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Lasse Marhaugh & Mark Wastell - Kiss of Acid



John Cage - Four4

(another timbre)

Lasse Marhaug : electronic composition

Mark Wastell : pre-recorded 36" paiste tam-tam


"This may seem a highly unlikely pairing. Mark Wastell, know for playing the tam-tam and Lasse Marhaug, uncrowned king of norske noise. How on earth do they play together. They didn't. Wastell once hired a tam tam, a 36inch Paiste, for a concert in Paris, but didn't make it and instead thought to make the best out of the hired instrument and recorded sound material. That was passed onto Lasse Marhaug, who used his computer and electronics to create a forty some minute work out of it. Its not quite what I expected and perhaps that's the best thing about it. I expected a wall of noise generated from tam tam looping around in distortion, but its not. Not at all. Marhaug uses large chunks of raw sound material in two main parts of his piece, and just very gradually takes over with an excellent set of electronic sounds, dark, atmospheric, but which make effective use of the entire spectrum, also the high end part of it, and the tam tam is removed from the scene. Well, that, or processed to such an extent that no longer recognize them as a tam tam. This is certainly the case after the twenty minute break. Dark, haunting atmospheric music. No noise was harmed in this release. Excellent collaboration."

(Frans de Waard)

Simon Allen : percussion

Chris Burn : piano

Lee patterson : electroacoustic devices 

Mark Wastell : percussion


“A year before dying, John Cage wrote “Four4” for a quartet of percussionists, leaving to them the choice of the specific instruments. Without rehashing the “time bracket” grounds upon which the piece is founded – plenty of literature exists on the subject, and I’m not adding further blah-blah – let’s just say that this and other compositions of his late period are probably the ones that better gratify the need of balance of hush and sound we yearn for. This version, featuring a level-headed reading by Simon Allen, Chris Burn, Lee Patterson and Mark Wastell, is centred on a well-definite contrast between the timbres of the utilized sources; even if the latter are left unspecified, a tam-tam or a set of cymbals cannot be mistaken for anything else, and for my own taste the sections in which the gong wraps the whole room with its tremendous murmur are those that make me grind to a standstill. One remains instead slightly deluded when extended quietness is ruptured by harsher, or plain insignificant textures – there’s a moment somewhere in which I envisioned the presence of an espresso machine. However, these 74-plus minutes comprise enthralling reverberation to spare, halfway through Wastell’s Vibra series and Organum’s mantric abrasiveness. Still, it’s in loneliness – soft as a whisper and in total stillness – that this CD becomes a veritable treat, the perfect match to the inside pumping of your heartbeat.”  (Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes)

Rhodri Davies & Mark Wastell - Live in Melbourne


Rhodri Davies :  low-fi live electronics

Mark Wastell  : mixing desk, digital delay pedal, stereo contact mic, mono contact mic, mini-disc player, cd player, charcoal, ceramic tile, velvet material, light grade sand paper, cardboard, wire wool, bell, singing bowls, bow, beaters, pre-recorded electronics, pre-recorded harmonium


Live at the Melbourne Festival, Derbyshire, 17 September 2005

Digital concert recording by David Reid

Mixed and mastered by Jonathan McHugh


Live in Melbourne represents something exceptionally unique in the on-going musical relationship that exists between Mark Wastell and Rhodri Davies. Not only is it their first — after nearly 20 years of playing together — published duo recording, it also captures the first and subsequently only time that the pair performed together using table-top apparatus and low-fi electronics. In previous (at the point of recording in 2005) and subsequent duo performances Rhodri has always used his harp in one fashion or another. This concert in Melbourne was the one and only occasion he left the harp at home and set up only his electronics. Prior, he had used electronics but always in the company of the harp. By 2005, Mark had been using his “amplified textures” set-up for 3 years and was crafting a personal musical vocabulary from the most obscure sources.


And what of the music? It really does help fill a missing link in the musical development of these two artists. Having first performed with each other (cello and harp) in 1995, originally brought together by bassist Simon Fell to form the trio IST, they quickly established themselves on the London scene. Within months they were recruited by Chris Burn for his Ensemble and Evan Parker for his “with Strings” project. The next few years saw them forge ahead, developing their own language alongside like minded individuals from Europe and further afield. By 2005, both had moved through a number of different group contexts — The Sealed Knot, +minus, CRANC, Derek Bailey’s Company, The Scotch of St. James, Assumed Possibilities, Belaska — alongside personal instrumental changes. The spectre of Reductionism had long been laid to rest and for a number of months that year and a handful of concerts, their music was to change quite radically from that that had preceded it and subsequently what has come after. This recording gives us a rare glimpse into that macro-sound world; it stood alone for a few brief moments …. memories of another, long past but so very important encounter between these strong willed, constantly changing, world class musicians.

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