Erstwhile Records 032 open

Matt Davis/Phil Durrant/Mark Wastell

Matt Davis, field recordings, electronics, trumpet; Phil Durrant, software synths and treatments; Mark Wastell, amplified textures.

  1. open (18.27)
  2. fist (23.30)

Recorded at LMC Sound, London in 2003, track 1 on 16 March and track 2 on 30 May.

Front cover photography (reproduced above) by Damien Beaton; design by Damien Beaton and Friederike Paetzold.

Press release from Erstwhile: September 2003

Mark Wastell and Matt Davis met and first played together in a workshop led by Eddie Prévost in London during the spring of 1996. Soon after, Wastell was invited to join Chris Burn's Ensemble, in which he played with Phil Durrant for the first time. Subsequently, Phil and Mark worked together in the quartets Assumed Possibilities and Quatuor Accorde, documented on Rossbin and Emanem CDs, respectively.

The debut trio concert by Davis/Durrant/Wastell took longer to organise than any of the participants could have anticipated, due mainly to Matt's temporary relocation to Barcelona. The three musicians didn’t come together until August 2000, for a concert at All Angels in West London. This was an all-acoustic incarnation: trumpet (Davis), violin (Durrant) and cello (Wastell). A recording of this concert was issued on Wastell's Confront label as a limited edition CD-R, now long out of print.

When Davis returned from Spain in early 2002, the trio began to rehearse on a regular basis. Arising from these intensive rehearsals was a new group aesthetic and a shift in focus from acoustic to electronic-based material. By this stage, Durrant had developed a personal language using software synths and treatments and Wastell had begun investigating a sound source comprising what he refers to as “amplified textures”, into which Davis’ newfound interest in field recordings and electronics fit perfectly. open documents this exciting period in the group’s evolution, with enough groundwork having been laid to develop a strong and unique musical identity but without the all-too-identifiable sound of a group overfamiliar with itself.

open was recorded in two sessions at LMC sound in March and May 2003, both superbly engineered by Tom Wallace. It represents the first recording of Durrant exclusively using a computer, and points to a new direction for the London scene, one more organic and less directly rooted in the free improvisation of the 1980’s. open largely consists of tiny, connected events, never drifting into excessive caution, always taking risks and ceaselessly pressing against the overhanging silence.

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