I'd been distributing Jon's records for years by the time we both got onto a stage together. This was in 1989 In Rotterdam, where we played in a trio with Phil Minton. After that there was a quintet in Berlin with Jon, Shelley Hirsch, Connie and Matthias Bauer- which led to a trio tour with Shelly, including a memorable 6 hour delay in the snow and on freezing platforms trying to get to Ljubljana. (We finally arrived after the concert would have been over and were driven instead to a radio station where we did the concert anyway, live to air. Flexible country). This trio got a concert of the year award from the Desi, in Nurenberg. A more out of hand trio tour followed, with Eugene Chadbourne (it takes at least two grown men to hold him down): this was the infamous Cultural Terrorism tour. Even after this, Jon invited me to join his shopping group in Dresden for a concert in a vast echoing museum gallery. The acoustics were not drum friendly and for the first time I set up only the electronics and a table full of clutter for a concert. It was also the first time I met Otomo Yoshihide and Marie Goyette, whom I later invited to be in P53. Over the next years we shopped in Malls (with a couple of dozen violin students playing on escalators), at many festivals (Otomo was so involved in destroying a wall of cartons he cracked a bone in his arm at Victoriaville) and in smaller manifestations elsewhere. Between and since there was Jon's vast techno extravaganza at Wels, a trio with Fred Frith in Buenos Aries, and Roberto Musci's film accompaniment project in Milan. We finally did a duo together in London in 2000. I've been pleased to release 6 of Jon's CD's on ReR so far and to contribute texts for a couple of his books and radio pieces.



Jon Rose Website


The first I heard of Tom I think was on a Pogus LP, Headlock. ReR distributed it and kept in touch (we recently reissued it on CD (ReR TD1). Years later, Tom appeared on the 5UU's CD and in Tom Cora's Man with a Movie Camera soundtrack project. I didn't meet him until 1993, when we were both involved in a trio installation/ concert with Charles Vrtacek for 'Real Artways' in Hartford, Connecticut. We put speakers all around the room and worked from a timescore. (Ponk released a CD of this, but in stereo only: 'Preacher in Naked Chase Guilty'). Then Tom moved out west. In 1999, when I was doing some concerts on the East Coast, Tom flew across to make a couple of duos- at the Fine Arts Cinema, Portland and at Voix, Massachusetts. Recordings were so good we had the CD out in September, just in time for a short tour on the West Coast together.




Notes to the CD say most of it:

'When Peter Kemper phoned to ask if I had a project for the 25th Frankfurt Jazz Festival, I said yes first. In fact there was a musical idea I'd been thinking about for a while. Musicians have plenty of such ideas, but it takes a festival of this size to realise them- with a generous budget to collect people from all over the world, provide rehearsal space, time and a lot of costly hardware. In the programme the ensemble appeared as 'The Chris Cutler Project' (the deadline arrived before I could change it), so I'm glad to be able to restore here a collective name to a project which in was in every way the product of the unique abilities and personalities of all its participants.'

'P53 is a set of relationships which will bear a number of valid interpretations, or will tell a number of stories, depending on the values one attaches to distinguishable elements; we certainly had definite (though not necessarily co-ordinated) roles and narratives in mind when we made it. Interpretation is encouraged because narratives and problematics are set out here. This coherence is not undermined by the form adopted- a discussion that sets out certain questions without attempting to come to any harmonious conclusion.'

'P53 takes it's name from a gene discovered by David Lane in 1979.'

The rest: the instrumentation was crucial: two grand pianos, turntables, electronics and real time processing. I asked Marie Goyette, whom I had met playing in one of Jon Rose's shopping projects and Zygmunt Krause (Polish composer and virtuoso pianist) to handle the pianos, restricting Marie to a selection of late C19 and early C20 classical repertoire fragments. Then I asked Otomo Yoshihide to do what he, famously, did and Lutz Glandien, German Composer and former performer both to play and to do real time processing of the other players. The composition was, more than anything, the people. Hessischer Rundfunk who commissioned it, has video of the entire concert, which they broadcast a few times. Otherwise, the ensemble performed twice, at Frankfurt and again three years later at the Angelica Festival in Bologna.


