Friday 7 July 2017, 6.45pm, OTO Project Space
An early evening solo clarinet performance by Alex Ward to mark the release of his new CD "Proprioception", out June 30th on the Weekertoft label. The recordings which comprise "Proprioception" are the culmination of a 3-year period during which Ward strove to radically overhaul his approach to solo playing. Known for his work with a wide range of improvising musicians including Derek Bailey, Eugene Chadbourne, Lol Coxhill, Thurston Moore, Joe Morris and Steve Noble, Ward's solo work encompasses all he has learned from such a variety of collaborations, whilst also addressing the very specific challenges of the solo situation. As with the album itself, this performance will feature both acoustic and amplified clarinet - Ward's amplified clarinet playing, heard previously in his own groups Forebrace and the Alex Ward Quintet, has also recently been featured to notable effect in Charles Hayward and Charles Bullen's This Is Not This Heat ensemble, and the use of distortion, feedback and reverberation to transform, submerge and disfigure the clarinet's voice pushes Ward's already disorienting deployment of multiphonics and unconventional articulation into even more unexpected sonic realms.
Alex Ward is a composer, improviser, and performing musician, working primarily with clarinet and guitar. His involvement in freely improvised music dates back to 1986, when he met the guitarist Derek Bailey. He subsequently took part regularly in Bailey's Company events, and has gone on to become a major figure in British improvised music.
His current work ranges from the duo Dead Days Beyond Help, in which he plays guitar and sings, his group Predicate who perform his compositions, regular improvising groups with Steve Noble, Kay Grant and others, as well as more ad hoc encounters with musicians as diverse as Thurston Moore, Joe Morris and Duck Baker. He brings a unique energy and inventiveness to all these projects, elevating them far above the ordinary and injecting them with a thrilling sense of danger and possibility.
"...guitarist Alex Ward [is] a compulsively creative polymath of indiscriminately omnivorous appetite ... a reliably unpredictable axe-hero for collaborators of all backgrounds." Stewart Lee, The Sunday Times Review