Sunday 12 June 2022, 8pm
“Exposure to Morphogenesis seemed to have altered the way I processed sound information, reducing words to gibberish and investing random elements of the general hubbub with a peculiar and disorientating significance, as if the group had somehow punctured the mental filter that separates sense from the senseless.” – Stewart Lee, Epiphanies, The Wire January 2000
A rare appearance by these electroacoustic elders, on this occasion with original members Michael Prime, Clive Graham, Adam Bohman, Clive Hall and Ron Briefel.
Morphogenesis started recording in January 1985 and their first public performance was at the West Square Festival in London in July '85. The members of the group came from a wide range of musical backgrounds. Ron Briefel taught music technology at Morley College for 20 years and was responsible for the group’s early studio recordings. Adam Bohman organised concerts of improvised music in London. Roger Sutherland was a writer on new music and art and a member of Cornelius Cardew's Scratch Orchestra. Clive Graham had done studio work with Nurse With Wound. Michael Prime did live and recorded work with Organum.
The group’s aim: to unify and integrate many diverse sound elements - electronic, vocal, instrumental and environmental - within a context of continual evolution and dialogue. They construct some of their own instruments in addition to using adapted or prepared conventional instruments. These acoustic sounds are enhanced by electronic filtering. There are also some unusual electronic devices: a bioactivity translator used to measure the voltage potential of living organisms including plants, fungi and the human nervous system. It converts their biological rhythms into electronic sound. In concert, all these elements are live – not prerecorded - so yes, there may well be plants and fungi in the band.
Perhaps the most radical element of Morphogenesis' music is it's use of ambient sounds as an integral aspect of some performances. Sounds from outside the performance area - wind, rain and traffic sounds, for example - are picked up by remote-controlled microphones and are altered electronically during performance. This is consistent with the desire of the players that their music should provoke an intensified state of aural awareness which continues long after a performance is finished.