| Live in Melbourne
Rhodri Davies - low-fi, live electronics
Live in Melbourne represents something exceptionally unique in the on-going musical relationship that exists between Mark Wastell and Rhodri Davies. Not only is it their first published duo recording, it also captures the first and subsequently only time that the pair performed together using table-top apparatus and low-fi electronics. In previous and subsequent duo performances Rhodri has always used his harp in one fashion or another. This concert in Melbourne was the one and only occasion he left the harp at home and set up only his electronics. Prior, he had used electronics but always in the company of the harp.Buy this album now CD: £10.00+ p&p
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|1||Live in Melbourne||36;54|
Live at the Melbourne Festival, Derbyshire, 17 September 2005
Digital concert recording by David Reid
Mixed and mastered by Jonathan McHugh
Produced by Kurt Liedwart
Front cover painting by aljoscha [aljoscha.org]
Design by Kurt Liedwart
Live in Melbourne represents something exceptionally unique in the on-going musical relationship that exists between Mark Wastell and Rhodri Davies. Not only is it their first — after nearly 20 years of playing together — published duo recording, it also captures the first and subsequently only time that the pair performed together using table-top apparatus and low-fi electronics. In previous (at the point of recording in 2005) and subsequent duo performances Rhodri has always used his harp in one fashion or another. This concert in Melbourne was the one and only occasion he left the harp at home and set up only his electronics. Prior, he had used electronics but always in the company of the harp. By 2005, Mark had been using his "amplified textures" set-up for 3 years and was crafting a personal musical vocabulary from the most obscure sources.
And what of the music? It really does help fill a missing link in the musical development of these two artists. Having first performed with each other (cello and harp) in 1995, originally brought together by bassist Simon Fell to form the trio IST, they quickly established themselves on the London scene. Within months they were recruited by Chris Burn for his Ensemble and Evan Parker for his "with Strings" project. The next few years saw them forge ahead, developing their own language alongside like minded individuals from Europe and further afield. By 2005, both had moved through a number of different group contexts — The Sealed Knot, +minus, CRANC, Derek Bailey's Company, The Scotch of St. James, Assumed Possibilities, Belaska — alongside personal instrumental changes. The spectre of Reductionism had long been laid to rest and for a number of months that year and a handful of concerts, their music was to change quite radically from that that had preceded it and subsequently what has come after. This recording gives us a rare glimpse into that macro-sound world; it stood alone for a few brief moments .... memories of another, long past but so very important encounter between these strong willed, constantly changing, world class musicians.
The Watchful Ear, Richard Pinnell:
Tonight some thoughts on a recording that I first heard part of over the sound system in the Sound323 shop about six years ago, but has only just been released now. The recording is a live set by the duo of Rhodri Davies and Mark Wastell named Live in Melbourne. The Melbourne in question is not the one in Australia, but rather the small market town in Derbyshire where the concert documenter David Reid lives. For a couple of years in succession back in the mid-noughties David somehow managed to persuade the purse holders of the town’s annual arts and crafts festival to provide some money to bring improvisers along to play a few concerts. I didn’t attend in 2005 when this recording was made, but I was there the following year and I will long have memories of being at one point the only person in the audience as a bill including the likes of Keith Rowe, Rhodri Davies and Lee Patterson performed to an otherwise empty room apart from occasional moments when members of the local women’s institute, who were holding a cake stall in the adjoining room came in to see what all the noise was about. The music was great though, and hats off to David for making it happen, with this new album a lasting memory of what was achieved in such an unlikely place. Davies and Wastell were close musical partners for many years. They probably still would be, but Mark Wastell has of late played less and less as he has spent more and more time on non-musical and familial matters. The pair played together in IST, The Sealed Knot, Broken Consort, Chris Burn’s Ensemble, Assumed Possibilities and a variety of other groups. What makes this particular recording interesting however is that it is surprisingly the only existing album that features the pair as a duo. What adds to the intrigue is the instrumentation involved here. The recording comes from a brief fertile time when Rhodri had placed his harp to one side and was exploring lo-fi electronics while Wastell was still utilising a set up that was roughly descended from his amplified textures apparatus from a few years earlier. Its also not really what you might expect from this pair musically. For a duo that had not that much earlier spearheaded what was known as the New London Silence development in improvised music Live in Melbourne will sound surprisingly noisy to many. The music is actually really great, capturing the close, finely attuned relationship this pair have, even when using what was somewhat unfamiliar instrumentation. Its not always easy to tell who is making which sound. Wastell’s list of instrumentation on the sleeve notes to this new release on the Russian Mikroton label is long, and perhaps only remembered so accurately because David Reid also filmed the concert. Everything from pre-recorded harmonium to ceramic tiles, charcoal, velvet and a CD player are listed, with Davies settling for “low-fi live electronics” to describe what he used. The music then is a rich, dense sea of burbling electronics, heaving tones, scratchy contact miked scrapes and just about everything else in between. The pair seem to build fragile, teetering constructions from all of this that frequently fall apart, often descending into passages of long tone, be it the harmonium recording from early in the disc or Davies’ glowing feedback from later on, only to be slowly built up again, like spider’s webs woven in a storm. Late in the performance things get really quite raucous, the music taking on a violent edge even, partly as a result of the raw, scratchy sounds involved, an element only amplified by the higher volume in use. If the duo are best known for the delicacy of their acoustic work in groups like The Sealed Knot then this recording shows a very different side to their partnership. The subtlety remains, but the palette is very different. So Live in Melbourne perhaps is a little more than a historical document. Listening to it myself now, even having heard Rhodri and Mark play together many times down the years I found myself surprised by this recording, and if I was given it blind I am not sure that I would have identified both of the musicians. Musically, it completely stands up today. The impact of the album isn’t that far from what we might expect from the noisier end of the found American improv scene today- raw, gritty and uninhibited yet with a precise attention to detail and a wonderful sense of combined interplay. A very nice piece of music indeed then, very much worthy of its belated release and with the potential to spring a few surprises.
Vital Weekly, Frans de Waard:
A work of changes? That is what this seems to me. Normally we find Rhodri Davies behind a harp, and Mark Wastell playing tam-tam, but not on this one. Here Davies gets credit for 'low-fi live electronics' and Wastell for mixing desk, digital delay pedal, stereo and mono contact microphone, mini-disc player, CD player, charcoal, ceramic tile, velvet material, light grade sand paper, cardboard, wire wool, bell, singing bowls, beaters, pre-recorded electronics and likewise harmonium. Yes, it sounds different than much of their other work and as such a change perhaps, but its for one not that radically different and secondly a recording from 2005 already. So, all around a release that promises quite a bit, moving out their usual habit. We are not disappointed here. This is a great release. Loud at times, with piercing feedback like sounds, but the acoustics used by Wastell are never far away. They provide that velvet touch in which this sine wave like stuff moves. Vibrant music also, that is never for too long in the same place. A noisy version of electro-acoustic music, moving away from their usual more carefully constructed pieces - this at times (most of the) quite loud and present. Quite an exciting recording, I think. If you are fan of these two men, then you should be in for quite surprise - if what they do is in general too soft, then be sure to check this out. You too will be surprised.
|Title:||Live in Melbourne|
low-fi, live electronics
Mark Wastell - mixing desk, digital delay pedal, stereo contact mic, mono contact mic, mini-disc player, cd player, charcoal, ceramic tile, velvet material, light grade sand paper, cardboard, wire wool, bell, singing bowls, bow, beaters, pre-recorded electronics, pre-recorded harmonium
|Genre:||Electronic, STYLE: Free Improvisation, Minimal|
|MCPS:||mikroton cd 10|