The Squid's Ear Magazine

Livebatts! (ANTS Records)

Recorded in the mid-90s, Livebatts! was a project of John White (Cornelius Cardew, Scratch Orchestra) developed to exploit "toy" keyboards of the 80s--cheap battery-driven instruments that hold tremendous potential for "serious" music-making--used here in a playful quartet with vocalist MJ Coldiron, Andrea Rocca (guitar & samples) and Nancy Ruffer (electrified flute).

Price: $14.95


Out of Stock

Quantity in Basket: None

Log In to use our Wish List Shipping Weight: 2.00 units

product information:

Label: ANTS Records
Catalog ID: AG18
Squidco Product Code: 28284

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2018
Country: Italy
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold w/ booklet
Recorded at Baby Microbe Studio, in London, England, during the late 1990Ős, by Andrea Rocca.


John White-battery driven keyboards, toys

MJ Coldiron-vocals, battery driven keyboards

Andrea Rocca-electric guitar, samples

Nancy Ruffer-electrified flute

Click an artist name above to see in-stock items for that artist.

Sample The Album:

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Livebatts! is the result of the eclectic approach to music and sound of John White, the experimental composer better known for his early work with Cornelius Cardew and the Scratch Orchestra and for his formidable output of piano sonatas (now counting almost to 200). Everything started out from his passion for those cheap battery driven keyboards which appeared on the market of musical instruments in the 80s. Much more similar to toys than to proper instruments, these did interested so much Mr. White that he decided to create a group playfully dedicated to a kind of new music specifically made for them. In this recording, which happened sometimes in the mid nineties, we find what would become the Livebatts! consolidated line up (came after the first incarnation formed by White and another experimental music champion as Christopher Hobbs): John White on battery driven keyboards and toys, MJ Coldiron on vocals, mostly spoken, and extra keyboard parts, and Andrea Rocca on electric guitar and samples. Their often playful pieces reflect John White's interest in systems-based music and his love for the pioneers of electronic pop such as Kraftwerk, MJ Coldiron's grounding in theatre and anthropology and Andrea Rocca's background in plunderphonics and noise rock. It can be difficult to describe the mix of styles and approaches that distinguishes these pieces, but, if you search well, here you can find: pillars of Composition, bones of Experimentation, tons of low budget Sound Effects, beams of System Music, coats of Improvisation, pages of Pataphysics and... massive doses of Humor. We are sure you will enjoy it!!!"-Ants

Artist Biographies

"John White (born 5 April 1936 in Berlin) is an English experimental composer and musical performer. He invented the early British form of minimalism known as systems music, with his early Machines.

White was born in Berlin to an English father and German mother. The family moved to London at the outbreak of war. Originally a sculptor, White decided on a composition career when he heard Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphonie. He studied composition at the London Royal College of Music from 1955-58 with Bernard Stevens and analysis privately with Elisabeth Lutyens. Upon graduation, White became the musical director of the Western Theatre Ballet, and then professor of composition at the Royal College of Music from 1961-67. He is a skilled pianist and tuba player and has written extensively for both instruments.

In the 1960s and 1970s he was closely associated with English experimental composers such as Cornelius Cardew and Gavin Bryars. His Royal College of Music pupils have included Roger Smalley, Brian Dennis and William York. White's association with younger composers, including Christopher Hobbs, Dave Smith, Benedict Mason, and John Lely has led to many British ensembles, including the Promenade Theatre Orchestra, Hobbs-White Duo, Garden Furniture Music, the Farewell Symphony Orchestra and other groups.

John White is also the long-standing and inspiring[opinion] Head of Music at Drama Centre London.

White's style is informed by what Dave Smith called an 'apparently disparate collection of composers from the world of "alternative" musical history', including Satie, Alkan, Schumann, Reger, Szymanowski, Busoni and Medtner. These composers have influenced his piano sonatas, which White has been writing since 1956, but other influences on his wider work include Messiaen, Rachmaninoff, and the electronic pop ensembles Kraftwerk, and The Residents. Although it is so eclectic as to cover a wide range of styles, White's work has been called ironic, 'experimental', and even 'avant postmodern'. Although White had worked in what could be called an 'experimental' style since 1962, he composed music using indeterminate means after 1966. His work today includes music having numerical or other systems processes.

