“For Avant-Garde / Improvised Music enthusiasts, this is a Holy Grail!” – Adam Baruch BRITISH JAZZ
A reissue of the Incus Records LP, originally released in 1977. Crisply recorded in Vangelis’ London studio, and mastered for re-release under Oxley’s personal supervision. This album is a classic example of UK free improvisation by one of the originators of that style, with the added dimension that the playing is framed within Oxley’s forward looking compositional frameworks.
The collective personnel play in quartet and trio configurations, detailed and collective sounds from strings, percussion and electronics. But perhaps the two centrepieces of the album are Oxley’s solo tracks, where his extended use of drum kit and amplified objects is clearly underpinned by pure jazz skill.
Tony Oxley – percussion, electronics, violin
Barry Guy – double bass, bass guitar
Philipp Wachsmann – violin
David Bourne – violin
Ian Brighton – electric guitar
This is a reissue, first time on CD, of an iconic album by British Jazz drummer / composer / bandleader Tony Oxley. The album presents seven original compositions by Oxley, recorded by three lineups: a quartet with violinists Philipp Wachsmann and David Bourne and bassist Barry Guy (two tracks), a trio with Wachsmann and guitarist Ian Brighton (two tracks) and finally solo percussion and electronics (three tracks). Oxley held a pivotal position in British Jazz since the mid 1960s, when he became the house drummer at Ronnie Scott’s club in London, which gave him an opportunity to play with the visiting prominent American Jazz stars and top British Jazz musicians. He was highly respected and always considered as truly extraordinary player, with his own perception of the role of drums within the Jazz idiom, but more importantly the concept of Jazz itself and its transformation into Improvised Music, which was developing at the time. Hearing Oxley performing live was for me always an extraordinary experience, regardless of the circumstances. Even within a most “straightforward” mainstream environment, his drumming was always on a different conceptual plane, although he managed to “keep time” perfectly and without a hitch. Since the late 1960s Oxley started to be featured on a long series of revolutionary British Jazz albums recorded at the time, many of which remain as absolutely essential examples of modern British Jazz and serve as unsurpassed achievements of that boisterous creative period, like those recorded with Gordon Beck, Howard Riley, Alan Skidmore, John McLaughlin, John Surman, Michael Gibbs and others. His recording career as a leader started in 1969 with the release of two albums for CBS: “The Baptised Traveller” (1969) and “4 Compositions For Sextet” (1970), which in retrospect are considered as absolute gems of British Jazz discography. Those were followed by the album “Ichnos” (1971) released on RCA. Following the disappointment with the major labels, which showed no interest in promoting these albums, Oxley joined guitarist Derek Bailey and saxophonist Evan Parker as co-founder of the Incus label, which was one of the first independent artist owned labels in Britain. He recorded two albums for the label: the eponymous “Tony Oxley” (1975) and finally this, his fifth album as a leader “February Papers” (1977). The music on this album has nothing to do with Jazz in the conventional meaning of the idiom, but it is a perfectly logical continuation of the musical development that is documented on the four a.m. albums. Oxley breaks the conventional barriers and pushes the envelope towards Avant-Garde, which calls for new forms of expression not related to melody, harmony or even the usual sound expected from the instruments. Such extensive use of electronics was almost completely unheard of at the time of course and although early Improvised Music was already present on the scene, it was rarely as uncompromising and far-fetched as what Oxley decided to capture herein. Although bold spirited, the music offers a delicate, almost intimate sound and allows the listener to absorb every nuance of