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Best of 2022

Alterations

Up Your Sleeve (LP)

Label: Paradigm Discs

Format: LP

Genre: Experimental

Out of stock

** In process of stocking, edition of 500 copies with a numbered 4-page insert ** Previously released in 1980 on David Toop’s Quartz label at a time when improvised music in London was settling into a long spell of excellence. The players here are Steve Beresford, Peter Cusack, Terry Day and David Toop. Terry had been a member of The People Band in the 60s, one of the groups forming part of the first wave of British improvisation. The rest of the group could be regarded as pioneers of a second generation of improvisers who emerged out of the explosion of musical development that came in the wake of AMM, Derek Bailey, Spontaneous Music Ensemble, etc. Out of this burst of musical energy a platform soon emerged in the form of the London Musicians Collective. A permanent venue and an open network were soon established and the seeds were planted for a wide range of new and exciting players to explore the possibilities of free improvisation.

The first Alterations LP from 1978 exemplifies this, with new ideas literally brought to the table - alongside the numerous conventional instruments played by the group, a plethora of simple musical toys, sound makers and home made instruments were used. Up Your Sleeve is their second LP and operates in a similar territory, but takes things to another level with its casual embrace of noise and feedback, and somewhat controversially for improv; fragments of familiar songs and a hearty indulgence in rhythm. In short, Up Your Sleeve is free improvisation drawn from a very broad range of components. It should be said that all the members of the group were also at the same time in bands that played songs, most notably Steve’s involvement with The Slits and The Flying Lizards. David also briefly basked as a Lizard, but all four members were singing the same tune in both The 49 Americans and The Promenaders. Maybe it’s not so surprising to hear stylistic clashes exploited on this record.

London was awash with musical development in the early '80s. Apart from the burgeoning LMC scene there were many post punk and experimental groups like This Heat and Swell Maps that enriched the creative atmosphere. London labels like Quartz along with Recommended Records, It’s War Boys, Incus, Industrial, United Dairies and countless others were all releasing ground breaking experimental music. It was arguably the best time for experimental music in London. There was certainly something in the air.

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