"Resolutely unfashionable in outlook and pleasingly unpredictable in its choice of releases, the London-based Paradigm label, run by Morphogenesis member Clive Graham, has in recent years gradually carved for itself a unique niche. Its releases—all, visually speaking, high-quality presentations, featuring actual label house style and well thought-out graphic design—have veered from obscure Japanese psychedelia (Brast Burn, Karuna Khyal), to English electronics (Morphogenesis, Peter Cusack/Max Eastley), to Eastern European composition (Debravko Detoni/ACEZANTEZ), to eccentric Americana (Reverend Dwight Frizzell), to the odd big name (Pauline Oliveros, to be precise) title as well, making for a discography which charts an aesthetic path that pays little heed to contemporary market forces. In addition to navigating the outer regions of the global avant-garde, Paradigm has devoted itself to documenting work by London-based musicians through its trilogy of Variations compilations." —Nick Cain, Opprobrium
For more information about the label, go to www.stalk.net/paradigm/.
Adam Bohman Music and words (PD 09)
Bohman's personal approach to music has essentially always been acoustic, but due to his close involvement with live electronics (he is a founder member of Morphogenesis), his sounds have very often been subjected to signal processing. On this recording all the music (except for one piece that uses slowed down and backwards sounds), is made from the unprocessed sounds of a variety of small surface playing and percussive techniques. This is his second solo CD and covers the full variety of his work which has been slowly evolving since the mid eighties. In particular there is over 30 minutes of one of his many 'talking tapes', previously only heard on audio letters to correspondents and previewed on the previous Paradigm Discs release "Variations" (PD 01). These tapes consist of on the spot cassette recordings of his observations, both humorous, mundane and personal, as well as the day to day activities of his life. The sounds of the environment, the sluggish recording mechanism and the use of the pause button give this piece an almost concrète, sound text feel. This piece dates from 1994. There are also 3 'pause pieces' dating from 1990, which are rapid collages of prerecorded sound material, also recorded on cassette recorders. This uses the same technique as heard on the Anton Bruhin CD on Alga Marghen. Finally there are 4 multitracked studio recordings, and one live concert recording. Crucial to all these pieces is the element of improvisation. Bohman has collaborated with a diverse cross section of improvisers, from Lol Coxhill to Joseph Hammer.
"The sleeve of 'music and words by' shows the instruments we can expect to hear London improviser Bohman playing: nine springs two lightbulbs, a plastic spoon, a lid and a bradawl. With Morphogenesis, Britain's 'most theoretically rigorous group', Bohman moves these objects about with improbably affecting results; the disconcerting oddness of amplified and treated familiar sounds is juxtaposed with hilariously depressing monologues. 'At home (fishstock or pussy)' is a collage touching on the preparation of a Christmas meal of brains and sweetbreads, Bohman's brother's homemade Turkish delight and the noise of a Salvation Army band playing in the Elmswood shopping centre: the perfect antidote to the Christmas season. If a brush with Bohman leaves you curious, the beautifully packaged Variations 3 is a great introduction to the work of more London-based 'individuals'." —Stewart Lee, The Sunday Times
"I love this CD and can't stop playing it. It works best when I am really pissed off and immediately has me cracking up! It's one of the most quirky low fi, and yet at times thoroughly engaging things I have heard for ages, and makes a great contrast to most of what I usually listen to. … The front cover is a bit of a deception, for although there is much fascinating music made from springs, wires, utensils and homemade instruments and instruments playing with reverse tape, the majority of the CD is made up of the deliciously dry, cynical commentary of Bohman himself, tipped even further into the arena of pure comedy by his naff and even lower-fi portable cassette recorder, that develops worse and worse wow and flutter as time goes by, the monotony of his incredibly boring voice broken only by the shortcomings of the hopelessly inadequate recorder, skipping up and down in frequency as he insists on delivering a seemingly pointless barrage of description about just about anything and everything that seems to come to mind, broken up only occasionally by apparent random but quite brilliant and thoroughly engaging musical interludes. Nowhere is this better illuminated than 'At home' - (and 'At home 2') where he paints in glorious and vivid banal grey shades, a wonderfully drab and ludicrous picture of Xmas and all its hollow joy. Highlighting its shallow materialistic horrors and gross commercialism perfectly, simply by reflecting on all around him. A thoroughly different release that's been a highlight for me so far this year, and I just love the bit where after his mother switches off the Zan Hoffman he's been playing on the stereo he taunts her as to why, and she responds in the most glorious middle class voice 'because it was quite near to sending me mad!' Fabulous!!!" —Alan Johnson, Avant
Brast Burn Debon (PD 07)
"Quite an unbelievable find! This mysterious record has lain undiscovered since the mid seventies when (it is guessed) it was recorded by a group of unknown Japanese musicians and then released privately by Voice records. Rumours of the greatness of this psychedelic masterpiece have circulated for years (largely propagated by Nurse With Wounds famously obscure "list" on which Brast Burn feature) and it has finally seen re-release in a beautiful hand numbered CD issue of just 500. So, now that it's available what's it actually like? Well,... it's simply astonishing. Split into two long sequences, the music runs right up to the edge of sanity and screams wordlessly in the face of madness then jogs back to a lone hill top to lazily invent the form of psychedelic acid folk that Ghost have made an entire career from. There is utterly freaked out, acid-drenched genius at work on this record. Strains of Kraut rock run throughout, Can, and particularly Damo Suzuki's vocal style, are certainly valid comparisons, but this music really does seem to be running a race of its own, clouded in pot smoke, and headed in the wrong direction but glorious while doing it. Highly Recommended." —Freak Emporium Catalogue
