The Squid's Ear Magazine


Nicols, Maggie / Matilda Rolfsson / Mark Wastell: Semiotic Drift (Confront)

Extending the duo of British improvisers, legendary vocalist and leader of London's The Gathering, Maggie Nicols, also performing on taps and percussion, and Confront label-leader, percussionist Mark Wastell performing on cymbals and frame drum, with Swedish percussionist Matilda Rolfsson on bass drum, captured in a captivating concert at All Ears in Oslo in 2023.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Maggie Nicols-voice, taps, percussion

Matilda Rolfsson-bass drum, percussion

Mark Wastell-cymbals, frame drum, percussion


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Factory pressed CDR in printed Ekopack matt finish cardboard sleeve. Solid black on-disc printing.

Label: Confront
Catalog ID: Core 37
Squidco Product Code: 34019

Format: CDR
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: UK
Packaging: Cardboard sleeve, sealed
Recorded at All Ears, in Oslo, Norway, on January 14th, 2023.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Mark Wastell / Maggie Nicols / Matilda Rolfsson is an Anglo-Scandinavian trio coming together exclusively for All Ears!

A true veteran of the British free music scene, Maggie Nicols joined London's legendary Spontaneous Music Ensemble in 1968 as a free improvisation vocalist, and from then a lifetime of performing and recording challenging and beautiful works, either in collaborations with a range of artists as well as solo.

Mark Wastell is a versatile improvising musician who has played a central role in the British improvised music scene for over a quarter of a century. He is also Confront record label boss, which has a catalogue of over 150 releases.

Rolfsson is a Swedish percussionist based in Trondheim, at the moment devoted to her artistic research-project where she deepens her artistic praxis in the field of interdisciplinary interplay between music and dance in free- improvisation.

The Wastell/Nicols duo recently emerged before our eyes, and Rolfsson has played with both of them before in different projects, so All Ears were eager to ask if they could do a trio for us, only imagining the beatifully combined textures and distinct sounds coming from each of them."-All Ears


Factory pressed CDR in printed Ekopack matt finish cardboard sleeve. Solid black on-disc printing.

Artist Biographies

"Maggie Nicols (or Nichols, as she originally spelled her name as a performer) (born 24 February 1948), is a Scottish free-jazz and improvising vocalist, dancer, and performer.

Nicols was born in Edinburgh as Margaret Nicholson. Her father was from the Isle of Lewis, and her mother is half-French, half-Berber from North Africa. At the age of fifteen she left school and started to work as a dancer at the Windmill Theatre. Her first singing engagement was in a strip club in Manchester at the age of sixteen. At about that time she became obsessed with jazz, and sang with bebop pianist Dennis Rose. From then on she sang in pubs, clubs, hotels, and in dance bands with some of the finest jazz musicians around. In the midst of all this she worked abroad for a year as a dancer (including a six-month stint at the Moulin Rouge in Paris).[citation needed]

In 1968, she went to London and joined (as Maggie Nichols) an early improvisational group, the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, with John Stevens, Trevor Watts, and Johnny Dyani, and the group performed that year at Berlin's then new avant-garde festival, Total Music Meeting. In the early 1970s she began running voice workshops at the Oval House Theatre (one of the most important centres for pioneer fringe theatre groups). She both acted in some of the productions and rehearsed regularly with a local rock band. Shortly afterwards she became part of Keith Tippett's fifty-piece British jazz/progressive rock big band Centipede, which included Julie Tippetts, Phil Minton, Robert Wyatt, Dudu Pukwana, and Alan Skidmore. Tippetts, Minton, and Nicols also joined Brian Eley to form the vocal group Voice. Around the same time Nicols began collaborating with the Scottish percussionist Ken Hyder (who had recently moved to London) and his band Talisker.[citation needed]

Maggie Nicols recorded an album with the vocalist Julie Tippetts called Sweet and S'Ours which was an FMP]] import.

By the late 1970s, Nicols had become an active feminist, and co-founded the Feminist Improvising Group, which performed across Europe, with Lindsay Cooper. She also organised Contradictions, a women's workshop performance group that began in 1980 and dealt with improvisation and other modes of performance in a variety of media including music and dance. Over the years, Nicols has collaborated with other women's groups, such as the Changing Women Theatre Group, and even wrote music for a prime-time television series, Women in Sport.

Nicols has also collaborated regularly over the years with Swiss pianist Irene Schweizer and French bassist Joelle Leandre, including tours and three recordings as the trio "Les Diaboliques". Her collaboration with Ken Hyder also continues; the duo incorporate elements of the traditional tunes of their shared Scottish background into jazz improvisations in their most recent project, Hoots and Roots Duo. She has worked with pianists Pete Nu and Steve Lodder, with her own daughter, Aura Marina, with avant-gardists Caroline Kraabel and Charlotte Hug, and with lighting designer Sue Neal in Light and Shade. She performed internationally for several decades, including the Zürich and the Frankfurt "Canaille" festivals, the Victoriaville Festival. She gave solo performances at the Moers Music Festival, the Cologne Triennale, and a number of other creative and improvised music festivals."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maggie_Nicols)
11/29/2023

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

"My name is Matilda Rolfsson, I am a percussionist and improviser, who with my artistic research-project "In Motion, Movements with Directions (- from within)" explore the interplay between music and dance in free-improvisation.

With a wider definition of the listening, inspired my dance-colleagues, not only hearing, but also seeing, and sensing everything in the room, I'm intrigued by the idea of an interdisciplinary interplay between music and dance, where none of the artforms lose direction, and energy in the improvisation.

Highlighting the importance of seeing dance and music as equals, but still different, not compromised in hierarchies or language- barriers, I'm interested in reflecting on how a wholeness in an expression can arise from different and individual voices, also what imprint dance has had to my playing after years of interdisciplinary entanglements in free-improvisation.

Reflecting my sounds with the movements of the dancers gives me an expanded freedom to play and improvise freely in different, and even unexpected directions. Not only as a kinetic approach, when playing on my instrument, but also as an imaginative source that arises from the visual aspect of the dance.

To play like a dancer, as if the music was dance*, continues to be an artistic driving- force for me, advocating that there is very much taced knowledge that that needs to be putted into daylight, not least in the higher music education-system and scenes for experimental music, where I wish the two artforms would appear more integrated.

The more I engage with the subject of my artistic research-project, the more I'm fascinated of the rich and complex interplay that music and dance implies in free-improvisation. However, finding my artistic peers and their antidotes hasmade it graspable.

At the moment I am delightfully inside artistic processes with dancers: Anna Westberg (SE), Marcela Giesche (US/DE)and Bára Sigfussdottir (IS/NO)."

I hold a Bachelor and a Master in performing music, Jazz and improvisation (Department of Music, NTNU, 2009- 2015) with integrated exchange- studies at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London.



*Inspired by pianist Cecil Taylors quote: "I try to imitate on the piano the leaps in space a dancer makes" . A.B Spellman, Four Lives in The Bebop Business, 1967/ 42.

-Norwegian Universtiy of Science and Technology (https://www.ntnu.edu/employees/matilda.rolfsson)
11/29/2023

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) (http://www.efi.group.shef.ac.uk/musician/mwastell.html)
11/29/2023

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


Track Listing:



1. Semiotic Drift 34:21

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
London & UK Improv & Related Scenes
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Unusual Vocal Forms
Percussion & Drums
Trio Recordings
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers
Staff Picks & Recommended Items

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Confront.


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