these performances. The solo percussion / electronics pieces are of course the most surprising ones here. Improvised music is usually about group improvisation, but Oxley is one of the first improvisers to undertake the daring effort to freely improvise on his own, proving that such form of expression is both possible and valid. Listening to this album today, with over four decades of perspective, enables me to extend my appreciation of this momentous historic effort from a new angle. Improvised Music is of course alive and kicking today and I am constantly exposed to a huge number of such recordings. I have to say that most of those contemporary efforts sound pretty pale in comparison to what Oxley managed to capture for posterity then. Despite the limited possibilities, surely compared to what is available today as far as electronic devices are concerned, his imagination and creativity remains unchallenged. Kudos to Martin Archer, the man behind Discus Records, for bringing this piece of musical history back to circulation – much appreciated! For Avant-Garde / Improvised Music enthusiasts, this is a Holy Grail! – Adam Baruch BRITISH JAZZ
What I find interesting about this album is, in retrospect, you can see how Oxley’s mind is fervently seeking new methods of expression in a variety of settings. – SQUID’S EAR
This is a rare reissue of an early Incus album from 1977. Featuring Tony Oxley on percussion, electronics & violin, Philipp Wachsmann & David Bourne on violins, Barry Guy on contrabass & bass guitar and Ian Brighton on electric guitar. There are large number of amazing British jazz drummers but remaining at the top of the heap since the mid-sixties is Tony Oxley. Ever since playing incredibly well on John McLaughlin’s first album, ‘Extrapolation’ in 1968, Mr. Oxley has worked with many jazz or avant giants: Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Bill Evans, Howard Riley, Cecil Taylor and the LJCO. As a leader himself, Mr. Oxley has only had a handful of his own leader dates. His first two as a leader, ‘Four Compositions for Sextet’ and “Baptized Traveller’ from 1969 & 1970 (on Columbia, UK) are considered to be essential classics of early British avant/jazz. After that, Mr. Oxley had a couple of albums released on Incus Records, both great but never reissued until now. ‘February Papers’ was recorded in February of 1977 and original copies are extremely rare. Besides being a great jazz drummer, Mr. Oxley started experimenting with handmade percussion and electronics, which can be heard for his next two releases for Incus. For this album, Mr. Oxley has two groups plus a couple of solo pieces. The first group is a quartet with two violins: Phillip Wachsmann (well-regarded UK improviser) & David Bourne (unknown to me) plus Barry Guy (considered to be one the greatest contrabassists ever) and Mr. Oxley on percussion, electronics & violin. The quartet plays what some later refer to as “insect music”, cautious yet focused British improv, minimal sounding yet filled with spirited interaction. The group is a trio with Wachsmann on violin, Ian Brightman on electric guitar and Oxley. This unti sounds simialr to the quartet. Guitarist Ian Brightman is a contemporary of Oxley, Bailey & Evan Parker and sounds similar in some ways to Mr. Bailey. Brightman retired from playing for many years until recently and is on very few recordings. Even the three solo tracks here sound similar to the group pieces since Mr. Oxley is concentrating on those careful, quirky, focused sounds no matter what he is playing. So glad that this session was reissued since it is an important addition to the recorded history of British Creative Music. – Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