"First off, I'll say that it sounds really good. One would never guess that it was a transfer from vinyl. Brast Burn has been cited/promoted at various times as the "Japanese Faust". I feel that this is incorrect. A better analogy would be to the ritual/hypnotic Suzuki-era Can: to Soundtracks and the Ethnological Forgery Series. But the analogy is imperfect because Debon ranges over fairly eclectic territory, taking in slide blues, parodies of 1969-71 Pink Floyd, and some truly blasted overdrive guitar (here the Faust reference makes a little sense). Side A is where they indulge their jokier aspects - including an irritatingly persistent way with the percussion (precursor to electronica/sampledelica?) and that "ironic" slide guitar. Side B is a minor masterpiece, travelling from tribal forgery to a lovely Near Eastern ballad thing to the fuzz extravaganzas that eventually close out the album (abruptly)." —Opprobrium
Peter Cusack & Max Eastley Day for night (PD 14)
Over the last 25 years Cusack and Eastley have been gradually adding episodes to the collection of compositions that make up this CD. The foundation of this work consists of location recordings layered with the live or recycled sounds of Eastley's kinetic sculpture. Over the same period that this CD evolved Cusack helped with setting up the LMC, worked for 2 years at Studio Steim in Holland, co-founded Bead Records and released several LP's on this label. His long term musical collaborators have included: Clive Bell, Nic Collins and Viv Corringham, as well as the group Alterations (with Steve Beresford, Terry Day and David Toop). Recent CD's are available on Platelunch, ReR and Resonance. He also frequently works with artists in other fields, including most recently in September 2000, "The Week of Small Miracles", a large scale outdoor project in the Lea Valley area of East London which he curated. Meanwhile Eastley's last 25 years have been spent more in the art gallery than the concert hall, with exhibitions in the UK at The Serpentine Gallery (1976) and The Arnolfini (1980). Overseas installations include The Apollohuis in Holland (1984), the Museum Of Modern Art, Nagoya, Japan and Xebec Hall, Kobe, Japan (both 1994). His most recent exhibits were seen this year as part of Sonic Boom at the Hayward Art Gallery in London. He has also been involved in musical performance, especially the Whirled Music project in the 80s and also ongoing collaborations with David Toop and occasional work with Thomas Köner. He has recorded for many labels including Incus, Quartz and most memorably his 2 releases with David Toop (New and Rediscovered Instruments, originally on Obscure, 1975, and Buried Dreams, on Beyond, 1994). Eastley's work is concerned with creating delicate and elegant kinetic sound devices, either motor driven or animated by environmental forces like the wind, streams or the sea.
"Perhaps what's most impressive about Day For Night is that nothing is overdone; the pieces sound spontaneous, their simplicity is beguiling." —Brian Marley, Avant
"This CD represents a 25-year collaboration between renowned British avant-garde improviser Peter Cusack and instrument builder and sculptor Max Eastley. Cusack and Eastley have made these short episodes together between busy careers recording experimental music alongside artists such as Nicolas Collins, Steve Beresford, and David Toop). With numerous releases on ReR and Incus, the two musicians are mainstays of the British improvised music world, and Eastley is particularly prominent for his work with Toop in the '70s on Brain Eno's Obscure label -- which debuted his self-designed electro-acoustic instruments. Said instruments are highly developed kinetic sculptures powered by a range of forces from small engines to the wind or running water. The duo creates intriguing delicate compositions with these instruments, abetted by the transformed string instruments and electronics of guitarist $Cusack, whose guitar is at times so far removed from its traditional use that it is hard to still call it a guitar." —Skip Jansen, All-Music Guide
Dubravko Detoni with Acezantez (PD 11)
Croatian composer and pianist Dubravko Detoni is a name barely familiar to even the most hardened and fanatical followers of avant garde composition. Although he has managed to consistently escape almost all forms of wider public recognition, Detoni has, since 1970 - both in the solo context and with his ACEZANTEZ ensemble - doggedly pursued a singular and unique musical path. Drawing on the conventions and traditions of modern composition, avant garde electronics, musique concrète and group acoustic improvisation, and liberally embellishing them with breathtakingly idiosyncratic sonic inventions, Detoni has carved for himself a body of work as toweringly significant as it is hopelessly obscure. This is the first time his music has appeared in Western Europe since his LP on the legendary Philips Prospective series. As this long overdue and timely release shows, he is eminently deserving of the adulation and acclaim afforded his more celebrated contemporaries. The 5 pieces on this CD are all reissued from 3 LP's that appeared on Jugoton in the mid 70s. The pieces explore a broad stylistic palette with a strong use of electric organ to create a manically conceived parade of sound effects, replete with passages of blinding instrumental clarity, and exuding his trademark sugary, almost campy melodic sensibility. Elsewhere a strong sense of theatre mingles aggressively with brut sonic components - cross-fade drones, harshly clanging 'industrial' repetition - with musique concrète, and extensive cut-ups and manipulation of female voices. Brilliantly arranged and executed throughout, all five pieces display Detoni's highly sophisticated ear for (at times), outrageous juxtaposition of instruments. ACEZANTEZ fuse the intellectual awareness of the avant garde with influences drawn from theatre to create surreal and dreamlike settings, in a manner reminiscent of nothing so much as the early outwardbound experiments of Nurse With Wound (suitably the cover lettering has been done by Steve Stapleton). Remastered from original tapes, this could be the release to finally earn Detoni the audience he so richly deserves. Paradigm Discs is proud to present the work of this hitherto neglected master for widespread contemporary re-evaluation.
