe's Grubenklang Orchestra, Stefano Maltese's "Open Music Ensemble", Tony Oxley's Celebration Orchestra, "AXON"- trio with Phil Minton and Martin Blume , bass/cello and shakuhachi duo with Shiku Yano, and in Japan various groupings with Sabu Toyozumi and Keiko Midorikawa.

Also trained as a Ceramic artist at Goldsmiths college and continues to make and exhibit work in clay."

-EFI (

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Ian Brighton is a free improvising guitarist, known for the bands Balance, Spontaneous Music Ensemble, and Spontaneous Music Orchestra.

-Squidco 9/20/2023

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

Roger Smith is a British guitarist known for his work with London Musicians' Collective, his duo with Neil Metcalfe, plus duos with Adam Bohman, Louis Moholo-Moholo, Pascal Marzan, etc.

-Squidco 9/20/2023

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

"Radu Malfatti is an Austrian trombone player and composer. He was born in Innsbruck, in the province of Tyrol, on December 16, 1943. He has been described as "among the leaders in redefining the avant-garde as truly on-the-edge art." His work "since the early nineties... has been investigating the edges of ultraminimalism in both his composed and improvised work." He also operates B-Boim, a CD-R only record label focusing on improvised and composed music, much of it his own."

-Wikipedia (

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"Philipp Wachsmann. Born Uganda, 1944; violin, viola and electronics.

In the CD booklet to Gushwachs, John Corbett notes that Phillip Wachsmann came to free improvisation from a predominantly classical background, particularly via the contemporary experiments of "indeterminacy, graphic and prose-based scores, conceptualism and electroacoustics, listening to Webern, Partch, Ives, Berio and Varèse, reading 'Die Reihe' and interrogating the rhythmic, harmonic and melodic preoccupations of Western art music. Starting in 1969, Wachsmann was a member of Yggdrasil, an ensemble performing works by Cage, Cardew, Feldman, Ashley and others and in this group he used contact mikes on the violin and made his own electronic instruments, ring modulators and routing devices. Ironically, his studies with Nadia Boulanger in Paris (1969-1970) pushed him hard in the direction of free music. He recalls: 'Despite her neoclassical orientation, her insistence that composition is about the imagination of performance and its realisation, the live moment, and her stunning ability to make this happen was a powerful influence on me, steering towards 'performance' and therefore 'improvisation'.'"

Wachsmann moved from Yggdrasil to Chamberpot - recorded on Bead 2 - and shortly thereafter appeared on Tony Oxley's influential February papers, forward looking in the virtual 'industrial' orientation of some of the tracks, years before this became an accepted genre; the two musicians have continued to work together, in various groupings but notably in the percussionist's Celebration Orchestra. Philipp Wachsmann has also performed and/or recorded with: Derek Bailey's Company, e.g. on the recording Epiphanies; Georg Graewe; Barry Guy; Iskra 1903; King Übü Orchestrü; London Jazz Composers' Orchestra; Evan Parker, particularly as part of the Evan Parker Electronic Project; Quintet Moderne; Fred Van Hove's ML DD 4; Rüdiger Carl's COWWS (now CPWWS) Quintet; and Lines, with Martin Blume, Jim Denley, Axel Dörner and Marcio Mattos. He also plays as a solo musician.

Phillip Wachsmann also administers Bead Records."

-EFI: European Free Improv (

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Track Listing:

1. Pilkies Dilema 1:50

2. Bulrushing 9:18

3. Brotherhood 7:42

4. The Wizard's Dream 3:40

5. Silver River Shuffle 10:08

6. The Chapel Of Splintered Glass (With Love Alf) 7:45

7. Marsh Gas 7:20

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Sextet Recordings
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
Jazz Reissues
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