Tony Oxley
The B.I.M.P. Quartet
Price: 15.10 €
Purchase Order No.: 001
Tony Oxley percussion
Phil Wachsmann violin, electronics
Pat Thomas piano, keyboards, electronics
Matt Wand sampling
Line In 14:44
Line Out 09:06
On Line 04:14
Stream Line 24:40
Beam Line 11:26
Total time:  64:10

All compositions by Tony Oxley, Phil Wachsmann, Pat Thomas, Matt Wand
(P.R.S. / MCPS)
Recorded live during the ´Total Music Meeting´ in Berlin on Nov 5, 1999
Produced by Tony Oxley & Jost Gebers (executive producer)
Liner Notes: Bert Noglik
Translation: Isabel Seeberg / Paul Lytton
Artwork: Tony Oxley
Design/Layout: Klaus Untiet (wppt:kommunikation, wuppertal)
Photo: Ingo Scheffler

First release: February 14, 2002 (Valentine´s Day)

I take pleasure in presenting this first release of the newly established label a/l/l, a division of FMP FREE MUSIC PRODUCTION Distribution & Communication, which will continuously present marking stones of free improvised music.
Helma Schleif

What's New?

Written for evermore into the Real Book of Jazz: a piece entitled "What´s New?" Very often the New takes on established forms ... Very often it remains undiscovered because it does not publicize itself. Silent musical revolutions require sensitive ears. What sounds new and unexpected through the power of surprise often unleashes either protest or defiant enthusiasm, it polarizes people and is generally more easily perceived than subtle changes. They are both part of the process of musical development: the gesture of radical change and the creation of something new, energy invested over a longer period of time. (...) In the B.I.M.P. Quartet Tony Oxley and Phil Wachsmann, two musicians from the pioneer generation of improvised music, come together with two younger musicians who have been shaped and inspired by different sounds: Pat Thomas and Matt Wand. The result is a balance - not in the sense of a proportional equilibrium but in the form of lively group dynamics. Collectively the four develop an own unmistakable ensemble-sound. (...)

In the B.I.M.P. Quartet, Tony Oxley continues with his early, long-term and unconventional involvement with live-electronics. As the "composer" he hands out the functions formerly carried out by himself round the group. But also here, the result can be changing proportions of the mix and the tension. While Matt Wand acts as unrestricted specialist for electronics, Phil Wachsmann and Pat Thomas alternate between acoustic and electronic effects. In an intense dialogue, complex structures evolve with changing textures from percussion, strings (violin, piano) and electronics.

On the one hand, one feels the influence of a post-Webern idea of working with the material, especially in the case of Phil Wachsmann and sometimes also with Pat Thomas. On the other hand, a special energy of movement evolves which is fundamentally different from the attitudes of composing and playing found within New Music. Apart from contemplative passages, there are musical qualities which could be described as ´ Drive´ and have to do with the physical experience of time and creating music in ´time´. Electronics, in the way they are used by Matt Wand, make reference to the avant-garde way of dealing with sound dimensions of the present-day music culture and, at the same time, introduce this music to a younger audience by picking up on their listening habits.

Without renouncing his claim already developed in the early years, Tony Oxley manages, together with the members of the B.I.M.P. Quartet, to develop improvisation in correspondence with the current sound ´happenings´, without running in pursuit of the Zeitgeist. Improvised music coming from England is associated in many people´s minds with musical monochromatic asceticism and the purist reduction of expressive means. Despite the fact that these are, to a large extent, clichés, the reinforcement of preconceived patterns of thought, the B.I.M.P. Quartet demonstrates its concentration on the essential as well as a surprising sensuousness, particularly in ´Streamline´. The way of using samples does not turn out to be a ´cabaret-like´ play with quotations, even though a subtle deriding of the European classic is unmistakable. The juxtaposition of different materials is reminiscent of the lines of tradition which go back to John Cage and as far as Dadaism. What makes the musical quality of the B.I.M.P. Quartet is the integration of all these elements as well as the sense of humour within a serious context of improvisation.

In the dialectics of minimalism and complexity, intellect and sensuousness, a kind of sound aesthetics becomes apparent, integrating aspects of New Music and free improvisation, of Jazz and Contemporary Electronics and, at the same time, leads beyond the absorbed lines of tradition and existing categories.

Bert Noglik


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