25 settembre 2006

Dave Stewart ricorda Pip Pyle:

In memoriam Pip Pyle, 1950 - 2006
by Dave Stewart

Our dear friend and colleague Pip Pyle died in Paris in the early hours of August 28th 2006 shortly after travelling home from a Hatfield and the North concert in Groningen, Holland. Phil Miller phoned to tell me the awful news. Later that day, Richard Sinclair told me the Groningen gig was the best they had played with the revised Hatfield line-up and that Pip had performed particularly well; as Richard put it, “He went out in a blaze of fire”. After the concert everyone was in good spirits and Phil and Pip (who had known each other since the age of four) went out together and stayed out till 3am. It’s a consolation to know that Pip’s career ended on a high, happy note in the company of lifelong friends.
I first met Pip when I was 21, when he was drummer in Delivery and I was organist in Egg. Our bass player lived near Pip’s flat in East Sheen, SW London, and one Saturday night, as our two bands drove home from gigs ‘oop north’, our vans happened to cross paths on the North Circular Road. Being a cheerful, hospitable lot, they gesticulated for us to come and have a cup of tea at Pip’s place, which we duly did despite it being two thirty in the morning. Later, guitarist Steve Hillage auditioned Pip for his new band Khan. My partner Barbara Gaskin was Steve’s girlfriend at the time, and she remembers Pip trying to chat her up. When he asked where she was from, she answered, “Hatfield”. Pip replied, “Oh really? I’ve always wanted to be in a band called ‘Hatfield and the North.’ ”
Pip’s chat-up lines were appalling, though most of the time they seemed to work. His favourite (which made me cringe) was “What kind of music do you like?” He wasn’t in the least interested in the answer; the question was merely a preamble to a well-rehearsed routine which went something like: “Oh, really? My favourite music is jazz. Do you know if there’s a jazz club in town? Maybe we could go there for a drink.” I always hoped one day a woman would take the wind out of Pip’s sails by responding to his cynical query: “I’m interested in the twelve-tone experimentalism of Webern and Berg, but I must say I fucking hate jazz.” Sadly, this never happened to my knowledge.
Pip liked a drink. (Understatement of the eon.) He liked to boast about how drunk he had been and how idiotically he had behaved as a result - the more idiotic the behaviour, the greater Pip’s enjoyment in recounting it. When pissed on tour he would call his wife Pam in the small hours, asking stupid questions like, “Where am I?” Drunk after a Hatfield gig in France, he blundered into a phone box and rang Pam to ask where his Ventalin inhaler was. (An asthma sufferer since boyhood, he was forever losing and panicking about the bloody thing.) Pam replied,”Have you looked in your shoulder bag?”“Where’s my shoulder bag?”“Haven’t you got it with you? Try looking on your shoulder where you normally put it.”“It’s not there.”“Try looking on the other shoulder.”“Oh yes, there it is.” Ten minutes later he called Pam back to ask how to get out of the phone box.Despite having a way with words (he was an accomplished lyricist and a great letter-writer) Pip mumbled badly on the phone, to the extent where when he first called to invite me to have a play, I could barely understand a word he was saying. He had a very slight drawl and used the word ‘boring’ in a way I’d not heard before, to mean irritating or disagreeable as well as tedious. Many things were ‘boring’ for Pip - slow traffic, bureacracy, delays, shaving, rules, pomposity, the inexplicable failure of others to do exactly what he wanted. He also used the interrogative ‘right?’ a lot, especially in raised-voice argument: “Yeah Phil but, right, don’t play a solo there, right - don’t play there, right - and we’ll get a good backing track, right, then you can overdub it later, right, right?” Then, after Phil had gone ahead and played a solo anyway: “Phil! I said, don’t play a solo there, right? Boring.”
But life with Pip was anything but boring. He hated the dull, routine and mundane, so if nothing entertaining was happening he would contrive to drum up (as it were) a bit of excitement, even if that meant severely disturbing the peace of others. He and his close friend Benji egged each other on; on the road they were like a mad double act, Benj playing Oliver Reed to Pip’s Keith Moon. Their chaos was generally good-natured, but it was unstoppable and all-embracing - if you weren’t in the mood you just had to get out of their way. At times the mayhem went too far and culminated in boorish and destructive behaviour which, to put it mildly, wasn’t funny. Though Pip would try to laugh it all off, it was severely embarrassing (for example) to face people who had kindly put us up after a gig and explain why their toilet had unaccountably been smashed up in the middle of the night. We could deduct money from Pip’s wages to cover damages, but it wasn’t so easy to repair peoples’ hurt feelings.
Though Pip found it amusing to project the image of an out-of-control alcoholic destructive automaton and never really moderated his behaviour and general outlook throughout his life, there was a lot more to him than that. He was (though he sometimes did his best to conceal it) an intelligent and quick-minded man. He was addicted less to the drink than to the social entertainment it afforded him; if he felt the time was right, he was able to stop drinking for long periods without lapsing, and I don’t recall ever seeing him drunk when performing.
As has been often said, he was an extraordinary, gifted, imaginative and hard-working drummer, with a steely determination to do his musical best at all times. Given a tricky passage of music, he would never take the easy way out and play something trite and simplistic - instead, he would spend a long time thinking up an innovative drum part (the composer’s mind at work). This meant that although he might occasionally over-reach himself, his drumming was never (to coin a phrase) boring. And once he had mastered the octopus-like co-ordination required to play a particular section, he would throw himself into it with unbelievable drive and commitment, dragging everyone along in his wake.
To hear an example, listen to his drumming on ‘The Bryden 2-Step, Part 1' (the opening track on National Health’s Of Queues and Cures) - as we go into the rhythmic chordal passage at 3:09, Pip practically explodes: his ride cymbal work alone is amazing, but at the same time he’s belting out the backbeat, hitting all the accents with great precision, throwing in snare rolls and tom fills in unexpected places and generally driving the music along like an express train. I occasionally moaned at him for speeding up the tempos on stage, but his unique urgent, hustling style imparted great energy and musical interest to the pieces he played on.
As a lyricist he excelled in throwaway, slightly surreal lines and phrases, more often than not humorous but sometimes interspersing absurd wordplay with heartfelt personal observations. He and Richard Sinclair ended up co-writing some great songs more or less by accident - Richard often left a space where the lyrics were going to be and Pip would fill in the blanks when the occasion demanded more than a la-la-la. ‘Let’s Eat’, my favourite Hatfield song, is a good example of that. But I think Pip reserved his most sensitive, poetic and moving lyrics for his own songs. Take this extract from the autobiographical ‘Fitter Stoke Has A Bath’: Bing billy bang / Desperate Dan, frying pan / Kling klong kling / Klong kling klang / Michael Miles, bogy man...
In business matters, Pip was the most proactive of the four of us - when I visited his flat he was often on the phone hustling for gigs and seemed to be on a mission for the band, which is why (taking nothing away from Phil and Richard’s massive creative contribution) I tend to think of Hatfield as his group. Musically, he led by example; he always gave 100% on stage and in the studio, even if the rest of us were falling by the wayside. Though he disliked gig post-mortems, he gave a rousing pep talk after one rather limp performance, urging us not to be put off by stage sound problems: “If a monitor’s feeding back, kick it over!” he shouted. I never forgot that. If some lyrics needed finishing for a recording date, Pip would step in and write them. If we were rehearsing a difficult piece, he would write out his own part and doggedly work at it till it was right. He wasn’t so good at getting his arse on stage - whatever time we were due on, Pip would make a point of not being ready. (”Tell them ten minutes, right!”) But if a fellow musician needed help, he would be there at the drop of a hat.
With his premature departure we have lost one of England’s best and most adventurous drummers, a good composer and songwriter, a fine lyricist and a deranged sonic experimentalist to boot, but most of all we’ve lost a good friend. (Pip may not have been faithful to his wives and girlfriends, but he was fiercely loyal to his musical colleagues.) We will miss his gleeful grin and wicked cackle, the strained, monotone drone he uttered involuntarily while playing (clearly audible on recordings when you solo his drums, a never-failing source of amusement to him and the rest of us), the sound of breaking glass announcing his arrival, the child-like, uninhibited and contagious peals of laughter which emitted from his general direction at regular intervals. A big character, a big heart and a big talent - without him the world will be a quieter and, yes, a more boring place. Right?

