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John Avery, a member of Sheffield electro-funk outfit Hula, is an English composer and sound designer for theatre. He has been a collaborator with the theatre group Forced Entertainment since a long time and many of his solo projects fed into music for their performances. John's work has been described as a juxtaposition of melody and noise and is characterised by a sense of narrative.
Improvised and recorded directly onto master tape at Vibrasound Studios, Sheffield on July 20th 1985, Nighthawks forms part of a soundtrack written and recorded for a theatre piece entitled "Nighthawks" by Forced Entertainment Theatre Co-operative. The show was their fourth project when the album was released, and the second to include specially written music by John Avery. "Nighthawks" itself is set in a lonely American bar, it works in a highly visual style using performance, light set and soundtrack to explore ideas about romance, travel and sexuality. The original album, which was released by the now defunct label Final Image in 1985, has been carefully remastered and previously unreleased bonus music has been added. Here's what Tim Etchells, director of the theatre pieces says: "Nighthawks (1985), Emanuelle Enchanted (1992) and Speak Bitterness (1994) are all performances by the Sheffield-based performance ensemble Forced Entertainment. A collaboration of six artists, led by artistic director Tim Etchells, the group continues to make and tour works in the UK, mainland Europe and beyond from its base in the city. Beginning from an impulse to reinvent theatre in ways that allows it to address contemporary experience and questions, Forced Entertainment’s work has varied from project to project – spectacular and chaotic at one moment, intimate and fragile at another, drawing on film, visual art, popular culture, internet, stand-up comedy, vaudeville, and performance art, to make a theatre for the late 20th and early 21st centuries. In numerous projects, especially in the early decades of the group’s work, original soundtracks, almost invariably by John Avery, played an important part, scored as atmospheric backgrounds to the performances.
Nighthawks, the earliest of the pieces represented here, took it’s starting point from the Edward Hopper painting of the same name and developed choreographed movement and recorded voices exploring a generic landscape and late night world of lonely Americana. Seven years later Emanuelle Enchanted presented a more contemporary landscape; a chaotic, cut-up of images and fragmented texts focused on the idea of city in some moment or process of crisis, the action onstage at times selectively relayed by live-video camera feed to television monitors. The final piece featured here Speak Bitterness, is still performed by the group and consists of a line of people making confessions, read aloud the text spread out on a long table. Occupying a brightly lit space, the performers take turns reading from the text, a litany of wrongdoing that ranges from the big time of forgery, murder or genocide to nasty little details, such as reading each other’s diaries and refusing to take the dogs out for a walk." Tracklist: 1. Nighthawks 2. And Never Let Go 3. Speak Bitterness 4. These Are The Bright Stars And This Is How To Find Them.