IST - LONDON: CONWAY HALL
(confront collectors series ccs 34)
Rhodri Davies : harp
Simon H. fell : double bass
Mark Wastell : violoncello
Recorded live at Freedom of the City Festival, Conway Hall, London 5th May 2003
In the eight years leading to this concert performance at London's Freedom of the City Festival in 2003, IST had matured into one of contemporary music's most formidable units. Hundreds of gigs and rehearsals had hardened the group's collective language into a tongue none other was speaking at the time. External influences had been battered into an altogether different mode of operation, unique only to the three members of IST. Spectacularly authentic and innovative. The music captured on that May afternoon and presented here for the first time in its complete form, showcases aptly how far sonically IST had travelled since it's inception in 1995. Forging ahead with a true-self representation of art is never an easy task but IST were never ones to comply to expected form.
Throughout those eight years, highlighted activities included three album releases, a UK Arts Council Tour, two appearances on S4C Television, a series of IST plus guest concerts at London's Red Rose Club, stand alone shows at the Barbican (London) and Tonic (New York), bi-annual concerts at the Cambridge University Contemporary Poetry Conference, festival appearances at the Total Music Meeting in Berlin and Contemporaneamente in Italy and a run of performances in Marseille, New York & London as part of Derek Bailey's Company.
This Conway Hall appearance was the last performance undertaken by IST. Not through design, just a series of events. No small part was my decision soon after this concert to stop playing cello publicly. During the same period Simon was hatching plans to move to France, something he achieved in 2005.
Although distance and instrumental considerations kept us apart, IST momentum didn't cease. The following years have seen the release of two further full length albums, the reissue of a third and the contribution of tracks to two festival compilation CDs (including an edited 11 minute version of this concert on Emanem's FREEDOM OF THE CITY 2003: small groups).
Currently there are ongoing plans for the release of a dozen or more vintage recordings from the IST archives and the potential for a series of concerts in autumn 2015 to celebrate our 20th anniversary year. (Mark Wastell)