Dave Stewart, September 2006

21 settembre 2006

Così racconta del funerale di Pip Pyle due giorni fa Aymeric Leroy, su What's Rattlin'?:
"Mainly I'd like to thank Pip for a great day spent celebrating his memory with his family and friends - the only downside, really, was the impardonable absence of the principal.
I'll try to list those present (in alphabetical order) - Rob Ayling (Voiceprint), Fred Baker, Rick Biddulph, Peter Blegvad, Doug Boyle, Graham Clark, Jonathan Coe, Jim Dvorak, Mark Fletcher, Barbara Gaskin, John Greaves, Mark Hewins, Hugh Hopper, Jakko Jakszyk, Benj Lefevre, Peter Lemer, Alex Maguire, Patrice Meyer, Phil Miller, Dave Sinclair, Richard Sinclair, Dave Stewart and Henk Weltevreden. Not forgetting Pip's kids - Sam, Alice, JoJo, Kizzy and Jack (regrettably, young Tom didn't make it) -, assorted partners (including Pip's girlfriend Polly), and close friends - Ali MacLewin, Trish 'Golf Girl' Sinclair... Plus a small contingent of fans/friends including me, my good friend and Rosbif expatriate Ian Chippett, and 'retired' (in his own admission) Facelift journalist Nick Loebner (Nick, where did you 'retire' to after the ceremony ?).
Proceedings began with a very moving, but at times very funny, ceremony at the crematorium, where Pip's kids and friends took turns to share their memories of a lifetime with Pip - including Phil Miller, Mark Hewins and Henk Weltevreden (the Canterbury scene's Dutch 'cousin', promoter of countless Dutch tours in the 1970s-80s) - Henk promised to send me his text, which alluded to the fact that Pip has guested on his radio show in tribute to Elton Dean last July, and starting from there... Let's hope his story remains pure fiction. It was entitled "Conspiracy Theory", which apparently is the title of Phil Miller's new album. Phil told me it should be out by late October, and that In Cahoots will hopefully return to Japan in December (there will also be duo gigs by Phil and Fred Baker, to be recorded for their long-delayed follow-up album to 1992's "Double Up"). InCa will also be the main attraction at the October 29th Vortex gig - which obviously is no longer a tribute to just Elton, but also to Pip. In related news, Doug Boyle will sit in with Hatfield at the Canterbury Festival concert on October 20th.
The party then moved collectively to nearby Sawbridgeworth (Pip's town of birth) and its Cricket Club which proved a perfect setting, aided by great, sunny weather. Food and drinks were served, plenty of conversations, and a short musical performance by Phil Miller, Alex Maguire, Fred Baker and Mark Fletcher, who played versions of "Calyx" and "Underdub", then were joined by Richard Sinclair for "God Song", which he sang acoustically as there was no vocal mike available. A little later, Mark Hewins and Fred Baker played a duo version of"Psychic Warrior", Elton's favourite, an Alex Maguire tune to which Pip had set lyrics earlier this year in memory of Elton.
I shot a few short films with my digital camera, mostly of the musical performance; hopefully we'll have many more photos from Henk who took many, and using a much better camera than mine. The soundtrack is a combination of the camera's sound and a minidisc recording, which I find quite satisfactory. You can see the film at :
The quality isn't as good as what I have here, but it's better than nothing I guess. The final image is of a drawing by Hugh Hopper's daughter Rosa, 10, who I think summed it all brilliantly:
"We loved you Pip. We weren't ready for it. But have a happy and safe journey".