Une réédition très attendue, grâce à Discus et Martin Archer. Durant des décennies, February Papers est resté un album à la fois rare, négligé par les critiques et recherché par les amateurs avertis. Publié en 1977 par Incus au n°18, le label d’Evan Parker, Derek Bailey et Tony Oxley, cet album a été difficile à trouver dans les années qui ont suivi sa parution alors que les autres albums du catalogue Incus se trouvaient régulièrement dans les bacs des disquaires spécialisés. Et comme Tony Oxley a publié peu d’albums à son nom auprès de labels « improvisés », sa musique enregistrée des années 70-80, avant sa collaboration avec Cecil Taylor est finalement peu connue par de nombreux amateurs. February Papers est un des albums les plus singuliers de cette musique improvisée en Europe, celle qui s’intègre dans la musique contemporaine « savante » expérimentale ou avant-gardiste au même titre qu’AMM (The Inexhaustible Document). Durant les années soixante, Tony Oxley fut le batteur attitré du Ronnie’s Scott auprès de grands du jazz (Bill Evans, Ben Webster, Sonny Rollins, John McLaughlin) tout en lorgnant vers l’avant-garde. Il publie consécutivement trois albums de free music qui ont fait la passerelle entre le free-jazz extrême et la free-music à l’Européenne auprès de majors (CBS et RCA). Dans ses groupes, sont rassemblés Kenny Wheeler, Barry Guy, Paul Rutherford, Evan Parker et Derek Bailey. Dès « Ichnos » (1970), on entend aussi une ou deux pièces en solo de percussions agrémentées d’électronique. Toutefois, la musique d’Oxley n’est pas « entièrement » librement improvisée comme celles de ces associés (Bailey, Parker, Rutherford, Guy). Il y a un écriture thématique sonore d’agrégats de timbre et de cadences, atonales et bruitistes, autour de quelques notes qui enchaînent sur des séquences improvisées (cfr Incus 8). En 1977, Oxley s’oriente vers une musique plus électro-acoustique avec sa batterie amplifiée et s’entoure de musiciens qui transforment les possibilités instrumentales au moyen de dispositifs électroniques, spécialement des cordes. Le violoniste Phil Wachsmann, le guitariste Ian Brighton, le contrebassiste Barry Guy qui joue avec Oxley et le pianiste Howard Riley et un autre violoniste qui fait ici une rare apparition, David Bourne. Cet intérêt pour les cordes vont jusqu’à ce que lui-même joue aussi du violon sur trois morceaux. L’enregistrement a été réalisé en février 1977 dans le studio fréquenté par Vangelis Papathanassiou, un copain d’Oxley, avec l’ingénieur-son Keith Spencer Allen, devenu une sommité de l’audio. Deux quartets, deux trios et trois solos. Ceux qui s’attendent à un disque de batteur en seront pour leurs frais. Toute référence au (free-)jazz est ici bannie, même à la free-music. On dira même que Derek Bailey swingue encore avec son plectre en aller et retour saccadé sur les cordes. Tony Oxley est crédité electronics sur tous les morceaux. Étrangement, Tony ne joue pas de batterie sur les deux premières plages du vinyle, mais du violon avec les deux autres violonistes et le contrebassiste, lequel est crédité bass-guitar en A1. Soit Quartet 1 et Chant – Quartet 2. Aux deuxièmes plages des deux faces d’Incus 18, le trio Oxley (à la batterie), Wachsmann et Brighton (Sound of The Soil et Trio 2). Ces deux musiciens ont enregistré avec le groupe Balance pour Incus quelques années auparavant, une musique aussi radicale et « out-off-the-wall » que ces February Papers. Il y a d’ailleurs Radu Malfatti, un autre collaborateur d’Oxley. Ensuite, on trouve aux trois dernières plages des solos de percussion avec de l’électronique Brushes, Combination et On The Edge . February Papers figure alors parmi les albums les plus hermétiques pour un free-jazz fan, même le plus réceptif : Music Improvisation Company, AMMmusic et The Crypt, les improvisations de Solo Guitar de Derek Bailey, Iskra 1903 ou Moinho Da Asneira de Lovens – Lytton. Cela va sans dire que la pratique de cette musique par Oxley et co était bien en avance sur son temps dans la sphère de l’improvisation issue du jazz. Je ne vais pas vous décrire le contenu de ce CD bienvenu, car je vous ai déjà dressé les grandes lignes et que vous êtes assez grands que pour vous situer à son écoute. Bonne chance ! – Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg https://orynx-improvandsounds.blogspot.com
