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Houston 2012 BPA 2CD2

by Sandy Ewen / Keith Rowe / Damon Smith

/
  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Full artwork and liner notes. Two Polaroids by Cy Twombly, concert photos by Shaun Sandor.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Houston 2012 BPA 2CD2 via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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about

Video here:
youtu.be/tPmjQlj1oTI
&
youtu.be/D_G9YtvXsmQ


Gooseberry Marmalade



CFIRNTFM145 - Flowers Scratch Orchestra
Nature Study Notes

Stones Christian Wolff
CJ81 – Piece in Five Parts Scratch Orchestra

For Strings Howard Skempton
Wave
Shingle
Seagulls

Treatise, p. 80 Cornelius Cardew
Six Categories of Playing Scratch Orchestra
Arid
Spectral
Fertile
Unknown
Soft
Remote


Desire Scratch Orchestra
Want to do something; Do it.
Do something without wanting to.
Do something wanting not to.
Be done to.
Be done.



Lady Band (of Various Fruit Names) is an all-female experimental music ensemble founded by Sandy Ewen in
2009. Performances are singular, often site-specific events, featuring a rotating lineup (and different
fruit-themed name for each show), with members contributing graphic and text-based scores for
structured improvisation. Drawing parallels between Ewen’s group and Scratch Orchestra, the 1960s-70s
London experimental music ensemble Rowe was involved in, Smith hatched a plan for Rowe to
collaborate with the group on a concert of Scratch Orchestra scores in 2012: “During a previous trip of
Keith’s to Houston, we were at the Alabama IceHouse and talking about Fluxus, the (Ben) Patterson was
up or had been up (at CAMH), and (Keith) talked about Scratch Orchestra. So I made the connection to
have him do those pieces with Sandy’s group when he wanted to play with Sandy and me.” Gooseberry
Marmalade was up for the task.
Meeting over tea the night before the show, Rowe’s quiet intensity opened an infinite world of
possibilities for staging the works. Seven scores were chosen to be performed as an uninterrupted suite,
some of the titles bearing code names devised for inclusion in Nature Study Notes, a compendium of
scores and “Draft Constitution of the Scratch Orchestra” published in 1969. Also chosen were Christian
Wolff’s Stones and p. 80 from Cardew’s Treatise – realized here as a chorus line of pantomimed gestures
and pedestrian movements, heard only on the audio recording as an extended silence punctuated with
the padding of footsteps across the polished wooden floorboards of 14 Pews, the converted
chapel/cinema/performance space where Ewen and Smith were in residency. Moments of physical-
visual-experiential magic abounded. Marilyn, Cressandra Thibodeaux’s then 80-year old mother and
bartender of 14 Pews, handed each performer a flower to begin CFIRNTFM145 - Flowers. Chewing on a
rose, thorns and all, Regina Agu languidly paced the aisles while carnations were sung to, bits of poetic
verse drifted into consciousness and petals were strewn about the stage. The performance ended with
Desire, its thought-provoking text echoing in our minds intently as recited by Rowe the night before:
“Want to do something; Do it. Do something without wanting to. Do something wanting not to. Be done
to. Be done.”

Rebecca Novak


All three musicians represented on this release share an intimate connection with and have a
great love of contemporary visual art. Rowe studied Fine Art in Plymouth, England in the late
50s, eventually seeking to integrate what he learned there with musical concepts. Dissatisfied
with his experiences in the Mike Westbrook band of the early 60s, he would sometimes
surreptitiously substitute a print of, say, a Paul Klee painting (or pie advertisement!) for the score
and use it as a “graphic score for improvisation. In later years, he was able to play in the Rothko Chapel in Houston, using the surrounding paintings as a kind of atmosphere from which to
generate sound. Here, on ‘Compacted Shields’, the trio uses a reproduction of Cy Twombly’s
‘Fifty Days at Iliam’, a large set of work on ten panels based on Pope’s translation of The Iliad, as a kind of reference point, not as a “score” but as a creation to respond to. There is also, at least in Rowe’s mind, an understanding of Twombly’s appreciation of the continuum of Western art and his (greater or lesser) place in it, Rowe seeking to ascertain a similar sense of history, of where, if at
all, his music fits. But this is a recording of three people, each with their own history, musicality
and desire for creation arising from improvisation; though Ewen counts Rowe as a major
influence, the difference in their approaches are easily discernible and complimentary. In both sections, the live set and the Twombly-imbued studio session, a deep sense of communality,
mutual respect, profound listening and, in the former, not a little bit of humor, can be clearly
heard. The latter session, perhaps influenced by Twombly, has a beautiful gravitas, anchored by Smith’s deep and connective bass work, casting a wide variety of strands that anchor the
proceedings with huge strength. There is both a strong sense of marks on wide swatches of
canvas and a tenuous though very apparent congruence, even a feeling of narrative throughout, an echo of an echo of an echo of some classic form, still vital, still informing, still revealing.

Brian Olewnick

credits

released August 4, 2021

Keith Rowe - guitar, radio
Sandy Ewen - guitar
Damon Smith - double bass, field recordings

Gooseberry Mamalade
Sandy Ewen, Rebecca Novak, Megan Easley, Rachel Orosco, Carol Ann Sandin, Sam Rowell, Jenny Hoyston, Mars Varela, Erin Joyce, Regina Agu

1 & 2 Recorded 10/11/2012at 14 Pews by Ryan Edwards
3 & 4 Recorded 10/12/2012 at KUHF by Ryan Edwards
Mixed & Mastered by Ryan Edwards

Performance photographs by Shaun Sandor

Cover Art: Brushes, Gaeta 2005, polaroid by Cy Twombly
The Artist's Shoes, 2009 polaroid by Cy Twombly
Thanks to Nicola Del Roscio & the Cy Twombly Foundation
www.cytwombly.org

Liner notes by Rebecca Novak & Brian Olewnick
Design by Alan Anzalone

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