PS: At the beginning, the coffin is carried by Pip's sons Sam and Jack, Phil Miller, Alex Maguire, Mark Fletcher and Mark Hewins; during the performance, Richard is joined on vocals by Ali MacLewin and (briefly) by Jakko. The man who hands Richard a folded magazine is Laurie Lewis, who designed the Hatfield and 1st National Health album covers."
Così racconta il funerale Dave Stewart:
"The funeral (in Harlow, Essex on September 19th) was a sad and tearful occasion, but it was a beautiful sunny day and Pip's family and friends gave him a fantastic send-off, with moving and funny speeches (including some impromptu one-liners) delivered by his children, his sister Mary and numerous mates and colleagues. Pip would have approved of the music playing as his coffin was brought in - the 'Foetal Fanfare Fandango' from his solo album 'Seven Year Itch', a daft, luching brass band tune described by Pip as "a funereal 9/4 march rhythm designed to make the pallbearers fall over". Thankfully none of them actually did, but as they carried him in (once again, Pip successfully managing to avoid the load-in) you could sense Pip's spirit urging some blackly comic event to happen. It's a good job he wasn't around to stage-manage the occasion, as I don't think our nerves could have coped with an exploding coffin.
At the end of the ceremony (which was 100% non-religious), the curtains were drawn and the 'audience' spontaneously rose up and gave him a standing ovation, richly deserved for the intense, overflowing energy and love he put into his life and music. He was a unique individual who had a big effect on the lives of all who knew him, and we'll miss him terribly."
Pip Pyle's funeral

20 settembre 2006

Phil Howitt, redattore della fanzine Facelift, scrive oggi per The Guardian un ricordo di Pip Pyle.

John Kelman pubblica oggi su All About Jazz la sua recensione della serata inaugurale, lo scorso 15 settembre, del Festival des Musiques Progressives di Montreal. Grande attenzione ovviamente al concerto di Hatfield & the North.


19 settembre 2006

Un concerto per raccogliere fondi in favore di Lol Coxhill, in un periodo di convalescenza e forzata inattività post-operatoria, si terrà a Londra al Red Rose Club il prossimo 24 settembre. Nutrito il numero dei partecipanti all'iniziativa:

PART I from 3.00pm to 5.30pm
John Russell (guitar) / John Edwards (d. bass)
Mike Walter (tenor sax) / Jim LeBaigue (drums) / Morris English (guitar)
"Albert Newton": Charles Hayward (drums) / Harry Beckett (trumpet) / Pat Thomas (keyboard) / John Edwards (double bass)

PART II from 5.30pm to 8.30pm
Stewart Lee (performance act)
Sylvia Hallett (violin, bicycle wheel) / Clive Bell (flutes)
Dave Green (double bass) / Henry Lowther (trumpet)
Phil Minton (voice) / Terry Day (flutes)

PART III from 8.30pm to 11.00pm
Steve Beresford (piano) / Mark Sanders (drums)
Veryan Weston (piano) / Tom Chant (soprano saxophone)
“Basic Electric Dreaming”: Dave Tucker (guitar) / Alison Blunt (electric violin) / Malcolm Bruce (bass guitar) / Steve Noble (drums)

18 settembre 2006

Kevin Ayers è tornato ad esibirsi in concerto in coppia con il chitarrista Max La Villa, dopo l'exploit londinese dello scorso maggio (allora l'occasione fu una serata in favore di un'organizzazione che si occupa di cultura tibetana, in http://www.kevin-ayers.com/tibet.html si dovrebbe poter ancora reperire il file audio .mp3 del concerto, una mezzoretta circa). L'altra sera a Brentwood, Essex è apparso in buona forma, sciorinando in scioltezza i classici di sempre: Didn't Feel Lonely 'Til I Thought of You, Eleanor's Cake, May I?, Shouting In A Bucket Blues, Blaming It All On Love, Lady Rachel e Thank You Very Much.
Altre date, sempre in duo con La Villa, sono annunciate per metà ottobre.

