The Squid's Ear Magazine

Grady, Spencer / Fermata Ark / Mark Wastell: Thus : Excerpts From A Smaller Work (Confront)

UK sound artist Fermata Ark, aka Harry Smith, composed this work from improvisations recorded by Mark Wastell performing on cello, double bass and harmonium, and Spencer Grady performing on 5-string banjo, ebow, violin bow and brass slide, creating an extended work of immersive and mesmerizing textures and tones, sounds rising and falling in sublime and passionate ways.

Price: $13.95


In Stock

Quantity in Basket: None

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

product information:

Label: Confront
Catalog ID: core 15
Squidco Product Code: 29576

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: UK
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Studio 3, in London, UK, in October, 2017, by Rupert Clervaux.


Fermata Ark-composition, field recording

Mark Wastell-violoncello, double bass, harmonium

Spencer Grady-5 string banjo, ebow, violin bow, brass slide

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

Sample The Album:

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Harry Smith's work is always looking in two directions at once: towards sound, and towards process. Listening to 'Thus', we are clearly immersed in both of these: it is a glorious celebration of sound, spinning a world of glittering textures, hovering drones, and fractured kaleidoscopes; but we are equally caught up in the unfolding of the work, with the riveting feeling that we are discovering the work at the same time as its maker is, with a shared sense of discovery and rapture. The soundworld evoked by Smith follows its own inevitable path, with Smith perhaps serving more as host or catalyst than calculating composer. But this image is deceptive: there is impeccable mastery and control here - control of his sounds and materials, but more importantly, an effortlessly masterful control of the shaping of time - that mark Smith as an artist of remarkable insight and talent.

'Thus' is a work that rewards headphone listening. No background music this; it is a work to lose yourself in. It is by turns intoxicating, hypnotic, ominous, serene, profound. It is a world of space and of texture, moving effortlessly from the gentle fluttering of insect wings to the dizzying swirling of primordial masses. Occasionally, the curtains part, to reveal a fragile and human world behind; before we can quite reach it, the fog rises, the clouds close, and we are lost once again in a sea of sound.

It is difficult not to be moved by the music on this album. It is a tactile and bodily experience, music to be felt as much as heard. The feelings it evokes, the imagery, the sensations, are all fleeting, transitory, evading any attempt to take hold of them and draw them into the light. Give yourself up to this music. You will not come away unchanged."-James Andean, Confront Recordings

Artist Biographies

"Fermata Ark is a UK based experimental Producer/Composer and Sound Designer."

-Fermata Ark Bandcamp Site (

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

"Mark Wastell Born 1968; cello.

Much of Mark Wastell's relationship with his chosen instrument is concentrated on the tactile, textural and sonic possibilities of both violoncello and bow. He is increasingly interested in working with extreme elements drawn from frequency, timbre and pitch.

His early activity was consciously and subconsciously influenced by a variety of improvising musicians including John Stevens, Barry Guy, Phil Durrant and John Russell. Subsequent exposure to contemporary composers lead to a greater understanding and appreciation of the works written for strings by Feldman, Cage, Nono, Lachenmann and Sciarrino. The use of live electronics and music concrete by Tudor, Parmegiani, Xenakis and others was another important early influence.

Wastell's current instrumental material primarily focuses on using abstract principles of space and texture - encompassing elements of new London silence, pro-instrument minimalism, new complexity and electro-acoustics. Because of the very nature of his chosen instrument, he tends to favour 'chamber' style ensembles and is a member of a number of regular groups:

• Chris Burn's Ensemble, with John Butcher, Rhodri Davies, John Russell, Matt Hutchinson

• Derek Bailey's Company - with, for example, Will Gaines, Simon H. Fell and Rhodri Davies

• Evan Parker's String Project, with Peter Cusack, Hugh Davies, Rhodri Davies, Phil Durrant, John Edwards, Kaffe Matthews, Marcio Mattos, John Russell

