Phil Minton

For a long time now Phil Minton has been working as a improvising singer, solo and in groups and situations at various locations all over the place, deserts, quarries, concert halls, pubs, holes, dodgy clubs, containers, up trees, in prisons, on mountains, in churches, under bridges and cafe oto etc.

Phil Minton comes from Torquay. He played trumpet and sang with the Mike Westbrook Band in the early 60s - Then in dance and rock bands in Europe for the later of part of the decade. He returned to England in 1971, rejoining Westbrook and was involved in many of his projects until the mid 1980′s.

For most of the last forty years, Minton has been working as an improvising singer in lots of groups, orchestras, and situations. Numerous composers have written music especially for his extended vocal techniques. He has a quartet with Veryan Weston, Roger Turner and John Butcher, and ongoing duos, trios and quartets with above and many other musicians, including tours with American singer Audrey Chen - with whom he has sang far and wide in the last ten years.

Since the eighties, His Feral Choir, where he voice-conducts workshops and concerts for anyone who wants to sing, has performed in over twenty countries.

Featured releases

At times barely more than breathing, at others breaking into full-throated song, A Doughnut's End is a highly concentrated sequence of solo improvisations that captures the full range of Minton's vocal powers. As he says in the accompanying notes, while there is continuity between this record and previous "doughnut" albums, this latest offering is "less optimistic than forty years ago" when he still "thought stuff would get better", an optimism diminished by the continued political dominance of "slush-spraying doughnut-scoffers". A Doughnut's End is a stark and affecting testament to one man's ongoing exploration of the potential of the human voice. "Minton has forged an alternative lexicon, one that seemingly forgoes the constraints of tradition and language. The result is a perverse, evocative set, the kind of performance that forces a reaction and demands attention be paid to it — music that has the power to cause unrest and revulsion in the listener. . . . An air of fragility lingers throughout, a reminder that even Minton’s finely honed, idiosyncratic delivery is all too susceptible to the inevitable pitfalls of existence. . . . The primal outpouring of A Doughnut’s End is all-consuming, and without language to dirty the proceedings, it is as much a personal meditation as it is a display of pure virtuosity." - Soe Jherwood, Tiny Mix Tapes "Many of the sounds on the album’s 15 short tracks are unpleasant, but they’re all the more powerful for it. This work is in no way deprived of wonder, and you have to marvel at the breadth of what Minton can do. “Breaking News” bleeds from high pitched warbling to multiphonic density, the throat pushed to the weirdest limits of its potential. “There’s A Reason” reprises this sonic field, almost electronic in texture, while “Set In Stone” takes these techniques and flirts with the operatic. “Grandish”, the album’s final track, works through a series of high pitched peeps that could come from an as yet unidentified beast." - Matt Krefting, The Wire "Things flap and billow a bit more than they used to, which Minton accentuates in the formation of starker, more striking vocal shapes – unstable vibratos, phlegmy belching baritones. What if it isn’t volume and clear articulation that renders a voice audible amongst the masses, but visceral wordless eccentricity?" - Jack Chuter, ATTN Magazine --- Phil Minton / voice --- Recorded (April & June 2013) and mixed by Rick Campion at City University Music Studios. Mastered by Rupert Clervaux at Gray’s Inn Road. Photography by Jocelyn Low. Music by Phil Minton (PRS) Produced by Trevor Brent

Phil Minton – A Doughnut's End

IRMA is a 1969 experimental opera by artist Tom Phillips.  The score involved 93 random phrases taken from the 1892 novel A Human Document by W.H. Mallock. They were then divided up into sound suggestions, a libretto and staging directions. In 1988 Phillips invited AMM to perform the piece with guests in London's Union Chapel.  "If any work marks the end of the 60's, it is Irma, composed as it was in the twilight months of that decade, and presaging as it did the world of deconstruction to come. The sixties were the years of revolution: there was often as many as thirty three per minute, some of which featured music. Although it is in the tradition of the Romantic Grand Opera, Irma, with its distancing wit, somehow brings them altogether in a potted Dämmerung. Whereas Wagner had failed in is quest for the true Gesamtkunstwerk, in which the arts of music poetry and visual spectacle are brought into balance in a single work, Phillips succeeds triumphantly. In a recording of course we forfeit the visual element, but close attention to the text will enable the listener to imagine the sumptuous scenic effects and opulant mise en scène. To quote A HUTMENT, ‘The Sound in my life enlarges my prison…’ - H.W.K. Collam --- Eddie Prévost / percussionKeith Rowe / guitarJohn Tilbury / piano, radioIan Mitchell / clarinetLol Coxhill / saxophone, vocalsElise Lorraine / vocalsPhil Minton / vocalsTom Phillips / vocals --- Recorded at the Union Chapel, London, 20th May 1988 by Ray Beckett and Phil Mouldycliff (live mix). Artwork by Tom Phillips. Design by Keith Rowe. 

Tom Phillips / Amm – Irma

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