Saturday 18 June 2016, 8pm
ALTERATIONS FESTIVAL presents activities around the subject of the group Alterations and explores the related fields of Sound Art and Free Improvisation.
Alterations - David Toop, Peter Cusack, Terry Day and Steve Beresford - is a quartet of key thinkers and pioneers in music and visual arts. They played many concerts in the years 1977 to 1986 and came back together last year for one very successful concert. In the festival they will come together to collaborate in new contexts.
Supported by Arts Council England and Sound and Music and curated by Blanca Regina and Beresford, the project engages artists and audiences in new ways of making and understanding music and art.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF ALTERATIONS
The group existed from 1977 to 1986 and played often in festivals and clubs throughout the UK and Europe.
“The great discovery of Alterations was that musical styles and idioms are there to be played with.” – Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen
They made three LPs in that time
Alterations on Bead in 1978
Up Your Sleeve on !Quartz in 1980
My Favourite Animals on nato (France) in 1984
Their work presented new ways of making and understanding music and art.
In addition there were CDs of various live performances - in 2000, Intuitive Records in Denmark issued Alterations Live and in 2002 Atavistic in the US published Voila Enough!
In 2015, Alterations was put back together for London performances at Cafe OTO (with Max Eastley) and Iklectik. These events were very succesful and attracted new audiences.
Alterations Festival is unique opportunity to further enjoy this influential and highly experienced group.
Blanca Regina and Steve Beresford have been working together curating events and performing since 2011.
In 2013, they created Strange Umbrellas - a platform for music, film and art at various venues in London. In 2015 they created Unpredictable Series - a series about Free Improvisation, featuring films, exhibitions, performances, talks, publications, and workshops. They curated two exhibitions in London: ‘Art of Improvisers’ at Oto Project Space and ‘ The Art of Terry Day’ at Iklectik and other related events. http://www.unpredictable.info
David Toop (born 1949) has been developing a practice that crosses boundaries of sound, listening, music and materials since 1970. This encompasses improvised music performance, writing, electronic sound, field recording, exhibition curating, sound art installations and opera. It includes seven acclaimed books, including Rap Attack (1984), Ocean of Sound (1995), Sinister Resonance (2010), Into the Maelstrom (2016) and forthcoming - Flutter Echo, a memoir first published in Japan in 2017 (May 2019) and Inflamed Invisible: Writing On Art and Sound 1976-2018 (2020). Briefly a member of David Cunningham’s pop project The Flying Lizards in 1979, he has released thirteen solo albums, from New and Rediscovered Musical Instruments on Brian Eno’s Obscure label (1975) and Sound Body on David Sylvian’s Samadhisound label (2006) to Entities Inertias Faint Beings (2016). His 1978 Amazonas recordings of Yanomami shamanism and ritual were released on Sub Rosa as Lost Shadows (2016). In recent years his collaborations include Rie Nakajima, Akio Suzuki, Tania Chen, John Butcher, Ken Ikeda, Elaine Mitchener, Henry Grimes, Sharon Gal, Camille Norment, Sidsel Endresen, Alasdair Roberts, Thurston Moore, Ryuichi Sakamoto and a revived Alterations, the iconoclastic improvising quartet with Steve Beresford, Peter Cusack and Terry Day first formed in 1977. Curator of sound art exhibitions including Sonic Boom at the Hayward Gallery (2000), his opera – Star-shaped Biscuit – was performed as an Aldeburgh Faster Than Sound project in 2012. He is currently Professor of Audio Culture and Improvisation at London College of Communication.
Terry Day is a first generation pioneer improviser from the 1960s: an improviser, multi-instrumentalist, lyricist, songwriter, visual artist and poet.
A self-taught musician in a family of musicians, he began improvising on the drums with his brother in 1955. In the early ‘60s he formed the Hardy Holman Day trio, focusing on free improvisation. Later he became part of the band Kilburn & the Highroads, with Ian Dury. Sharing their interest in visual art and painting they both studied at Walthamstow School of Art and later at the Royal College of Art, London. As an art student in the ‘60s he was also a pioneer of free improvisation, free jazz & experimental music.
He formed a duo with guitarist Derek Bailey in the late ´60s and was a regular member of The Continuous Music Ensemble,The People Band and, later on, Alterations with David Toop, Steve Beresford & Peter Cusack.
Terry has collaborated with many musical luminaries, groups, dancers, painters, poets and performed in theatre. He now plays bamboo reed flutes, drums, recorders, balloons & improvises with his lyrics, prose and verse. Since 2000 he has been part of London Improvisers Orchestra. In recent years he has toured twice in both Japan and Brazil, and has performed with improvising orchestras in Malaga, Tokyo and Madrid.
STEVE BERESFORD has been a central figure in the British and international spontaneous music scenes for over forty years, freely improvising on the piano, electronics and other things with people like Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Han Bennink, John Zorn and Alterations (with David Toop, Terry Day and Peter Cusack).
He has written songs, written for large and small ensembles, and scored short films, feature films, TV shows and commercials.
Steve has worked with Christian Marclay on numerous Marclay mixed media pieces. He has also worked with The Slits, Stewart Lee, Ivor Cutler, Prince Far-I, Alan Hacker, Tania Chen, Ray Davies, Mandhira De Saram, The Flying Lizards, Zeena Parkins, Satoko Fukuda, The Portsmouth Sinfonia, Ilan Volkov, Rachel Musson, Vic Reeves, Sarah Gail Brand, Lore Lixenberg and others.
