Reviews that mention Rhodri Davies

April 13, 2014

Common Objects

Live in Morden Tower
Mikroton CD 29

John Butcher/Leonel Kaplan/Christof Kurzmann

Shortening Distances

L’innomable 2013/No #

The Apophonics

On Air

Weight of Wax Wow 05

There’s a probing consistency in British saxophonist John Butcher’s music, with the following of unexpected paths one of its chief listening pleasures. Like many other peripatetic improvisers, the London-based soprano and tenor saxophonist is involved with many other musicians, yet as these sessions demonstrate, he maintains a consistency of approach. MORE

October 7, 2013

Various Artists

Just Not Cricket: Three Days of Improvised Music in Berlin
Ni-Vu-Ni-Connu nvnc lp001/004

Erik Carlsson & All Stars

Swedish azz Volume 1 & Volume 2

NotTwo MW 901-1A/ NotTwo MW 901-1B

Thomas Lehn, Michel F. Côté, Éric Normand

Invisible

Tour de Bras DL #1

Malcolm Goldstein/Thomas Lehn

Sources

Tour de Bras DL #2

Something In the Air: Good Music Comes In Many Forms and Formats

By Ken Waxman

Standardization is a thing of the past when it comes to recorded music and listeners who get too far ahead of or behind the curve are likely to miss interesting sounds. Just as the production of movies didn’t cease with the acceptance of television, so the manufacture of LPs continued even as the CD became the format of the moment. As artisans continue to craft fine furniture despite the availability of mass-produced items, so too LPs are being created in limited quantities. This situation appears tailor-made for experimental sounds. Similarly since advanced players are often as impecunious as they are inventive, the ubiquity of the Internet means that some music is only sold through the Web. The option of not having to create a physical product is a boon for non-mainstream performers. MORE

January 5, 2012

SFE

Positions and Descriptions
Clean Feed CF 230 CD

By Ken Waxman

For the past 20-odd years as “Butch” Morris has demonstrated conduction: structuring free improvisation using a specific series of hand gestures, many improvising ensembles have been created in his its wake. Whether groups use or not signals developed by Morris to rearrange and sculpt notated and non-notated music, conduction is part of their inventory. As these releases demonstrate however, it depends on individual musicians’ skills for a performance to be fully satisfying. MORE

November 25, 2011

Cranc

Copper Fields
Organized Music from Thessaloniki #09/Absurd #82

Redefining and reconstructing the idea of how a string trio should sound, the members of Cranc have produced a single, nearly hour-long piece that may onomatopoeically reproduce the sound of the ensemble’s name, which is a homonym for the word defined as nonconformist.

Nonconformist the three who cranked out this superior example of non-idiomatic, electro-acoustic improvisation may be, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have appropriate musical credentials. Nikos Veliotis is an Athens-based cellist involved in audio and visual experiments, as well as playing with the likes of Norwegian bassist Michael Duch and British pianist John Tilbury. London-based Welsh violinist Angharad Davies is conversant with both notated and improvised experimental music and plays with such international sound explorers as saxophonist John Butcher from the United Kingdom and German trumpeter Axel Dörner. Davies’ brother Rhodri Davies has over the past decade-and-a-half created a unique role for the venerable harp in improvised music, working with everyone from Butcher to German synthesizer player Thomas Lehn. 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 20, 2011

Davies/Patterson/Troop

Wunderkammern
Another Timbre at37

Abstract abrasions and intonations make up this cabinet of curiosities constructed by three sound explorers from the United Kingdom. While the interaction on each track varies, depending on the instruments used, the overall plan attempts to blend textures in such a way that depth, volume and speed alter and shift almost imperceptibly to produce near-three-dimensional aural effects,

Each player’s background and instrument choices help define this “wunderkammern”. Welsh-born harpist Rhodri Davies, for instance, who here also uses ebows, electronics and preparations, specializes in redefining his instrument’s properties, often in the company of other timbre experimenters such as saxophonist John Butcher. Most senior of the three, writer/musician David Toop, who plays laptop, steel guitar, flutes and percussive devices, has over the years worked with partners as different as sound poet Bob Cobbing, director/actor Steven Berkoff and saxophonist Evan Parker. Prestwich-based Lee Patterson uses field recordings to mate familiar sounds with instrumental surfaces mutated with amplified devices. He regularly works in another band with violinist Angharad Davies. 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 28, 2011