"Croatian composer Dubravko Detoni (born in 1937) has studied with some of the biggest cheeses of the classical avant garde: Lutoslawski in Warsaw, Stockhausen and Ligeti in Darmstadt, and Cage in Paris. Although an important figure in his homeland with 120 compositions to his name, he remains little known internationally, making this 70 minute collection of five pieces from the early to mid 70s (originally released on 3 Jugoton LP's) a valuable introduction to his oeuvre. 'Dokument 75' and 'Kitsch variations' are rich textural pieces constructed from an unnotatable, intricate interplay of percussive squeals, scrapes and rattles, parched and pitchless woodwinds, and dislocated keyboards. Where the first two pieces are possessed by a strong sense of organic development, 'Fable' is very much the result of studio cut and splice. Unusual in the electroacoustic canon, it carries a subtle emotional intensity; the manipulation and juxtaposition of female voices, in particular, create an unnerving sequence of vocal identities, from the cute and cuddly to the menacing and forlorn. 'Grafika VI' sees a return to the freeflowing improvisatory soundings of the opening pieces, leaping from pianissimo tension to sharply executed string and woodwind peaks. On 'Group Gymnastics', a meditative electric organ, counterpointed by bestial tuba and piercing clarinet, gives way to cascading celesta and piano, before finally restoring a shimmering equilibrium. On the evidence here, this gifted composer and ensemble clearly merit wider recognition." —Chris Blackford, The Wire
"Rich, arresting melange of compositional textures in the tradition of AMM, Albert Marcoeur, and MEV. Croatian pianist and composer Detoni had languished in obscurity for decades behind the Iron Curtain, but no more. Here, he and his group ACEZANTEZ (Ensemble For New Tendencies Zagreb) establish a musical language all their own. I hear cartoon samples, African tribal music, music boxes, harpsichords, glockenspiel, symphonic loops, operatic bluster, tinkle and skronk. 70 minutes, highest recommendation!" —Other Music Update
Rev. Dwigh Frizzell Natural Selection (PD 12)
After Paradigm Discs released the 1976 LP by Anal Magic and Rev. Dwight Frizzell, the true scope and diversity of this mans activities became more apparent to me. First there were the countless unused remnants from the original LP recording sessions, then the many films and their soundtracks, the regular radio shows, the dreamlanddiaries web page, the large scale intermedia events, performing weddings and leading the live group Black Crack Review. For 25 years there has been a dynamic continuity to his work, and a strong association with his collaborators. He has also contributed to books on Sun Ra, and is a popular tutor at the Kansas City Art Institute. After being so inspired by the discovery of this creative energy a second CD was immediately planned. All the pieces on this release deal with Frizzell's more experimental output, and include 2 long performance pieces that date from the 90s. One is a multi channel sound diffusion piece using electronics, tapes and acoustic instruments, the other uses graphic scores and is more acoustic with backing tapes. Both these pieces draw their inspiration from natural phenomena, using sounds from nature, the environment and the laboratory. They were both recorded in church spaces and, unlike the early work, use high quality recording equipment. Of the other 5 pieces, 4 are soundtracks, and all date from the same period as the LP and have the hallmark of the sound world that prevails on side 2 of the Anal Magic LP, a time when Frizzell was still a student at the Kansas City Art Institute.
Natural selection was recorded in an ancient Ozark sinkhole, a plastics factory, a Gothic church and other acoustically rich areas in Missouri. These communal efforts and soundscape feedbacks were produced between 1975 and 1996, and freely orchestrate Tesla coll, river whirlpools, bass clarinet, dog-whistle, violin, oscillator, bassoon, CB radio and pipe organ.
"Natural Selection presents seven electro-acoustic tracks recorded between 1975 and 1995, including the 28-minute Building the Earth, which pitches a reading of Jesuit theological philosophy into a simmering stew of prepared sounds and live instruments, and suggests Birtwistle trying to score ET. But there's simpler fun to be had from Frizzell, too. On First Painting, over a resonating high pitched noise, he phones various bewildered women asking them to pick a number between 20 and 15,000. Having complied, each says, 'You're welcome,' and hangs up, as the frequency of the background tone shifts to accommodate their random suggestion." —Stewart Lee, The Sunday Times
Anal Magic & Rev. Dwight Frizzell Beyond the black crack (PD 06)
Beyond the Black Crack was the concept of Reverend Dwight Frizzell, a musician, film maker, Doctor of Metaphysics and minister in the Universal Church of Life. It remains a little known classic, and one of the most unique listening experiences in modern experimental music. Recorded between 1974 and 1976 in locations as diverse as factories, the pyramid opposite Harry Truman's grave site as well as more 'conventional' concert settings. Beyond the Black Crack is a dark, dizzying and exhilarating journey through free jazz, electronics and environmental sound, all shattered by Frizzell's radical tape editing. This CD re-release adds further material to the original LP: - "The Wandering Madness of Basilea", a suite from 1977 unheard until now, as well as unreleased material from the Black Crack sessions.
Beyond the black crack was originally released in mono in an edition of 200 copies by Cavern Custom in 1976, to commemorate the First Annual End of the World Celebration, November 18 1976.
