Photograph of copyright Joel Ryan.
Born Little Easton, Essex, 1941; Signal Processing Instrument, percussion, self-built and found instruments, and voice.
While Casserley has been an improvisor for many years, it is only since the late 90s that his work has been known to the wider free improvised music community. This is partly due to his background in classical electroacoustic music and his many years as a Professor at the Royal College of Music in London; but it is also due to the lack of published recordings of his early work. It was not until he left the RCM in 1995 that he was able to focus his activities on improvised music, and the release of the CD Solar Wind, a duo with Evan Parker, in 1997 established his presence on the scene.
Since then he has worked with a wide selection of improvising musicians, including Ansuman Biswas, Rainer Bürck, John Butcher, Agustí Fernandez, Jacques Foschia, Barry Guy, Paul Lytton, Michael Ormiston, Melvyn Poore, Walter Prati, Paul Rutherford, Joel Ryan, Alan Tomlinson, Marco Vecchi, Philipp Wachsmann and, of course, Evan Parker. It is his work with Parker, and particularly with the Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, for which he is best known.
The most important characteristic of his work is his specialism in live electroacoustic processing; his electroacoustic instrument makes no sounds itself, but only processes the sounds made by other musicians. He has made this the core of his music making since the late 60s. In the 90s he made a special project to develop a 'Signal Processing Instrument' for improvised music (http://www.lcasserley.co.uk/DSP_Inst.html). This culminated in a residency at the STEIM studios in Amsterdam, where he worked with Evan Parker and Barry Guy on the development of the new instrument. Solar Wind was recorded at STEIM during the project, and Dividuality (Maya MCD0101), a trio with Parker and Guy, was recorded soon afterwards.
While processing the sounds of other musicians has been his primary activity, he has also included acoustic sounds made by himself (even Solar Wind includes some brief contributions from his voice) and, increasingly, he is appearing as a soloist, as illustrated by his CD The Edge of Chaos, which was recorded at STEIM in 2001. This uses percussion, self-built string instruments and voice, all processed by the Signal Processing Instrument. He uses similar sounds, while also processing the sounds of the other musicians, in the group HyperYak, with Michael Ormiston, Jeff Higley and Simon Desorgher, on their CD Angelic weaponry.
Casserley has also worked in many other small groups, including quartets with Evan Parker, Joel Ryan and Noel Akchoté (Leo CDLR255), Parker, Ryan and Agustí Fernandez, and Parker, Ryan and Paul Lytton (recorded material from these groups is yet to be released), and with Hans Koch, Ninh Lê Quan and Martin Schütz, and many duos and trios.e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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