Muta

Bricolage
Al Maslakh Recordings 12

Tilbury/Duch/Davies

Cornelius Cardew: Works 1960-70

+3db 012

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

December 29, 2010

Rhodri Davies/Stéphane Rives/Ernesto Rodrigues/Guilherme Rodrigues/Carlos Santos

Twerf Neus Ciglau
Creative Sources CS 156 CD

Rhodri Davies/Michel Doneda/Louisa Martin/Phil Minton/Lee Patterson

Midhopestones

Another Timbre at19

John Butcher/Rhodri Davies

Carliol

Ftarri 220

When blazing new sonic trails it seems that Welsh harpist Rhodri Davies has a particular affinity for doing so alongside saxophonists, as these CDs recorded between 2007 and 2009 attest. Furthermore, listening to these sessions chronologically, it appears that Davies is becoming progressively more selfless with his timbral palate whether he’s joined by Japanese Onkyo practitioners or European formalists. Only on Twerf Neus Ciglau for instance, are the harp’s expected ringing tones heard. On the other CDs, unexpected textures produced by manual string preparations, electronics, an embedded speaker and other techniques associated with a pedal harp, a lever harp or an electric harp predominate. MORE

December 29, 2010

Rhodri Davies/Michel Doneda/Louisa Martin/Phil Minton/Lee Patterson

Midhopestones
Another Timbre at19

John Butcher/Rhodri Davies

Carliol

Ftarri 220

Rhodri Davies/Stéphane Rives/Ernesto Rodrigues/Guilherme Rodrigues/Carlos Santos

Twerf Neus Ciglau

Creative Sources CS 156 CD

When blazing new sonic trails it seems that Welsh harpist Rhodri Davies has a particular affinity for doing so alongside saxophonists, as these CDs recorded between 2007 and 2009 attest. Furthermore, listening to these sessions chronologically, it appears that Davies is becoming progressively more selfless with his timbral palate whether he’s joined by Japanese Onkyo practitioners or European formalists. Only on Twerf Neus Ciglau for instance, are the harp’s expected ringing tones heard. On the other CDs, unexpected textures produced by manual string preparations, electronics, an embedded speaker and other techniques associated with a pedal harp, a lever harp or an electric harp predominate. MORE

December 29, 2010

John Butcher/Rhodri Davies

Carliol
Ftarri 220

Rhodri Davies/Michel Doneda/Louisa Martin/Phil Minton/Lee Patterson

Midhopestones

Another Timbre at19

Rhodri Davies/Stéphane Rives/Ernesto Rodrigues/Guilherme
Rodrigues/Carlos Santos

Twerf Neus Ciglau

Creative Sources CS 156 CD

When blazing new sonic trails it seems that Welsh harpist Rhodri Davies has a particular affinity for doing so alongside saxophonists, as these CDs recorded between 2007 and 2009 attest. Furthermore, listening to these sessions chronologically, it appears that Davies is becoming progressively more selfless with his timbral palate whether he’s joined by Japanese Onkyo practitioners or European formalists. Only on Twerf Neus Ciglau for instance, are the harp’s expected ringing tones heard. On the other CDs, unexpected textures produced by manual string preparations, electronics, an embedded speaker and other techniques associated with a pedal harp, a lever harp or an electric harp predominate. MORE

November 21, 2010

A New Pulse:

Another Timbre welcomes both established and younger improvisers
By Ken Waxman

Frustration, altruism and a sudden monetary windfall were the contributing factors that led Simon Reynell to found the Sheffield England-based Another Timbre record label (www.anothertimbre.com) in 2006. After more than two dozen releases – both on CD and CD-R – it’s now acknowledged as an artistic success.