"This CD is a re-issue off an incredibly obscure LP from 1976 and documents a bizarre musical mix of Jazz improvisation, electronics and noise that makes the album a pre-cursor to the mayhem of the Sun City Girls and Nurse With Wound. Mastering a unique method of tape collage this group of misfits lead by weirdo artisan Rev. Dwight Frizzell at the helm of the editing table, some similar recordings that spring to mind are Chance Meeting on a Dissecting Table by Nurse With Wound and the enigmatic Faust Tapes, although neither avant-Europeans reach the surrealist peaks that this 1976 recording from Middle America." —Skip Jansen, All-Music Guide
Akemi Ishijima Time Drops (PD 13) Mini CD
This mini CD follows on from her previous electroacoustic composition on 'Variations 2 - a London compilation' Paradigm Discs (PD 05). It includes one new piece and a reissue of 'Ab Ovo', previously released on '5 composers second coming' Fylkingen (FYCD 1003). The 2 pieces explore a broad range of traditional electronic techniques, both subtle and powerful. Time Drops (2000). A single stroke of a bell, in its decay, sometimes evokes a sense of infinity in our mind. Time Drops is an attempt to express such ideas as infinity, cosmic equilibrium, and moments of creation in the form of electroacoustic music. Like rain drops making rings in water, the sound generates rings of oscillation, which create parallel universes and coexisting ones. As each sound appears and disappears, the perpetual process of creation and decline in the cosmic equilibrium is experienced in the presence and non-presence of multiple resonance. A mystery still remains around the question of how it all began. Time Drops creates a poetic correspondence with cosmic harmony. Ab Ovo (1993). I once saw, in a science film, a pendulum placed in a peculiar type of magnetic field. It kept swinging in different directions for a while until it stoped at a non-perpendicular position. I was fascinated. I started imagining and creating electroacoustic sketches associated with this image, for example a tiny air vibration caused by the passage of a pendulum etc. Reflection upon two major aspects of the motion of the pendulum - periodicity, and the effect of interfering force - brought in another sound source eg. an egg. When I heard the amplified sound of an egg breaking in the studio, the composition magically came together. The piece starts with a rather striking impact of breaking an egg. This initiates the whole journey through the imaginary sound world circling around eternity and the inevitable point of disruption in a figure of eight. Composed at the Electroacoustic Music Studio of the University of East Anglia, England, 1993.
"Effective electroacoustic requires that the composer negotiate a fine line between the intellectual pleasures stimulated by the sounds, and the purely sensual experience of listening to them. At its best, the two are in perfect balance: the mind delighting in the developing narrative or connections revealed by disparate sound sources, the senses revelling in unexplored micro worlds. It's a difficult trick to pull off, but UK based Japanese sound artist Akemi Ishijima mostly accomplishes it with grace, wit and delicacy. The two pieces here display a fascination with time. The older and longer of the two, Ab Ovo (1993), was inspired by a science-fiction image of a pendulum swinging in a multidimensional magnetic field. Ishijima registers the periodicity of the pendulum with lengthy peaks and troughs of electronic sound, taking delight in distorting the regular pulse by the addition of outside forces. While the level of detail is engaging and the piece flows intriguingly, there is the slightest whiff of an academic exercise. Ishijima saves herself with one real flash of non-sequential inspiration, though. By including the amplified sound of an egg breaking, she drags up from the subconscious a wealth of imagery. Creation, time, infinity and multiple discrete universes merge in a satori flash. It's the five minute opener, Time Drops, that provides the most stunning example of Ishijima's skill. Composed for an installation with lighting designer Jude James earlier this year, the piece explores the infinite cosmic equilibrium and timelessness within time. The toll of a bell stands for impermanence, mutability and death in most cultures, from Hemmingway to 'The tale of the Heike'. Here however, Ishijima uses that slow decay to set off concentric rings of oscillation—shimmering sleighbells, drops of water creating ripples. Sound decay no longer mirrors our single decaying life, rather it suggests the eternally spreading echoes of our existence. It's a gorgeously sparse and poetic blend of sound and philosophy." —Alan Cummings, The Wire
Karuna Khyal Alomoni 1985 (PD 08)
"Behold: a true hidden treasure. Buried deep in time, this obscure artifact is something of a revelation. No group information was ever given, and no production date or location is indicated, however, it would seem that this record and the "Brast Burn" LP (also reissued by Paradigm) are both by the same group of Japanese nutters and that they were both recorded in the mid seventies in Japan. But all you really need to know is that it is stone cold fantastic, a wild and manic trip full to the brim with hypnotic jams constructed from all manner of eclectic instruments. The tribal blues sound is augmented with fascinating tape experiments, electronics, environmental sounds, moaned (howled) vocals and a host of musical delicacies, as dangerous as they are delicious. The influence of German bands such as Can, Faust and Guru Guru is evident throughout, so too is the influence of the good Captain (Beefheart that is) whose gut wrenching blues dirges find compadres in this unearthed swamp. Deranged psychedelic music for anyone with a passing interest in Kraut rock, the new Japanese psychedelic scene (most of whom owe these pioneers a great debt) or great music from the edge of the solar system. This CD reissue will hopefully bring the band some deserved attention, but with a hand numbered pressing of a mere 500 it is just as likely these issues will soon become artifacts in themselves. Highly Recommended." —Freak Emporium Catalogue
"Karuna Khyal throw together test tones, bleating horns and space drones, all filtered through Cosmic Couriers-styled studio processes." —David Keenan, The Wire
Kymatik Dar-as-sulh (PD 15)
The name 'Kymatik' is derived from the Greek word 'Kyma', meaning 'a great wave', and was used by Swiss physicist Hans Jenny as a descriptive term for the effects he saw using amplified tones to manipulate/create patterns in fluids and powders. More recently Jenny's research has led him to use these findings in a clinical environment for both therapy and healing. These ideas and the use of ambisonic surround sound equipment are the underlying influences on this CD. On this CD there are both environmental recordings as well as compositions that make use of UHJ encoding to enable ambisonic playback. Of the compositions; the musical styles range from the use of dense rhythmic patterns to subtle shimmerings and a pure tone piece that sounds like nothing I've heard before. The short environmental recordings are spaced between the compositions and offer some light relief from the intensity of these works. One thing all the pieces have in common a strong psychoacoustic effect which can be further enhanced for those fortunate enough to have access to a UHJ decoder.
