The harmonic series is produced by continually subdividing the string or tube into equal vibrating lengths. Using the harmonic series, nature’s musical building blocks, ‘What is Music’ makes pieces that express emotions and connect with the reality of our own time. The thinking persons Ambient.
Liquid Metal Dreaming in Ely is a musical communion with generations past and present, an attempt at telling a story of working people in music. A communication from and of today, going back in time through 6000 years of moulding and melting metals, to be transformed into ceremonial objects, tools, weapons and so on ‘till its crucial role today in the development of modern society, the sky scraper and other living/working structures. The great railway tracks of North America, India, trans Siberian lines were manufactured in Welsh works. The bowing is on the Electric double bass and the pizzicato on the acoustic double bass, both using high-tech steel strings wound with tungsten. In the 20th Century the making of steel stings for the violin family of string instruments has changed the nature of bass playing. The various percussion instruments include Buddhists gongs, Turkish cymbals, coiled and beaten, a semi-precious antique cymbal with some gold, Chinese cymbal, brass horse bells, Swiss cow bells, and everyday objects made of differing kinds of metals such as cast iron frying pans and a straight edge ruler. All struck with grannie’s aluminium knitting needles.
Here’s a few Peer Comments....
“The Liquid Metal Dreaming CD is a MARVEL, the presentation too, spot on. Thanks for that. Cor blimey”. Robert Wyatt
“I very much enjoyed the pieces which concern themselves with Pythagorean tunings and the overtone series.
The notes about the great tradition of metal smelting and working in this country are a reminder of how much we have lost, or are on the point of losing in the destructive cause of phony "globalisation". Evan Parker
“Beautifully pure and elemental. The unusual combinations of instruments and vocal sounds create a restricted tonal palette but deliver variety through a series of deeply rich sonorities.
The feel is timeless - and yet the performances are the antithesis of lazy. At times this CD achieves the impossible opposites of restless searching, and transcendent contemplation. This is music you will want to listen to again and again”. John Hardy
Liquid Metal Dreaming sounds like a suite rather than separate pieces, I'm stuck by the beauty of the sounds and variety of timbres achieved on only open strings, I prefer the sound of the double bass, I like to hear the wood vibrating in the air, the double bass sounds like it was recorded in a cathedral, very spacious, the pieces sound melodic without having a specific melody, the sound remains in my head long after the music ends, visual without evoking specific images; like abstract art all colors and shapes and feelings; peaceful, longing, fulfilling a need, filling a desire, evoking ancient ways, organic like trees, and flowers, startling, no telegraphing of what is coming next and no anxiety about that. George Neidorf
“Epic Soundscape, a Purcellian sound world, with textural echoes of Bill Evans trio June ‘61..... and images of medieval landscapes”. Gareth Hall
Recommended if you like:
The Dharma at Big Sur - John Adams
Music of Terry Riley
Music Of The Spheres - Mike Oldfield
Lento - Howard Skempton
Star Clusters, Nebulae, Places in Devon. David Bedford
Laurie Scott Baker has played jazz, free improvisation and been involved in experimental music since he was a teenager. He was a pioneer of live electronics and graphic scores back in the 60s. The cover shows a page from his ‘Keyboard & Extra Materials’ 1967. He played at the legendary ‘Little Theatre Club’ etc, a member of the Scratch Orchestra and Peoples’ Liberation Music with Cornelius Cardew.
As a jobbing musician he has performed in West End shows such as Hair, the Rocky Horror show, played bass with Alex Harvey, recorded with Robert Wyatt, Manfred Mann, & many others. He wrote the music for the award winning animations UBU and Lautrec and did a stint at the BBC as a dubbing mixer.
Robert Evans has worked as an archaeological illustrator, museum conservator and maker of musical instruments. He is an influential Welsh fiddle player and teacher and his research and experimental work on the Robert ap Huw manuscript has been pivotal.
Evans is responsible for the revival of the crwth as a usable instrument and for teaching a new generation of musicians to play it. With Mary-Anne Roberts, he has produced the first modern setting, of medieval Welsh poetry to medieval string music and has released the CDs ‘Bragod’ and ‘Kaingk’. He has contributed articles on the crwth and harp to the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.
WHAT'S in a NAME?
Laurie and Bob toyed with the idea of calling the group ‘the fundamentalists’ but decided that this might be misinterpreted in some quarters ... ‘What is Music’ is also the name of a Festival of Improvised Experimental music in Sydney organised by guitarist Oren Ambarchi and Robbie Avenaim and also the name of a radio Series by Tilson Thomas, so all very current.