The Spirit Farm bring quick instincts, an impressive shared understanding and a wealth of idiomatic approaches to the music. The musicians build on the achievements of previous generations of improvisers in fascinating ways; the upside-down use of the bass bow, often heard in free improv, might be used here to beat out a haunting riff like a 21st century diddley bow, or the post-cage piano preparations so common among free pianists might here be applied to a vintage tine piano.
In addition to full-band numbers which can reach stunning climaxes, the group explore smaller combinations, such as duos and trios, ensuring a constantly varied listening experience.
“Devastatingly creative ****” – Jazzwise
“Ecstatic free jazz remains a touchstone on their 2015 debut album, but it’s in the quieter moments that the session is lifted out of the ordinary by a mischievous take on timbre and instrumentation, with gamalan-like toy piano and distorted electric keys circling taut guitar pings and the hollow rattling of saxophone pads” – The Wire
“Hugely Impressive ****” – Jazz Journal
“It’s a set that declares intent, imagination and prowess and as such promises much for the future” – New York City Jazz Record
Adam Bushell: vibraphone and percussion Alice Eldridge: cello
An exciting new duo featuring two stella players that will be familiar to Brighton improv fans.
Vid Drašler, Tom Jackson and Daniel Thompson met for the first time in the spring of 2016 as part of the CRAM Records residency at FriForma in Ljubljana, Slovenia. During the residency the trio had the fortune to play and record as a trio in Vrhnika, Slovenia and immediately vowed to collaborate again.
Cath Roberts: baritone saxophone, compositions Sam Andreae: tenor saxophone Anton Hunter: guitar Seth Bennett: bass Johnny Hunter: drums
Sloth Racket is a quintet of UK improvisers led by baritone saxophonist Cath Roberts, with Anton Hunter (Beck Hunters, Article XI) on guitar, Sam Andreae (Trio Riot, Silence Blossoms) on tenor saxophone, Seth Bennett (Metamorphic, En Bas Quartet) on bass and Johnny Hunter (Spirit Farm, Nat Birchall) on drums. The group play Cath’s compositions, combining written fragments with graphic notation to explore the balance between freedom and structure. The results range across musical territories from fiery free jazz, to minimal improv textures, to deep grooves.
‘Consider this an important contribution to the debate about spontaneity versus form.’ – Daniel Spicer, Jazzwise ****
‘The Sloth Racket sound is broadly comparable to that of Tim Berne’s Bloodcount, the mid ’90s New York quintet with the same instrumentation, or the earthier, brawnier sound of Chicago as filtered through Peter Brötzmann’s Tentet.’
– Tim Owen, Dalston Sound
‘an agreeably spicy goulash of free improvisation, grumpy riffs and bluesy themes’
– Stewart Smith, The Quietus
‘nobody in their right mind is going to call this row slothful’
– Spencer Grady, Record Collector
Martin Archer: saxophones Corey Mwamba: vibraphone Walt Shaw: percussion
This will be the first performance by these three musicians in trio configuration, although for the last few years they have all worked together in various related ensembles.
Martin Archer is a composer / improviser who is equally at home on stage or in the studio. His own distinctive saxophone playing is rooted in AACM jazz. Through his use of keyboards and electronics, and as a studio producer, he extends this interest into extended song form and leftfield rock music.
He is also co-director of the uncategorisably avant choir Juxtavoices.
“Archer’s aesthetic is an intriguing and transformative one—whatever enters his world comes out changed, if not utterly, then beautifully.” – DUNCAN HEINING
His principle music work is the Discus Music label, the imprint for his various releases, notably by the groups described below.
His current jazz based projects include Engine Room Favourites (current a 4 drummer, 14 piece big band), Story Tellers (6 piece group including shaman instruments alongside the conventional instruments), plus various ad hoc smaller groups. All of these are strongly aligned with AACM tradition and teaching.
“Every project Archer touches is immediately plugged into a subterranean lava flow of great British avant practice.” – STEVE HANSON
An eclectic combination of sources and highly individual applications makes Archer a unique inhabitant of the school of English maverick composer / improvisers.
Born and based in Derby, Corey Mwamba‘s commitment to jazz and improvised music in Britain and Ireland drives all aspects of his work, whether through composition, playing, or promoting new music.
Corey predominantly plays vibraphone; he also plays dulcimer and uses audio processing software. He is recognised as a highly creative improviser and composer working across a wide range of jazz and contemporary music. Mwamba’s distinctive approach and tone is instantly recognisable in any context: a potent blend of pure sound, highly melodic phrases and ethereal textures; barely whispered chords and ear-piercing robotic screams. Corey won a PRSF/Jerwood Foundation Take Five artist development award in 2007; was short-listed for the Innovation category in the BBC Jazz Awards in 2008; and was nominated for “Rising Star on Vibraphone” in the 62nd, 63rd, and 64th DownBeat Annual Critics’ Polls.
Walt Shaw is a percussionist. Initially he played kit, starting in the sixties in rock and jazz, but over the years this widened into the use of home-made instruments, often made from scrap, amplified objects and low-tech electronics. An interest in playing gongs has always been there. These are bought and home-made, again from found objects. The emphasis is usually on experimentation and improvisation, always searching for new sounds, techniques, and collaborative scenarios to extend his practice.
West Hill Blast Quartet
Ron Caines: saxes Gus Garside: double bass Andy Pyne: drums Dan Spicer: reeds/trumpet/percussion
Ron Caines was, in the late 1960s, a founder member of pioneering UK Prog-psych group East of Eden, and has been a key member of improvising collectives in both Bristol and Brighton. Gus Garside has been active as a musician since the 1970s. He is a mainstay of Safehouse, and is a member of the long-running string trio, Arc, with Sylvia Hallett and Danny Kingshill and of the electro-acoustic duo, Static Memories. Andy Pyne has played drums in a wide variety of contexts, including a duo with Thurston Moore, freak-Improv with The Black Neck Band Of The Common Loon, No-Wave with Medicine and Duty, and punk poetry with Map 71. Dan Spicer is a member of the chaotic improvising sextet, Bolide, one third of the trio In Threads, and a performer of solo spoken word, poetry and improvisation.
West Hill Blast Quartet is where these four individuals come together to make improvised statements informed by a shared love of free jazz and influenced by the spirits of masters such as Art Ensemble of Chicago, Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler.They have released two CDs on Foolproof Projects, ‘Blast #1’ and ‘Blast #2.’