A sound recordist for television and someone who has been “passionately into experimental music” for around 35 years, Reynell had become increasingly frustrated by what he calls the “dumbing down” of TV programming to reality and celebrity-oriented shows from the sort of proper documentaries on which he works. An unexpected inheritance gave him some capital and Another Timbre (AT) was born. Initially setting out to present the work of young improvisers involved in drummer Eddie Prévost’s 10-year-old weekly London workshop, the catalogue has expanded to include not only improvisers from outside the United Kingdom, but also established stylists such as pianist Chris Burn and sound-singer Phil Minton. MORE

May 27, 2010

SLW

Fifteen point nine grams
Organized Music from Thessaloniki 107

The Sealed Knot

And we disappear

Another Timbre at23

Activity Center

Lohn & Brot

Absinth Records 017

Negotiating the chasm among noise, improv and notated music is Berlin-based Burkhard Beins, who over the past decade or so has solidified his identity as a sound artist as well as a percussionist. While not for the aurally squeamish – or the traditional jazzer – there are numerous exhilarating instances of timbre blending and sound collaging among this trio of discs. MORE

May 27, 2010

Sealed Knot

And we disappear
Another Timbre at23

Activity Center

Lohn & Brot

Absinth Records 017

SLW

Fifteen point nine grams

Organized Music from Thessaloniki 107

Negotiating the chasm among noise, improv and notated music is Berlin-based Burkhard Beins, who over the past decade or so has solidified his identity as a sound artist as well as a percussionist. While not for the aurally squeamish – or the traditional jazzer – there are numerous exhilarating instances of timbre blending and sound collaging among this trio of discs. MORE

March 29, 2010

Rhodri Davies/Gregory Büttner

3 Harp Treatments
Anthropometrics Antro 03

Annette Krebs/Rhodri Davies

kravis rhonn project

Another Timbre at15

Quaint and endearingly fusty like a wind-up gramophone is how the sentiments expressed in the commercial of three decades ago, which asked listeners whether the performance they were hearing was live or on tape, now seem in the 21st Century. Today all sorts of electronic fill-ins and additions have been accepted as part of everyday musical life with many a pop diva lip-synching entire performances. MORE

March 29, 2010

Annette Krebs/Rhodri Davies

kravis rhonn project
Another Timbre at15

Rhodri Davies/Gregory Büttner

3 Harp Treatments

Anthropometrics Antro 03

Quaint and endearingly fusty like a wind-up gramophone is how the sentiments expressed in the commercial of three decades ago, which asked listeners whether the performance they were hearing was live or on tape, now seem in the 21st Century. Today all sorts of electronic fill-ins and additions have been accepted as part of everyday musical life with many a pop diva lip-synching entire performances. MORE

December 2, 2009

Tom Chant/Angharad Davies/Benedict Drew/John Edwards

Decentred
Another Timbre at18

Working both sides of the fence between notated and improvised music is second nature to the four accomplished British musicians featured on this CD. The session’s powerful appeal lies in the sensitive maneuvering the quartet uses to personalize one long piece by John Cage (1912-1992) plus three short indeterminate scores by Michael Pisaro (b.1961). An added bonus is two mid-sized improvisations.

Buffalo, N.Y.-born guitarist Pisaro teaches composition at CalArts. A member of the Wandelweiser Composers Ensemble, his harmony series translates into sound that leaves most sonic decisions to the musicians. Similarly “Four 6”, the last of Cage’s number pieces, utilizes a computer program to distribute the 12 pre-determined sounds to four musicians playing any instrument. MORE

April 13, 2008

MUTA

Yesterday Night You Were Sleeping at My Place
Sofa 522

Rhodri Davies

Over shadows

Confront 16

Rhodri Davies/Matt Davis/Samantha Rebello/Bechir Saade

Hum

Another Timbre at04

Chamber improv of a particular sort, each of these challenging discs highlights the playing of Welsh harpist Rhodri Davies: solo or as part of a trio or quartet. Although included among the instruments featured on the discs are flutes, a bass clarinet, a trumpet and percussion, a minimal number of expected timbres are heard. Full appreciation of the sessions demands a preference for dissonance as well as unconventionality. MORE

April 13, 2008

Rhodri Davies/Matt Davis/Samantha Rebello/Bechir Saade

Hum
Another Timbre at04

MUTA

Yesterday Night You Were Sleeping at My Place

Sofa 522

Rhodri Davies

Over shadows

Confront 16

Chamber improv of a particular sort, each of these challenging discs highlights the playing of Welsh harpist Rhodri Davies: solo or as part of a trio or quartet. Although included among the instruments featured on the discs are flutes, a bass clarinet, a trumpet and percussion, a minimal number of expected timbres are heard. Full appreciation of the sessions demands a preference for dissonance as well as unconventionality. MORE

