Cafe OTO and Extra Normal Records present a Contra Pop Festival primer: Flower-Corsano Duo + Alex Ward (solo) + Contra Pop DJs
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Cafe OTO and Extra Normal Records present a Contra Pop Festival primer ahead of its return to Ramsgate Beach on the 4th and 5th of August, featuring the incendiary pairing of Mick Flower & Chris Corsano and a solo set from composer, improviser, and performing musician, Alex Ward.
“There are few sounds so unique in improvised music today, and the duo's perfection of this kind of head-on freedom is rarely matched in any circle” – Brainwashed on Flower-Corsano Duo
Formed in 2005, the duo melds the propane-lit, overdriven drone-ragas of MICHAEL FLOWER (Vibracathedral Orchestra, MV & EE, Sunburned Hand of the Man)’s electrified shahi baaja and the melodically kinetic and free drumming of CHRIS CORSANO (Paul Flaherty, Joe McPhee, Rangda, Bjork). In the years since their debut album The Radiant Mirror (Textile, 2007), they have toured and recorded frequently, expanding their range to include a mind-boggling array of free sound with seamless shifts between tumultuous intensity and blissed-out serenity.
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 includes the avant-rock duo Dead Days Beyond Help in which he plays guitar, sings and co-writes the material; various groups which perform his compositions-for-improvisers including Forebrace, the Alex Ward Quintet/Sextet, and the Item series of ensembles (the first of which, Item 10, debuted at Cafe Oto in September 2017); and improvising collaborations both regular and ad-hoc with musicians including Steve Noble, Dominic Lash, Kay Grant, Joe Morris and Weasel Walter. Besides his own groups and improvisational work, he also performs in ensembles including the Duck Baker Trio/Quartet, Thurston Moore’s recent multi-guitar projects Galaxies and New Noise Guitar Explorations, and Charles Bullen and Charles Hayward’s This Is Not This Heat. 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. Much of his work is documented on the label Copepod, which he co-runs with Luke Barlow.
"...guitarist Alex Ward [is] a compulsively creative polymath... a reliably unpredictable axe-hero for collaborators of all backgrounds." Stewart Lee, The Sunday Times Review