Saturday, January 4, 2014

THE NUMBER – The Making Of Quiet Things (2006)

Label: Slam Productions – SLAMCD 269
Format: CD, Album; Country: UK - Released: 2006
Style: Free Improvisation
Recorded on 19 to 20 July 2005 at Vestry Hall, London College of Music, Thames Valley University
Artwork – Val Tevenson
Engineer – Paul Borg; Engineer [Assistant Engineer] – Andy Johnson
Mixed By – Justin Paterson, Paul Borg
Mixed on 28 Sept 2005 at Vestry Hall and on 1 & 8 May 2006 at Borglands
Photography By – Sue Cunningham
Producer – Justin Paterson

The Making of Quiet Things is the product of a collaboration between Gary Curson and producer Justin Paterson , senior lecturer at the London College of Music. The album was recorded at Vestry Hall Studios at the London College of Music as part of Paterson's research.

Technical challenges:
Paterson asked the musicians to perform free improv whilst separated, unable to communicate directly with each other, without rehearsing, in one take. Paterson's goal was the complete separation of sound for each instrument for a second spinoff album using the tracks from this recording session to produce a new, synthesised improvisational work. This environment was extremely challenging for the musicians. The recording and producing of this album itself was a technical feat. Some problems with the recording session, particularly pressures of time and budget, meant complete separation was not achieved. Paterson attempted to remove the microphone spillage on the tracks and devised an algorithm and built software to do this: The "One-T" . The results were presented it at the 2nd Art of Record Production (ARP) conference in Edinburgh last September to extremely warm reception from the academic and industrial community. Further development of this "One-T" project is continuing. Paterson hopes to complete the second album within the next year or two.

Gary Curson

Anyone who was fortunate enough to hear Dreamtime at the Vortex in December will already have experienced the power and passion of Gary Curson's alto playing. On this quartet album (other participants: Keith Tippett on piano, John Edwards on bass, Mark Sanders on drums) Curson is given even freer rein than he is in Dreamtime; the Number specialise in freely improvised music, full on, fiercely interactive interplay utilising the entire dynamic and textural range of each instrument. Tippett, whether performing in the ensembles, duos or the concluding solo piece, moves with his customary ease between full-blooded percussive playing and the most filigree-delicate contributions, interspersed with rustlings and tinklings produced by objects placed on the piano's strings; Edwards (his playing skills now finely honed by all his experience with the likes of Evan Parker) plunges, twangs and blurts his way through the more raucously vigorous passages and squeaks and drones through the quieter moments; Sanders (his playing as ever finding a middle path between the clattering roar of Tony Levin and the wonderfully sympathetic, quietly rapt patter of Tony Marsh) is the subtly discreet yet powerful heartbeat of the band. It is Curson, however, who most often sets the tone: urgent bordering on downright frenetic, his alto wails, screams and keens, rendering the Number's music raw and adventurous, intensely emotional. Free jazz at its most viscerally affecting.

_ By CHRIS PARKER, The Vortex

Producer Justin Paterson is sampling the recording to create new compositions, so the musicians were isolated to get acoustic separation, listening over headphones without visual cues. This makes their achievement all the more remarkable.

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  1. THE NUMBER – The Making Of Quiet Things (2006)



  2. Don't know about the 'research' but this is one hell of a session - fantastic stuff. Thanks Vitko.

    Here's a link to a nice film of the Glasgow Improviser's Orchestra festival that I told you about last year -

  3. "power and passion of Gary Curson's alto playing.", that's sufficient for me ! Thanks a lot, Vitko !