Reviews that mention John Tilbury

May 14, 2020

Formanex

20 Years of Experimental Music
FibrrBX 01/Mikroton CD 76-85

Encapsulating two decades of an ensemble’s performing history on disc can be difficult. Spreading the results over 10 CDs can be even more trying and in some cases numbing. Luckily Formanex, the French experimental music trio, overcomes some of these drawbacks by including sounds from 1998 to 2018 that in the main feature expanded line-ups and guests. Still, at points immersing new timbres into the band’s mixture of electronic and ambient sequences merely intensifies sameness.

Intertwining influences from post-punk, notated music, minimalism, microtones and Jazz improvisation, Formanex today consists of guitarist Anthony Taillard, Julien Ottavi, who plays percussion, laptop and electronics and Christoph Havard’s electronics, objects and sometimes alto saxophone. Over the years other players such as Emmanuel Leduc on guitar and electronics, the three members of the British group AMM, especially guitarist Keith Rowe, and the six to 10 musicians who make up ONsemble have played alongside Formanex. MORE

February 13, 2020

John Tilbury

The Tiger’s Mind
Cubus Records CR 372

Jacques Demierre

The Well Measured Piano

Creative Works CW 1064

D.D. Jackson

Live at Freedom of Sound

No label No #

Lafayette Gilchrist

Dark Matter

CDcds 005

Eve Risser

Après un rêve

Clean Feed 524 CD

Something in the Air: Solo Piano Forays Define the Limits of Improvised Music

By Ken Waxman

Often called an orchestra on its own, the pianoforte has been an accepted vessel for solo performances almost from the time it was invented around 1700. Through the centuries its refinement and development has allowed for memorable presentations in jazz, so-called classical and less refined popular music. Depending on the player and the program, the piano can be both a percussive and a melodic instrument so that its versatility can be emphasized by committed improvisers as well. MORE

September 26, 2018

AAMM

Unholy Elisabeth
Al Maslakh Records 21

John Tilbury/Keith Rowe/Kjell Bjørgensen

Sissel

SOFA 563

Practically alone at one time as participant in improvised music from the notated music realm, British pianist John Tilbury is one of the foremost interpreters of the works Moron Feldman, John Cage and Cornelius Cardew. Yet Tilbury, who is also a teacher with distinguished academic credentials, was also a member of the free-form Scratch Orchestra in the 1970s and since that time has kept a hand in both genres most notably as a member of London-based AMM since 1980. MORE

September 26, 2018

John Tilbury/Keith Rowe/Kjell Bjørgensen

Sissel
SOFA 563

AAMM

Unholy Elisabeth

Al Maslakh Records 21

Practically alone at one time as participant in improvised music from the notated music realm, British pianist John Tilbury is one of the foremost interpreters of the works Moron Feldman, John Cage and Cornelius Cardew. Yet Tilbury, who is also a teacher with distinguished academic credentials, was also a member of the free-form Scratch Orchestra in the 1970s and since that time has kept a hand in both genres most notably as a member of London-based AMM since 1980. MORE

July 16, 2018

Keith Rowe

By Brian Olewnick
powerhouse Books

By Ken Waxman

Brian Olewnick is an excellent record reviewer. This nearly 500 page volume devoted to the life and music of British table-top guitarist Keith Rowe demonstrates his skill in that specialized genre by frequently offering well-though-out and insightful reviews of many sessions featuring Rowe or the ensemble with which he became well-known: AMM. While this analysis of sessions released and unreleased, plus live encounters is an important addendum to any analysis of European Free Music since 1960, it often appears to takes the place of more erudite observations in the book. MORE

September 5, 2017

Météo Mulhouse Music Festival

August 22 to August 26, 2017

A consistent French tradition like chewy baguettes, fine Camembert or Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Mulhouse, France’s Météo Festival, now in its 35th year, continues to present exemplary musicians in concert, without the program ever becoming homogeneous. What this means is that while the festival which took place August 22-August 26, was introduced and reached a climax with absorbing and innovative with sets by veteran Imptov saxophonists Evan Parker and Peter Brötzmann, performances which encompassed minimalism, hard-core Free Jazz, electronics, Rock, notated and folkloric music were part of the schedule. MORE