"Whatever the listener's degree of commitment, reactions to this beguiling music should range from at least enchantment to total immersion in its deep pools. The good news is that a second volume should be following shortly." —Fred Grand, Avant
"An excellent release from this London sound-as-sound label. Cymatics is a way of studying the effects of sound as phenomenology rather than engineering, with a lot of shaking sand into patterns with musical tones and some lovely photos; the same sort of thing is going on here with your head taking up the new arrangements. The culmination, 'Lorenz Attractor', is a marvellous 23 minutes of pure tones circling, clashing and rising in the stereo field, conjuring an inviolable space of its own. Hear this!" —Andi Chapple, FLUX
Morphogenesis Charivari music (PD 02)
The London group Morphogenesis have been in existence since 1985. The group consisted of seven people at the time of recording, but for all the sessions, except the live track, the line-ups are amalgams of various members and instrumentation. All tracks are free improvisations that were recorded direct to two channels and later edited with no other post production. Recorded between 1993 - 1996. Shorepoints was recorded live at the LMC Festival 1994.
ADAM BOHMAN - prepared violin, balalaika, objects; RON BRIEFEL - vocals, electronics; ANDY CORDERY - percussion, mouthorgan; CLIVE GRAHAM - springs, electronics; CLIVE HALL - objects, keyboards, electronics, piano; MICHAEL PRIME - water machine, biofeedback, radio, electronics; ROGER SUTHERLAND (RIP) - percussion, piano; ANDY WEIR - guest on Buttons.
"Morphogenesis share the same relationship with AMM as Oasis do with the Beatles: blessed with their own transistorised zing, but impossible to conceive of without their 1960's seniors. If AMM are rustic basket weavers, Morphogenesis are an urban plastic-bag factory. Once describing themselves as 'the most theoretically rigorous group in the world', the Morphs posit an unlikely utopia, where 'theoretical rigour' is as important a criterion for musical appreciation as a good tune and catchy chorus. Though about as glamorous as a bunch of lab technicians, Morphogenesis are best appreciated live, as individual component sounds of amplified plants, children's toys, elastic bands, string and radio interference dissolve into a heavenly, euphoric wash of sound that is only rarely ridiculous. 'Shorepoints', included here, was recorded at London's Conway Hall in 1994, where Morphogenesis left the capacity crowd they deserve stunned into silent rapture." —Stewart Lee, The Sunday Times
"The electronic manipulation of acoustic sounds is at the core of this soundworld and in the washes and meshes of Morphogenesis's collective creations there's enough to make you hear the world anew." —Resonance
"Elusive, yet strangely captivating work." —Chris Blackford, The Wire
Morphogenesis In streams [volume 1] (PD 16)
ADAM BOHMAN - prepared violin, balalaika, objects; RON BRIEFEL - vocals, varispeed CD player, electronics; CLIVE GRAHAM - springs, Uher tape machine, autoharp, electronics; CLIVE HALL - piano, objects, electronics; MICHAEL PRIME - water machine, biofeedback, radio, electronics; ROGER SUTHERLAND (RIP) - percussion, piano.
This is the fifth CD release by Morphogenesis, and the first since 1998. Although Morphogenesis do not play live very often, it is certainly our preferred working situation, where the interaction between the space, the people present and the available equipment create a variety of different situations. Substantial extracts from nearly all of our recent concerts appear on this, and a second volume. There is also the inclusion of one studio recording per CD. Perhaps one reason for our infrequent appearances is due to the size of the group, which usually varies from between 4 to 6 people all of whom have been working together for 10 - 15 years. This in itself is an unusual situation within experimental music. Another increasingly rare feature in electronic improvisation today is that we have never used laptops or samplers, and although a prerecorded CD was used on the Spitz concert it was scrambled through a varispeed DJ CD player. Prerecorded analogue tape is also used by manually inching the tape past the playback head. All other instrumentation (amplified objects, piano, biofeedback, water machine, percussion etc) is played and processed live. This release comes in an 8 page digipak. Volume 2 is likewise, and the total playing time of both volumes is just under 2 and a half hours.
"Morphogenesis produce music that has few (if any) points of reference to other music. All of it is totally improvised yet it is unlike most music labelled as 'improv'. The music is largely created using live electronics but this is not an electronic band. Indeed, it is the other instruments that Morphogenesis use that make them sound unique. Although no instrumentation is listed for this CD, the Morphogenesis website reveals their use of instruments that they have constructed themselves, plus adapted or prepared conventional instruments such as violin, piano or acoustic guitar. They also use sounds that have been filtered to radically alter their tonal properties. These can be environmental sounds such as traffic noise, or small sounds such as bubbling water picked up using contact microphones. When other elements are included, such as snatches of speech from radios and a bioactivity translator that translates biological rhythms (of plants, fungi, humans) into electronic sound, it is virtually impossible to identify individual components in this unique soundscape. I am tempted to cite the more experimental side of Pink Floyd (circa Ummagumma) as a reference point, but instantly disclaim responsibility to Floyd fans who buy this CD solely on that basis. Also, that comparison seriously undersells Morphogenesis. They produce the broader, richer, weirder music. Live, Morphogenesis can resemble mad scientists amok in a lab of their own making. The means of production of their sounds is fascinating to watch. However, unlike many improv recordings that are pale imitations of the live experience, this one stands in its own right. It features four pieces, three recorded live and one in their North London home studio, the last being a remnant from their 1996 album Charivari music. All the music was recorded direct to stereo. To listen to it is to be taken on a sonic journey that invites the use of metaphors of intergalactic travel and the like. Awesome." —John Eyles, All About Jazz
"The fierce collective concentration they bring to their improvisation and the sheer breadth of sound that they manage to organise make much of the electronic work floating around right now look monochrome by comparison." —Will Montgomery, The Wire
Morphogenesis In streams [volume 2] (PD 17)
ADAM BOHMAN - prepared violinn and balalaika, objects; RON BRIEFEL - vocals, varispeed CD player, electronics; CLIVE GRAHAM - springs, Uher tape machine, autoharp, electronics; CLIVE HALL - piano, objects, electronics; MICHAEL PRIME - water machine, biofeedback, radio, electronics; ROGER SUTHERLAND (RIP) - percussion, springs, piano.
