Saturday 21 January 2017, 7.30pm
Alterations are Steve Beresford, Peter Cusack, Terry Day & David Toop. Tonight they present a new album, Void Transactions, recorded at Cafe Oto at Alterations Festival 2016 and produced with Unpredictable Series. Supporting will be a duo of Mandhira de Saram and Blanca Regina with visuals by Pierre Bouvier Patron.
Alterations – David Toop, Peter Cusack, Terry Day and Steve Beresford – is a quartet of key thinkers and pioneers in music and visual arts.
They played many concerts in the years 1977 to 1986 and came back together last year for one very successful concert 2015. In 2016 they got together to collaborate in new contexts at Alterations Festival with an exhibition, talks, workshops and performances at Cafe Oto, Oto Projects and University of Westminster, London.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF ALTERATIONS
The group existed from 1977 to 1986 and played often in festivals and clubs throughout the UK and Europe.
The great discovery of Alterations was that musical styles and idioms are there to be played with.
They made three LPs in that time:
Alterations on Bead in 1978
Up Your Sleeve on !Quartz in 1980
My Favourite Animals on nato (France) in 1984
Their work presented new ways of making and understanding music and art.
In addition there were CDs of various live performances – in 2000, Intuitive Records in Denmark issued Alterations
Live and in 2002 Atavistic in the US published Voila Enough!
In 2015, Alterations was put back together for London performances at Cafe Oto (with Max Eastley) and Iklectik.
These events were very succesfull and attracted new audiences.
Alterations Festival is unique opportunity to further enjoy this infuential and highly experienced group.
VOID TRANSACTIONS by David Toop
Improvisation is always close to nothing: no work, no object, no product, no closure, no trace. In contemporary terms, as a monetary transaction within a functioning market, there is nothing much to speak of. No sale, as they say. No sail either, nor following wind; only the need to pull oars together, albeit with the option of pulling (in this case) in four different directions at once. The boat is torn apart in order to be rebuilt. Every event in an improvisation and its setting has potential as agency but the possibility of collapse into nothingness is a real and present danger from moment to moment. The listeners, that part of them known as an audience, play a significant role in this. Without them, whether they are present physically at the time of making or in futurity (as with a recording) there would be little at stake. Their listening forages for the music, just as the music calls up their listening. This is not a binary. There is no clear distinction between a listener and an improviser. The listener improvises a sense of form as it emerges. This is true for player and audience simultaneously. Even though one may appear to be physically active, the other physically passive, both are at work in making sense, laterally and in depth, following through memory, agility and imagining, of the unfolding. If there is failure in any part then this audience may become a separate thing, a void into which all potentiality falls. In the conventional way of thinking about transaction, there is a pay-off, one or more winners. Improvisation withholds this, offering only ambiguity and a shared sensation of complex disturbances coming to a point of temporary rest, leaving satisfaction, disappointment, perhaps a mixture of both. But every incident, gesture, implication, provocation, false step or flash of inspiration of an improvisation brings with it some degree of risk, the knowledge that there is no solid footing, only an intensification of the void. Sounds are exotic creatures. They may pose as humans, making a convincing show of living within human society, on the telephone, taking tea and whatever, though their plausibility leads to some other place of thin air, this place where we choose to dwell.
Steve has been a central figure in the British improvising scene for over thirty years, working with the likes of Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Han Bennink, Christian Marclay and, of course, Alterations.
His work with Marclay has included mixed media pieces like ‘Screen Play’, ‘Ephemera’, ‘Graffiti Composition’, ‘Shuffle’, ‘Pianorama’ and ‘Everyday’. He has also written songs, scored feature films, TV shows and commercials.
Steve has worked with hundreds of people, including The Slits, Stewart Lee, Ivor Cutler, Prince Far-I, Alan Hacker, Ray Davies, Ilan Volkov, The Flying Lizards, Otomo Yoshihide, The Portsmouth Sinfonia and John Zorn.
He has an extensive discography as performer, arranger, composer and producer, and was was awarded a Paul Hamlyn award for composers in 2012.
Terry is an improviser, multi-instrumentalist, lyricist, song writer, visual artist and poet. He is a ‘first generation’ pioneer improviser from the 1960s.
A self-taught musician in a family of musicians, he began improvising on the drums with his brother in 1955. In the early 1960s he formed the Hardy Holman Day trio focusing on free improvisation. Later he became part of Kilburn & the Highroads, a band led by Ian Dury.
Sharing their interest in visual art and painting, Terry and Ian both studied at Walthamstow School of Art and later at the Royal College of Art, London. As an art student in the 1960s he was a pioneer of improvisation, free jazz & experimental music.
Day also formed a duo with Derek Bailey in the late 1960s and was a regular member of The Continuous Music Ensemble, later known as The People Band. Since then he has collaborated with many musical luminaries, groups, dancers, painters, poets and performed in theatre, events, and rock & roll.
Peter is a field recordist, musician and sound artist with a long interest in the sound environment. He is currently based in Berlin.
He initiated the ‘Favourite Sounds Project’ to discover what people find positive about their everyday sound environment and ‘Sounds From Dangerous Places’ (sonic journalism) that investigates sites of major environmental damage such as the Caspian Sea oil fields and the Chernobyl exclusion zone.
