morphogenesis discogs resonance


Jewel case CD with 4 page booklet



•   Solarisation bridge  (05:17)
•   Stentor no. 1  (10:01)
•   Buttons  (14:59)  mp3
•   Preview piece  (13:24)
•   Stentor no. 2  (11:52)
•   Shorepoints  (17:17)

total time 72:54

Cover by Clive Graham
Released 1996

The London group Morphogenesis have been in existence since 1985. The group consisted of seven people at the time of recording, but for all the sessions, except the live track, the line-ups are amalgams of various members and instrumentation. All tracks are free improvisations that were recorded direct to two channels and later edited with no other post production. Recorded between 1993 - 1996. Shorepoints was recorded live at the LMC Festival 1994.

ADAM BOHMAN - prepared violin, balalaika, objects;
RON BRIEFEL - vocals, electronics;
ANDY CORDERY - percussion, mouthorgan;
CLIVE GRAHAM - springs, electronics;
CLIVE HALL - objects, keyboards, electronics, piano;
MICHAEL PRIME - water machine, biofeedb
ack, radio, electronics;
ROGER SUTHERLAND (RIP) - percussion, piano;
ANDY WEIR - guest on Buttons.


The second album by Morphogenesis finds the British improvising group continuing its exploration of unrecognizable sounds. Between the electronics that all group members play and the homemade instruments of Michael Prime (water machine and biofeedback) and Clive Graham (amplified springs), the listener is somewhat disoriented, adrift in a sound field of unknown origins. However, the music evolves in a very organic fashion, without the sudden harsh transitions that characterize some contemporary improvisation. Most of the pieces on this album were taken from group sessions between 1993 and 1996, when the group consisted of seven members, but because of the disparity in sessions, the lineups are amalgams of various members and instrumentation. "Shorepoints" is the one exception, having been recorded live at the London Music Collective Festival in 1994. Each piece does have its own character. "Buttons," featuring guest player Andy Weir, uses external recordings from opera and radio, as well as almost plunderphonics-style quick changes that dominate the sound world for brief windows. The two "Stentor" pieces focus on percussive sounds, while "Preview Piece" examines drones and sirens, and is generally more atmospheric. Charivari Music is defined as a serenade of discordant noises, made of kettles and horns, designed to annoy and insult. This ironic title is a good description of this Morphogenesis release, but for listeners with open ears the effect is exhilarating. (Caleb Deupree)

In case you're wondering 'Charivari Music' isn't some form of Indian meditation. No, that wouldn't be apt in the case of Morphogenesis. No, sitars aren't their thing! I remember Roger Sutherland telling me what 'Charivari Music' meant to him. However it's best really to go and check in the dictionary. Hmmm, it actually comes from the Latin word 'caribaria' which means headache, and the modern use of the word is quoted as 'a confused noise, din.' Not a very wise choise for an album title then, except that to most people I suppose the music of Morphogenesis may be perceived as a din. Well they hardly ever conform to any melodic context, never compose, and their sound-pools can often rise to an almost uncontrolled chaos. Having witnessed a number of Morphogenesis concerts I know that they walk very close to the edge of disaster, yet nearly always pull it off. Coming across as one part AMM, adding a touch of MEV, and all sorts of other strange avant-garde and electronic musics, there's not really so much to distinguish this from the last Morphogenesis album, except in that the recording is more defined, it's more varied, and the selection of tracks is better throughout. Excepting the unwise use of radio sounds (opera singers and the like) on a couple of numbers, this is quintessential Morphogenesis (Alan Freeman)

ReR (catalogue)
Only the second recording of this venerable durable British electroacoustic ensemble, who make non synthesised drone-with-event music where the quality of the SOUND is crucial and precisely organic; a unique voice here well represented. (Chris Cutler)

Founder member and USP Roger Sutherland has been quoted (in EST) as saying that the last straw for him was when Stockhausen stopped doing improvisation and started using conventional notation again. Last straw? Austere stuff, some might say, given the various pleasures of the rough and tumble of 90's music. Funny then that this wonderful CD - which includes a recording of a performance at the LMC Festival in 1994 - is so rich an inclusive sounding; that the surprise, accident and (chiefly) the shaping of events by individuals should add up to such a purposeful and coherent piece of music. The electronic manipulation of acoustic sounds is at the core of this soundworld and in the washes and meshes of Morphogenesis's collective creations there's enough to make you hear the world anew.