17 settembre 2006

Hans Voigt sulla norvegese RadiOrakel ha dedicato ieri uno speciale di un'ora a Pip Pyle nell'ambito del proprio programma, Uhort; in scaletta brani da Fools Meeting, Camembert Electrique, Hatfield And The North, The Rotters' Club, Playtime, Live Tracks, Pip Pyle's Equipe Out e Belle Illusion.
Chi ha perso la trasmissione può, se vuole, richiedermi il file audio (flac).
Ancora dalla sezione "guestbook" del sito di Pyle, dove amici e colleghi musicisti lasciano messaggi in suo ricordo:
Andy Ward: "Dear Pip - lovely man, great drummer. You will be missed. "
Kramer: "Pip was the best drummer I ever played with (in BRAINVILLE, with Hugh Hopper and Daevid Allen). I will forever mourn his absence."
Aymeric Leroy: "Hey Pip, just got this Equip'Out boot from '86 where you play a tune I don't recognise - can I play it over the phone so you can tell me what it is ? Oops, sorry, your line's been disconnected, it seems. Old habits die hard ! There's so much more I needed to know. And how can we come to terms with your absence when your music's such a strong presence in our lives ? You're immortal now, there was really no point in doing this to us. I just hope there really is an afterlife and that Elton, Alan, Steve M. and everyone else was really there waiting for you to join them in an eternal jam. So long, mate..."
Mike King: "October 94, Gong 25, London. I'm there from Canada to celebrate the big birthday and the publication of my book 'Wrong Movements - A Robert Wyatt History', and witness Pip's two day marathon with Gong and Shortwave. Hugh introduces me to Pip, who then leads me upstairs to the musicians lounge, where around a table with Hewins and Miller, Pyle and King hold court over all things historical on 'Delivery' for a future planned article. The stories and laughs flow...but I digress; in fact the very first thing Pip says to me post introduction is, "Where's your book? Get one." Pip rifles through it till he finds the photo of 17 year old Robert in Deya at Graves' guest home sunning himself, bare from the waist up. Pointing to it forcefully Pip exclaims, "There's a problem here. That's not Robert! That's Sam!" I chuckle, but Pip remained animated in his insistance, "That's Sam - exactly!" That was Pip. "
Rick Biddulph: "Hadn't seen you in a long while and now it's at a funeral instead of the Borderline gig we should have come to. Well, one more grande bouffe, and over 30 years' worth of tunes and tales to think of. Knowing first hand the mayhem you could cause at border crossings, I trust the processing at the Pearly Gates is now back to normal efficiency, and that HM Customs did not risk another 5 hours of the Spanish Inquisition tape on your final trip home. Thanks for all of it Pip."

16 settembre 2006

C'è già un commento al concerto di Hatfield & the North tenuto ieri a Montréal, nell'ambito del primo Festival des Musiques Progressives; lo riporta What's Rattlin'?:

"I saw H & N in Montreal last night. I, for one, loved it as did most of the audience judging by the overwhelming response. It was such a joy seeing artists whose music I've enjoyed for so long. I didn't meet Richard Sinclair but my friend Pascal Globensky of Miriodor spent a half hour with him and said that he is as sweet as his voice. I don't doubt it.
The set consisted largely of familiar pieces played with zest and humour. Some pieces held together very precariously and would finish, perhaps, unexpectedly. The musicians themselves seemed to marvel that they had actually gotten through a particular piece and had a bemused look on their face.
It was a fantastic atmosphere with the band and audience linked in an event. I suppose though that someone less familiar with their music might have been a bit confused.
After the encore Phil Miller politely told us that under the circumstances (R.I.P. PIP) they had not had time to rehearse and were literally out of material to play. With this they bid us a warm goodnight.
Indeed at times the set was messy and lost. But this was funny in its own way and very entertaining. It felt like they were composing a piece there and then. One had to work with them to catch the melody/composition - then all of a sudden there would be that melody you recognised. This only applies to the pieces that didn't work so well.
The rest of the pieces, which consisted of about 3/4 of the set, were tight and great. Richard voice was in top shape although sometimes lost in the mix.
I think I detected extreme frustration at one point from Marc Fletcher but again that is to be expected. Overall a wonderful night that I will cherish for a long time...
P.S. There was a Gentle Giant in the audience, Gary Green, and whenever I would glance in his direction, his head would be bobbing to the music, a smile on his face!"

13 settembre 2006

L'appello lanciato qualche giorno fa da Sam Ellidge volto a raccogliere adesivi e messaggi con cui decorare la bara di Pip Pyle - di cui Sam è figlioccio - al posto dei tradizionali addobbi floreali ha incontrato notevole risposta; ecco ad esempio quello che hanno prodotto per l'occasione i responsabili di Intuitive Music:
"We, Intuitive Music and
Intuitive Designs, have already sent our little contribution with a commemorative sticker on Pip Pyle’s career that we have especially designed for this special occasion. We have been confirmed that it will be placed on his coffin. The copyright of this design has also been given to Pip’s family in case they want to use it for former printings. With this, we want to thank Pip Pyle for so many years of wonderful music."
Sam Ellidge comunica oggi luogo e data del funerale di Pyle:
The family of Pip would like to invite all Pip's friends to the funeral at Parndon Wood Crematorium, Parndon rd. Harlow, Essex CM19 4SS on Tuesday 19th September at 12 noon.
We are not encouraging flowers but donations to 'Musicians Benevolent Fund' can be sent to The Funeral Directors, their address is:
Daniel Robinson & Sons c/o Jo Setterfield
3 Bullfields, Sawbridgeworth, Herts UK

11 settembre 2006

Il sassofonista austriaco Max Nagl, già autore in passato di un bell'album dedicato a Edward Gorey ("The Evil Garden"), pubblica ora per l'etichetta Handsemmel Records Market Rasen, con interpretazioni di sette celebri brani di Robert Wyatt e altri a lui dedicati; contitolari sono Clemens Wenger (tastiere) e Herbert Pirker (percussioni).