Morphogenesis started recording in January 1985 and this is our sixth CD release, coming 3 months after the release of Volume 1. Like Volume 1, this CD also contains excerpts from 3 concerts (all in London this time) and a studio piece. Morphogenesis play a few concerts a year, almost always in London. In fact we have only ever played outside the UK twice. Concerts have always yielded our most varied material, but until now our CD's have mainly documented our studio work. Both volumes of 'In Streams' redress this. Of the concerts; one is a whole piece from the Spitz concert organised by Eddie Prévost, then there is a short extract from the Red Rose which has a ominous feel to it that is only partially due to the hostile audience. Finally there is the whole of our Sonic Youth support gig at the Shepherds Bush Empire which also has some interesting audience reactions - the initial cheer of approval on this piece was not because we had finally started, but rather due to a well aimed missile from the front row.
"British improv group Morphogenesis, now in their 16th year, run a tight ship. Confident in their course of action, they have relied upon their collective strength, cohesion and integrity to sustain them in the face of audience hostility, such as occurred when they supported Sonic Youth at west London's Shepherds Bush Empire. The angry results are documented on this new Paradigm Disc. Culled from live performances on familiar territory in London betwen 1997 - 2000, their particular blend of live electronics and communal improvisation generally suggest conciliation rather than confrontation. This is music of rapt intelligence, but it's not designed for an exclusively cerebral elite. These are performances of depth, charm and variation. … Morphogenesis's microcosmic soundworld is instantly recognisable and thoroughly coherent. … Generating music from conventional and non-musical materials gives rise to overwhelming timbral and textural variations. The provocative nature of their output is also an essential ingredient. Sound is moulded like fine clay, and the resulting artifact is then deliberately fragmanted, only to be rebuilt into a new form from the recognisable shards. The use of remote, ambient noises (the weather, the city), captured and manipulated in real time to be integrated into the overall piece, gives their music both its expansive temporal quality and its afterlife. … In the vanguard of experimentation and under close scrutiny in the crucible of performance, one further quality is made manifest: honesty without pretence." —John Cratchley, The Wire
Pauline Oliveros Electronic music 1965/66 (PD 04)
Contains I of IV, Big mother is watching you, and Bye bye butterfly.
I of IV was made in July 1966 at the University of Toronto Electronic Music Studio and was first released by CBS alongside works by 2 other young composers—Come out by Steve Reich and Night music by Richard Maxfield. It is really only in recent years (born out of the more radical elements of dance music, electronica and ambient music) that music like this is being rediscovered by a growing number of people interested in all manner of experimental electronics. Track 2 was also made in the summer of 1966 at the University of Toronto Electronic Music Studio, and track 3 was made at the San Francisco Tape Music Center in 1965. The 3 pieces on this CD are all live experiments, which at the simplest level use either an array of oscillators or filters, a mixer and one spool of tape feeding a series of (variously set up) stereo tape machines. Long delay lines, pile ups of noise and rich sonorities are the stuff of this music. The third piece also samples a chunk of Pucini's Madame Butterfly, which only makes this music seem even more contemporary.
"I've been hoping for a good CD of Pauline Oliveros' old 'Electronic works' one of these days, and I just got a doozy put out by a label called Paradigm. And it starts off whizz-bang with the long out-of-print motherload I of IV ('II of IV' is on an electro-acoustic compilation put out by a teensy Massachusetts label, and it's pretty great, but number I is still the waking dream you always wanted.) It's also got Big Mother Is Watching You and the gorgeous Bye Bye Butterfly. All three pieces are from 1965-66, improvised live with signal generators and enough tape delay to confuse you straight into happiness. It's as thick and buzzy as the droney flavour of electronic music gets, exploiting tone combinations and refractions to achieve maximum hypnosis. Really amazing." —Ian Nagoski, Halana
"This issue comes highly recommended as an insight into the fascinating early work of this maverick composer." —Skip Jansen, All-Music Guide
Various [see below] Variations—a London compilation (PD 01)
Music by JOHN WALL, ANDREW JACQUES, CROW, ALQUIMIA, JOHN GRIEVE, KYMATIK, ADAM BOHMAN.
This first release on Paradigm Discs includes many new names and is intended to redress the imbalance between the lack of new experimental music in London compared with the proliferation of the tried and tested. "Variations - a London compilation" is a showcase of 7 new London based experimental artists. Kymatik has been experimenting with music technology for several years. Crow is better known for his work in installation and performance art, whilst John Grieve is primarily a sound sculptor who was also a member of the early 80's Dadaist group Hastings Of Malawi. Andrew Jacques works at These Records and Adam Bohman is an original member of Morphogenesis. All the artists are involved in a wide diversity of musical disciplines but none have been released on CD before, with the exception of John Wall and Alquimia who, at the time of writing, both have two CD's available.
"This is a fascinating overview of some of London's finest and most extreme sound artists. It's the first release on Paradigm, run by Clive Graham of noise-improv group Morphogenesis. … Don't miss this one!" —Clive Bell, The Wire
"Throughout this compilation there is a clarity in taking musical risks that is worth acres of album cover hype. Superb and daunting." —Nick Couldry, Rubberneck
Various [see below] Variations 2—a London compilation (PD 05)
AKEMI ISHIJIMA has so far had only one other work released on CD, although she has had many international performances and broadcasts. She is currently completing her PhD at the Centre for Electroacoustic Music Studies at City University.
MICHAEL ORMISTON is a virtuoso Khöömii singer with 3 tours of Mongolia under his belt. This piece uses only the morin khuur, a traditional Mongolian stringed instrument, but whilst the music here utilises the harmonic techniques so sacred to the Mongolians, it also extends beyond its traditional origins. This is his first release on CD.
