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piano 504

yellow box 1

the yellow box -peter gordon, david cunningham 

david cunningham's commentary:

Peter Gordon and I first worked together in 1980 on the album 'Fourth Wall', my collaboration with Patti Palladin. My approach to recording that album was very unstructured, I would record a track with various musicians and then proceed to break down the individual elements and recombine them in new ways, often creating a completely new piece of music. Peter was interested by this working procedure and when he was next in Europe we started recording informally using whatever resources were to hand. We worked in many locations, in studios and outside, although one evening of live improvisation in the Worker's Music Association on All Saint's Road, London seems to have become the centre from which all the other pieces work outwards. These improvisations were made by a small group consisting of Peter playing keyboards and saxophone, myself on guitar and tapes, Anton Fier, drums and John Greaves, bass, recorded by Tom Newman's mobile studio.

The finished record was mixed in London and Geneva. The choice of multiple locations for the recording has had a pronounced effect on the music produced, the characteristics of the various studios, equipment and spaces are a significant component of the texture and structure; from my claustrophobic Brixton cell to Tom Newman's airy ambient microphone technique in the Worker's Music Association, not forgetting Peter's voice contribution to the track 'Out in the Yard', perversely recorded outside on a very wet day. And I suppose there may be a sociological parallel to the influence of location; Brixton was given to the occasional riot at that time.

The use of these recording environments initiated a unified process of composition and execution, giving us the ability to work directly with sounds like a painter adding and removing layers of paint. To continue the analogy, we used tape as a canvas, adding and removing rhythms and textures; working empirically with the possibilities. It strikes me now that Peter's generous and unprecious interest in the destruction and reconstruction of his playing was in fact quite a rare thing to encounter at the time these recordings were made.

A particular level of technology implies a set of distinct possibilities for the ways in which music is made. In spite of the fact that all technology is designed with a specific function in mind, that function does not provide a constraint on the working practices of musicians and composers.

David Cunningham London 1996

yellow box 8

see also: peter gordon's parallel commentary

the yellow box -peter gordon, david cunningham

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© david cunningham 1996