Eccone la presentazione inclusa nella recente newsletter di Downtown Music Gallery:
"What I find most interesting about Austrian reeds wiz, Max Nagl, is that each of his 25+ discs has a different theme. Max's discs include solo, duo, trios, quartets and large ensembles and Max has done music for a circus, has a bizarre opera and did a fine tribute to Edward Gorey that featured Julie Tippett and Lol Coxhill and is sadly out-of-print. Max's new disc is a tribute to the music of Robert Wyatt, our favorite singer, songwriter and philosopher and former drummer of the original Soft Machine band, as well as the leader of Matching Mole. Robert Wyatt is well-regarded for his charming and most distinctive voice and his thoughtful lyrics, but perhaps not as well known for his equally engaging music. For this disc, Max has chosen seven songs from different parts of Wyatt's long career, as well as writing another five songs inspired by Mr. Wyatt's music. The well-selected Wyatt tunes include "5 Black Notes & 1 White Note" from 'Ruth is Stranger than Richard', which has a forlorn melody, rambunctious drums (not part of the original) and eerie synth. "Alliance" opened 'Old Rottenhat' and its incisive lyrics are quoted appropriately inside the booklet. It is given a dark and dreamy treatment with some scratchy percussion. "CP Jeebies" opened the revised version of 'Dondestan', and this version features some poignant sax from Max, recorded from a distance and some somber electric piano. "Born Again Cretin" opened that Rough Trade collection of singles called 'Nothing Can Stop Us' and has a lovely, rather sentimental melody that I find quite touching, again featuring Max's dreamy sax. "Box 25/4 Lid" is a short piece that closed Soft Machine's 'Volume One' and felt like an after-thought. Here it is stretched out to nearly 5 minutes and mutated somewhat and includes some fine fuzzed keyboards, something that Soft Machine helped to invent. "The British Road" and "Gharbzadegi" are both from 'Old Rottenhat' and both deal lyrically with manners of perspective in times of war and the self-righteousness of Westerners. On "the British Road", Mr. Pirker's dynamic drums are at the center as the fuzz keyboard and sax dance behind him. "Gharbzadegi" has a similar melody to "A Love Supreme" and Max's trio do a fine job bringing this charming theme to life. The other five songs were written by Mr. Nagl and they do capture some of Wyatt's unique and quirky magic. The distorted keyboards of "Fatty", harks back to the days of early fusion, yet the melody seems like some South African ditty rocked out a bit. I dig "Louth Mouth" because of its odd groove that keeps switching styles. It even features some of that great Gary Windo-like screaming sax that could also be found on some of those early Wyatt's solo discs. My only complaint is why Max Nagl's often striking sax is put in the back of the mix with the drums and keyboards often up-front. No matter, since the overall vibe is reminiscent of that the mesmerizing aura that surrounds each and every Robert Wyatt release."

E presso il sito dell'etichetta
Handsemmel Records:
Handsemmel die Zweite. Nach dem charmanten Koglmann-Aichinger Bacharach-Amalgam ist in der Backstube von Handsemmel Records jetzt ein ganz besonderer Wecken aus dem Rohr gezogen worden: Max Nagl interpretiert Musik von Robert Wyatt, dem genialen, liebevollen, zärtlichen Philosophen an dessen fein-filigranen Kompositionen sich immer wieder gute und sehr gute Musiker versuchten, aber das hat in den wenigsten Fällen geklappt - hier schon. Max Nagl versucht erst gar nicht die vokale Einzigartigkeit der Robert Wyatt Songs zu rekonstruieren, er macht stattdessen ein Instrumentalalbum und mischt Wyatt tunes mit eigenen neuen Kompositionen. Siehe da: Market Rasen ist ein liebevolles, zärtliches, philosophisches Album geworden, welches den Hörer(innen), die Musik abseits der geistigen "Chaise-Lounge" noch zu hören im Stande sind, entzücken wird. HANSE 1107CD

