Improvisations and compositions for Improvising String Trio. Compositions include: Bergstrøm-Nielsen - Fire Music, Constantinou - Empedocles, Durrant - Sowari For Ist, Fell - Composition No. 41 (Icons) & Composition No. 42 (Cubism), Puw - X-ist & Wastell - Ritmico
released November 11, 1998
Rhodri Davies: harp
Mark Wastell: 'cello
Simon H. Fell: double bass
Bruce's Fingers BF 28
1997-98 (65 mins.) in jewel box
© Bruce's Fingers 1998
full track listing:
01. Simon H. Fell: Composition No. 42 - Cubism [07:24]
02. improvisation: Geister-Trio [07:05]
03. Phil Durrant: Sowari For Ist [04:19]
04. improvisation: Silent Stranger [06:25]
05. Mark Wastell: Ritmico [02:02]
06. Stace Constantinou: Empedocles [06:13]
07. Guto Pryderi Puw: X-ist [05:17]
08. improvisation: Ust, Saif Y Nôs O’th Gylch [09:43]
09. Simon H. Fell: Composition No. 41 - Icons [07:50]
10. improvisation: Fault Lines: Within Context [07:15]
11. Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen: Fire-Music [02:20]
IST discography: istmusic.bandcamp.com
---------- selected press quotes ----------
"The Improvising String Trio’s third album has at least one thing in its favour before the wrapper’s even off: the CD format. Regular visitors to Musings will be aware of Simon H Fell’s apparent inability to produce anything less than top-quality music these days, and his two contributions here are thoughtful, well-played vehicles for improvisation which are no longer even in the same hemisphere as the themes-and-solos model. Meanwhile, Phil Durrant continues his rather ascetic exploration of sine tones, noise and glitches with a new version of Sowari. In the hands of IST, Sowari sounds like a weird fusion of free improv and electronica. Fascinating stuff. Stace Constantinou’s Empedocles unites the two extremes of post-serial modernism -- stochasticism and aleatorics -- to create something which this listener has already fallen in love with, while Guto Puw’s X-Ist is a mainly graphic score which inspires some beautiful playing from all three performers. Listening to this piece, one is particularly aware that, despite the strong avant garde heritage in this group, they rarely play extremely abrasive music for long. While many free improv groups saw away at their instruments striving to be "difficult", IST seem to be genuinely trying to make their extremely intricate music communicate as clearly as possible. The last composition is Bergstrom-Nielsen’s Fire Music, a score which fits on the back of a matchbox but yields two and a half minutes of arresting music and could have provided quite a bit more. The completely "free" improvisations are all spontaneous, sparky affairs full of fluid movements and plenty of crosstalk between these regular collaborators. Fell has been an important figure in British free jazz/experimental music for a while now, and Davies and Wastell look to be inexorably rising to meet him. The trio they form is unique and uncompromising; this is both their most accomplished and their most accessible recording to date."
Richard Cochrane MUSINGS
"Ist play gorgeous realtime realspace musique concrète. Subliminal sensitivity to scratch and distortion produces ear-fixating suites."
Ben Watson HIFI NEWS & RECORD REVIEW
"Simon Fell just keeps cranking out high level material. His third recording with the harp-cello-bass trio, Ist, is no exception. These guys can think, listen and play. This Geister Trio may not be better than the Beethoven, but it's certainly scarier. Just to give one example, nothing on the older work sounds like someone's having his face ripped up with a potato peeler. Recommended."
Walter Horn CADENCE
"This CD represents the pinnacle of Ist's achievements so far. Durrant's Sowari For Ist, concentrates upon texture and timbre as opposed to pitch and rhythm. The resulting music is detailed, fragile, abstract and beautiful, pushing acoustic instruments further into a sound-world more often associated with acousmatic forms. In Wastell's Ritmico the emphasis is upon rhythm and the particular sonorities produced by the percussive possibilities of the wooden parts of each instrument (no direct string sounds being permitted). Not without a sense of fun, the resultant gestural music is eerie and full of clashing yet subtle timbres, and is a fitting homage to the memory of the late John Stevens. Rather cleverly programmed as the central piece on the disc is Constantinou's Empedocles for solo harp. This piece serves as a poignant focal point, and is an alluring, contemplative piece that nevertheless takes the harp through its paces, expressively utilising stochastic calculations to determine form. Fell's compositions (No.41, Icons and No, 42, Cubism), both take differing structural elements as their starting point. Icons comprises 77 jazz chords in the key of C played on the harp, with bass and cello improvising with the structure: it is very non-jazz and wonderfully understated, atmospherically melancholic and melodic. Cubism, the opening piece of the disc, takes particular aspects of Cubism as a point of inspiration (ambiguities of perspective, perception and "the representation of the non-representational"), resulting in some of the more intense, rhythmically complex and energetic music associated with IST. The four intelligently programmed improvisations included here all possess an organic quality with musical gestures, interactions, sonorities, textures and rhythms that have the listener riveted and baffled as to who did what, when and how. Ist have developed into a leading force in improvised and creative music, pushing the limits of acoustic string music beyond existing boundaries. If you like acoustic music at the edge that is engaging, inventive, exploratory, innovative, provocative, challenging and beautiful, then this disc is an essential purchase."
Graham Halliwell RESONANCE
"Extraordinary music. Unusually for IST, compositional structures are used, alongside delightfully fluid escapades in the thickets of free improvisation. But these pieces do not serve to give the safe pleasures of predictability, but exist to put the trio in situations where certain textures, dynamics or tonalities are explored in a way which could neither be solely the preserve of composer or of performer. Improvisation: a magic art, a science of opposites."
Alexandre Pierrepont IMPROJAZZ
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