Tuesday 23 February 2016, 8pm
An evening celebrating the launch of both Evan Parker & Seymour Wright's Tie the Stone to the Wheel and Sebastian Lexer & Steve Noble's Muddy Ditch on the Fataka label. Bringing together different generations and approaches, these duos reveal the strange and vital dynamics at the heart of improvised music.
EVAN PARKER / SEYMOUR WRIGHT
Fascinating combination of two uncompromising saxophonists. Seymour Wright grew up listening to Evan Parker's radical reshaping of the saxophone and both develops and deconstructs it in his own playing. Together, the two interrupt and augment each other incessantly, creating tight spirals of difference and similarity that crackle with ideas and energy.
SEBASTIAN LEXER / STEVE NOBLE
“Noble launched a belligerent, stabbing percussion attack, playing with sharp, aggressive percussiveness on gongs, cymbals and assertively tamped drums, while Lexer concentrated mostly on the piano’s harp and preparations, also frequently percussive, but more often bowing the strings for complex harmonics or using electronics to sensitively process sounds into rich, unusual timbres . . . as the set wore on, Noble increasingly allowed cymbal strikes to ring out in long, clear sustains that merged with resonant vibrations from Lexer’s piano, and towards its conclusion the set regained its previous vigour and then sublimated it, ultimately inducing an absorbing, almost meditative stillness.” – Tim Owen, Dalston Sound
Sebastian Lexer (piano+) and Steve Noble (drums and percussion) first played together in the winter of 2011 and what seemed like an unlikely, even oppositional, pairing quickly proved itself to be an extremely well-matched one. Noble's sharp vertical hits and Lexer's sustained horizontal textures echo, disrupt and enrich each other, producing music full of complex slants and intricate resonances.
"If you've ever been tempted by free improvisation, Parker is your gateway drug." - Stewart Lee
Evan Parker has been a consistently innovative presence in British free music since the 1960s. Parker played with John Stevens in the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, experimenting with new kinds of group improvisation and held a long-standing partnership with guitarist Derek Bailey. The two formed the Music Improvisation Company and later Incus Records. He also has tight associations with European free improvisations - playing on Peter Brötzmann's legendary 'Machine Gun' session (1968), with Alexander Von Schlippenbach and Paul Lovens (A trio that continues to this day), Globe Unity Orchestra, Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath, and Barry Guy's London Jazz Composers Orchestra (LJCO).
Though he has worked extensively in both large and small ensembles, Parker is perhaps best known for his solo soprano saxophone music, a singular body of work that in recent years has centred around his continuing exploration of techniques such as circular breathing, split tonguing, overblowing, multiphonics and cross-pattern fingering. These are technical devices, yet Parker's use of them is, he says, less analytical than intuitive; he has likened performing his solo work to entering a kind of trance-state. The resulting music is certainly hypnotic, an uninterrupted flow of snaky, densely-textured sound that Parker has described as "the illusion of polyphony". Many listeners have indeed found it hard to credit that one man can create such intricate, complex music in real time.
Seymour Wright – saxophonist, investigator, artist – lives in London. His practice is about the saxophone – music, history and technique – actual and potential; an on-going, rigorous and exhaustive exploration of the instrument. The energy of this learning is applied to various collaborations and contexts to access/share what he has called the ‘awkward wealth of investigation’. His work is documented on two widely acclaimed self-released collections Seymour Wright of Derby (2008) and Seymour Writes Back (2015). As well as STEPS, his current collaborations include lll人 (with Daichi Yoshikawa and Paul Abbott), GUO (with Daniel Blumberg) and XT (with Paul Abbott).
Steve Noble is London's leading drummer, a fearless and constantly inventive improviser whose super-precise, ultra-propulsive and hyper-detailed playing has galvanized encounters with Derek Bailey, Matthew Shipp, Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith, Stephen O'Malley, Joe McPhee, Alex Ward, Rhodri Davies and many, many more.
In the early eighties, Noble played with the Nigerian master drummer Elkan Ogunde, Rip Rig and Panic, Brion Gysin and the Bow Gamelan Ensemble, before going on to work with the pianist Alex Maguire and with Derek Bailey (including Company Weeks 1987, 89 and 90). He was featured in the Bailey's excellent TV series on Improvisation for Channel 4 based on his book ‘Improvisation; its nature and practise’. He has toured and performed throughout Europe, Africa and America and currently leads the groups N.E.W (with John Edwards and Alex Ward) and DECOY (with John Edwards and Alexander Hawkins).
Sebastian Lexer rewires the ultimate nineteenth-century drawing room mechanism with twenty-first-century technology to create a music that hovers inbetween times, exploiting the tension between the automatic and the intentional, making any firm sense of space thrillingly uncertain.