April 13, 2008

Rhodri Davies

Over shadows
Confront 16

Rhodri Davies/Matt Davis/Samantha Rebello/Bechir Saade

Hum

Another Timbre at04

MUTA

Yesterday Night You Were Sleeping at My Place

Sofa 522

Chamber improv of a particular sort, each of these challenging discs highlights the playing of Welsh harpist Rhodri Davies: solo or as part of a trio or quartet. Although included among the instruments featured on the discs are flutes, a bass clarinet, a trumpet and percussion, a minimal number of expected timbres are heard. Full appreciation of the sessions demands a preference for dissonance as well as unconventionality. MORE

August 4, 2006

Broken Consort

Done
Quakebasket 24

With consort defined as an ensemble, the musicians here have chosen a particularly apt name for their band. While the two extended middle tracks features all three improvisers, track one breaks out harpist Rhodri Davies and the final track features only trumpeter Matt Davis and cellist Mark Wastell.

Considering that each player – all British – extends his instrument’s output with electronics, preparations and amplified textures that create additional pulsations and triggered sound loops, subtracting players from the trio doesn’t necessarily result in what could commonly be termed a duo or solo performance. When all three are present and accounted for, the converse is true. Vibrational and timbral pitches heard don’t necessarily give the listener any idea of the size of the group or which instruments are being played. MORE

October 10, 2005

Sealed Knot

Unwanted Object
Confront

Davies/Hayward/Ekhardt/Capece
Amber
Creative Sources

The Cortet
HHHH
Unsounds

By Ken Waxman
October 9, 2005

Visions of formally attired symphonic types producing shimmering glissandi, or alternately of Harpo Marx manhandling the luminescent strings, remain in most folks’ minds when they think of harpists. That may be why the 47-string symphony harps or smaller 34-string Celtic harps are usually musically underrepresented except for their coloration qualities. MORE

June 6, 2005

SAKADA

Never Give Up On The Margins Of Logic
Antioptic AN006/LS002

MAGARIDA GARCIA/MATTIN
For Permitted Consumption
L’innomable 04

More dispatches from the electro-acoustic edge of the improv equation, appreciation of these two short CDs depends on your acceptance of pure textural sound unprettified with melody, structure or harmony – sound linked to the mechanism only available in the late 20th and 21st centuries.

With hiss and static counting as much as elaborated tones, one of the most mystifying products of the creation is that the five musicians involved in Sakada produce no more extended nor resonant tones than the two players featured on FOR PERMITTED CONSUMPTION. MORE

February 16, 2004

NO SPAGHETTI EDITION

Real time satellite data
SOFA 513

CHRIS BURN’S ENSEMBLE
Ensemble at Musica Genera 2002
Musica General MG 006

Overcoming the challenge of fomenting non-idiomatic improvisations in the gray area between composition and improvisation has been a preoccupation of inclusive European musicians for the past few decades. Making that concept work in the field between electronic and handmade sounds preoccupied them in the 1990s. In the 21st Century, as these two consummate CDs demonstrate, the most accomplished instrumentalists are able to wrap all these tendencies into a program that can be performed by larger bands -- six and eight musicians are featured in the sessions here. MORE

December 8, 2003

THE SEALED KNOT

Surface/Plane
Meniscus MNSCS012

PETER KOWALD/MIYA MASAOKA/GINO ROBAIR
Illuminations (Several Views)
Rastascan BRD 049

One percussionist, one musician who plays a four-string instrument and another whose equipment is strung with many multiples of strings make up both trios featured on these improv sessions. Yet despite these points of congruence, they’re as different as hot dogs and fish-and-chips, as one featured two Americans, the others two Brits.