P53 ReR p53
Track on the ANGELICA 97 compilation

Stevan Tickmayer

I met Steven in Novi Sad, Jugoslavia (I was touring with The Black Sheep. There was a concert in a local sculptor's garden I remember where Stevan played with us. After that, it was a while before I heard from him again. That was when ReR started to import and distribute his records. A little later, he did a piece for one of the Quarterlies; then we released a CD of his. By this time he was living in France, after studying in Holland, and was working with choreographer Josef Nadj. In 1996 he invited me to work with him on the music for one of Josef's productions, L'Anatomie du Fauve. We did this for 3 years, on and off and in the meantime recorded music for another choreographic production for circus performers. We also performed as a trio with the extraordinary composer and instrument designer Erno Kiraly at Ring Ring in Belgrade, 1996. The same year, I asked him if he'd like to do a song record and gave him some texts. This became 'a mere coincidence' by The Science Group (Stevan, Myself, Bob Drake, with Fred Frith, Amy Denio and Claudio Puntin). In January 2000 we premiered our music-theatre piece Le Signe de Trois at the Sons D'Hiver festival in Paris, with Marie Goyette, Eric Houzelot and Christian Germain.


Track on RING RING '96, with Erno Kiraly.


Founded by Massimo Simonini and Tiziano Popoli in Bologna, N.O.R.M.A. is a large ensemble that performs through-composed pieces, sometimes deconstructed from other works (Herrmann's Psycho, Satie's Cinema for instance). Massimo, in passing, is also the imagination, energy and co-organiser of the substantial Angelica Festival in Bologna; consistently one of the best festivals of our kind of music in the world (in fact virtually all such festivals are European - Victoriaville in Canada being a notable exception). Early pieces by NORMA appeared on the ReR Quarterly and later we distributed their first CD. In 1995, Massimo invited Phil Minton and myself to augment the group for their Angelica Festival appearance, and out of this came my longer association with NORMA, including the recording of the CD 'L'Arpa e L'Asino' and a number of concert performances in Italy, Greece and the UK. With Tiziano I later worked on a radio piece for RAI 3, and with Massimo a duo concert.


L'Arpa e L'Asino ReR NORMA1


In 1997, Dr Kersten Glandien curated a concert series at the ICA for The Goethe Institute for which she commissioned 7 Anglo German collaborative projects to be presented over 4 evenings. Timescales was the piece I proposed and then wrote for this. This was the proposal:

'American composer Henry Cowell speculated about the musical possibility of 'rhythm chords', relating the frequency of beats to musical pitches. Although he developed a notation to express the values of internal divisions of fixed durations that were mechanically related to natural harmonics, most of the relationships he identified were and are still impossible to internalise and to perform. What would they sound like ? I have tried to create a situation in which musicians are obliged (and assisted) to observe such strictly calculated simultaneous pulses, using private aural cues. While the musicians are rigidly constrained as to internal and overall structure, however, they are totally free as regards to content. Thus to be expressed, the structure, which is mechanical, has first collectively to be overcome.'

In practice, I calculated and recorded 4 one hour sequences of clicks, constantly changing and based on Cowell's ratio theories (including some Bartok transcriptions, taking pitch as pulse) so that, in theory, complex and precisely calculated 'rhythm-chords', would be created. In other sections there were accelerandos and decelerandos co-ordinated in humanly unplayable ways - and so on. It sounds simple enough, but it took sophisticated software, the help of Stevan Tickmayer and 4 days solid work to calculate and programme this stuff. On another 4 tracks I put cues indicating 'one bar before a stop' and 'one bar before an entry' at the appropriate tempi. On stage, each musician had an in-ear monitor to deliver their personal their clicks and cues. So, while the structure was thus totally constrained, the content was still left entirely to the performers. Their unreasonable task was to obey the start, stop and tempi rules and at the same time try to make the best musical decisions taking into account, but not falling into step with, what the others were playing. I needed Rolls Royce improvisers for this work, and improvisers who also possessed an enhanced sense of compositional organisation. So I asked John Tilbury, Fred Frith and Frank Schulte. The piece has been performed only at its premiere.

Musique Action

This Romanian contemporary music ensemble is the main instrument of composers Iancu Dumitrescu and Ana Maria Avram. I first heard Iancu's music on Romanian Elektrocord and the American POGUS labels in the early '80's, and a little later Editions RZ in Germany released another. We distributed these until, in the early 1990's, Iancu and Ana Maria founded their own label Editions Modern, for which ReR became a major distributor. In 1998, after a lot of correspondence, Tim Hodgkinson and I were invited to collaborate with the Ensemble for a project at Musique Action in Nancy. We rehearsed mostly in Iancu's house, I without real instruments (I use large scale classical percussion) until we finally got to set up properly at Nancy. Tim and I had both prepared pieces for the ensemble too (these, plus one each of Iancu's and Ana Maria's, appear on ReR DACH1). Later the same year we premiered new works of Iancu and Ana Maria's for Romanian Radio.



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