Every now and then Discus Music rereleases an album from the early days of the UK impro- and jazz scene. Earlier for example the label rereleased ‘The Unlonely Raindancer’, a solo album by Keith Tippett that was originally released in 1980. This time it is Tony Oxley’s ‘February Papers’, originally released on the legendary Incus label in 1977. Self-taught drummer Oxley started drumming around 17. In 1963 he started working with Gavin Bryars and Derek Bailey as the Joseph Holbrooke trio. And the rest is history. Dozens of albums document his many musical adventures and collaborations. I have never heard this particular album – that has never been rereleased since – before. And what a beauty it is. And still very relevant and enjoyable too. We hear Tony Oxley (percussion, electronics, violin), Barry Guy (double bass, bass guitar), Philipp Wachsmann (violin), David Bourne (violin) and Ian Brighton (electric guitar) as performers. They perform Oxley’s compositions played by a quartet (Xxley, Wachsmann, Bourne, Guy), a trio (Wachsmann, Brighton, Oxley) and solo (Oxley). I absolutely don’t have a complete overview of his career that spans many decades. But this recording shows he moved away very far from the jazz where he started in the sixties. He demonstrates a great sense for experiment and adventure. Expanding possibilities of combining free improvisation and composed music, combining acoustic sound and electronic modifications. Not losing himself in over the top constructions, but integrating these experiments in improvisations that are very human, lively and engaging. Opening piece ‘Quartet’ starts as an improvisation of string instruments only. A very spirited and dynamic interaction. After a while electronic sounds and patterns intervene, generated by percussive instruments that are connected with electronic and electric tools. I guess it is live electronics. ‘Sounds of the soil’ is a trio of Brighton, Wachsmann and Oxley. The acoustic sounds are heavily treated and manipulated by the electronic devices what turns their work in a fascinating electro-acoustic work. Solo piece ‘Brushes’ makes you feel ‘inside’ a percussion set, as if Oxley positioned diverse microphones very close to the different instrument. ‘Chant Quartet’ is again an unresistable string-based improvisation combined with manipulated sounds that add an extra dimension to the music. Closing work ‘On the Edge’ is again a solo work by Oxley. It is a very out-of-the-box work, certainly not something I would expect on a record of improvised music from the 70s. Breathtaking. I don’t know much drummers from those days experimenting with electronic devices. Only ‘Myria Poda’ (1975) a solo-album of Pierre Courbois comes to my mind. It is a path that not many drummers have chosen since. That makes ‘February Papers’ – recorded in the studio of electronic wizard Vangelis Papathanassiou – still a fascinating electro-acoustic work that didn’t lost much of its significance. Thanks to Discus Music for this well-chosen rerelease. – Dolf Mulder http://www.vitalweekly.net/1257.html
There can be very few aspects of the shaping of experimental modern jazz in Britain untouched by Tony Oxley. From his time as the in-house drummer for Ronnie Scott’s club in the mid to late ‘60s to the founding of Incus records (with Derek Bailley, Evan Parker and Mike Walters) in 1969 and his time in Joseph Holbrooke (with Derek Bailey and Gavin Bryars), he has steered an individual course away from the mainstream, never seeming to engage in the unfathomable. In part, his enthusiasm for sticking microphones on any part of the drumkit (and other objects) and then playing with the ways in which electronic mixing and effects could distort and modify the concept of a drum sound, and in part, his ability to combine many rhythmic pulses into the ‘pulse’ that he injects into any piece he plays now seem prescient and shape the ways in which all manner of percussion has a (to be fair, often unacknowledged) debt to his ideas. He continues to record, even in his 82nd year, releasing the well-received ‘Beaming’ this year (where his experiments in electronics are to the fore and Stefan Holker handles the percussion).
