Thursday 2 August 2018, 7.30pm
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 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