Cold Blue and instruments, too

Here’s some relatively new goodness we got about Jim Fox’s label Cold Blue, a March review of Cold Blue 2 on New Music Box:

which includes a very pretty track by Jim. If you haven’t got this record, then it’s worth checking out — the best in that kind of long, lovely and almost lonesome music that CB does so well. It’s very much an ‘LA’ sound, even though some of the composers (like Gavin Bryars) are not LA people.

But that’s not all. Two of the pieces at least, James Tenney’s and Larry Polanski’s use Partch instruments, with their special tuning, and NMB has offered a little contextual information. At the bottom we found a link to a very old article (2002! Love the picture, Dean!) by Dean Suzuki on invented instruments in experimental music, covering a wide range of instruments:

If you haven’t read it, do. It’s an enjoyable read for general audiences and covers a range of instruments and their uses in experimental music from all over the world.


Hobbs on Soundcloud

Here’s a link to a soundcloud file of a concert by the Nottingham Wind Orchestra and Contempo New Music Ensemble. The first entry on the page (marked ‘Chris Hobs’) is No One May Ever Have the Same Knowledge Again, Hobbs’ setting of the book of the same name edited by Sarah Simons, and published by the amazing Los Angeles Institution, the Museum of Jurassic Technology.

We think it’s rather neat playing by the students. Let us know what you think!

Fizzling while Rome burns

Mike is deeply committed to Fizzle (and our best on your nupts!):

Hi, Just to let you know about the Fizzle special this Thursday.
I’m sure that this gig will be incredible, so sure in fact that I’m taking a day out of my own stag do just to be there!

Paul Dunmall – saxes
Paul Rogers – 7 string bass
Mark Sanders – drums/percussion

30th May at The Lamp Tavern, Barford St, B5 6AH.
9pm, £8/6

The previous gigs with a similar line up have been full so arrive early to get a good seat!


We always knew that there would be Kööks at Fizzle!

The very nice Mike Hurley sends us Fizzling with köökies:

Fizzle this Tuesday 21st May at The Lamp Tavern, Barford St, Birmingham, B5 6AH.

8:30pm, £5/3. more info at

Jørn Erik Ahlsen – guitar/Live electronics
Stian Larsen – guitar/electronics
Norwegian duo playing improvised, animated, ambient music.

Mike Hurley – piano.
Colin Webster – sax.

Don’t forget Paul Dunmall/Paul Rogers/Mark Sanders on Thursday 30th May!

Hobbs and Smith play piano four hands and piano duo music

Christopher Hobbs and Dave Smith will appear in a lecture-recital, ‘British minimalist and postminimalist music for piano duet and two pianos’, at the Institute for Musical Research conference, With Four Hands: Music for Two Pianists on Tuesday, 18 June 2013 at 3.15 pm. This will be preceded by a paper by Virginia Anderson, ‘Remorseless lambs: Piano duets in British minimalism and postminimalism’, at 2.15 pm. Included in the lecture-recital will be works by Hobbs, Smith, John White, Michael Parsons, Howard Skempton, and others, representing some of the greatest works in the British minimalist and systems repertoire. This is going to be a historic concert, uniting two of the best-known systems piano duos of the 1970s (Hobbs of the Hobbs-White Duo, Smith of the Smith-Lewis Duo), with some pieces (such as an excerpt of Hobbs’ The Remorseless Lamb) in a rare performance or the first performance since the 1970s and 80s.

The event will occur at Senate House, Chancellor’s Hall, University of London (Malet Street London WC1E 7HU), and represents one session of the conference, with Anderson’s 20 minute paper and Hobbs and Smith’s 45 minute recital.

You can see the information here:

and the entire programme here:

Two points:

1. Note that Anderson’s paper has been moved from the later time on this programme.

2. Also note that the prices for attending are for the entire day or the entire conference, so this might be financially viable for those of you with university research support. We are trying to find a venue with two matched pianos so that Hobbs and Smith can perform this as a concert (and include the whole of Remorseless Lamb). Do get in touch if you have/know about such a venue.


Chris Hobbs and his amazing Alabaster Lithophone!

Well, normally we’d avoid doing a video watch on the same composer twice, but this was just too good to miss. This video, called ‘Making Music with the Alabaster Lithophone’ is presented as part of an art auction to benefit Music in the Round, a Sheffield music association (presumably referring to Sheffield’s famous Crucible Theatre, which presents drama and snooker in the round — although not at the same time, sadly).

The Alabaster Lithophone is the creation of the artist Vivien Whitaker, and the music is by Chris Hobbs. Here’s the first part of an interview by Fraser Wilson with Chris:

No, Christopher Hobbs, founder of the EMC, is not master of disguises, nor of time and space. Nor has he bleached his hair, had youth drugs and plastic surgery (sorry Christopher!), and started wearing glasses for seeing rather than just reading. This Chris Hobbs is a composition student at Sheffield University, only 80 miles away from EMC’s headquarters in Leicester. And he has produced some very nice sounds on the Alabaster Lithophone, which is a wonderful instrument. It’s something that would have graced Harry Partch’s orchestra, had it been tuned to his specifications.

Here’s the second part of this interview:

The only flaw in this Chris Hobbs Alabaster Lithophone video is that there is too much interview and not enough Lithophone. And it’s not that we don’t like the cadet Chris Hobbs — in fact, we’re agog to see more from him — but it’s the fact that the interviewer questions him as if it were 1913, not 2013 (he’s surprised that there are no tunes). But this attitude seems to be worth dealing with in the comments section, so do get in touch and let us know what you think. And Sheffield Chris, if you see this, say hi!

Now we’d do a video watch to find the doppelgängers of all the EMC composers, but if we started on John White or Dave Smith, that’s all we’d do. Something for the long winter nights, we think. To conclude, we think it best to say, ‘Know your Hobbs!’ (Know your Hobbses?). So here’s a test: one, a picture of the Sheffield Chris Hobbs from the video (there’s one of him dancing on his Google page); the other, EMC Christopher Hobbs playing a chair on an AMM concert on Clapham Common in the early 1970s (as one does), when he was about the same age as Sheffield Chris Hobbs. Can you tell which is which? Answers below, should you need them.

chris amm clapham common459chris hobbs sheffield 2

Answer below:







Christopher Hobbs, founder of the EMC, is on the left; Chris Hobbs, Alabaster Lithophone virtuoso, on the right. Did we fool you?

They’re ba-a-ack!

Fizzle with weird instruments:


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Tuesday 7th May, 2013, 8:30pm

The Lamp Tavern, Barford St, B5 6AH.
£5 (£3 Concessions)
Walt Shaw – percussion and amplified objects
Herve Perez – saxes
Matt Harling – saxes and home-built instrumentsDont forget to put Paul Dunmall/Paul Rogers/Mark Sanders gig in your diary for Thursday 30th May!
more info at