"Minton spins the dial across the spectrum of vocalising. At points it feels as if semantic meaning is under the skin - a Beckettian monologue is close by - but then it skitters away. Minton wants us to find meaning in sound rather than the other way around."
Louise Gray, The Wire, 2021
"But the Acoustic Chicken is tame beside Woke Up At 8, a free range download from Torquay vocalist Phil Minton. This thirty minute one-take outburst showcases the octogenarian’s unfailingly ability to make unexpected sounds come out of his mouth, often inhuman, often all too human, and owing as much to Beckett’s Not I as to the sacred tablets of improvised music. Panic, terror, social embarrassment, primordial energy and existential awe break the barriers of Minton’s all-consuming and physically exhausting soundscape. "
Stewart Lee, 2021
"Minton immediately triggered the flux of temperamental vocalism he’s renowned for. Shards of verbalization beyond the human, preposterous implosions, deranged emulations, triturated syllables... Thirty minutes of incredibly natural virtuosity summarize an entire existence." Massimo Ricci - touching extremes, 2021
Fished from a dream and dispelled through his contorted and bewitching vocal chords, long-time OTO-favourite Phil Minton shares with us a stunning new one-take solo recording. Phil turned 80 last November and was due to celebrate it with a residency at OTO, but as it couldn't happen we're happy to share this instead, and look forward to having him back in the venue soon...
"I had never tried recording myself before, but since the dreaded youknowwhat I’ve been stuck at home, like most people. There's been some music zoomups with colleagues in various parts of the world which I’ve really loved, practicing the trumpet, some far out voice improvising with my grandchildren to keep my chops bouncing, walking our dog Molly, an occasional puff now and again and a glass of vino or two, but no travel and singing in front of people like there has been for the last sixty or so years.
Putting out the recycling every Wednesday evening was no substitute, so when Fielding asked if I would like to record a solo for Otoroku, I thought great yes, i’ll give it a go. A new departure.
I've always had a problem with technology, I can’t drive among other things, and the practice of improvising and button pushing etc all on the same day is difficult for me: my brain sort of curdles into a white noise custard, whistling and walking no problem. I've had some recording tips from other musicians and have a not so difficult recording program, so when I see that the sound waves are not going into the red when I get loud, all I have to do is press start and off we go - all pretty straight forward.
I recorded *woke up at eight* in the morning after not sleeping that well, before any breakfast. I had a lot of fast sounds and images from half remembered dreams only just below conciousness. I’ll leave it to the listener to imagine a narrative if needed. As it is with most dreams, I remember nothing now, just an abstract sense of speed going nowhere….
If you do listen to the recording, please do it in one take like it was recorded and I really do hope you enjoy or whatever.
- Phil Minton
Phil Minton - voice & recording
Artwork design by Oliver Barrett
For a long time now Phil Minton has been working as a improvising singer, solo and in groups and situations at various locations all over the place, deserts, quarries, concert halls, pubs, holes, dodgy clubs, containers, up trees, in prisons, on mountains, in churches, under bridges and cafe oto etc.
Phil Minton comes from Torquay. He played trumpet and sang with the Mike Westbrook Band in the early 60s - Then in dance and rock bands in Europe for the later of part of the decade. He returned to England in 1971, rejoining Westbrook and was involved in many of his projects until the mid 1980′s.
For most of the last forty years, Minton has been working as an improvising singer in lots of groups, orchestras, and situations. Numerous composers have written music especially for his extended vocal techniques. He has a quartet with Veryan Weston, Roger Turner and John Butcher, and ongoing duos, trios and quartets with above and many other musicians, including tours with American singer Audrey Chen - with whom he has sang far and wide in the last ten years.
Since the eighties, His Feral Choir, where he voice-conducts workshops and concerts for anyone who wants to sing, has performed in over twenty countries.