Beresford has an extensive discography as performer, arranger, free-improviser, composer and producer, and was awarded a Paul Hamlyn award for composers in 2012.
Peter Cusack is a field recordist, sound artist and musician with a long interest in the environment. He initiated the Favourite Sounds Project to discover what people find positive about soundscapes where they live, and Sounds From Dangerous Places (sonic journalism) to investigate major environmental damage in areas such as the Chernobyl exclusion zone, the Azerbaijan oil fields, brown coal mining in Germany and the Czech Republic and the Bialowieza Forest in Poland.
He produced Vermilion Sounds - the environmental sound programme - for ResonanceFM Radio, and was DAAD artist-in-residence in Berlin 2011/12, starting Berlin Sonic Places that explores relationships between soundscape and urban development.
He is currently working on Aral Sea Stories, about the destruction and subsequent partial restoration of the Aral Sea in Kazakhstan - a much needed positive example in today’s climate change debate.
Musically he plays guitar and field recordings, improvises, writes tunes and has worked with Alterations, Kahondo Style, Clive Bell, Nic Collins, Ute Wassermann, Viv Corringham, Michael Thieke, Blanca Regina and others.
Elaine Mitchener is an experimental vocalist and movement artist whose work melds different vocal styles encompassing free-improvisation, contemporary new music, sound art, music theatre and dance. She has worked and performed in a wide variety of contexts with leading artists including: Apartment House, Van Huynh Co, Steve Beresford, Sonia Boyce, John Butcher, Attila Csihar, Alexander Hawkins, Tansy Davies, George Lewis, Christian Marclay, Phil Minton, The Otolith Group, Evan Parker, Alasdair Roberts, David Toop, and Jason Yarde. She is co-founder of experimental jazz quartet the Hawkins/Mitchener Quartet (with Neil Charles, Stephen Davis and Alex Hawkins).
“Mitchener is a distinctive presence and interacts with her body and the remarkable sounds she produces: speech, soulful singing, breathless percussive bursts, skittering across octaves.” (Ben Luke, Evening Standard)
“SWEET TOOTH is a vital black British addition to those seminal creative statements of resistance and defiance from the African Diaspora.” (Kevin Le Genre, Jazzwise)
Satoko has performed worldwide as a classical violinist, and currently on EMANEM Label with the Trio of Uncertainty. Since her concerto debut at thirteen, she has broadcasted an eclectic range of music for Classic FM, Resonance FM, BBC Radio 1, and BBC Radio 3. TV appearances include BBC Culture show and the Sky Classics. UK appearances include the Royal Albert Hall, Wigmore Hall, the South Bank, and the Barbican. Chosen to be musician in residence for the Lord Mayor at the Mansion House, she frequently travels with the team on international diplomatic engagements. Moving fluidly beyond the classical music, she is a regular guest performer at events such as the London Fashion Show, and the London Jazz Festival
Max Eastley is a sound installation artist and musician. He has been an AHRC Senior Researcher at Oxford Brookes University investigating Aeolian phenomena, his last aeolian installation was for Ikon Gallery, Birmingham at Perrott’s Folly:
He is an artist with the Cape Farewell Climate Change Project (http://www.capefarewell.com) and has been City Sound Artist for Bonn, Germany and, for 2017, was a guest of the DAAD, Berlin. He is well known as an improvising musician and has played many solo concerts as well as in combinations with musicians such as David Toop, Evan Parker, Steve Beresford, John Butcher, Ute Wasserman, Phil Minton and Axel Dorner. He has worked extensively with music and performance including working with dancers and choreographers such as Anna Huber and the Siobhan Davies Company.
Butcher is well known as a saxophonist who attempts to engage with the uniqueness of time and place. His music ranges through improvisation, his own compositions, multitracked pieces and explorations with feedback and unusual acoustics. Since the early 80s he has collaborated with hundreds of musicians – including Derek Bailey, Rhodri Davies, Andy Moor (EX), Phil Minton, Christian Marclay, Eddie Prevost, John Stevens’ SME, Gino Robair, Polwechsel, Mark Sanders, John Tilbury, and Okkyung Lee.
Alongside long term projects he values occasional encounters; from large groups such as the EX Orkestra & Butch Morris’ “London Skyscraper”, to duo concerts with Fred Frith, Akio Suzuki, Paal Nilssen-Love, Keiji Haino, David Toop, Otomo Yoshihide, Sophie Agnel and Matthew Shipp.
Recent compositions include “Penny Wands” for Futurist Intonarumori, two HCMF commissions for his own groups, “Good Liquor Caused my Heart for to Sing” for the London Sinfonietta and “Tarab Cuts”, a response to recordings of early Arabic classical music which was shortlisted for a 2014 British Composer’s Award.
“English saxophonist John Butcher may be among the world’s most influential musicians, operating at the cutting-edge of improvisatory practice since the ‘80s. Whenever an acoustic musician starts to sound like a bank of oscillators, a tropical forest, a brook or an insect factory, Butcher’s influence is likely nearby.” – New York City Jazz Record.