quatroThumbnail.jpg quatro2Thumbnail.jpg

In 1986 I got the call from Andre Duchesne in Montreal (whom I already knew through his extraordinary and seminal group Conventum), asking if I'd be interested to be part of his Electric Guitar Quartet (four electric guitars plus drums). The premiere was set for the Victoriaville festival that year, where I was already scheduled to appear with Cassiber. This group then toured in Canada and Europe for several years, and made 2 LP's.


So far as I know this was the first Elecric Guitar Quartet ever and Andre had a whole story about it's origin, inspired by the ghost of Hendrix: Les Quatre Guitaristes was the resident band in the Apocalypso bar- a dive in a crashed, burned out Boeing in post-apocalypse Canada. Their music was the bar music of the future, and they a bar band - therefore the white suits, tiger ties, painted band-boxes, garrulous MC (Andre) and bigband protocols (soloists had to stand &c.)


WORLD TOUR (1987) LP Re 404 CD: ReR GQ1
FIN DE SIECLE (1989) LP ReR 42 CD: ReR GQ1
Live track on MIMI '71 LP. (1987)

Warric Swinney / Kalahari Surfers Warric Swinney / Kalahari Surfers

I had been in contact with Warric Swinney for a while before he asked me to manufacture and export to him under another guise his great but instantly bannable Own Affairs'LP (it was impossible to manufacture in South Africa at the time). Subsequently, Recommended released Warric's next three records under it's own imprint. However, there was no group as such: the Kalahari Surfers was Warric, his studio, and occasional guests.

In 1987 he got a free air ticket to Europe - by chance - and ended up staying for over a year. Since he was around, it seemed obvious to organise some concerts. The first offer was from the Music and Politics evening at the Berliner Ensemble in East Berlin This series, curated by Dr. Kersten Glandien, was the single avant garde corner in the more obvious Festival of Political Songs (Cassiber and Duck and Cover had both been invited in previous years). I asked Mick Hobbs and Tim Hodgkinson (then of The Work) if they would make up the group. They agreed and we began to rehearse in the house in which I then lived (and where Warric was staying): a vast abandoned borstal with a tennis court-sized two-story wood panelled assembly hall. Spacious- but freezing ('87 turned out to be the coldest winter in Britain for 80 years). For a South African, going to East Germany was triply complex: Warric needed clearance from the ANC, the state back home needed not to know and white South Africans were not obviously welcome at East European festivals (we had similar/more complex problems when we went later to Moscow). After the initial series of performances there followed two substantial European tours, with Alig replacing Tim. The first, all over Europe, the second in three slices, maybe worth mentioning because these itineraries are not so unusual: First stretch was an 'Africa' package-tour in Germany with Stella Chisewe and 'The Orchestra Star de Mocambique', organised by the German Trade Union movement, then there was a break while I nipped to Italy for the Bari Festival with David Thomas and the Agaton twins, and to Ulm for a concert with Cassiber, after that, more Kalaharis. with another short break while I slipped to the Mimi Festival for 2 concerts with Cassiber and The Quatre Guitaristes, followed by the last Kalaharis concerts. When Warric went back to South Africa, that was it for the performing group - except for the Music For South Africa' festival in Moscow in 1989, where we rejoined and performed, with Tim again, for the last time.


I met Rene in 1986 in Les Quatre Guitaristes. In the same year, I briefly joined him and Fred Frith on their first duo concert at the Victoriaville Festival (I played hammer, sticks and paint cans). Cassiber's Christoph Anders joined them in another piece: J'aime la Musique which became in altered form a staple Cassiber performance piece - later recorded as Gut on A Face we all Know '(ReR C4). The following year Rene invited Tom Cora and myself to work with him and Jean Derome on his score for Jacques Leduc's film Trois Pommes a Cote Sommeil' (some of this appeared later on Three Pieces Suite (ReR LDC1)- other material for this CD came from recordings he Jean and I had done at This Heat's studio, Cold Storage in London, while they were both in Europe as part of Fred Frith's Keep the Dog project - and from a trio concert at Don Wherry's Music Symposium at St. John's in Newfoundland. Rene can't be mentioned without also mentioning his prizewinning- and stunningly great Radio piece- Tresor de la Langue (on CD AM 015CD), which I still remember him working on arrangements for direct to paper while the Quatre Guitaristes toured around Europe on a hardly break-even tour. Since then, Rene and I have occasionally performed as a duo.


