15–19 June 2016

Photo by Caroline Forbes

Alterations Festival

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.

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THE CURATORS

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

Steve Beresford

Steve has been a central figure in the British and international spontaneous music scenes for over forty years, freely improvising on piano, electronics and other things with people like Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Han Bennink, John Zorn and Alterations.

He has written songs, written for large and small ensembles, and scored short films, feature films, TV shows and commercials. He was part of the editorial teams for 'Musics' and 'Collusion' magazines, writes about music in various contexts and was a senior lecturer in music at University of Westminster. With Blanca Regina, he is part of 'Unpredictable Series', which produces events and sound and video recordings of experimental music and art.

Steve has often worked with Christian Marclay on various Marclay mixed media pieces. Others he has worked with include The Slits, Najma Akhtar, Stewart Lee, Ivor Cutler, Prince Far-I, Alan Hacker, Tania Chen, Ray Davies, Mandhira De Saram, The Flying Lizards, Zeena Parkins, The Portsmouth Sinfonia, Ilan Volkov, Rachel Musson, Vic Reeves and Lore Lixenberg.

Beresford has an extensive discography as performer, arranger, free-improviser, composer and producer, and was was awarded a Paul Hamlyn award for composers in 2012.

http://www.efi.group.shef.ac.uk/mberes.html

Peter Cusack

Peter is a field recordist, musician and sound artist with a long interest in the sound environment. He is currently based in Berlin.

He initiated the ‘Favourite Sounds Project’ to discover what people find positive about their everyday sound environment and ‘Sounds From Dangerous Places’ (sonic journalism) that investigates sites of major environmental damage such as the Caspian Sea oil fields and the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

He produced ‘Vermilion Sounds’ - the environmental sound program - for ResonanceFM Radio and is a research fellow at the London College of Communication. As DAAD artist-in-residence in Berlin 2011/12, he intiated ‘Berlin Sonic Places’, examining relationships between soundscapes and urban development. Musical collaborators include Kahondo Style, Clive Bell, Nic Collins and Viv Corringham.

http://favouritesounds.org
http://sounds-from-dangerous-places.org/

Terry Day

Terry is an improviser, multi-instrumentalist, lyricist, song writer, visual artist and poet. He is a ‘first generation’ pioneer improviser from the 1960s.

A self-taught musician in a family of musicians, he began improvising on the drums with his brother in 1955. In the early 1960s he formed the Hardy Holman Day trio focusing on free improvisation. Later he became part of Kilburn & the Highroads, a band led by Ian Dury.

Sharing their interest in visual art and painting, Terry and Ian both studied at Walthamstow School of Art and later at the Royal College of Art, London. As an art student in the 1960s he was a pioneer of improvisation, free jazz & experimental music.

Day also formed a duo with Derek Bailey in the late 1960s and was a regular member of The Continuous Music Ensemble, later known as The People Band. Since then he has collaborated with many musical luminaries, groups, dancers, painters, poets and performed in theatre, events, and rock & roll.

http://www.terryday.co.uk/

David Toop

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.

http://davidtoopblog.com/