"The Sealed Knot are one of the great free improvisation groups, comparable to the classic 1980s SME line-up of John Stevens, Nigel Coombes and Roger Smith for edge-of-your-seat attentiveness and sheer inter-group telepathy. Rhodri Davies, Mark Wastell and Burkhard Beins have been a unit since 2000, a melding of London and Berlin. Recent sightings have been rare, but they played in Berlin this May, and now Wastell's revived Confront label is releasing this live album from January 2009.
The purpose of the 2009 show was to celebrate Another Timbre's release of And We Disappear, recorded live in Switzerland at a 2007 festival titled Ear We Are. That album was about the yawning gulf between Davies's high, piercing ebow work and Wastell's glacial double bass. Whereas the new record has Wastell switching to tam tam, and all three musicians employing electronics - but lo-fi mechanical electronics, rather than digital processing. So there's a pleasing, subdued industrial fury lurking beneath the music. Filigrees of rapid clicking make way for subterranean pulsing, and Beins adds the super-pure tones of bowed cymbals, to blur the electric/acoustic distinction further. Around 18 minutes the group contemplate silence, before launching into a further 13 minutes of patient exploration and metallic mystery.
Wastell has grumbled that critics are "always 12 months behind the flow" when it comes to describing what musicians are up to, and here he is, helping us along by releasing a four year old recording. Never mind that the trend-buzz around Lower Case Improv, New London Silence & co has worn off; with music of this quality we're dealing with simple excellence, and any opportunity to see this group at work should be seized." (Clive Bell, The Wire)
Burkhard Beins / percussion, electronics
Rhodri Davies / harp, electronics
Mark Wastell / tam-tam, electronics
Recorded live at the 'Another Timbre' Festival, Cafe OTO, London on January 21st, 2009.
Available as 320k MP3 or 16bit FLAC
1. Live At Cafe OTO - 31:35
Mark Wastell has been active as a musician since 1995, making his initial concerts with the trio IST featuring Rhodri Davies and Simon H. Fell. He has performed and recorded extensively and has collaborated with the likes of Derek Bailey, John Butcher, Evan Parker, Lasse Marhaug, John Tilbury, Mattin, Mark Sanders, Tony Conrad, Tim Barnes, Bernhard Günter, Keith Rowe, John Zorn, Peter Kowald, Joachim Nordwall, Otomo Yoshihide, Burkhard Beins, Paul Dunmall, David Toop, Alan Wilkinson, Max Eastley, Hugh Davies, Julie Tippetts and David Sylvian. Mark also runs the Confront Recordings record label.
Burkhard Beins, born 1964 in Lower Saxony, lives in Berlin since 1995. As a composer/performer working in the fields of experimental music and sound art he is known for his definitive use of percussion in combination with selected sound objects. Furthermore, he works with live-electronics/analog synthesizers and has conceived several sound installations.
Since the late 1980's he is performing at internationally renowned venues and festivals throughout Europe, America, Australia and Asia as diverse as the LMC Festival (London), Int. Ferienkurse (Darmstadt), SKIF (St. Petersburg), Musiktage (Donaueschingen), Musique Action (Nancy), Choppa Festival (Singapore), Cave 12 (Geneva), The Now now (Sydney), ZKM (Karlsruhe), Kaleidophon (Ulrichsberg), Kid Ailack Music Hall (Tokyo), Gaudeamus Festival (Amsterdam), Liquid Architecture (Australia), Meteo (Mulhouse), Taktlos (CH), Berghain (Berlin), Konfrontationen (Nickelsdorf), Serralves (Porto), Wien Modern (Vienna), MoMA (New York), New Music Festival (Hanoi), Irtijal (Beirut), or Maerzmusik (Berlin).
Alongside his solo work he is a member of the ensembles Polwechsel, Activity Center, The Sealed Knot, Perlonex, Sawt Out, Trio Sowari, Junk Orbit, Fracture Mechanics, and Splitter Orchester and also works with composers/musicans such as Sven-Åke Johansson, Andrea Neumann, Keith Rowe, Axel Dörner, Tarek Atoui, Chris Abrahams, John Tilbury, or Charlemagne Palestine.
Burkhard Beins gives workshops based on his graphic score system Adapt/Oppose, has published several articles on music theory, and is a co-editor of the book “Echtzeitmusik Berlin – Self-Defining a Scene” as well as the curator of a follow-up 3CD compilation featuring the Berlin Echtzeitmusik scene. Meanwhile he has released more than 50 CDs and LPs on labels like Zarek, Erstwhile, 2:13 Music, Hat Hut, Potlatch, Absinth, alt.vinyl, God Records, Mikroton, or Confront.
Rhodri Davies plays harp, electric harp, live-electronics and builds wind, water and fire harp installations. His regular groups include: a duo with John Butcher, The Sealed Knot, a trio with David Toop and Lee Patterson, Common Objects, Cranc, a trio with John Tilbury and Michael Duch, SLW and Apartment House. In 2008 he collaborated with the visual artist Gustav Metzger on ‘Self-cancellation’, a large- scale audio-visual collaboration in London and Glasgow. He also performs and researches contemporary music. New pieces for harp have been composed for him by: Eliane Radigue, Christian Wolff, Ben Patterson, Alison Knowles, Michael Pisaro, Carole Finer, Mieko Shiomi, Radu Malfatti and Yasunao Tone.