TOM WALLACE is an independent composer who organises the Sonomorph events in London. The 2 events so far have focused mainly on new acousmatic works by young composers, as well as free improvisation.
HUGH DAVIES is one of the first names in the academic world of electronic music. Additionally, his involvement in music making extends from working on groundbreaking pieces with Stockhausen in the mid 60's to playing in Music Improvisation Company in the 70's, and working with Borbetomagus in the 80's.
JOHN GRIEVE is the one artist to carry over from the first volume of variations. His statements are pure and direct. This is another piece for tenor saxophone.
BOB COBBING and LAWRENCE UPTON recorded live at The Klinker. At the age of 77, Cobbing is undoubtably Britains foremost sound poet. Previous recordings are thin on the ground and nothing much has appeared in the last 2 decades. He does however, give many performances across London, often with Birdyak, (a trio with Hugh Metcalfe and Lol Coxhill.) Upton has occasionally colaborated with Cobbing since 1969.
CLIVE GRAHAM is better known for his involvement in the live electronics group Morphogenesis and the running of Paradigm Discs. This is his first solo recording.
ROLF GEHLHAAR became Stockhausen's personal assistant between 1967 and 1970 whilst at the same time he became a member of the Stockhausen Ensemble, with whom he toured and recorded extensively. Since this time he has concentrated on composition and the performance of his own works. This culminated in 1985 with the development of a real-time remote gestural control system. It consists of a set of ultrasonic sensors that pick up the movements of the performer/s, the sensors are linked to a computer, running real-time sound synthesis or sampler control. The many applications of this system are collectively known as SOUND=SPACE. Over the years he has continued to return to the infinate flexibility of this system. Additionally this piece is UHJ encoded for ambisonic playback. He has been living in London since 1975.
"Variations 2 (A London Compilation) features 'lesser known artists living in London'. The eight pieces (by eight different artists) hang together well, even though they feature everything from the morin khuur, a traditional Mongolian stringed instrument played by Michael Ormiston, through tenor sax (John Grieve, the only survivor from 'Variations 1') to (lots of) electronic music by Hugh Davies, Clive Graham, Rolf Gehlhaar and others. Most of the tracks have an ambient quality; the sounds can easily be lost amidst everyday city sounds, such as the rummble of tube trains, traffic noise etc. Truly this album is the sound of the city. I love it." —John Eyles, Rubberneck
Various [see below] Variations 3—a London compilation (PD 10)
A third and final collection of lesser known & infrequently recorded artists living in London. Considering its size, London is not well recognised as a centre for experimental and electronic music (at least not since the early 80's). Additionally there is virtually no funding or support for this kind of music from within the system. Consequently many composers and musicians who can fit in, work outside of the UK. Naturally enough there are many diverse artists in London that carry on their work in isolation, both at home and within a great many unsupported clubs and venues. This CD covers my own personal favorite discoveries and rediscoveries since the release of Variations 2 in 1997.
SYNGEN BROWN: These 3 short pieces are the first releases by Syngen Brown. All the music is made using second-generation sound sources in addition to his own environmental recordings.
WITS are 4 women (Viv D. Corringham, voice, electronics; Sophia Lycouris, movement; Ashleigh Marsh, keyboards, percussion; Gina Southgate, bric a brac), who specialise in live work. Along with their use of conventional instruments (voice, electronics, keyboards and percussion), and a dancer, they also fill the stage space with a huge supply of everyday objects that are noisily explored and unravelled as an integral part of their audio-visual performances.
PHIL DURRANT is best known as an improviser. Mostly he plays violin in various ensembles and has featured on CD's with other improvisers including John Butcher, Chris Burn, John Russell, Thomas Lehn etc. He also works with analogue electronics, most recently with electronic improvisers MIMEO. This piece was composed for a production of Salomé given at St Pancras Chambers by the Seven Sisters Group and uses analogue electronics.
VOLTAGE are (Moshi Honen, guitar; Sharon Gal, voice, bass, toys; Dennis Austin, drums, percussion). This is an edited version of a live performance given at 'The Klinker', one of London's longest running clubs for experimental music, film and poetry. This is their first available recording as Voltage, although 2 of the members appear on Mouthcrazy's 'Open/open wide' on Ass Run Vol.4.
CLIVE GRAHAM: This recording is made from a variety of old half-inch and quarter-inch tapes that I have had lying around for quite some time. The last 5 minutes of this piece was previously issued on the Wire magazine's subscription only CD 'the Wire tapper 4' in August 1999.
ANDREW KING is one of the few young members of the Traditional Song Forum, who specialise in the furtherance of traditional folk music within the British isles. He has previously released a CD of songs called 'The Bitter Harvest' (available via World Serpent), that dwelt on the darker and less joyous stories within the folk tradition. This piece is from an American source and dates from the late 19th century and is for voice and harmonium. Recorded at Retina Studios, September 1999.
AQUILES PANTELEAO is a Brazilian born composer who is completing his PhD in electroacoustic music at City University. In 1998 this piece was awarded a distinction at the Ars Electronica music competition in Linz.
BOB COBBING: 3 pieces from this senior member of the poetry and sound poetry scene, the earliest of these pieces dates from 1964. All 3 pieces were recorded at a reading given at the Lewisham Arthouse on 9.1.99.
HASTINGS OF MALAWI are (John Grieve, Dave Hodes, Heman Pathak). This extract was taken direct from the LP 'Vibrant stapler obscures characteristic growth' that came out in 1980. Most of the original 1000 copies were eventually destroyed, with around 300 copies that were actually sold. Most of the sales would have been through the United Dairies mail order list, who were probably their only outlet. All members of this group were involved one way or another in the very earliest Nurse With Wound records.
