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Autumn is here, which means it’s time for the annual Discus newsletter – thanks for taking the time to have a look at what we’ve been doing this year, and many thanks for your previous support. As you can see below, this year has been our busiest ever, with 8 new releases rather the usual 2 or 3. Mick and I have been working hard to continue to document all aspects of our music, and we hope you’ll find something to enjoy in the below. As ever, prices are £10 each or £21 for three, payable either by cheque or using PayPal online at www.discus-music.co.uk. There’s a special price £50 for all 8 titles, and anyone wishing to take this up please PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a cheque:
DISCUS – BOX 658 – SHEFFIELD S10 3YR – ENGLAND
Hervé Perez and Martin Archer – The inclusion principle
Laptop duo using processed violin and natural sounds, veering toward lower case improv but with a hard electroacoustic edge and some glitchy rhythms and bass pulses under the textures. Fans of some of the new Japanese improv should enjoy.
Beck-Drenching-Pleasure – A low carbonation
Oh no! Not another trio record of bassoon, dictaphones and bricks. Out of these austere materials our heroes have built a series of short improvisations fascinating in their scratchily convoluted detail. “After a couple of plays I found I was liking it a lot” – WIRE
ASK – Acoustic quartet 2006
A change of direction for the previously studio bound duo, now a live improvising quartet of woodwind, strings, cello and vibraphone. AACM values predominate – “For admirers of both European improv and old-school Chicago free-jazz, this one is a must.” – Daniel Spicer, Jazzwise
Hornweb – The Rosemary songbook
Back after a short break of 12 years, Martin Archer and Derek Saw reform Hornweb as a trio with Charlie Collins – 25 short compositions for woodwind, brass, vibes, percussion and electronics with each member’s multi instrumental abilities to the fore, and musically covering areas from improv to New Orleans marching band music. This is without a doubt one of the finest releases I’ve ever been involved with.
Shkrang! – Some thoughts about Shkrang!
Could this be Mick Beck’s strongest release to date? Mick’s ferocious tenor and bassoon are joined by Paul Hession’s powerhouse drumming and Dave Tucker’s guitar and synths. “There isn’t an improvising duo in Britain at the moment that can match reed player Beck and drummer Hession for sheer energy and concentration. The addition of Tucker on electric guitar and laptop to the familiar reeds and drums situation in no way dilutes or depletes those characteristics. From the opening onwards, and particularly on the long, roiling “Opera” (which has a great mad scene), they work absolutely as a unit. Tucker has some low string stuffand occasional electronic effects that suggest there’s a bass in there somewhere as well, giving some of the pieces an unexpected hint of tonality, which is all to the good. One has to look back as far as early Amalgam to finf free jazz / improv ascompellingly rooted and adventurous as this.” – Brian Morton, WIRE
Neil Carver & Martin Archer – Artefacts
Working together for the first time since Bass Tone Trap days, Neil’s unique sound world of guitars, low-fi electronics, toys, whistles, calls, gongs etc is subjected by Archer to intensive software manipulation to produce a series of carefully crafted compositions veering between Cage-ian aleatorics and free improv, with a couple of tunes for good measure. Electroacoustic music with depth and feeling, and the product of many studio hours!
Bass Tone Trap – Trapping
Music a la Coque 04
Speaking of which who could possibly resist this reissue (courtesy of an Italian label whose musician founder is a fan) of everyone’s favourite Sheffield jazz punk combo from the early 1980s, crisply remastered with extra tracks and bursting with the energy and attitude which made BTT one of the area’s most adventurous live acts of the era? “This Sheffield six piece brim with courageous ambition, two guitarists and two reed players locked in a clinch somewhere between Soft Machine and Archie Shepp. The swirl of circular improvisations suggests this is one collective who could actually play a jazz-rock that moves and involves.” – Richard Cook, NME (1984)
Outward Sound Ensemble – Thunder in a clear sky
The Canadian duo’s second Discus recording of drone / electroacoustics / improv, recorded live on their 2005 UK tour. “This collaboration….centres around the presence of Chris Meloche’s table-top guitar: less a musical sound than a mechanical process, like the whir of distant engines. Pitted agiant this broad featureless terrain, Martin Archer’s software manipulations evoke chance encounters with other life forms and robotic intelligences, while Beck’s bassoon and Bayley’s trombone summon up snuffling, drooling creatures of the imagination. It’s a gripping journey, too tense to qualify as an ambient soundtrack, owing more to the textural investigations of pioneers such as Keith Rowe. The overall impression is rather like descending slowly down a monstrous elevator shaft into the bowels of the earth, passing floor after floor of dimly lit, scrabbling activity, infernal workshops and secret slaughterhouses.” – Daniel Spicer, Jazzwise
We hope you’ll be able to find something in the above which will take your ears in a new direction, and at the same time help us fund next year’s releases.
With our thanks and best wishes – Martin Archer and Mick Beck