November 11, 2016

Keith Rowe/John Tilbury

enough still not to know
SOFA 548

Mopomoso Tour 2013

Making Rooms

Weekertoft 1-4

Barry Guy Blue Shroud Band Small Formations

Tensegrity

NotTwo MW938-2

Mats Gustafsson’ Peace & Fire

At Porgy & Bess

Trost Records TR 140

Something In The Air: Multi-Disc Box Sets Offer Depth As Well As Quantity

By Ken Waxman

When a CD box of improvised music appears it customarily marks a critical occasion. So it is with these recent four-disc sets. One celebrates an anniversary tour by nine of London’s most accomplished improvisers. Another collects small group interactions in Krakow by musicians gathered to perform as an orchestra. A third is a souvenir of concerts celebrating Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson’s 50th birthday. Finally enough still not to know captures extended improvisations by pianist John Tilbury and table-top guitarist Keith Rowe, who have worked with one another on-and-off for 40 years. MORE

July 1, 2012

Keith Rowe & John Tilbury

E.E. Tension and Circumstance
Potlatch Records P311

While it’s evident that three into two won’t go, the situation is a bit more fluid when it comes to improvised music. Case in point is this Paris concert by guitarist Keith Rowe and pianist John Tilbury, who for a quarter of a century – before Rowe disassociated himself from the group – made up two-thirds of the venerable AMM improvising ensemble.

That’s why E.E. Tension and Circumstance is so surprising. For besides showing what the guitarist and pianist can do on their own, the performance includes strands of percussiveness among the pregnant pauses, oscillating static and parsimonious tones which issue from both players. If the absence of AMM percussionist Eddie Prévost – who is after all the most discreet of drummers – wasn’t noted, it was appear that the classic trio was actually present. MORE

October 10, 2011

Festival Report:

Météo Music Festival August 23 to August 27 2011
By Ken Waxman

Météo means weather in French, and one notable aspect of this year’s Météo Music Festival which takes place in Mulhouse, France, was the weather. It’s a testament to the high quality of the creative music there that audiences throughout the five days were without exception quiet and attentive despite temperatures in non air-conditioned concert spaces that hovered around the high 90sF. More dramatically, one afternoon a sudden freak thunderstorm created an unexpected crescendo to a hushed, spatial performance, by the Greek-Welsh Cranc trio of cellist Nikos Veliotis, harpist Rhodri Davies and violinist Angharad Davies, when winds violently blew ajar the immense wooden front door of Friche DMC, a former thread factory, causing glass to shatter and fall nosily. MORE

September 5, 2011

Pres Revisited:

Józef Patkowski in Memorium
Bolt Records DUX 0812/13

Fascinating in its bravado, this set joins one CD of 1960s and 1970s recording of important musique concrete by five Polish composers with another CD of acoustic improvisations on these themes by three British and two Polish players. The result not only captures cerebral variants of the compositions but also affirms the originality of the sounds created in the days of bulky tape recorders and thick coaxial cables.

Honoring Józef Patkowski (1929-2005), co-founder of the Polish Radio Experimental Studio (PRES) in 1957 and its director for 28 years, the original recordings revisit the musical freedom offered by PRES during those Cold War years. For instance Krzystof Penderecki’s Psalmus (1961) uses electronic filtering and flanges to deconstruct vowels and constants initially created by the bel canto gurgles and quivering yodels of male and female singers. John Tilbury’s contemporary piano version is more chromatic, with vibrating and strumming strings resonating on top of basso keyboard rumbles. After the tune reaches satisfactory linearity, he shatters the mood by shrilling a lifeguard’s whistle. MORE

June 10, 2011

Joëlle Léandre

Live at the “Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon”
Leo Records CD LR 594/595

Joëlle Léandre & India Cooke

Journey

No Business Records NBCD 18

Joëlle Léandre/Phillip Greenlief

That Overt Desire of Object

Relative Pitch Records RPR 1002

Joëlle Léandre/Nicole Mitchell/Dylan van der Schyff

Before After

Roguart Rog-0032

By Ken Waxman

Solo, duo, trio, combo, there seems little that French bassist Joëlle Léandre isn’t capable of in an improvising situation. This clutch of CDs demonstrates this. One outstanding anomaly however is Live at the “Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon”, where she directs a handpicked tentet through a composition she created specifically for the festival. All the discs are of uniform high quality. MORE

June 10, 2011

Festival Report:

Freedom of the City 2011
By Ken Waxman

Electronics, percussion and home-made instruments were prominently featured in many contexts during London’s annual Freedom of the City (FOTC) festival, April 30 to May 2. In spite of this, some outstanding performances involved the hyper-traditional piano or saxophone.