Seit 1970 hat der rauschebärtige Künstler 13 von der Kritik äußerst geschätzte Alben eingespielt. Nur wenigen gelingt es, Lieblichkeit und Widerborstigkeit, politischeLosung und reine Poesie derart spannend zu verbinden. Seine Lieder werden gerne gecovert oder durch Jazzer neu gedeutet.Vor einigen Jahren hat ihm der österreichische Elektronik-Musiker Christoph Kurzmann ein Album zugeeignet, nun ist Jazzsaxofonist Max Nagl dran. Market Rasen heißt das Opus, das heuer in Saalfelden vorgestellt wird. Angeregt hat es Klaus Nüchtern, im Brotberuf Kulturchef der Wiener Stadtzeitung "Falter". Sein junges Label nennt sich nicht unknusprig Handsemmel Records. Nach dem Erfolg der ersten Handsemmel-Platte, Bridal Suite, einer eigenwilligen Burt-Bacharach-Tributeplatte von Oskar Aichinger und Franz Koglmann, stand nun Robert Wyatt im Fokus.
"Das Gegenteil von einfach"Für den 45-jährigen, stark vom britischen Saxofonisten Lol Coxhill beeinflussten Max Nagl, gab es dabei einiges zu entdecken: "Namentlich war mir Wyatt schon ein Begriff. Ich kannte ihn aber vor allem als Sänger von Michael Mantler und ein paar Soft Machine-Stücke. Als Songwriter hab ich ihn erst jetzt kennen gelernt. Auch wenn ergerne tiefstapelt, seine Lieder sind das Gegenteil von einfach, deshalb geben sie im Jazzkontext viel her." Neben drei heftigen Eigenkompositionen finden sich auf Market Rasen acht Wyatt-Stücke und eine Adaption von Jacques Offenbachs Baccarole, dasNagl mit interessanten Overdubs angeht. Drei Songs stammen von Wyatts Meisterwerk Old Rottenhat daneben gibt es liebevolle Deutungen neuerer Stück wie CPJeebies, auch Born again Cretin aus der berühmten Arbeiterliederplatte Nothing can stop me. Dank Nagl geriet das schwärmerische, teils lustvoll in Free-Jazz-Gefilde ausfransende Opus indes nicht ganz unpolitisch. Auf A Saturday In New York quillt Volkszorn unterschiedlichster Ethnien.Nagl: "Da verwendete ich Sprachfetzen, die ich bei verschiedenen Demonstrationen an einem Nachmittag aufnahm."Über diesen tagespolitischen Petitessen herrschte aber bei der Umsetzung Wyatts Dogma vom unbedingten Vorrang des Strebens nach Schönheit in der Kunst, einer Schönheit, die auch an ungewohnten Orten zu finden ist. Etwa auf dem Provinzbahnhof Market Rasen. (Samir H. Köck)

10 settembre 2006

Alessandro Achilli dedica a Pip Pyle la puntata di stasera di Prospettive Musicali, su Radio Popolare, a partire dalle ore 22.30 circa.
Steve Lake, celebra penna per Melody Maker negli anni Settanta (forse proprio a lui si deve il primo uso dell'espressione "Canterbury scene"), pubblica oggi su What's Rattlin'? un ritratto dell'epoca in cui viveva con Pyle:
"It's true that I lived at his place:in East Sheen above a bed shop on the busy Upper Richmond Road with double-decker buses and lorries rattling past. That would have been... 1974. Pip was still in his Green Period then. Had painted the whole flat in a bright leaf green – walls, ceilings, woodwork, telephone -, the only exceptions were the curtains which were in a violent pink-and-black check. The colour combination could almost induce hallucinations when you were sober. Pip wore only green clothes and at one point dyed his hair green (although that changed almost weekly), a particularly surreal vision. I took over the flat from Pip but we were in it together for a few months – with his family, and a steady stream of guests and near neighbours. The place was on the hipster's map as a jazz-and-Canterbury scene crashpad: the backdoor was always open and the sofa at the disposal of anyone who needed a place to put his or her head down – unless there was a party in progress, in which case welcome and do you mind drinking brandy/ouzo/vodka/chianti from a teacup?, we're out of glasses…Regular guests included all the Hatfields and Northettes, Steve Miller, Alan Gowen, Lol Coxhill, Laurie Allan, Gary Boyle, Dave Sinclair, Hugh Hopper, John Greaves. Harry Miller once or twice. Robert Wyatt infrequently. Bill Bruford lived a few doors away and would sometimes drop by to borrow LPs I'd reviewed for MM – I recall him and Pip talking about the Brotherhood of Breath's "Live At Willisau" and the driving drumming of Louis Moholo. Pip was usually at the centre of the most hardcore raving and heated arguing that accompanied the epic socializing, along with Elton Dean and Benj LeFevre, the ex Matching Mole roadie who helped Hatfield when not on tour as a Led Zeppelin sound technician – this trio were unchallenged as the three musketeers of merry carousing and wild pranks. You took your life in your hands if you tried to match them drink for drink. In the case of Pip you could argue either that the personal recklessness worked to the detriment of his musical development (is it wise to visit the pub more frequently than the rehearsal room?) or say that taking chances with his mind and body was a part of being a fearless artist. However: he wouldn't take a drink before going onstage in the early 70s. He was strict about that. Afterwards was another matter. We went out to hear music together – various events around John Stevens, the Bracknell Festival, pub gigs with the now-forgotten altoist Mike Osborne (with ex Soft Machine roadie Jeff Green on guitar), Ronnie Scott's Club… where we particularly enjoyed a George Coleman/Cedar Walton group with Billy Higgins on drums. Later Pip spoke with Higgins in the downstairs bar, told him how great he was.Back then, Pip wanted Hatfield to be more improvisational. He half-wanted to play more jazz, thought that was where he might end up, and had been stung when Elton once told him he was "too heavy-handed" for acoustic music, a criticism he took seriously and worked to correct. At the same time he liked the cranked-amps, adrenaline rush aspects of rock. I don't recall much rock of any kind on his record player, though. (And in the time I was there he never listened to his own recordings. Not once.) We went to the movies in Notting Hill and saw the Dutch festival film "Stamping Ground" in which Pip disliked everything except the Soft Machine playing "Esther's Nose Job." The rest –Santana, Pink Floyd, the Byrds, Jefferson Airplane etc. - was all too contrived and `theatrical' for his tastes. That might seem strange coming from a guy who didn't mind wearing ladies clothes for a Gong photo shoot and enjoyed assassinating garden gnomes on stage with Hatfield. A few years later, when punk came in and practically swept away progressive rock, he laughed. "Pretty vacant??" he said, "I can identify with that." Hadn't he written songs about being "basically a cretin"? Needless to add, he was much brighter than he cared to admit and part of his musical contribution was to bring some of the intelligence of jazz drumming into rock – as Mitch Mitchell and Robert Wyatt had done earlier. By doing it longer Pip may have directly inspired more players. I'd first seen him play with Delivery at the Roundhouse in 1970; I think they were opening for Kevin Ayers. I'd never heard of the band before. Pip would have been just 20 then; I was 18. The group opened with a tremendous version of Carla Bley's "Vashkar": its bracing sense of freedom, underlined by Pip's speeding, sweeping drums, just lifted me away. I thought: who *is* this guy? I'm glad I got a chance to find out, and remember those early East Sheen days with Pip and Pam and co very fondly."