This set is a reissue of an album released in 1977. This was a time when I was solely into Punk and had no time for any other form of music. And yet, if I had played this album to my younger self, I would have probably been overwhelmed by the experimentation here. Indeed, with the benefit of hindsight, so much of the novelty of Punk was the reclothing of riffs from the Kinks, the Yardbirds and Tommy Steele (if you don’t get the last one… try listening to the Clash singing ‘London Calling’ but replace the opening words with ‘I never felt more like singing the blues…). But what you get on this set continues to sound unplaceable, with Barry Guy’s odd assortment of sounds from his bass on ‘Qaurtet 1’ which opens this set, and Oxley matching his oddness with a panoply of alien sounds from his kit. There is in this set far more the spirit of rebellion, over turning shibboleths and just sticking two fingers up to any old establishment than Punk had even dreamed of. That this set was recorded in the studio of his friend Vangelis, one of the ‘70s pioneers of electronica, is all the more interesting and I’m sure there’s a story as to how Vangelis and Oxley made sense of each other’s approaches to the use of electronics and effects (particular when so much of the sounds that were created relied both of the musician’s skills, analogue equipment and nascent digital effects). The pieces are credited to Oxley and (just like his most recent release) build in ‘frames’. This has the advantage of giving compositional structure but allowing plenty of space for interventions by other musicians. In the case of pieces such as ‘Sounds of the Soil’ (track 2) or ‘Brushes’ (track 3), the ‘other’ musicians are Oxley himself working his way around the amplified collection of objects in his ‘drum kit’. This is a set that Discus has done us all a great service in reissuing (with Oxley supervising the production) and which easily stands shoulder-to-shoulder with contemporary noise-scape artists, pre-empting them by several decades but continuing to sound as new, as challenging and as exciting as ever. This stands as a testament to a time when no rules applied to music, where free improvisation sought to challenge every convention and yet, where a drummer schooled in all styles of jazz was able to produce a set of compositions that have the rigour and logic of composed music. – Chris Baber https://www.jazzviews.net/tony-oxley—february-papers.html
Besides showing off Oxley’s skillful, drumming and electronic experiments, the non-solo tracks includes a hint of Oxley violin (!) playing. Other participants include bassist Barry Guy, still one of the defining Free Music figures, plus two nearly forgotten figure, violinist David Bourne and guitarist Ian Brighton. Oxley’s three solo tracks ….. confirm the percussion smarts that allowed him to gig with Hard Boppers and Free Jazzers alike. Plus these stentorian bass drum rumbles, cymbal shrills and electronic drones are not only persuasive on their own, but as accompaniment transform showpieces into contrapuntal connections. Drum mastery also puts into bolder relief tracks such as “Trio”. Tough and combative, the exposition includes fiddle string stabs, echoing guitar licks, drum clangs and electronic whizzes. Still the resulting tension-release is wrapped up with a stridently logical conclusion. Metallic rushes and strained string patterning are emphasized on the two quartet tracks. Reaching an affiliated climax after the strained staccato lines and ring modulator-like tones of “Quartet 1”, the subsequent “Chant Quartet” resolves the locus with impassioned tone coloration. Encompassing accelerating pressure via intersected string whistles, and bass guitar strokes, calibrated percussion pops help push the ending into tessitura-like polyphony, extending and measuring each individual’s contributions until the narrative is resolved with flair. Too many reissue programs are focused on so-called big names and sessions. Musical evolution actually consists of pointillist sound contributions from many sources. [This disc confirms] that truism. – Ken Waxman, JAZZ WORD http://www.jazzword.com
Originally released by Incus (a label Oxley co-founded) in 1977, this is a particularly successful, generically ambiguous and musically engaging, example of the British school of free improvisation, notable for its excellent recording of Oxley’s back-to-basics electronically enhanced percussion set-up. Three of the tracks here are drum – and amplified drum – solos (try to get the idea of a drum solo out of your mind; they’re not that). Track 6 shows particularly effectively what Oxley’s augmented kit could do. Also appearing are Philipp Wachsmann (violin), David Bourne (violin) and Barry Guy (acoustic and electric basses). – Chris Cutler, ReR