He produced ‘Vermilion Sounds’ - the environmental sound program - for ResonanceFM Radio and is a research fellow at the London College of Communication. As DAAD artist-in-residence in Berlin 2011/12, he intiated ‘Berlin Sonic Places’, examining relationships between soundscapes and urban development. Musical collaborators include Kahondo Style, Clive Bell, Nic Collins and Viv Corringham.
David Toop is a composer, musician, author, a professor and lecturer at the London College of Communication and curator with a particular interest in sound practice, listening and improvisation. He has worked in many fields of sound art and music, including improvisation, sound installations, field recordings, pop music production, and music for television, theatre and dance. He has recorded Yanomami shamanism in the Amazonas, appeared on Top of the Pops, exhibited sound installations in Tokyo, Beijing and London’s National Gallery, and performed with artists ranging from John Zorn, Evan Parker, Bob Cobbing and Ivor Cutler to Akio Suzuki, Elaine Mitchener, Lore Lixenberg and Max Eastley. He has published seven books, including Ocean of Sound, Haunted Weather, and Sinister Resonance: The Mediumship of the Listener.
He released eight solo albums, including Screen Ceremonies, Black Chamber and Sound Body, and as a critic, has written for publications including The Wire, The Face, Leonardo Music Journal and Bookforum.
Exhibitions he has curated include Sonic Boom at the Hayward Gallery, London, Playing John Cage at Arnolfini, Bristol, and Blow Up at Flat-Time House, London.
David is a member of CRISAP (Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice).
His opera, Star-shaped Biscuit, was performed as an Aldeburgh’ Faster than Sound project, in September 2012 and his latest book, Into the Maelstrom: Improvised Music and the Pursuit of Freedom, was shortlisted for the Penderyn Music Book Prize in 2017.
Mandhira is a versatile violinist performing as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral violinist in the UK and abroad. She is a founding member and the leader of the Ligeti Quartet, a young string quartet which has established a reputation as a leading dynamic and imaginative force in contemporary and modern music. She graduated with 1st class honours from the University of Oxford achieving a high 1st in performance and winning the Worcester College Arts Prize for the highest result in an arts subject.
International solo and chamber music tours have taken her around Europe as well as the USA, India, China and her country of origin, Sri Lanka. She has performed at prestigious festivals and venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Barbican Centre, Southbank Centre and St Johns Smith Square in London and the Carnegie Hall in New York.
Her repertoire is varied consisting of standard classical works as well as free improvisation and original projects often involving collaborations with contemporary composers, sound artists and musicians from a variety of genres outside classical music. With her quartet she has worked with Wadada Leo Smith, Meilyr Jones, Shabaka Hutchings, Laura Jurd, Kerry Andrew, Sean Noonan, and, following a tour to China and Hong Kong, has collaborated with leading Hong Kong DJ Choi Sai Ho and Japanese sound artist mamoru.
Mandhira was born in London. After completing her primary education in Sri Lanka, she was awarded a music scholarship to North London Collegiate School where she completed her secondary education. She was also a Leverhulme Scholar at the Junior Royal Academy of Music where she performed both as a violinist and pianist, also taking classes in composition and conducting. Her violin teachers have included Igor Petrushevsky, Howard Davis and Levon Chilingirian.
Blanca Regina is an artist, teacher and curator based in London who is currently involved in creating audiovisual performances, sound works, instalations and film.
Her research and practice encompass sound art, free-improvisation, moving image, live events, electronic music and performance.
In 2014 she joined Event and Experience Design department at University of Kent.
From 2011-2014 she was visiting research fellow at Chelsea College of Arts & Design at University of the Arts London.
In 2010, she received a doctorate in Humanities from University Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, with the thesis: The VJ and audiovisual performance: towards a radical aesthetic of postmodernism.
In London, she co-funded with Steve Beresford and later Jack Goldstein 'Strange Umbrellas', a platform for free improvised music and visual art. During 2012-2014 she curated performances at Music Hackspace. She is initial co-founder of the Live Cinema Foundation.
In 2011 with Matthias Kispert at Soundfjord she founded the Material Studies Group. Focusing at developing a series of workshops and performances open to everyone looking at the production of sound with everyday objects.
She has performed with various artists, including Terry Day, Leafcutter John, Beresford and Matthias Kispert and curated a number of events and installations in London and internationally. Her last exhibition: ‘Expanded and Ephemera Audiovisual’ was presented at MUPO, Oaxaca, México in November 2015
Current works in development include the direction of Unpredictable a film about Terry Day and 'Unpredictable series' a series of exhibitions, talks and performances.
Pierre Bouvier Patron: A digitised painted super8 film. Untiled 2minutes30, Color. Bio: Born in Lyon, France, Pierre Bouvier Patron is a visual artist based in London. He is currently working in different media such as digital video and film, exploring the boundaries between them and creating moving image works, performances and installations. He has developed many practices and skills are wide in the arena of experimental film, documentary films, music videos. He studied cinema at the Université Lyon II Lumiere of Lyon. He is currently involved with No.W.Here, a film laboratory based in London, . He has been involved in video screenings and video performances internationally, solo or in collaboration with musicians such as Syd Kemp or the artist Blanca Regina. His work has been shown in Lyon, Kike Keller, Madrid (Spain), at Strange Umbrellas and The Yard (London).