We need your help – please

Alex Ward – 15.2.18

This week we’re pleased to be sharing a solo set from composer, improviser, performer and creative polymath, Alex Ward. Predominantly a guitar and clarinet player, Ward is regarded as one of the most technically accomplished performers of both free and composed music, and has recently played shows in the UK and US as part of the phenomenal This is Not This Heat. Having had his debut record put out on Derek Bailey's Incus, Ward has continued to play at an astonishing level ever since. His current work ranges from his formidably knotty guitar playing in avant-rock two piece Dead Days Beyond Help to his compositions-for-improvisers including Forebrace, the Alex Ward Quintet/Sextet, and his new ITEM series which returns to OTO in September

After releasing his solo clarinet album in 2017 on the Weekertoft label, Ward's solo performances strive to bring acoustic and amplified playing into closer integration. '15.2.18' is a reminder of what a singular player he is, pulling open the full range of the instrument - from warm trills and woody overtones to overblown, amped up blowouts.


Alex Ward / clarinet, guitar



1. 21:04

2. 5:08


Recorded live at Cafe OTO on 15.2.2018 by Martyn Larcombe. Mixed by Alex Ward and mastered by James Dunn. 

Available as 320k MP3 or 24bit FLAC

Alex Ward

Alex Ward is a composer, improviser, and performing musician, working primarily with clarinet and guitar. His involvement in freely improvised music dates back to 1986, when he met the guitarist Derek Bailey. He subsequently took part regularly in Bailey's Company events, and has gone on to become a major figure in British improvised music. 
His current work includes the avant-rock duo Dead Days Beyond Help in which he plays guitar, sings and co-writes the material; various groups which perform his compositions-for-improvisers including Forebrace, the Alex Ward Quintet/Sextet, and the Item series of ensembles (the first of which, Item 10, debuted at Cafe Oto in September 2017); and improvising collaborations both regular and ad-hoc with musicians including Steve Noble, Dominic Lash, Kay Grant, Joe Morris and Weasel Walter. Besides his own groups and improvisational work, he also performs in ensembles including the Duck Baker Trio/Quartet, Thurston Moore’s recent multi-guitar projects Galaxies and New Noise Guitar Explorations, and Charles Bullen and Charles Hayward’s This Is Not This Heat. He brings a unique energy and inventiveness to all these projects, elevating them far above the ordinary and injecting them with a thrilling sense of danger and possibility. Much of his work is documented on the label Copepod, which he co-runs with Luke Barlow.
"...guitarist Alex Ward [is] a compulsively creative polymath... a reliably unpredictable axe-hero for collaborators of all backgrounds." Stewart Lee, The Sunday Times Review