• Assumed possibilities, with Chris Burn, Rhodri Davies and Phil Durrant

• The Sealed Knot, with Burkhard Beins and Rhodri Davies

• Necessaire with Alessandro Bosetti, Ignaz Schick and Burkhard Beins

• IST with Simon Fell and Rhodri Davies

• Quatuor Accorde with Tony Wren, Phil Durrant and Charlotte Hug

• Broken Concort, a duo with Rhodri Davies

Mark Wastell has also performed with many other leading musicians including John Zorn, Keith Rowe, Peter Kowald, Hugh Davies, Roger Turner, Veryan Weston, Lol Coxhill, Mark Sanders, Axel Dorner, Hans Koch, Phil Minton, Max Eastley and Steve Beresford.

As a soloist he has played at the Micro-classical Festival (London 1996), LMC Festival (London 2000) and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (2000). He has travelled extensively with various groups, performing on tour and at festivals in the USA, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Greece. Other work includes the launch in 1996 of his own record label, Confront Recordings. Wastell is also joint co-ordinator of the concert venue All Angels, together with Rhodri Davies."

-European Free Improv (EFI) (

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

Spencer Grady is a multi-instrumentalist and sound artist, performing on banjo, guitar, keyboards. He is a member of Padang Food Tigers, Rameses III, Rose Paste Chorale, The Seen, The Spencer Grady 3, and Toast.

-Discogs (

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

Track Listing:

1. Thus : Excerpts From A Smaller Work 37:00

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Duo Recordings
Electroacoustic Composition
Field Recordings
Solo Artist Recordings
New in Experimental & Electronic Music

Search for other titles on the label:

Recommended & Related Releases:
Wastell, Mark
Cello-intern Solos
Padang Food Tigers (Stephen Lewis / Spencer Grady)
God's Plenty
Bang, Jan / David Toop / Mark Wastell
Compound Full Of Bones, Translucent Thousands
Collusion Duo (Nick Smith / Mark Wastell)
BEFOREHAND (Lazaridou / Wastell)
Live at Hundred Years Gallery
Ist (Davies / Fell / Wastell)
Consequences (of Time and Place)
Davis, Matt / Phil Durrant / Mark Wastell
Confront Collectors Series
Sealed Knot, The (Beins / Davies / Wastell)
and we disappear
(Another Timbre)
Davies / Bohman / Patterson / Wastell
For Hugh Davies
(Another Timbre)
Scotch Of St James, The
Live at Amplify 2004
Other Recommended Releases:
Nicols, Maggie / Mark Wastell
And John
Oceans Of Silver & Blood
Acetate [CD EP]
Padang Food Tigers (Stephen Lewis / Spencer Grady)
God's Plenty
Reviriego, Alex
(Tripticks Tapes)
IST (Davies / Fell / Wastell) + John Butcher / Phil Durrant
A More Attractive Way [5 CD BOX SET + 20 page booklet]
Frequency Disasters (Beresford / Magaletti / Martino)
Frequency Disasters
Sealed Knot, The (Beins / Davies / Wastell)
Seen, The
For Sake Of Joy Of Study Of Oneself Together
Virtual Company (Fell / Wastell / Bailey / Gaines)
Virtual Company
Eastley, Max / Fergus Kelly / Mark Wastell
The Map Is Not The Territory
Andersen, Arild / Clive Bell / Mark Wastell
Tales Of Hackney
Davies, Rhodri / David Sylvian / Mark Wastell
There Is No Love
Eastley / Halliwell / Parker / Wastell
a life saved by a spider and two doves
(Another Timbre)

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought:
Jun, Yan / Zhu Wenbo
Mayas', Magda Filamental (w / Davies / Caddy / Theriot / Davies / Parkins / Thieke / Abdelnour)
(Relative Pitch)
Pateras, Anthony

The Squid's Ear Magazine

The Squid's Ear Magazine

© 2002-, Squidco LLC