Founded in 1978 by Chris Cutler with Nick Hobbs as a support structure for band associated with the "Rock in Opposition" movement, over the last 45 years Recommended Records (RēR) has been a unrelenting force in British music outside of the mainstream interest, offering particular focus to unconventional and visionary realisations of the avant-garde and experimental with releases by bands as diverse as Henry Cow, Art Bears, Faust, This Heat, Slapp Happy, The Necks, and countless others. At the centre of it all is the percussionist, composer, lyricist, and music theorist, Chris Cutler, who not only runs the label, but has issued a substantial amount of work, in numerous incarnations, within its catalog. RēR now returns with its most ambitious release dedicated to Cutler’s output, the ten CDs + DVD box set, “Compositions and Collaborations: 1972-2022”, which collects solo work, compositions, and collaborations made between 1972 and 2022, including three previously released solo CDs, as well as a double CD collection of pieces by Henry Cow, Art Bears, News From Babel, Cutler/Frith, and a great many more. A truly monumental release with more than five hours of unreleased material, it’s absolutely essential for fans of Cutler and the many projects to which he has belonged.
First emerging on the London psychedelic scene during the 1960s, and coming to attention as the drummer of the avant-rock group Henry Cow during the early '70s, Chris Cutler’s incredible career has arched across more than half a century, going on to play in Art Bears, News from Babel, Pere Ubu and Gong/Mothergong, in addition to producing a sprawling body of solo and collaborative efforts with Fred Frith, Lindsay Cooper, Zeena Parkins, Peter Blegvad, and numerous others.
Entirely self-taught, Cutler initially performed on makeshift drum kits assembled from whatever was on hand, and developed an entirely singular approach to his practice which involved training his hands to reproduce what he heard or imagined in his mind. Eventually, during his tenure with Henry Cow, this innovative spirit promoted him to begin exploring different methods of electrify his drum kit, attaching telephone mouthpieces to drums and cymbals and running them through an amplifier and reverb unit, refining this approach with advancing technology over the decades, to produce an entirely unique way of composing and producing sound.
While Cutler’s work has graced more than 100 releases, it’s hard to think of any that offer a great an insight into his remarkable times than RēR’s career spanning box set “Compositions and Collaborations: 1972-2022”. Across ten CDs and a DVD, tracing through a remarkable range of material, it collects the drummer’s solo work, compositions and collaborations made between 1972 and 2022 and include as well as three previously released solo CDs (“Solo”, “Twice Around the Earth” and “There and Back Again”), more than five hours of unreleased materials, as well as a double CD collection of tracks culled from official recordings featuring Henry Cow, Art Bears, Cassiber, News From Babel, Aqsak Mabou, Duck and Cover, Peter Blegvad, Rene Lussier, The Work, Les Quatre Guitaristes de L'apocalypso Bar, Pere Ubu, The (ec) Nudes, Domestic Stories, Songs Between, Norma, p53, The Science Group, Cutler/Frith, Cutler/Parkins, Cutler/Dimuzio, Cutler/MacLean, Vril, Brainville III and Yumi Hara.
Spanning the genres of rock, experimental music, chamber ensembles, orchestras, soundscape works, electronics, experimental rock, contemporary composition, improvisation and sound composition, in each case, as the collection reveals over its many hours of material, the body of work that Cutler has produced since the early 1970s stands entirely apart from the pack, pushed forward by an artist of entirely unique vision, encountering him drumming his way through the story of amplified experimental music in bands, orchestras, and small ensembles, as well as on his own with his electrified kit. In addition to all the aforementioned, the box set also includes “Inside Broadcast”, a 22-hour radio commission for Radio Art Zone, and an amazing, large book of documentation, artwork, published and unpublished texts and photographs.
Truly immersive and creatively incredible, RēR’s release of “Compositions and Collaborations: 1972-2022” brings the life and work of Chris Cutler alive before your ears and keeps you coming back for more. Truly monumental in the ways that only artists like Cutler deserve, across its length one of the most singular and striking bodies of sonority produced in the last century completely melts the mind. Issued in a beautifully produced box, containing ten CDs of material, a DVD, and the extensive book, it’s absolutely essential for Cutler’s many fans, as well as anyone wanting to explore his remarkable work and career.