Hanwell

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Angharad Davies : violin
Rhodri Davies : harp
Matt Davis : trumpet
Mark Wastell : violoncello

Recorded at Hanwell Community Centre on the 26th of October 1997
Recorded to digital cassette tape by Mark Wastell. Original cassette mono recording mastered by Sam Grant, August 2016. Cover design by Matthew Brandi. Produced by Mark Wastell

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released September 20, 2020

This performance was recorded in the Hanwell Community Centre in west London, once a rehearsal space used by bands such as Led Zeppelin and The Who, more distantly the transitory residence of Charlie Chaplin during his impoverished childhood. Chaplin is a problematic figure for the tastes of my generation. Sentimentality is the crime frequently cited though who can blame him for that, given the abuse and neglect he suffered as a boy? A more likely culprit is the stroke of genius through which he masked himself so totally with an image of such unpleasantly charmless charm. Snobs like me identify more comfortably with the spectral inscrutability of Buster Keaton, whose scenarios of conflict and chaos emerge from the instability of events, the unpredictability of objects. Perhaps it was the same for Chaplin; my prejudice discourages me from finding out.

There are interesting parallels between free improvisation and cinema of the so-called silent era. Objects betray expectations, as Keaton discovered many times in his films. Houses collapse, cigar store Indians come to life. Silence – its absence of audible dialogue and the resultant episodic narrative of cumulative effects – threw the material world into a violent dynamic not dissimilar to the interior of a pinball machine. And yet negotiation of this violently hyperkinetic world would be executed with grace and exquisite timing, each random consequence grasped as if it were a gift, albeit a gift that could leave a lump on the head. (David Toop)


The cover image is a cropped monochrome version of a colour photograph by Juan Gutierrez Andres and is released under the Creative Commons CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cuckoo_Schools.jpg

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