Limescale – Limescale

Inspired by Bailey's duo with Han Bennink, Sonic Pleasure (Marie-Angelique Bueler) and T.H.F Drenching sent a brick-and-dictaphone improvisation they’d recorded in a Liverpool Airport disabled toilet to Bailey. Bailey, impressed by the collage artwork and a Manchester postcode, sent them his number and invited them to play at his house on Downs Road, with a very young Alex Ward and Tony Bevan. Built on the percussive duo of Pleasure and Drenching, what follows is one of the weirdest and most underrated Incus records. 

"Recording it was lovely. We just did it more-or-less straight through. I think there was only one tune that we didn't include. Derek was in a good mood, and he'd brought mince pies for everyone since it was coming up to Christmas 2002. Everyone's playing really well, all of us are communicating really well. I was proud that Derek let me come up with the titles and the band name I miss Derek, because I didn't feel at all like I'd finished playing with him.”  -THF Drenching, 2017

“At the launch of the Incus CD Limescale aboard Sybil Madrigal’s Boat-Ting venue on the Thames I heard some punters complain at the back: ‘Where’s Derek? I came to see Derek Bailey and I can’t see or hear him!’ It was difficult to explain that, with Limescale, Derek had found the nirvana he stumbled on in drummer John Stevens’s Spontaneous Music Ensemble: the extinction of the ego in a musical collective. Limescale was built on the foundation of the Bueler–Calton rhythm section as surely as the SME was founded on Stevens (or the Joseph Holbrooke Trio on Oxley), and Derek loved it. So right near the end, he rediscovered the collectivity which he’d enjoyed when he first played free music in London.” –Ben Watson


Tony Bevan / bass clarinet

Alex Ward / clarinet

Derek Bailey / guitar

Sonic Pleasure / bricks

T.H.F Drenching / dictaphone


Recorded at The Moat Studio, London in December 2002 by Toby Hrycek-Robinson. Layout and design by Karen Brookman-Bailey.

Available as 320k MP3 or 16bit FLAC

1. Burger Plus - 6:11

2. French Archive - 11:30

3. The Army Stuffing Its Drum - 9:09

4. Charity Singles Ball - 17:09

5. Academy Now! - 10:38

6. Titles by Drenching - 5:59

Derek Bailey

Derek Bailey was one of the most influential and adventurous experimental guitarists to come from England (Sheffield), evolving out of the trad-jazz scene of the fifties into the avant/jazz scene in '60s London. By the late sixties he was a member of the Joseph Holbrooke Trio, Spontaneous Music Ensemble and Music Improvisation Company which later became the amorphous Company under his leadership. These groups were at the birth and center of the British free-jazz scene. In the early seventies, Derek Bailey and Evan Parker started their own record label called Incus Records - one of the first artist-run labels. 

Although Derek played with members of the British free/jazz scene, he also forged relationships with a number of European players like Han Bennink & Peter Brötzmann, Japanese free players like Abe Kaoru, Toshinori Kondo, as well as American improvisers like Anthony Braxton, George Lewis and John Zorn to name a few. 

Derek organized an annual festival called Company Week in the 80's & 90's, which brought together a unique group of international improvisers from varied backgrounds.

"He was a man who repelled pretension, refused to be shoehorned into comfortable categories, and played amazing guitar." - John Butcher

"I do not subscribe to the idea that free improvisation began or ends with any individual. This only suggests that somehow the music Derek made was so individualistic that it failed to communicate anything beyond personal expression." - Eddie Prevost