More than welcome reissue of February Papers (DISCUS MUSIC DISCUS 99CD), an astonishing record by Tony Oxley originally released on the Incus label in 1977. I personally never heard this one before (the original issue is scarce and a high-priced collector’s item) which makes it all the more timely. The reissue has been a personal project of Discus boss Martin Archer, who also gave us the superb reissue of Keith Tippett’s The Unlonely Raindancer in 2019, another masterpiece of British jazz at risk of being overlooked. Oxley was one of the co-founders of the Incus label (along with Bailey and Parker), but one feels that from the start he was intent on following his own very strong ideas about music, which might not have aligned completely with the unwritten Incus rulebook. In the early 1970s, he managed to get major label releases for his 4 Compositions for Sextet (on CBS) and Ichnos (on RCA), both radical and daring publications; on the CBS LP, he was joined by the Incus major players, but they were performing Oxley’s compositions, and the result was quite unlike “ordinary” improvised music. On the RCA LP we see the first inklings of Oxley’s approach to amplified percussion, which seems to have been a thing he pursued according to his own lights, and which continues to some extent on February Papers – except by now he’s experimenting with live electronics as well. Joining him on this record, and helping him to realise these seven compositions, are Philipp Wachsmann the violinist, often heard to great effect on the Bead label (a kind of second-division UK improv label, if you regard Incus as Premier League), David Bourne on violin, Barry Guy the bassist, and Ian Brighton on electric guitar. They play in quartet and trio configurations as needed. It’s these groupings, especially the quartets, that produce this dense and tangled music, with lots of divergent lives of activity pulling in all directions, creating a powerful feeling of energy and movement. I have to assume this movement is being directed by Oxley, and the free playing and improvisation is happening in real time inside this disciplined framework; it’s lean and punchy, without the wasted effort of an over-long free-for-all improvised session, and with average duration times of 6 to 7 minutes, these compositions make their stated points with concision and import. There’s also the very odd sound of the record. I think this is due to the combinations of the instruments, and the way that they’re playing together; there isn’t really a great deal of “transformation”, which is something the EAI players would sometimes over-indulge in with their digital effects and mixing boards, some 25 years after this. Only Oxley’s electronic interventions produce unnatural noises, and even so he uses it very sparingly, for instance on the excellent ‘Sounds Of The Soil’. Oxley tends to treat the violin, electric guitar and bass as if they were percussion instruments, perhaps unsurprisingly for a drummer, and emphasises short plucks, strums, scrapes, tinkles and other effects, for instance on ‘Chant-Quartet’. On these two, and on ‘Combination’, Oxley comes very close to reproducing the processes of Xenakis (and his angry, splintered shards of music) in miniature; certainly the whole album more resembles 20th-century classical avant composition than it does free jazz or free improvisation. The unusual sound is, I think, entirely due to Oxley’s genius in understanding the voicings of the chosen instruments, and deploying them with the skill of an orchestrator, with much forward planning. Nowadays, everyone (improvisers and electronic artists alike) seems hell-bent on changing their natural sound, whether that’s by “extended technique”, with a mixing desk, or by using too many effects pedals; but here, on this record, Oxley shows a better way to do it, by brave experimentation. composition, and musicianly skills. The other thing that occurred to me was to look at what else was released in the Incus catalogue in the year 1977; I find we have the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, we have a Barry Guy solo LP on the bass, but we also have the first four Company LPs. These are Derek Bailey playing his guitar alongside various woodwinds and stringed instruments – mostly acoustic, unless you count Bailey’s use of the electric guitar. All great records for sure, but I make this unfair comparison to indicate that Oxley was evidently heading in a quite different direction. The few other times we heard live electronics on an Incus LP include 1972, when Paul Lytton played with Evan Parker; and 1976, when Bailey dabbled with the Waisvich crackle box. February Papers is arguably a landmark record in the fields of UK improvisation and jazz, signposting many possible ways forward which have not yet been understood, and its potential has yet not been fully explored. Far from being a piece of nostalgia from the good old days of improv, this release is like a gauntlet thrown down as a challenge, its rigour, its ideas, and its compositional strengths showing up the weaknesses of much contemporary ineffectual and insipid improvised music. An essential purchase. – Ed Pinsent, SOUND PROJECTOR
