Matthew Bourne
Harpsichords
Discus 175CD
(2024)
Available formats: 2xCD/DL

CD A – All Three, At Once

Matthew Bourne / Glen Leach / Nika Ticciati  – harpsichords

Recorded and mastered by Chris Sharkey

CD B – Each One, Separately

Matthew Bourne – harpsichords
Nightports (Adam Martin & Mark Slater) – live and post production electronics

Recorded and mastered by Mark Slater

Three harpsichords in various states of disrepair were kindly offered to me by Leeds Conservatoire. I accepted, and a memorandum of understanding was swiftly drawn up. The offer was made under the condition that I might make some music from them, given my penchant for infirm instruments, and their conventional worthlessness to anyone wishing to use them for their intended purpose. There seemed to be an auspiciousness surrounding these harpsichords, the stories they might reveal, and more importantly, the promise of setting them alight in some sort of sacrificial bonfire after their usefulness had expired.

CD A – Myself, Glen Leach and Nika Ticciati improvised a number of pieces on all three harpsichords at once – and is perhaps a world first for such a configuration. Recorded in a single afternoon, we orientated ourselves with each instrument for a few pieces before moving on to the next. The instruments never seemed to tire of us, and, although revealed much of themselves, felt as if we had only scratched at the surface (sometimes literally) of their reach.

CD B – This is a suite of improvisations played on each individual instrument, with simultaneous electronic processing by one half of the Nightports duo, Mark Slater. Like the pieces on the previous disc, these were recorded in a single sitting, but were duo performances, with clear interplay between instrument and electronics – prompting a variety of different responses from us both. The recordings were later subjected to brutal cuts and edits made with the same attitude of spontaneous playfulness as the performances, leaving Adam Martin to provide additional effects and processing, using a mixture of digital and analogue outboard equipment.

In making this music, no one could have anticipated just how generously these instruments would surrender, or the extent to which they were capable of generating music of such singularity and belligerence.

Matthew Bourne, Riddlesden, April 2024

 

 

 

 

 

Reviews

Harpsichords (DISCUS 175, 2xCD), das führt von Sheffield nordwärts, nach Airedale nahe Leeds, wo der abenteuerlustige Keyboarder MATTHEW BOURNE drei Cembalos auftrieb. Was ihn bisher schon für BA attraktiv gemacht hat, war sein Spiel mit Franck Vigroux, als Gast bei Mzylkypop, mit Keith Tippett und Shiver auf Discus. ‘All three, at once’ als extra­ordinäres Cembalotrio mit Glen Leach und Nika Ticciati (Catalysm Ensemble) ist eine wilde Konsequenz aus der Liveversion von „Nightports w/ Matthew Bourne“ mit 3 Pianos in Hull und von „Dulcitone 1804“, seinem Spiel auf einem antiken Exemplar des schottischen Tasteninstruments. Dass die drei Cembali auf ihre alten Tage, in freispielerisch ausgetob­tem Maximalismus traktiert, ja malträtiert, nochmal und erstmals so phantastisch auf­trumpfen können, beschert ein spektakuläres Hörerlebnis. Wie Nancarrow auf schräg. Wie Keith Emerson, back from Hell mit gehämmertem, gesicheltem, gequirltem Heavy Metal. Was die Musik von der Renaissance bis zum Rokoko verschwiegen und überklim­pert hat, Disaster und Wunden, wird ihr hier entrissen, kann sie hier auskotzen. Schwer zu glauben, dass die Instrumente danach noch alle Knochen, Drähte, Zähne beieinander hatten. Aber sie geben ihr Letztes und Bestes für diesen irrwitzigen Tastenoverkill. Bei ‘Each one, seperately’ schwelgt Bourne allein in den cembalistischen und uncembalisti­schen Registern, zu simultanem Processing von Mark Slater, der einen Hälfte von Night­ports. Das Resultat wurde danach im Studio aufgemischt und editiert, angereichert mit zusätzlichen Effekten von Adam Martin, Slaters Partner. Als nun transparenteres, aber raffinessenreich rauschendes, klimperndes, flimmerndes, pochendes Faszinosum, weil Bourne neben den Tasten auch die Saiten und den Holzkorpus bespielt. Bis zu einem 10-fingrigen BOING BOING BOING als Schlussakkord. – Rigobert Dittmann, BAD ALCHEMY

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