top of page

Ist - Consequences (of Time and Place)

(ccs 25)

Rhodri Davies : harp
Simon H. Fell : double bass
Mark Wastell : violoncello

Recorded by Mark Wastell at The Natural Music Club, Stockwell, London, 9th April 1997

"The Improvising String Trio is a group which sets out to explore extended techniques within the territory of the extreme avant garde classical tradition. The combination of harp, cello and bass may have been a matter of accident rather than design, but the concentration on acoustic stringed instruments lends both an unusual range and an enviable specificity to the group sound. They eschew fully notated pieces in favour of either indeterminate systems or completely free improvisation, largely because conventional notation has not a hope of capturing their individual vocabularies. In concert they can be heard performing aleatoric works specially commissioned for the group; here, the focus is on sponteneous group interaction.

Davies is probably the only player around making such extensive use of preparations on the harp; and he proves that such an approach can bear fruit in an improvising context. Wastell's cello is a source of some beautifully-controlled harmonic clusters, while Fell, who is rapidly becoming one of our most respected composers for improvisers as well as one of the finest British bass players of his generation, has a hundred ways to make a noise with his bass aside from actually playing notes. For much of the time, however, these noteworthy individual voices are surrendered to the greater cause of the group sound. All three are often immersed in an anonymous scratching-and-rattling which superficially implies that their instruments are under attack from hungry chickens, but which actually contains a wealth of detailed melodic and rhythmic information relating directly to its larger musical context.

Each piece seems to begin with one player's gesture, which it proceeds to explore, elaborate on and ultimately move beyond. The group cover the whole spectrum from near-silence to high-energy screaming, normally in a controlled but organic way. Although influenced by Cage's anything-can-happen philosophy, at their best they maintain a logic which holds the interest in a completely different way." (Richard Cochrane - Musings)

Angharad Davies - " six studies "

(ccs 26)

Angharad Davies : solo acoustic violin and preperations


track 1: circular bowing study

track 2: balancing spring study 1

balancing spring study 2

balancing spring study 3

track 3: tremolo and plastic peg study

track 4: pizz, nail file and fingers study


Recorded and mastered by Sebastian Lexer at Goldsmiths University, 25th March 2012


"The material for this solo CD was recorded primarily as a document of the preparations and techniques I was exploring at the end of March 2012 and as a reference point, for myself, to a time when I had actively stopped teaching for 3 months in order to clear space for my own projects. I hear the " six studies " as small sketches and not necessarily as finished pieces. The preparations or techniques lead the music and I am looking to see how much I can draw out of each one before moving onto the next. The violin is acoustic, the preparations used are a small plastic peg, spring and nail file and the silences are kept alive as they were in the actual recording so as to reveal as much of the process as possible". (Angharad Davies, February 2014)


Angharad Davies is a violinist whose work is situated in the complex intersection of improvised and composed music. She is dedicated to exploring and expanding sound production on the violin, and has developed a specific approach to the violin, which extends the sound possibilities of the instrument by attaching and applying objects to the strings or by sounding unexpected parts of the instrument's body. Angharad is an active performer in contemporary, improvisation and experimental music both as a soloist, within ensembles such as Apartment House and Common Objects, and in smaller improvised groups with musicians such as Axel Dörner, Lina Lapelyte, Dominic Lash, Tisha Mukarji and Taku Unami. Her sensitivity to the sonic possibilities of musical situations and attentiveness to their shape and direction make her one of contemporary music's most fascinating figures.

Martin Kuchen - ... And Everything Inside Came Down As Dust

(ccs 27)

Martin Küchen - saxophones, preparations


During October 2013, Martin Kuchen participated in an residency in Vienna called Vor Anker, hosted by the artist Johannes Heuer. Throughout the residency, Martin embarked on an intense recording schedule located in the city's structually unique Expedithalle. Built in 1912 and formally Europe's largest bread factory prior to World War II, the enormous hall in which the recordings took place was the dispatch depot were horse drawn carts would distribute bread to the population of Vienna.


Recorded 14 October 2013 at Die Expedithalle, Vienna, Austria.

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Christoph Amann.


Martin Küchen has been active on the Swedish free improvised/free jazz scene since the mid-1990s. He has composed for larger groups, participated in dance projects, performed with different poets and created the music for experimental films.

Ray Brassier & Mattin - Unfree Improvisation/

Compulsive Freedom

(ccs 29)

Recorded by Kenny MacLeod at Arika's Festival Episode 4 "Freedom is a Constant Struggle", 21 April 2013, Tramway, Glasgow.


