15–19 June 2016
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
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. He was part of the editorial teams of Musics and Collusion magazines, writes about music in various contexts, and was a senior lecturer in music at the 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 worked with Christian Marclay on numerous Marclay mixed media pieces. He has also worked with 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, Lore Lixenberg and many 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. In 2021, Bloomsbury published a book by Andy Hamilton: ‘Pianos, Toys, Music and Noise: Conversations with Steve Beresford’.
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.
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.
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.