Weasel Walter / Alex Ward / James Sedwards + Umberto

Weasel Walter

Wednesday 29 June 2011


Doors: 8pm
Tickets: £6.50 advance


Weasel Walter / Alex Ward / James Sedwards brings together 3 musicians who share the desire to, in the words of Weasel Walter, “create intelligent, complex music that still offers the gut-wrenching stimulation of the hardest rock and roll forms”.

Having been aware of each other’s work for some time, when Weasel Walter and Alex Ward finally met at the Wels Unlimited festival in 2010 it was inevitable that the idea of a collaboration would be hatched. Ward and Sedwards have a long musical history together, from Alex’s contributions to Nøught’s debut album to James’ role as guitarist in Ward's songs band Alex Ward & The Dead Ends. A trio seemed like a perfect idea, given all 3 members’ attraction to music in its most intense and unrelenting forms. With Walter’s hyperactive drumming and the dual guitar assualt of Ward and Sedwards, one can expect the music to encompass elements of no wave, extreme metal, noise and hyper-chromatic harmonic density, melded by the musicians’ improvisational instincts and instantaneous responses into something delirious and unprecedented.


Composer/instrumentalist Weasel Walter (now based in New York after long stints in Chicago and the Bay Area) has pursued his aesthetic of “speed, velocity, articulation and violence” through a dizzying array of methodologies and contexts, ranging from ultra-composed “brutal prog” to improvised collaborations with the likes of Henry Kaiser, Peter Evans, Mary Halvorson and Evan Parker. He was the leader of the Flying Luttenbachers from 1991-2007, currently leads several of his own free jazz ensembles, and has been a member of many other bands including Burmese, XBXRX and currently Quok and Behold… The Arctopus.


Alex Ward’s work as an improvising clarinetist and guitarist has seen him collaborate with musicians as diverse as Derek Bailey, Eugene Chadbourne, Tatsuya Yoshida and Thurston Moore. Parallel to this has been his involvement in rock music, from co-leading the group Camp Blackfoot (1996-2001), through his solo songs album “Hapless Days”, to his current 2-piece band Dead Days Beyond Help, which combines densely-worked instrumental composition, freewheeling improvisation and unexpectedly direct song material into a wildly unpredictable whole.


James Sedwards is the leader, guitarist and main composer for the band Nøught, whose combination of pummeling attack, dissonance and extreme structural complexity lives up to the promise embodied in the concept of “brutal prog” as fully as any band active at the moment. His other bands include The Devil (a collaboration with Ben Wallers and Sophie Politowicz of The Rebel/Country Teasers) and Nøught’s improvising alter-ego Womblout, and he is also currently the bassist in Guapo.


After 2 full-lengths mining vintage horror scores and Italo/Goblin-isms for inspiration, Kansas City riddler and composition whiz Umberto slow-pans his focus out of the graveyards and black widow cobwebs into the celluloid-stained artificial streets of Beverly Hills police beats and pop culture ghost-busting. His new 7" Freeze! is an inscrutable but impressively legit reinvention of Jan Hammer-style 80’s soundtrack cheese: soaring keyboard lines, fast-tappin’ piano, locked-in bass grooves, goofy canned drums, baroque purple haze soloing, etc.

Weasel Walter Quintet - Kimo's San Francisco, April 13, 2009 from Weasel Walter on Vimeo.