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Alex Ward – The Trade

Alex Ward presents his second solo guitar album, conceived and developed over the first two months of the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown and recorded on May 28th of that year. Unlike his freely improvised solo clarinet performances such as the Otoroku-released 15.2.18, Alex's solo guitar music integrates composed and improvised materials in a similar manner to that which he employs with his groups Items 4 and 10. His first solo guitar album Frames (released in March 2020 on Relative Pitch Records) consisted of six individual pieces encompassing a variety of approaches and moods. By contrast, the five new compositions on The Trade are dovetailed into a continuous 43-minute performance, the formal arc of which might not necessarily be best perceived by attempting to discern where each piece begins or ends (although a division into 3 tracks has been made for listener convenience). This seamlessness of approach is reflected in the high level of momentum and energy sustained across substantial amounts of the performance's duration, balanced out by the starker tone of the album's later portions.


Alex Ward - guitar 


Artwork design by Oliver Barrett

1 - Part one: Light Sleeper ; Part two: Trusted Domain [14:19]
2 - Part three: Fort ; Part four: Cold Trail [21:23]
3 - Part five: The Cusp [7:18]

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