Sound Out programme on Nature Study Notes

Perhaps, like the EMC, you were not able to get to the concert by the New Scratch Orchestra of excerpts from the Scratch Orchestra document, Nature Study Notes on Sunday, 22 February 2015. Well, here’s something to make up for it: the Resonance FM programme, Sound Out, from 20 February 2015, hosted by Carole Finer, which talks about the ways that the New Scratch Orchestra (or ‘Scratch Orchestra’, as it is called by some of the participants) approaches Improvisations Rites, the type of musical activity collected in Nature Study Notes. Hear it here: . It’s a rather revealing glimpse into what the new generation thinks of Improvisation Rites and ‘improvisation and a musical life’, as Cornelius Cardew called it. Bryn Harris and Carole Finer represent the original Scratch Orchestra. Worth listening.

Next week’s Fizzle

Andy Woodhead sends us the following from frimpland (where all is freely improvised). Looks good — Paul Dunmall is always worth a listen.

Hello again!

We had a cracking week last week with Alicia and Tom and Alison and co, and a great turn-out as well, so thanks all for coming! Recordings are making their way to the archive in the near future all being well, so keep your ears to the ground for those.

We’ve got an absolute belter of a Fizzle coming up for you this tuesday…

Doing the early set we have:

Richard Foote – Trombone
Joe Wright – Tenor Sax
Tom Ford – Guitar/FX
Euan Palmer – Drums and Cymbals

followed by:

Liam Noble – Piano
Paul Dunmall – Saxophones
Mark Sanders – Drums and Cymbals

Doors at 7
Early Set at 7.15
Main Band at 8

Usual fiver on the door

See you all there!

He didn’t add the location, but here it is: The Lamp Tavern, Barford St, Birmingham, B5 6AH.

Scratch Orchestra Improvisation Rites

Sunday night there will be a rather wonderful event at Cafe Oto. Various people — original Scratch Orchestra members, new folk, younger folk — have been working on that most fascinating genre of Scratch Orchestra music-making, the Improvisation Rite, using the early Scratch Orchestra document, Nature Study NotesNature Study Notes is a collection of Improvisation Rites, edited by Cornelius Cardew, that existed right at the start of the Scratch Orchestra. Improvisation Rites are not compositions, at least not according to the Draft Composition of the Scratch Orchestra. Instead, they are meant to supply conditions for improvisation: a setting, idea, installation, and so on. In fact, many of the 152 Nature Study Notes Rites are actually compositions (they tell you what to play), but the Scratch Orchestra genres have always been somewhat fluid. For more on Cardew and the Scratch Orchestra, there’s a rather good article on Cardew and the Scratch Orchestra in the unlikely setting of the Red Bull Music Academy website:

Stefan Szczelkun launched this concert of Scratch Orchestra improvisation along with a host of others, and from the early notes on rehearsals, it looks amazing. The information on the concert at Cafe Oto exists on their site: . It’s going to be a lovely programme, and the EMC (Chris Hobbs, Virginia Anderson) are going to be in the audience, cheering them on. For those on Facebook, the event notification is here: . And Carole Fyner will be interviewing performers on her Resonance Radio (London and the Internet) show, Sound Out, on Friday, 20 February, at 2 pm.

And should you want to follow along, the EMC has put up a download of the original EMC edition of Nature Study Notes on our Freebies page: . Your school field trip notebook was never this much fun!

Partch work quilting

Today, some of us at the EMC feel a bit Partched, given that Harry Partch has won a Grammy. So many people have been talking about Partch that we followed one of the YouTube links (thanks to our friend, the John Cage expert, David Patterson) to a 1958 film about Partch in which he shows off his instruments. This film can be found on a DVD from Innova Recordings, which includes four rare films and performances (see here: ). The DVD also includes a 1968 film about Partch that was broadcast on KPBS San Diego (a film that appeared briefly on YouTube but was removed), and a 1981 performance of Barstow at San Diego State University by Danlee Mitchell and the SDSU Partch Ensemble.* But for the moment, luxuriate in the demonstrations of Partch’s instrumentation. Microtonal sounds so juicy you could swim in them….

*I was a graduate teaching assistant at SDSU in 1980–81 and got a glimpse of early rehearsals for that performance. As a TA, it was my responsibility to keep undergrads off the cloud chamber bowls, which were stored at the back of the recital hall.

Lentz in the lens

The whole Southern Californian ‘pretty music’, minimalism and postminimal scene that came up from the late 1960s and after is very complementary to the British experimental scene. Some of the connections are there (Harold Budd’s work with Brian Eno on Obscure Recordings, for instance); some are just really happy parallels. This week, two items about Daniel Lentz came into my personal Facebook account. Lentz is one of the twin pillars of the Los Angeles ‘pretty music’ scene (along with Harold Budd). His music is sometimes almost liturgically ritual, often lush and sensual, intimate, occasionally funny, and, yes, often very, very pretty. Daniel Lentz’s music is always well worth checking out (as is his artwork). (For those who don’t know his work, here’s his website: ).

But back to last week’s Lentz. The first is a link to YouTube. It’s a mid-1980s American children’s TV show called Reading Rainbow, hosted by LeVar Burton, in which ‘Is It Love’, a piece from Lentz’s album The Leopard Altar is set to an animation. It’s a delight of bright digital sound. Here it is: . It’s worth chasing up the whole track, which lasts about nine gorgeous minutes.

The second Lentz item is a piece from 1977, and was sent to us by Janyce Collins, performer, teacher, and pilot. This piece is called Flying Alleluia for 29 Hang Gliders, a piece in which each hang-glider pilot either sings a note, or installs a wind-operated Aeolian reed on their machine. The 29 pitches are played as each pilot launches in score order, so that ‘massed listeners’ below the flight path will hear the Alleluia plainsong. We do hope that someone performs this again, and that it will be a good day when we’re there to hear it.