WORLD TOUR (1987) LP Re 404 CD: ReR GQ1
FIN DE SIECLE (1989) LP ReR 42 CD: ReR GQ1
Live track on MIMI '71 LP. (1987)

- With Jean Derome and CC
Briefly on NOUS AUTRES (Rene Lussier/Fred Frith) AM

Lutz Glandien.jpg

I met Lutz in 1980, the first time I was at the Festival of Political Songs in East Berlin (I was giving a talk about RIO there). Subsequently I put several pieces of his on ReR Quarterlies and in 1991 he wrote a piece for tape and percussion, Strange Drums, which he asked me to perform at the International Festival of Electroacoustic Music in Berlin. Then came Trompose, for Tape, Percussion and Trombone (Connie Bauer) and, for the 1992 Berlin Inventionen, Turbo Mortale - with Berlin Philharmonic Tuba player Michael Vogt. In the same year, we began work together on the material that was to become Domestic Stories' (with Fred Frith, Dagmar Krause, Alfred Harth). The trio with Michael Vogt continued to perform Lutz's pieces at various festivals and, In 1994, I asked Lutz to be in P53, a commission for the 25th Frankfurt Jazz Festival (CD: P53 ReR P53). In 1997, we collaborated again on a full length Horspiel for SFB Radio, Berlin, Das Zeichen der Drei-which was later selected to be re-mixed in Dolby 5.1 as a demonstration of the new system for German sound engineers. This led to another commission, in 1998, for a piece for the Prix Europa, Radio by Three - with Shelley Hirsch, 12 live Radio and TV feeds, Computer, Classical Percussion and Electronics. ReR released a CD of Lutz's Chamber and Electronic pieces, Scenes from no Marriage (ReR LG1) and he is currently working on a record using Michael Vogt, himself and yours truly as source material for radical electronic manipulation.


P53. ReR p53
Track on the ANGELICA 97 compilation


Two utterly charming guys with an overabundance of talent who it was my fortune to meet first in when they invited me to play with them at the Avant festival in 1991, organised by the Portugese Communist Party. Brought it all back- like the great Festas d'Unita in Italy in the mid 70's: thousands of people milling in the open air, a 100 third world places to eat, dozens of free concerts, exhibitions, stalls and red flags in all directions. Subsequently, we have played together at least once or twice a year, at clubs, festivals and at Expo. Jorge is a pianist and writer (a dozen books or more), Vitor a Guitarist (presently a beautiful customised 18 string MIDI item), Video artist and composer. I did a couple of their Video-garden series: stage full of screens (programmed by Vitor), plants and young trees. They have a lot of cats.


TELECTU/CUTLER/BERROCAL: Ditto (1995) Fabrica se Sons, Portugal


Bob Drake and Susanne Lewis had worked together in various bands and on various record projects before 1986, when they decided to make an album of their own under the name Hail. This was the LP Gypsy Cat and Gypsy Bird (named after Susanne's pets - both called "Gypsy"). Turn of the Screw was next (1990) this time for ReR. I thought it would be a good idea if the group could make some concerts in Europe so I organised a tour in March of '92. Bob had played drums, guitars and bass on the Hail records so for the tour Bill Gilonis and I made up the performing quartet. We rehearsed in an old quarantine hospital in Rotterdam for 5 days and then scooted off around Europe for 3 weeks touring with a couple of days recording thrown in. There was a second, longer tour after the release of the next CD, Kirk in '93, after which Bob moved to Europe and Hail ceased operations.

amyDenioThumbnail.jpg EC Nudes

I had been in touch with Amy for along time before we met. She was working for the Musak corporation then and Recommended distributed her first LP.

1992 found me touring with Wadi Gysi and Hans Reichel - shortly after they had both toured with Amy- and a little later, while Wadi and I were doing a series of duo performances, the two of us began discussing the idea of a more organised group playing written rather than improvised music. Amy's was the first name to came up. So we called her and that was the beginning of The (ec) Nudes. I wrote a number of texts, which I sent both parties, then we met, rehearsed, toured and made our first CD, The Vanishing Point, in a single sweep. The Nudes was a straight-ahead band project: basic composition by individuals, collective arrangements and plenty of space for extemporisation. We recorded in France and Switzerland (with Bill Gilonis engineering). But, once we had the songs to tape, I had a strong intimation that mixing would be problematical. Although I had never relinquished hands-on participation in mixing before, on this occasion I suggested we hand the whole project to new ears in order to give the material its best shot. I had known Bob Drake for many years, both as an engineer and a musician (Thinking Plague, Hail). And I had worked with him too, in the touring version of Hail. So, I suggested he mix the CD alone. The group sent the masters to LA; Bob sent a coherent album back. And, for future tours, since Amy was somewhat over-demanded - being bassist, saxophonist, accordionist and singer - we invited Bob to join us. This quartet toured all over Europe and visited Brasil, but never recorded. Fitting schedules together was becoming increasingly difficult, and in light of various other internal complications, I decided in 1994 to leave. Amy and Wadi continued as The Pale Nudes, taking on a new bass-player and drummer.


THE NUDES because I thought it would be funny, look great on posters and be nice to live with. But at the last moment it had to become the (ec) NUDES (which is funnier, luckily) since it turned out that there was already a folk group in New York called The Nudes, and we didn't want to tread on their toes (them being nude and all).



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