A snapshot of contemporary, mostly European, creative music, FOTC encompassed sounds as different as electronic processing from the likes of Adam Bohman and Lawrence Casserley; rarefied ensemble minimalism; unabashed free jazz from saxophonist Lionel Garcin’s and pianist Christine Wodrascka’s quartet; an entire evening devoted to the massive London Improvisers Orchestra (LIO); and pianist John Tilbury’s and bassist Michael Duch’s interpretations of Cornelius Cardew and Morton Feldman compositions. MORE

April 28, 2011

Tilbury/Duch/Davies

Cornelius Cardew: Works 1960-70
+3db 012

Muta

Bricolage

Al Maslakh Recordings 12

Multi-tasking is an accepted fact of musical life for Welsh harpist Rhodri Davies. Playing one of the world’s oldest and most distinctive sounding instrument means that his regular work doesn’t involve gigging at the neighboring watering hole with the local Jazz trio or Rock combo. Plus, since the now-Newcastle upon Tyne-based multi-string specialist is most commonly involved in the intricacies of contemporary improvised and notated music, session work is mostly out too. Happily though, Davies’ virtuosity is such that he can make an essential contribution to just about any musical situation. MORE

April 14, 2010

Werner Dafeldecker/Christof Kurzmann/John Tilbury/Stevie Wishart

[The Violet CD]
Mikroton CD 4

Minimalist and understated in approach, but maximal and sophisticated in talent and presentation, this CD demonstrates how well profoundly committed improvisers, who don’t work together regularly, can find common ground.

During the course of five tracks recorded in Vienna and two from Wels, Austria, the quartet crafts a soundscape of stretched tones and opaque drones that at points masks the expected timbres of the instruments and at others clearly delineate them. All the participants are old hands at this sort of in-the-moment improvisation, British pianist John Tilbury is a long-time member of AMM; Austrian bassist Werner Dafeldecker is a member of Polwechsel; Stevie Wishart from the United Kingdom has played her hurdy gurdy in ensembles featuring pianist Chris Burn and saxophonist John Butcher; and Austrian Christof Kurzmann, who plays lloopp and clarinet here, has recorded with Butcher and clarinetist Kai Fagaschinski among others. MORE

February 16, 2010

AMM with John Butcher

Trinity
Matchless MRCD 71

Polwechsel & John Tilbury

Field

hatOLOGY 672

Adding a new element to an established entity even in improvised music can be liberating, upsetting or something in-between. This thesis is demonstrated on these CDs, with, for a variety of factors, varying results.

On Field for instance, where the distinctive pianism of British keyboardist John Tilbury joins the Austrian-German-British Polwechsel quintet, the resulting sound field is enhanced. Trinity on the other hand is more problematic. Here British saxophonist John Butcher – who was a member of Polwechsel when the first CD was recorded – adds his reed style to sounds created by the long-standing AMM duo of Tilbury and percussionist Eddie Prévost. Oddly enough the triangle appears unbalanced not from Butcher’s novel contributions, but from a bewildering reticence on the part of Prévost. This is especially puzzling since the saxophonist and the percussionist recorded a notable disc in 2005. MORE

February 16, 2010

Polwechsel & John Tilbury

Field
hatOLOGY 672

AMM with John Butcher

Trinity

Matchless MRCD 71

Adding a new element to an established entity even in improvised music can be liberating, upsetting or something in-between. This thesis is demonstrated on these CDs, with, for a variety of factors, varying results.