09 settembre 2006

La serata dedicata al "Canterbury Sound" (Canterbury, Marlowe Theatre, il prossimo 20 ottobre) all'interno del Canterbury Festival di quest'anno non avrà la partecipazione dei Caravan, a causa della non buona salute di Richard Coughlan; ci sarà invece una nuova formazione guidata da Geoff Richardson e Jim Leverton. Confermate invece le presenze di Brainville / Hugh Hopper Band e Hatfield & the North (con Mark Fletcher in formazione).
Ecco un breve comunicato a proposito:
"The Canterbury Sound concert in this year’s Canterbury Festival (Marlowe Theatre, Friday 20 October) will be going ahead despite the tragic death of Hatfield and the North’s drummer Pip Pyle. Caravan’s drummer – Richard Coughlan has withdrawn due to illness, and the band Caravan will be replaced by a new line up of Canterbury musicians led by musical legends Jim Leverton and Geoff Richardson. Brainville/Hugh Hopper Band will be appearing as billed. Rosie Turner (Festival Director) says “Having spoken to a number of the musicians including Richard Sinclair and Hugh Hopper, we are determined that the Canterbury Sound will live on in tribute to Pip. He will be greatly missed but we feel he would be happy that other musicians have the chance to join the concert, and keep the Canterbury Sound alive."
Tickets are priced £18 and are available from the Marlowe Theatre Box Office 01227 787787

08 settembre 2006

Si apre a Palau domenica 10 settembre la decima edizione del festival "Isole che parlano", incentrato quest'anno sulla presenza tra gli altri di Evan Parker, Fred Frith, Stevie Wishart, Eugene Chadbourne, Paul Lovens con concerti, lezioni, azioni musicali.

07 settembre 2006

Ancora per Pip Pyle, ecco la prima pagina del Whitstable Times di oggi.

06 settembre 2006

Jeff Sherman descrive con grande entusiasmo - sicuramente motivato, data la qualità eccelsa delle edizioni Cuneiform - l'uscita prevista per il prossimo mese di Middle Earth Masters, documento inedito relativo al periodo 1967-68 dei Soft Machine.