As of 2010, White has written 172 piano sonatas, 25 symphonies, 30 ballets, and much incidental music for the stage, all in a highly eclectic style (or, more accurately, range of styles). His stage music includes commissions by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre. His recent projects include a set of song cycles, one of which consists of settings of friends' addresses."

-Wikipedia (

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

"M.J.Coldiron, director has been with Thiasos since 1998. She was born in Butte, Montana, trained at the Drama Centre, London and works as an performer, teacher and director in the US and Britain. She has taught and directed for professional actor training programmes at Drama Centre, London, Central School of Speech and Drama, Arts Educational Schools, E15, Mountview, Rose Bruford, the American Conservatory Theatre and Missouri Repertory Theatre. She is also a scholar and researcher with an MA in Text and Performance Studies from King's College London and RADA and a PhD in Drama from the University of London. Her doctoral research included study of mask carving and Topeng dance drama in Bali, and Noh drama and mask carving in Japan and she has since studied performance traditions in South India and Sri Lanka. She regularly presents papers at international conferences and her articles on Asian performance, masks and performance ethnography have appeared in Asian Theatre Journal, New Theatre Quarterly, Consciousness, Literature and the Arts, and Indonesia and the Malay World. She is the author of Trance and Transformation of the Actor in Japanese Noh and Balinese Dance Drama (Edwin Mellen Press, 2004). She currently teaches at the University of Reading and lectures on Asian performance at the British Museum. She is a member of the Directors' Guild of Great Britain."

-Thiasos (

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

"Andrea Rocca (born 9 June 1969, Rome) is an Italian musician, guitarist and film composer. Rocca moved to London in 1988 where he trained with John White and graduated in ethnomusicology at the School of Oriental and African Studies in 1997. He studied classical guitar as a child but eventually lost interest and by his late teens was planning to become a reportage and war photographer. Discovering the electric guitar reignited his interest in music and soon he was composing and recording pieces inspired by musicians like Frank Zappa, Bill Harkleroad, Marc Moreland and Derek Bailey. He quickly developed an interest in punk and alternative rock, and the music of avant-garde bands such as the Residents together with the work of classical and jazz composers like Edgar Varese, John White, Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus and Sun Ra. He began scoring feature-length films in 1995, with Kaprice Kea's The Hurting. His work alternates film scoring, dance and theatre commissions, and live performance. He is involved with several bands in London's avant-garde music scene. "

-Wikipedia (

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

"Nancy Ruffer was born in Detroit and received a Master of Music degree from The University of Michigan. She received a Fullbright-Kays Scolarship in 1976 to study at the Royal Academy of Music, London, and she has remained in London working as a freelance flautist specialising in contemporary music. Composers who have written for her include Michael Finnissy, Chris Dench, John White, Christopher Fox, Ian Wilson and Graham Fitkin. In 1984 she was awarded the Kranichsteiner Prize for Performance at Darmstadt and she was elected an Associate of the R.A.M. Nancy Ruffer is principal flute of the ensembles MusicProjects/London, Matrix, Almeida Ensemble and Topologies as well as performing with ensembles of the Royal National Theatre.

In addition she records regularly for the BBC and performs in festivals and concert halls throughout Britain and abroad. In 1999 she toured Canada performing works by, among others, Ferneyhough and Dillon, and in 2002 she toured Georgia and Tennessee with pianist Helen Crayford, performing works by British and American composers.

Ms Ruffer was awarded the Kranichsteiner Prize for Performance at Darmstadt in 1984 and was appointed an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music."

-Divine Art Records (

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

Track Listing:

1. Harold in Salt Lake City 7:52

2. Adventures in outer space 4:56

3. Waldesrauchen 9:30

4. Groovin' Batts 7:21

5. Dinosaur Helpline 6:34

6. Goldfish Chatline 4:20

7. PT-30 CrossTalk 14:11

Related Categories of Interest:

Organized Sound and Sample Based Music
Electroacoustic Composition
Rock and Related
Unusual Vocal Forms
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Experimental & Electronic Music

Search for other titles on the label:
ANTS Records.

Recommended & Related Releases:

The Squid's Ear Magazine

The Squid's Ear Magazine

© 2002-, Squidco LLC