Outward Sound Ensemble
Thunder In A Clear Sky
Discus 23CD
Available formats: CD/DL

“A heady, slightly fugitive sound that interacts with ambient noise and physical processes to create a very intimate, introspective atmosphere that never stops reshaping itself, making for an impressive release” – Brian Morton, WIRE

Second Discus release from this Canadian ensemble documents Chris Meloche’s summer 2005 live encounter with Sheffield improvisors, subsequently re-edited by Chris and with overdubs from Herb Bayley.

Chris Meloche – electroacoustic guitar
Herb Bayley – trombone
Nick Robinson – guitar, electronics
Martin Archer – software instruments
Charlie Collins – vibraphone, metal
Mick Beck – bassoon

23CD - Outward Sound Ensemble
17CD - Outward Sound Ensemble
Outward Sound Ensemble


“A heady, slightly fugitive sound that interacts with ambient noise and physical processes to create a very intimate, introspective atmosphere that never stops reshaping itself, making for an impressive release” – Brian Morton, WIRE

“This British/Canadian aggregation intertwines mechanized avant-garde improvisation with loops, horns and other tools of the trade for a recording that presents astonishing realism. Recorded live in U.K., trombonist Herb Bayley subsequently overdubbed his parts to consummate the end result, resulting in this CD.  Martin Archer employs software instruments to create gentle sound swashes amid the hornists’ concise blurts and sound-sculpting maneuvers amid Chris Meloche’s prepared table-top guitar extrapolations. It’s often difficult to discern who is doing what; therefore, it’s a seamless collaboration of future thinking musical minds that offers spacious, multidimensional effects. I listened to this recording several times through a set of high-end Grado headphones and the overall sonic/mood-evoking experience is stupefying. Minimalist themes and phrasings seemingly ping pong from different angles, creating the sensibility of actually feeling the music emanate from within. The waves of sound and contrasting tonalities generate a vibe that is all-encompassing. It all comes at you from divergent angles, where time and distance present an intriguing variable.” – Glenn Astarita, EJazz News

“This collaboration….centres around the presence of Chris Meloche’s table-top guitar: less a musical sound than a mechanical process, like the whir of distant engines. Pitted agianst this broad featureless terrain, Martin Archer’s software manipulations evoke chance encounters with other life forms and robotic intelligences, while Beck’s bassoon and Bayley’s trombone summon up snuffling, drooling creatures of the imagination. It’s a gripping journey, too tense to qualify as an ambient soundtrack, owing more to the textural investigations of pioneers such as Keith Rowe. The overall impression is rather like descending slowly down a monstrous elevator shaft into the bowels of the earth, passing floor after floor of dimly lit, scrabbling activity, infernal workshops and secret slaughterhouses.” – Daniel Spicer, Jazzwise

“Cosmic, broody stuff not too far away from AMM or Morphogenesis” – Audion

“A series of performances with great depth and some profound off-the-wall music” – Martin Lilleker, SANDMAN

Started by trombonist Herb Bayley and prepared-guitar-player Chris Meloche in 2002, the OSE moniker embodied the spirit of their new venture; a means of taking things further, with the assistance of fellow travellers along the way. On the occasion of July 3rd 2005 Chris Meloche, Martin Archer (software), Mick Beck (bassoon), Charlie Collins (vibraphone), and Nick Robinson (guitar and loops) performed 3 half-hour improvisations at the Over The Top in Sheffield. Later, at Archer’s behest, Bayley played along to the tapes of the show. What you have here are the resulting recordings – a trans-Atlantic collaboration. Remember the days when you’d send cassettes of your recordings to a mate in another country, then he’d over-dub his own part, and tapes would go back and forth? That spirit of exploration with the ‘other’ is evoked here. Distance and time lines are broken, location becomes an intangible. Acoustically, it is very much a recording made within a room. It has that quietly pleasing sound of being enclosed. Things occurring within a room, but which room? The one Bayley was in or the one the others were in? It also calls into question the idea of a ‘live album.’ Of course there is no such thing. A recording is by its very nature not live. Play it again and it is identical to the first time (despite your ever changing perception.) But the process by which this album was made accentuates the irony of nothing being less live than a live album. And it’s all the better for it as it plays with the concept of what is ‘live’ (albeit without intentionally.) These surprising, drifting, electro/acoustic improvisational soundscapes have a subtle surrealism to them. Dark, moving and yet underlined by a glide. There’s just enough grit to form a pearl. At times the metallic glide was reminiscent of Coil’s How to Destroy Angels, at other times it hinted at the playfulness of early NWW. Perhaps that’s misleading but it shares those worlds. You can even hear thunder and rain in the background. All this surrealism (no, realism!), appropriate then that one of the titles is ‘Breton’s Aquarium.’ Aurally an unusual release for the Discus label, but very much a kindred spirit – Hassni Malik, Irrational Arts

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