Scrive Sherman:
"I just couldn't wait any longer to tell you about the upcoming Cuneiform Soft Machine release "Middle Earth Masters". As a contributor to the CDs artwork I was privileged to receive an advance copy and I've been playing it for a few days now. Once again Steve F has done it for us Soft Machine freaks. This is areal find and a long-missing piece in my always-expanding SM disk and LP collection. It contains tracks recorded by that line-up of Soft Machine that is particularly meaningful in my life - the circa 67-68 trio of Ratledge, Wyatt and Ayers. This was after all the trio that inspired my brother Greg and our childhood friend Jerry Cook to form Glass after we saw them play in September 1968 (the traycard picture was taken by a 16 year-old Jeff Sherman so blown away by the new sounds of this trio as to hardly be able to hold the camera still! To our collective knowledge this is the only published photograph of Soft Machine backing up Jimi Hendrix on that tour, hence its inclusion) The CD gives us a glimpse into what the bubbub was about in regards to Soft Machine's standing as one of the main bands of the London Underground Psychedelic Scene circa 1967. It also includes tracks recorded live at Roundhouse, Chalk Farm and one track at an unknown venue. Steve has included a GREAT booklet with many never-seen photos of the trio contributed by Mark Ellidge, Robert Wyatt's brother, band confidant and photographer at that time, if memory serves me. The artwork by Bill Ellsworth is, as always with Cuneiform, beautiful. Mike King goes a little overboard pre-apologizing for the recorded quality even going to the great lengths of publishing the technical data as to how these lost Bob Woolford Masters were restored. IMHO he needn't have. The recorded sound is FAR superior to ANY of the few bootlegs I've acquired of the band during this time period and to my ears - and I have done much re-mastering and digital editing in the last 5 years i.e. the archival project Glass did that eventually became the "No Stranger to The Skies" double CD - and the only real problem with the recordings sound was that the PA system SM were using at the time was woefully underpowered - especially when it had to compete with Mike Ratledge's Lowrey organ at top volume in what we're told was basically a cement basement. Because of this PA problem Robert's voice drops in and out and never quite raises to the volume we get to hear it on the Probe studio album The Soft Machine Vol I. BUT that said we get to hear some frantically inventive no-holds barred playing by this trio who were unique even in the Canterbury School of Progressive music.
So, if you're a fan of the first Soft Machine album and want to hear what the band sounded like live on their way to developing that first incredible work, GET THIS when it comes out next month. I can't recommend it any more enthusiastically."
E intanto questo appare sul sito Cuneiform:
"Soft Machine were the grooviest, coolest psychedelic band of the era..."-Phil Manzanera.
The Soft Machine were one of England's original and best psychedelic bands, emerging out of the same "UFO Club" London scene at the same time as Pink Floyd. While the band would always undergo constant personnel and stylistic change, their best known lineup in their psychedelic days was the trio of Kevin Ayers-bass, guitar, vocals, Mike Ratledge-organ and Robert Wyatt-drums, vocals. They played many shows and built an audience in “swinging London” and beyond. A link with Jimi Hendrix’s management culminated in the Softs touring the USA with the Jimi Hendrix Experience two different times in 1968, playing over 60 shows as their opening act and recording their first album while in the USA during their touring, after which the band collapsed and disbanded...temporarily. Middle Earth Masters captures the 1967-era Soft Machine trio in full concert glory, recorded live at London's legendary Middle Earth club. The performance is unbelievably freaky for 1967, with songs that feature unusual structures linked by wild solos and improvisations. Those of you who know and love the first Soft Machine album will be amazed at how much more insane and insanely loud the band actually were and also surprised to hear that Mike Ratledge was doing the crazy solo fuzz organ parts (ala the opening of Facelift) in 1967. Includes rare, previously unissued photographs and a short essay by Michael King about these tapes and his work to make them sound as good as possible.
IMPORTANT: The source tapes for this CD were recorded using semi-pro equipment under difficult conditions, at extreme volume in a concrete basement. Considering their age, their rarity, and the techinical limitations of sound reinforcement of 40 years ago, we feel that the music presented is very enjoyable, but these recordings are not anywhere near present-day standards!

04 settembre 2006

Roger Trigaux comunica una prima ipotesi di programma per la rassegna "Rock in Opposition - France Event" (chissà però se il nome rimarrà davvero questo), prevista per aprile 2007, dal 13 al 15, a Cap' Découverte, Le Garric (Carmaux) in Francia.
Parrebbero per ora confermate le partecipazioni di Faust, Magma, Peter Blegvad Trio, Present, Zao, Mats / Morgan Band, Guapo, NeBeLNeST e Gmea.
Informazioni e programma (in progress) in http://www.rocktime.org/rio/

03 settembre 2006

Canterbury Adscene, settimanale di cronaca del Kent, riporta in prima pagina la notizia della morte di Pip Pyle, citando anche un intervento di Richard Sinclair. Così riassume l'articolo un iscritto a What's Rattlin'?:
My copy of the local free newspaper, the Canterbury Adscene has just plopped through my letter box. The front page headline is usually concerned with local car-parking rows or an old-age pensioner being mugged, but this week it's "City Stunned By Death Of Drummer Pip"...
Underneath a colour photo of Pip there's a quote from Richard Sinclair --"Pip was the leader of the pack for the Canterbury Scene. He was a do-er and always lived life to the full."
He continues... "Drumming was not all that Pip was about, he was also an incredible lyricist, songwriter and composer. We have received so many messages of sympathy and support from across the globe since it happened, begging us to tell them it isn't true. Pip was loved and respected by everyone."
As for the Canterbury Festival show on Oct 20th, Richard vowed that the show must go on. "There are so many musicians who would be honoured to step into Pip's shoes to play his music which they know so well."
Alcune foto dell'ultimo concerto di Pip Pyle con Hatfield & the North, scattate poche ore prima della sua morte, si trovano in http://tinyurl.com/w55xu

02 settembre 2006

La notte scorsa, Gene Godfrey ha dedicato a Pip Pyle l'apertura del suo programma Classic FM (su netradio100.com) con ampi stralci da album di Hatfield & the North, National Health, Gong, Bash! e soprattutto riproponendo un'intervista telefonica avuta nel 2005 con Pip in occasione dell'uscita dello splendido antologico Hatwise Choice e alla vigilia del primo concerto degli Hatfields negli Stati Uniti. Inutile dire che l'ascolto è stato profondamente emozionante, anche alla luce dei tragici eventi dei giorni scorsi.
Non mi pare esistano archivi nel sito web dell'emittente; chi ha perso la trasmissione di ieri può, se vuole, richiedermi il file audio .flac della parte dedicata a Pyle (circa 2 ore).
Un'intervista con Pyle di un paio d'anni prima (2003) si legge anche al blog The Pragmatic Progressive

01 settembre 2006

The Independent dà oggi la notizia della morte di Pip Pyle. Scrive il pezzo Pierre Perrone, cui si aggiungono le parole di Jonathan Coe.