Tony Oxley est un personnage-clé de l’émergence de l’improvisation libre britannique. On lui doit en particulier la création du label Incus avec Derek Bailey et Evan Parker. Il nous propose là une réédition d’un album de 1977, introuvable avant cela, réalisée sous sa supervision. Mais je vous suggère de ne pas replonger dans cette cavalcade homérique des grands aventuriers des années 70 et d’aborder plutôt cet enregistrement comme une production d’aujourd’hui. On y retrouve le batteur en quartet, en trio et en solo. Un batteur ? Ici il joue aussi du violon et c’est un quartet de cordes qui ouvre l’album, « Quartet 1 ». Et encore, on est bien loin de tout usage académique des dites cordes. Ça crépite de partout, ça siffle, ça ronfle un peu, ça stridule, ça explose de toutes parts… ça déconcerte. On en a le souffle coupé. Il en va de même dans « Chant Quartet » qui fait penser à des mécaniques un peu folles, déréglées. Mais ici, la percussion, ou plutôt le « drum kit » de Tony Oxley s’y déploie. Les chocs se font liquides, ruisselants. Des frottements frénétiques d’archets, à l’image d’essaims de gros bourdons métalliques, envahissent l’espace. On y retrouve la puissance onirique des musiques acousmatiques où l’origine des sons est incertaine, où il n’y a d’autres repères que notre imaginaire et les crépitements de nos synapses. À ces quartets participent, outre le leader, Philipp Wachsmann, David Bourne et Barry Guy. Ian Brighton n’apparaît que dans les pistes en trio, « Sounds of the Soil » et « Trio », en compagnie de Philipp Wachsmann. Dans cette dernière pièce, les cordes apportent comme des balbutiements, des pépiements, des stridences contenues, des résonances et des crépitements, mais l’ensemble s’articule autour de cet étonnant « drum kit » qui occupe l’espace de frappes, de sons qui ne doivent plus rien au free pourtant en pleine sève à cette période. L’électronique est celle de l’époque (il y a plus de quarante ans !), mais Tony Oxley semble avoir pu échapper aux clichés d’alors. Son jeu éveille en nous le souvenir de celui de Derek Bailey, mais il bifurque. Il propose des marées de particules aux mouvements browniens qui semblent avancer inexorablement, qui nous submergent. C’est dans les trois pièces en solo que sa musique va fouiller spécifiquement certains recoins. Dans « Brushes », comme on l’imagine, c’est un festival de jeux de balais. Les pulsations, les leitmotivs sont hors champ. Ici, c’est plutôt un tapis de timbres, de frappes, de résonances. Naturellement, dans « Combination » c’est un mix percussions-électronique qui est à l’œuvre dans une sorte de space opera qui enfle progressivement et nous entraîne loin de nos territoires. Une très belle réussite. Enfin, dans « On The Edge », c’est l’archet de son violon qui occupe l’espace avec, je ne sais comment, son dispositif électronique. On y retrouve les essaims métalliques, des stridences, une sorte de frénésie quasi immobile qui semble n’être qu’un extrait d’un flux au long cours. C’est donc un album témoignage de ce que cette musique de plus de quarante ans avait déjà perçu des décennies futures. Certes l’électronique d’alors ne pouvait offrir que ce qu’elle avait, mais Tony Oxley avait su l’intégrer dans cette grande mouvance de l’improvisation libre. Il en va de même des musiciens dont le langage est d’une actualité très surprenante. Cet enregistrement séduira les oreilles exigeantes d’aujourd’hui. Laissez-le vous cueillir. – CITIZEN JAZZ
La région de Sheffield, en Angleterre est décidément un vivier de musiciens et ce depuis longtemps. Ainsi, le curieux disque « February papers », réédition d’un album sorti en 1977, et qui nous fait redécouvrir **Tony OXLEY **(°1938), percussionniste, violoniste, qui a travaillé avec de nombreux musiciens dont Gavin Bryars et Derek Bailey. L’album propose des morceaux interprétés en trio, en quartet et aussi 3 solos de Oxley. On est ici, en plein, dans l’expérimental bruitiste. À nouveau un disque qui ne laisse pas nos oreilles indemnes. – Guy Stuckens, Radio Air Libre
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