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Verbatum notes for the concert as written by John Tilbury: John Tilbury - solo piano. ( Pavana. The Earle of Salisbury - William Byrde (1543-1623) . Fantazia of foure parts - Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625) followed by Coptic play-along Improvisation based on/accompanied by Morton Feldman's Coptic Light (1985) A Wordless Encounter  "Last Friday my wife and I were on our way home by train from a wedding in Norwich. It was around 8pm. I had left my seat and had made my way to the exit doors. A young man was standing by the door. He must have been in his thirties. He was shortish, bulky, with a shaven head, and was wearing shorts and flip-flops. He was of fair complexion. My wife remarked later that he looked foreign, Nordic. He might have been a Baltic weight-lifter. I was facing the doors, he was standing between the two sets of doors. All of a sudden, I felt a presence at my right shoulder. It was a head whose teeth were biting through my suit and tee-shirt. I could feel the teeth though my assailant had not managed to penetrate the bare skin. Within around, I suppose, ten seconds I was able to shake him off. We stood facing each other; he bared his teeth, rather like an animal. I raised my hands in a calming movement and mouthed the words: it's ok, calm down, or words to that effect. At that moment a few people, including my wife, had left their seats, preparing to alight. I do not know if they had witnessed any part of what happened. My wife, seeing my arms raised in apology, thought I may have stumbled against him. The biter then bared his teeth to her and she, thinking he was smiling at her, smiled back. He repeated this. Then, facing the door opposite the exit doors he began to gyrate, or dance. My wife urged me to 'go through' and we moved purposefully, though unhurriedly, into the next carriage. We alighted at Folkestone West station and made our way briskly down into the subway and up to the exit leading to the bus replacement service. The biter had disappeared. On the bus I reflected on my response to the 'attack'. Bizarrely, although I had 'acted' to free myself from his teeth, there was no 'response' to the the 'attack', except a feeling of sheer disbelief. As if what happened must have been a 'fiction'. Would there be a 'reaction'? A nightmare? No. Nothing. I have recounted the incident to a few friends. My wife suggested I should describe what happened in writing. N.B This incident is entirely unconnected with this evening's concert." --- Recorded live at Cafe OTO by Shaun Crook on 31st August, 2016. Mixed and mastered by James Dunn. Photo by Dawid Laskowski. With thanks to Seymour Wright. 

John Tilbury – 31.8.16

Ralph Cumbers makes a very welcome return to Slip with the sweet drive and unguarded lyricism of 'Orezero': a smiling-through-the tears chaser to 2019's majestic '111 angelic MIDI cascade'. Says Clef: "'Orezero' is both the prequel and sequel to '111 Angelic MIDI Casacde' in that I'm not sure which ones is Wonderland and which one is through the Looking Glass. So it can stay unresolved as both and neither? Feels like a strange time to be releasing what might be the most joyous Bass Clef record. Certainly 'One Tree Island' and 'Heavy Lifting Light Wave' are two cuts of happiness, but the kind of happiness that acknowledges and incorporates all the unhappiness that came along the way. Other tracks are a more rarefied kind of joy I guess, I find myself stripping back layers on these tracks to an extent I never would have dreamed was possible for me. These tracks were recorded in 2019 over quite some time, although each track itself takes no more than 3-4 hours and are recorded live. Editing clears the clutter to reveal the intent, not always obvious at the time of recording. I was pushing myself, again, to focus on harmony, and melody, the two things I think I am worst at, rather than returning to rhythm and texture, the playgrounds I always felt most comfortable in. Instrument restrictions helped as always – most of the sounds heard are from two ROMplers, much-loathed relics of pre-computer music, loaded with largely un-tweakable samples of acoustic instruments, samples you have heard on a billion records, but hopefully stacked in new combinations this time around. Backed up with Microkorg, a resolutely and extremely popular, yet deeply uncool, digital synthesizer. The tracks here were originally intended for two different records (maybe that’s why the prequel/sequel feeling persists) but thanks to excellent old school A&R in the form of an evolving conversation with Laurie from Slip, together we eventually uncovered one record that I think manages to weave all these threads together. I hope it will bring some smiles to some people." 'Orezero' [SLP059] is available from October 2020 on cassette and/or download. Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. 

Bass Clef – Orezero

It's easy to be cynical these days, maybe difficult to imagine that music can change the world, but not for Joe McPhee and Hamid Drake. With Keep Going, they will make the planet a better place for humanity, a place to be humane, to preserve humankind. At 78-years-old, Poughkeepsie multi-instrumentalist McPhee is a national treasure, and he's making more music than ever before, pushing himself to tour incessantly, issuing astonishing new records at a fierce rate. But this release, with legendary Chicago percussionist Drake, is something extremely special in the midst of many special records. The duo first recorded together in 1999, having only played together a limited number of times; the resulting music was issued as Emancipation Proclamation on the Okka Disk label. When the opportunity arose to hit the studio for a second time, McPhee and Drake had two more decades of extensive work together under their belts, as members of the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet and in many other contexts. But the session somehow consolidated their shared energy in an unexpected way – the drummer's incredible warmth and sense of buoyancy, the saxophonist and trumpeter's preternatural musicality and quest for social justice. The recording started with McPhee reciting words by Harriett Tubman, resulting in the title track; Drake's support was an achingly slow Max Roach-like beat. From this inspired, inspiring starting point, the twosome frolicked through a rich program, McPhee donning tenor and alto saxes, and pocket trumpet, Drake turning momentarily to the frame drum. Each musician contributes an introspective solo track. McPhee at one point plays trumpet into an open gong, which gives him otherworldly overtones, a sort of acoustic version of electric Miles. Drake makes too few records, so anything of his is mandatory; McPhee's been on a roll lately, releasing lots of music, but Keep Going is one not to be missed. --- Corbett vs Dempsey, 2021

Joe McPhee & Hamid Drake – Keep Going

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