On Field for instance, where the distinctive pianism of British keyboardist John Tilbury joins the Austrian-German-British Polwechsel quintet, the resulting sound field is enhanced. Trinity on the other hand is more problematic. Here British saxophonist John Butcher – who was a member of Polwechsel when the first CD was recorded – adds his reed style to sounds created by the long-standing AMM duo of Tilbury and percussionist Eddie Prévost. Oddly enough the triangle appears unbalanced not from Butcher’s novel contributions, but from a bewildering reticence on the part of Prévost. This is especially puzzling since the saxophonist and the percussionist recorded a notable disc in 2005. MORE

November 12, 2009

Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon

Ulrichsberg, Austria
April 30 –May 2, 2009

A site-specific performance that took into account the dimensions and machinery of a still-functioning 1853 linen factory; resounding interface between pulsating electronic and acoustic instruments; and a full-force finale involving a mid-sized band were among the notable performances at 2009’s Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon.

Remarkable as well as the consistently high quality of the 11 concerts that took place during the 23rd edition of this three-day festival, is the location: a farming and small manufacturing village of fewer than 7,000 people about 60 kilometres west of Linz, Austria. MORE

November 15, 2004

John Tilbury & Eddie Prévost

discrete moments
Matchless

Evan Parker & Eddie Prévost
imponderable evidence
Matchless

By Ken Waxman
November 22, 2004

Despite various personnel permutations in British microtonal progenitor AMM since its formation in 1966, members have always characterized the band as involving much more than the musicians on stage and on record.

While this particular piece of mysticism seems out of character for the prodigiously educated and experienced players who make up the band, there’s no disputing that non-AMM projects expose unexpected musical persona of its members. Both these duo CDs are cases-in-point. MORE

January 19, 2004

AMM/FORMANEX

Treatise
Fibrr 006

Not for the dilettante nor the electro-acoustic faint-of-heart, this nearly 46 minute slab of semi-improvisation can be an unsettling experience if you come to it with explicit jazz, classical or even free music expectations.

Based around a 193-page graphic score of numbers, shapes and symbols of exquisite intricacy by British composer Cornelius Cardew, (1936-1981), Treatise, developed between 1963 and 1967, contains no explicit instructions about how to perform the work. Every performance can be different, though it’s possible that some who have heard it other times may not be prepared for the unyielding electronic tones that arise during this performance. Most upsetting are the harsh, ear-splitting textures that arise from either electric guitar or electronic distortion and reverberate for up to 40 seconds at a time. MORE

March 31, 2003

CHRISTIAN WOLFF

Early Piano Music (1951-1961)
Matchless MRCD 51

Member of the so-called New York School along with John Cage, Morton Feldman and Earle Brown, French/American composer Christian Wolff (b. 1934) also has a considerable history with improvisation.

Mostly self-taught, like many of the greatest jazzmen, he has been a professor of classics and music at Dartmouth College since 1970. Not only do many of his pieces allow for cues and other material to spark the performers’ interpretations, but as a pianist Wolff has improvised with, among others, soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, turntablist Christian Marclay and, most notably, veteran British trio AMM. MORE

April 26, 2002

AMM

Fine
Matchless MRCD46-CD

Suddenly (for them) speedy as Winter Olympic skaters, the members of AMM have released a CD less than a year after their most recent one. Remarkable for a band that often goes years between sessions, the three grand old men of BritImprov must have thought this session recorded in May 2001 in Vendoeuvre-les-Nancy, France was pretty special.

It is, but perhaps not in the way they heard it. The AMMers -- guitarist Keith Rowe, pianist John Tilbury and percussionist Eddie Prévost -- always present a problem for those trying to write about them, because their performances, both live and on record, are so much of a whole. Like René Magritte’s paintings or James Joyce’s prose each artistic statement is unequivocally linked to the band’s overall oeuvre, but enigmatically unique. FINE is more than fine because the musicians abandon the median intonation of the last disc for sections that are not only subterraneously hushed -- an AMM trademark -- but clamorous as any industrial noise band maximizing its amplification. MORE

September 10, 2001

AMM

Tunes Without Measure or End
Matchless MRCD44

Very few musicians -- or artists of any kind -- have been able to create a sphere so self-contained that it's not linked to any other timbre. And few have also made that one instantaneously recognizable. Yet AMM, the British improv group, did so when it first recorded in 1966, and has been refining this conception on record and in person ever since.

This new CD is thus not only the band's first disc to be released since 1996's BEFORE DRIVING TO THE CHAPEL … but it's also another metaphoric chapter in what could be termed the book of AMM, adding more distinctive information to the group's unique oeuvre. MORE