"I have been thinking back to this performance.  I am trying to think about the relationship between choice, freedom and the subject… The first thing that came to mind is that: I think I disagree with Hannah Arendt about the political - she says something like that in order to be granted access to the political sphere, you have to choose to put aside unreason, irrationality and the messiness of everyday sociality, and demonstrate to the sovereign that you are a good subject or citizen. I guess then you would be granted access to society, and as such democratic choice.  This seems like begging the sovereign to also grant you sovereignty - which seem to me to cede to them way too much power.  Maybe on those terms, some of us don’t want to be subjects - or some of us don’t believe in democracy.  Maybe the political is very specifically in the messy, infinitely differentiated sociality that exists in apposition to sovereign power.  Or maybe the political is the freedom from certain choices… Or not. I’m not sure.  But I am also wondering if the illusion of freedom of choice (in the way that it captures desire and shackles it to individuality) is the earliest seduction of the western citizen - a thorn planted in the somatic field of the mind, around which the subject develops like a callosity". (Barry Esson)

BEFOREHAND - Live at Hundred Years Gallery

(ccs 28)

Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga: zither

Mark Wastell: electronics, bowls, shruti box


Recorded at Hundred Years Gallery, Hoxton, London 29 March 2014

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Constantine Dinos Michaelides


BEFOREHAND formed exclusively for the an appearance at the launch concert for Angharad Davies' 'Six Studies' release on Confront. That debut concert performance was recorded and, following a long standing ritual at Confront, was subsequently released for public consumption and critique.  


No rehearsal beforehand(!), straight into the music. Dimitra played with one functioning arm, the other strapped up due to a broken elbow. Mark played his electronics set-up, last used at a show with Keith Rowe in Dublin in 2006. Eight years in a case never touched.


Potential to fail? Possibly. Did it? 

MARK BROWNE - Genial Decay

(ccs 30)

Improvisation recorded at home on 8 March 2014 using sopranino, sorano and decayed tenor saxophone.

Up until 2000 my sole instrument during my adult life was the saxophone. The instruments varied over the years with a Meister soprano saxophone being used between 1984 and 1990. From 1990 to 1995 my instrument was almost exclusively the alto saxophone (used during extended recording in woodland) and then returning to the soprano (when I came back indoors). From 2000 to 2005 the sopranino saxophone was the instrument of choice. After 2000 other instruments began to dominate, most importantly a collection of objects that could be bowed, hit and blown. Solo and group playing included this extended array of growing instrumentation (gongs, cymbals, game calls, tins filled with earth, stones or glass, small explosives etc) and the amount of time in performance given to the saxophone decreased until in 2005 a number of concerts were performed without a saxophone. Initially this was liberating, freeing me from the perceived constraints of the metal tube, reed and column of air. However, the saxophone has never lost its interest for me and remained the instrument at the core of my musical production. I still suffer withdrawal symptoms if I don’t play. The other instruments do not have this pull and today there is a better balance, with the saxophone always present and whether recording or in concert I try to provide it with a special place in the context of the music. Still, recent demands have drawn me towards the group aesthetic or production using a scrap book approach presenting curated and discovered sounds.

The opportunity to provide a recording for Confront reminded me of the occasions when I played with Mark Wastell during the 1990s. These were duos, trios and quartets where I only played the saxophone (and Mark only played cello). In contrast to the recent activities outlined above, I decided to restrict the recording to solo saxophones. The main instrument used is a Yanagisawa Soprano – The Castrato saxophone. There is also a damaged Couesnon Tenor – this instrument is a French military band instrument from the 1920s that allows certain fingering combinations that are not available on modern instruments. And finally the Yanagisawa Sopranino – The Piranho saxophone, being the one that bites.

For me, once mastered, the saxophone has offered a means of producing a huge variety of sounds and tones from a single source, all of which can be controlled by the smallest muscular changes of fingers and mouth/tongue position. 

As with all my work the emphasis and criteria for success rests with the construction of form across the whole piece – the way in which each incident, episode, sound and sequence of sounds relates to those preceding it and those that follow. Many years of playing have gone into the making of this recording. 

Jöelle Léandre & Michael Duch - (Live at) Gråmølna

(ccs 31)

Joacim Nyberg - Fylkingen, March 27, 2014

(ccs 32)

Jöelle Léandre - double bass & voice
Michael Duch - double bass

Recorded by Oscar Grönberg at Gråmølna 01.11.2013
Mixed and mastered by Morten Stendahl at Redroom studio 29.11.2013

On the 31st October 2013 , the two double bass players Joëlle Léandre and Michael Duch played a duo concert together for the first time, at nyMusikk in Oslo. The following day, they made this recording at Gråmølna.

The bassists first met at the Molde Jazzfestival in 2011, where Duch played a solo recital and a concert with Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, while Léandre had a guest spot with improv quartet SPUNK. After hearing Duch's solo album Edges from 2010, the two got to know each other and planned a collaboration. The music will be freely improvised and bass's sound possibilities will be explored to the fullest.