"Essential. The third and final in a series of compilations assembled by Clive Graham which for the sake of conceptual unity only features musicians based in London Town and environs. A champion of free and experimental music, Graham's soapbox stance is partly fuelled by dismay at the lack of recognition (and money!) given to London musicians who are - in his view - currently producing some of the most challenging and exciting music to be found. The compiler has been backing up this claim regularly with these Variations compilations, but for my money this selection of his 'personal favorites' is the best one yet. It reveals a nightmarish and twisted take on Dark London, which in year 2000 is clearly becoming Post-Dickensian in its bleakness - a town lacking in focus, flounced up with cosmetic window-dressing like the Greenwich Dome and the Wheel, fripperies which serve only to conceal the social ills and injustices, the foundering economy, the lack of basic decent humanity everywhere, and the retrograde culture that assumes all men to be loud, beer-drinking, letcherous, football-loving louts." —The Sound Projector
"Even further out on its own little iceberg in the North Sea is Variations 3: A London Compilation. Titles like 'Live At The Lewisham Arthouse' and 'Live At The Klinker' may suggest communality, but this disc's electroacoustic/improvised music is made largely in isolation. Even when the music is the result of collaboration, the tracks from Phil Durrant, Bob Cobbing, Wits and Hastings of Malawi speak singular languages that range from AMM-like, dadaist scribbles through smoke-signal processing to infinitesimal electronic gestures that are as hard for the uninitiated to decode as sign language." —The Wire
Trevor Wishart Beach singularity/Managerie/Vocalise (PD 02)
Releasing electroacoustic music in this country has historically, always been a dedicated persuit. With no national record labels and very few electronic music studios to support this music, the UK has always lagged behind its counterparts in both the United States and throughout east and west Europe. Trevor started releasing his own music in 1973 and continues to do so to this day. Much of this CD was originally privately released in 1979. Whilst other maverick British composers (Nyman, Bryars, Cardew etc.) chose to stay out of the electronic music studio, Wishart and a few others, (starting out in 1961 with the pioneering LP of musique concrète by Desmond Leslie), took the plunge. This CD comprises a complete reissue of the 1979 LP with an additional 4 Menagerie pieces added to the 6 on the original release, plus an improvised solo vocal piece recorded at the old Recommended Records shop in London on 30th March 1991.
Beach Singularity was performed on the beaches at Morecambe, Cleveleys, St. Annes, and Southport in the summer of 1977.
The Palm Beach Orchestra is Poppy Holden - vocals; Lyn Dobson - saxophones; Melvyn Poore - tuba; Robin Coombes - clarinet; Dick Witts - percussion, vocals; Martin Mayes - horn, vocals; Trevor Wishart - tapes, miscellaneous vocals.
Menagerie began life in 1974 when Trevor Wishart asked a number of well known British performance artistis to build small assemblages for an exhibition in which each object would be accompanied by appropriate taped sounds. The exhibition, consisting of eleven assemblages, was first prepared for the Birmingham Arts Lab and presented there in January 1975. The accompanying tapes were all made at The University of York Electronic Music Studio by Trevor Wishart. Menagerie and Beach singularity previously released on LP in 1979.
"An important composer working on the fringes of numerous genres, Trevor Wishart's extraordinary skill is exhibited well on this CD re-issue." —All-Music Guide
"Essential historical stuff of recent musical history that is luckily being preserved." —Frans de Waard, Vital
"The pieces are valuable to anyone curious about the way sound can be stretched and pummelled into submission. At a time when we are subjected to so much cheap and cheerless sonic art, Trevor Wishart's hard won skills seem especially valuable." —John L. Walters, The Wire
Trevor Wishart Journey into space (PD 18)
York University's music department houses one of the UK's first ever electronic music studios, and during the early seventies it was a hotbed of creative activity. Much of the released output from the studio at this time revolved around the work of the dynamic composer Trevor Wishart. Journey Into Space was his first release, composed between 1970 and 72, and was privately pressed (shortly before the formation of YES records), as two separate LP's in 1973. (The CD cover amalgamates the 2 original designs). Along with other early private releases of experimental music in the UK (ie the LP of sound poems by Cobbing/Jandl, or the LP of musique concrète by Desmond Leslie), this record is also a total anomaly in the canon of British experimental music and has little to do with the current, or even subsequent work by Wishart. The vast length of this piece has many different styles. There are acoustic sections, mostly of junk and toys (bike bells, squeeze horns, bottles, metal tubes, combs etc.) as well as flute and brass sections that are used as raw material. There are also sections of everyday field recordings, scraps of NASA Apollo transmissions, as well as plenty of multitracking, editing, vocal acrobatics and musique concrète. Among the 48 participants credited on the original sleeve are a whole roster of York University alumni including nearly all the artists who were showcased on the then unreleased 3LP box set 'Electronic Music From York', along with other noteworthy students as diverse as Steve Beresford, Jonty Harrison, Roger Marsh, Dominic Muldowney, Bernard Rands and Jan Steele. The co-operative spirit of York's music and drama departments, plus the raw enthusiasm and open attitude of the participants involved in the project gave this music an immediacy, similar to the later LAFMS scene.
"Paradigm's continuing journey into the nether reaches of experimental music has unearthed another gem. Trevor Wishart's work comes from the early 70s hotbed of electronic music, York University. Journey Into Space was originally two separate LPs released in 1973, and this is their first reissue as a combined entity. And what a marvel it is—a veritable journey into sonic experimentation. The 47-minute title track opens with the sound of a man waking, dressing and then taking a car journey, and this 'ambient' piece continues with spliced-up tape snippets of field recordings, vocal gymnastics and many unmusical moments. It's a challenging piece and—like the best ambient esoterica—is probably best listened to under the cover of darkness, where it can soundtrack your personal visions." —Trevor King, Record Collector
"Journey into Space remains a fascinating listen and an important document from a key period in avant-garde music history." —François Couture, All-Music Guide