Actually it’s the third man -- coincidentally a German -- who probably best defines the differences. ILLUMINATIONS (SEVERAL VIEWS) features the late Peter Kowald combining his bass fiddle and basso voice with Miya Masaoka’s kotos and Gino Robair’s percussion on 16 furious, roaring take-no-prisoners sound pieces. MORE

April 21, 2003

RHODRI DAVIES

Trem
Confront 11

Discussing how the freedom of electronics can be translated to acoustic instrumentals, AMM guitarist Keith Rowe once said he was waiting for musicians to make a breakthrough on certain instruments, citing British saxophonist John Butcher and German trumpeter Axel Dörner as having done so with theirs.

Longtime followers of experimental sounds may be able to add other names to his list, but on this exceptional solo CD it’s pretty obvious that Welsh musician Rhodri Davies has dragged the concert harp into the 21st century. Just as stylists like Dörner and Greg Kelly manipulate the trumpet to remove its most typical sounds, so Davies uses preparations, detuned, bowed and e-bowed strings to create a new approach to an instrument that goes back to antiquity. MORE

March 17, 2003

ASSUMED POSSIBILITIES

Still point
Rossbin RS 007

AKIYAMA/NAKAMURA/SUGIMOTO/WASTELL
Foldings
Confront 12

Silence and the overtones associated with near silence are the guiding factors of these CDs, which both include British cellist Mark Wastell. With textural space on show and protracted electro-acoustic wheezes characterizing many of the abstractions here, neither of the two chamber-style quartets could be confused with conventional jazz, rock or New music ensembles. Neither sounds like the other either. All of which proves that there are as many variations of near silence as there are types of noise. MORE

January 13, 2003

IST

Ghost Notes
Bruce’s Fingers BF 28

A string trio with a difference, IST explores both notated and improvised music with a line up of cello, double bass and harp. But considering its members -- cellist Mark Wastell, harpist Rhodri Davies and bassist Simon H. Fell -- have wide experience on both sides of the divide created by music paper, there’s no disconnect when it comes to the performances or instrumentation.

It’s often said in reviews that one can’t tell where the written music ends and the improvisations begin, but that isn’t a problem with this disc. The compositions by Phil Durrant, Stace Constantinou, Gusto Pryderi Puw, Carl Bergstrøm-Nielson, Wastell and Fell are clearly labeled, as are the four improvisations. What is more noteworthy, though, is that by using extended techniques and preparations, IST pushes its acoustic string instruments to the limit to create this thought-provoking CD, its third. MORE

January 13, 2003

Simon H. Fell

Composition No. 30.
Bruce’s Fingers BF 27

The compositions and performance of British bassist Simon H. Fell on this two-CD set may be the long-awaited physical flowering of Gunther Schuller’s and John Lewis’ ideas from the 1960s. Fell may also have taken those theories even further.

In the early 1960s, Schuller, a modern composer, French hornist and head of Boston’s New England Conservatory; and Lewis, pianist and music director of the Modern Jazz Quartet; conceived of Third Stream music that would combine elements of music’s first and second streams of classical music and jazz. They recorded a few albums and even put together a mixed jazz and classical ensemble called Orchestra USA. MORE

March 15, 2002

APARTMENT HOUSE

Cornelius Cardew: chamber music 1955-64
Matchless MRCD45-CD

Alongside his status as important modern British composer Cornelius Cardew (1936-1981) was probably one of the few outrightly romantic figures in 20th century contemporary music. Darkly handsome in a Bohemian fashion, Cardew began his career with a Royal Academy of Music education than a period as assistant to Karlheinz Stockhausen. Later more attuned to the ideas of John Cage, he was soon turning out graphical scores, and was for a period the chief link between the more radical European composers and musicians with their American counterparts. At the same time he was a founding, although short-lived, playing member of the seminal free improv group AMM. MORE

January 15, 2002

CHRIS BURN/JOHN BUTCHER/RHODRI DAVIES/JOHN EDWARDS

The First Two Gigs
EMANEM 4063

Good things often come in small packages.

A vest pocket version of the octet/nonet Ensemble, British pianist Chris Burn has been leading on-and-off since 1984, this quartet on its maiden voyages seems more focused than the larger group, perhaps because each of the musicians has to assert himself even more in a more compact situation.

Recorded in two different London clubs in sessions four months apart, to be honest, the performances here don’t sound at all like that of four musicians groping towards a common modus operandi. Perhaps it’s because each has some sort of playing experience with at least one of the others. MORE