French double bass player, improviser and composer, Joëlle Léandre is one of the dominant figures of the new European music. Trained in orchestral as well as contemporary music, she has played with l’Itinéraire, 2e2m and Pierre Boulez’s Ensemble Intercontemporain. Joëlle Léandre has also worked with Merce Cunningham and with John Cage, who has composed especially for her – as have Scelsi, Fénelon, Hersant, Lacy, Campana, Jolas, Clementi and about 40 composers. As well as working in contemporary music, Léandre has played with some of the great names in jazz and improvisation, such as Derek Bailey, Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, Evan Parker, Irene Schweizer, William Parker and many others.

Michael Francis Duch (1978) was born and raised in Trondheim, Norway, and plays the double bass. He completed his project “Free Improvisation – Method and Genre” as research-fellow at the University of Trondheim (NTNU) late October 2010, where he has been doing research on Free Improvisation and the use of Improvisation in Experimental Music. He has been involved in about 30 recordings released in various formats, and has played solo-concerts in Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim, Oslo, Tromsø, Glasgow, Gothenburgh, Athens and London. Michael Francis Duch plays in a trio with Rhodri Davies and John Tilbury, the rockband Dog & Sky, the Improvquartet LEMUR with Bjørnar Habbestad, Hild Sofie Tafjord and Lene Grenager, and different other constellations. 

Joacim Nyberg: acoustic guitar, double bass, bell & recorder


Recorded live at Fylkingen, Stockholm, Sweden on March 27, 2014

Mastered by Lasse Marhaug


What can I say that hasn't already been said?

What can I play that hasn't already been played?

Is the house of Jazz still open?

Is the book of Jazz still unwritten?


My music is simple.

Wood, steel, air. Hands, fingers, heart.

Nothing new. Or is it all new?

It's Jazz, in my own way.


I'm humbled by past masters, but not held back.

This is a tribute, a move forward.

Offering my soul to the listener.

Adding something to the history,

writing my own chapter.


This is my music.


(Joacim Nyberg, Stockholm, Sweden, summer 2014)

Patrick Shiroishi - White Sun Sutra

(ccs 33)

Patrick Shiroishi: alto saxophone, effects, soprano saxophone, baritone saxophone & voice


Recorded at the Wallace All Faiths Chapel, Orange, California on the 15th January 2014.


my grandfather was the kind of person i thought would live forever.  he always had this aura of strength and happiness, illuminating the room when he was present.  even though he resided in japan and i in america, i always felt a sense of home when we were together.  in late october, he had a stroke and quickly left this world a few days later.  surprised and confused, i could not believe it to be true.  how could a man who i saw the year before radiating with such energy and life suddently disappear?  during this time i was also transitioning through a couple of other situations, but this was something else that was completely unexpected and something i was not at all prepared for that sent me into a very fragile state of mind.


many emotions filled my mind, i was heartbroken that i would not be able to hear his voice or laughter, upset that i was not present when he was at his end, and finally, joyful that he was able to join his wife in the spiritual world.  the pieces of this record, written in the order that they appear, came to life in the span of the month that followed.  i asked my mother to write a tanka (my grandfather published five books of his own poetry) with him in mind and decided to recite it in the fourth composition of this record in japanese. 


this record came from a very pure place, pushing the limits of my mind and body and allowing me to become closer to my instruments.  i hope somewhere, wherever he is, my grandfather can hear this music and know that it is for him.  until the next life, ojiichan.  (Patrick Shiroishi)

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)

Jason Kahn & Phil Julian - Valentines



(confront collectors series ccs 35)


Jason Kahn - Analogue modular synthesiser, mixing board, radio
Phil Julian - Analogue modular synthesiser, computer


Recorded at Goldsmiths University of London by John Macedo, 14th February 2012.


“Valentines” documents the first duo meeting between Kahn and Julian, recorded during Kahn's tour of the UK in 2012.


The initial idea was to meet and hopefully generate audio material that could then be used later as the basis for a composition. It seemed apparent that the three improvised pieces that makes up “Valentines” stood up well on their own merits without the need for further embellishment.


The session was recorded by John Macedo, who also conducted an interview with the pair about their approaches to recording and performing. A link to this is included on a card insert with the release.


No overdubs, edited for length only.







(confront collectors series ccs 36)


Burkhard Beins : feedback 28" concert bass drum, analog synth & live-electronics 
John Butcher : tenor & soprano saxophones, acoustic & amplified feedbacking.
Mark Wastell : amplified 32" paiste tam-tam & mixer


Limited edition 150 copies, black vinyl-styled CD, housed in DVD size metal tin together with three photographic postcards. Liner notes from John Eyles.

Recorded live in concert at Cafe Oto, Dalston, London on 13 April 2014.
Recording engineered by James Dunn.
Mixed & mastered by John Butcher.


**Please note different pricing structure for this release**

UK £12
Europe £14
World £15


Prices include postage


bottom of page