Those who have experienced Morphogenesis in live performance should be gratified to find that these six recordings (only one of which was made before an audience) are fine examples of their extraordinary and intense sound research. Anyone new to the group but interested in live electronics, found objects, and environmental sound (a gross oversimplification) could well find this disc a starting point. All the pieces, bar one, last 10 minutes or over; the closing piece, the live recording (1994 LMC Festival) is the longest at 17 minutes. The lenght factor is important: although a remarkably diverse range of sounds is produced, each of the pieces shares the same relentless search for new sonorities, and even the shortest piece seems as if part of a pattern of work that could last for many hours. Comparisons with related ensembles are pretty futile: Morphogenesis are just working in a different lab in a different part of the building, that's all.
(Gerrard F. Tierney)

Issued by Clive Graham, the second issue on his Paradigm label. Of the 2 CD's so far I think "Solarisation" is slightly better - it has more tension than "Charivari", more abrasive surfaces. (I'll never forget playing it to my four year-old niece - 'it sounds like Ice Giants marching!'). Morphogenesis never fail in thier unique capability, every time slowly building up a world that envelops the listener with individual, elemental characteristics. Michael Prime is usually occupied adding the water component, be it condensation or ice crystals. Another player adds radio dialogue samples in stuttering bursts, the rudimentary speech of this world's strange populace. Elsewhere, building blocks are assembled and strange temples are constructed, towers built of wood swaying in the breeze. (Ed Pinsent)

The SUNDAY TIMES (9. Feb. 97)
Morphogenesis share the same relationship with AMM as Oasis do with the Beatles: blessed with their own transistorised zing, but impossible to conceive of without their 1960's seniors. If AMM are rustic basket weavers, Morphogenesis are an urban plastic-bag factory. Once describing themselves as 'the most theoretically rigorous group in the world', the Morphs posit an unlikely utopia, where 'theoretical rigour' is as important a criterion for musical appreciation as a good tune and catchy chorus. Though about as glamorous as a bunch of lab technicians, Morphogenesis are best appreciated live, as individual component sounds of amplified plants, children's toys, elastic bands, string and radio interference dissolve into a heavenly, euphoric wash of sound that is only rarely ridiculous. 'Shorepoints', included here, was recorded at London's Conway Hall in 1994, where Morphogenesis left the capacity crowd they deserve stunned into silent rapture. (Stewart Lee)

British improvising group Morphogenesis was formed in 1985. Co-founder Roger Sutherland was a member of the late 60's Scratch Orchestra and he describes its 'democratic idealism' as an important influence. 'A willingness to embrace any combination of circumstances - social and environmental - as valid influences on the music's formation... we regard each performance as the unique and unrepeatable expression of the acoustic and social ecology of a given time and place.' This philosophy manifests itself in "Charivari Music" which eschews the usual gestural features of free improvisation - that sense of an interpersonal drama shaping the sounds, determining the direction of the piece. Morphogenesis's music retains an almost impersonal quality where live electronics, percussion and found objects/junk conspire to conceal the feeling that these soundscapes are the product of human agency. Artistic intension is camoflaged in the multilayered sounds which assume an environmental stature (more so than in the current AMM trio where the gestures of individuals are still identifiable) as the pieces seem to take on a life of their own with understated static drones sometimes underpinning the linear drift of electronic tones, radio fragments and the austere textures of amplified objects. Elusive, yet strangely captivating work. (Chris Blackford)

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