The Squid's Ear Magazine

Wachsmann, Philipp / Michael Bunce: Refractions In Air (Bead)

Philipp Wachsmann's acoustic violin is routed through his own electronics and then fed into the Live Electronic Sampling & Transformations (LiSa) systems of Michael Bunche, processed and re-performed using time-based transformations shaped by gestural input or as static samples, creating new and unexpected trajectories, sounds snd forms for Wachsmann's playing.

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product information:

UPC: 5024545286823

Label: Bead
Catalog ID: Bead CD06 SP
Squidco Product Code: 32533

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2003
Country: UK
Packaging: Jewel Case
No recording data listed.


Philipp Wachsmann-violin, electronics

Michael Bunce-Live Electronic Sampling & Transformations (LiSa)

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Refractions In Air traces the diversity of interactions that arise in this duo between Philipp Wachsmann and Michael Bunce. The recording was made during one day of continual exploration and development. The acoustic violin is routed through the player's own electronics, and both of these sources are fed to Michael. These are in turn selectively captured through time, to be processed and re-performed with transformations shaped by gestural input or as static samples. The transformation processes are mainly time-based with a focus upon the expressive nature of gesture, where the original contour and dynamic of a captured sound can be reformed and given new trajectory.

The relationship between interaction and process varies, sometimes becoming circular over varying time spans. This gives rise to detailed forms over time; it created structure with memory, and in this way challenges the habits of normal process. A fabric of spontaneous interactions unfolds, compromising structures that result from both the attitude and set-up, and from deliberated choices.

The temporally eclectic nature of "Refractions In Air" ranges from the familiar to the oblique and on to an extraordinary and daring counterpoint. A cyclical process of transformation threads its way through an array of intersections, uncovering a diversity of forms, structures, gestures and articulations that are performed, resultant, implied, projected, displaced, mirrored, assimilated, appropriated or distorted.

The work is sensitive to small gradations as well as more dramatic gestures and therefore may be best heard in a quiet space."-Bead Records

Artist Biographies

"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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Michael Bunce: University of East London, Music, Faculty Member, Metadisciplinarity

"I am Curriculum Development and Enhancement Lead for Music and Performance and Programme Leader for the Masters in Global Learning Futures at the University of East London.

I am engaged in practice and research as a teacher and curriculum innovator, educational technology developer, composer and music producer, and interdisciplinary arts practitioner.

With a background working for arts organisations, universities, schools and colleges, and as a performing musician / composer, I am active at the intersection of creative arts practice, innovation, learning and teaching, and technology, through practice-led research and its integration in teaching and learning environments.Current research centres on the concept and practice of metadisciplinarity, developing pedagogical models and practice through mutual engagement with interdisciplinary performance and creative arts practice.

I have taught, presented and performed at universities in the UK, North & South America, and Australia, as well as working as a Music Director for the National Youth Theatre, Creative designer and Project Lead for the National Trust (Osterley), Senior Tutor for the Drake Music Project, and with a range artists and organisations as a musician, composer and music producer."

-Academia.EDU (

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Track Listing:

1. Cascade 2:05

2. Net(S) 1:52

3. Trawler 9:32

4. Seen From The Side 1:49

5. Language Exchange 2:59

6. Prehistory 7:47

7. Warning(S) 9:01

8. Convergence 9:44

9. Contact In Circles 2:39

10. Refractions In Air 8:59

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Electro-Acoustic Improv
Stringed Instruments
Electronic Forms
Duo Recordings
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
New in Improvised Music
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