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Spontaneous Music Orchestra

For you to share (1970)

  • 1 - FOR YOU TO SHARE - 37:06
  • 2 - PEACE MUSIC - 27:46
  • Spontaneous Music Orchestra
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49.00 PLN


Nr kat.: 4023
Label  : Emanem (Anglia)

ORIGINAL NOTES by MARTIN DAVIDSON (1973) All quotes taken from an interview with JOHN STEVENS: As John Stevens so rightly says: "I think if you just heard the sound and you didn't know it was audience people, you wouldn't think in terms of, 'Oh, that's just people who aren't musicians', because it just has a beautiful sound. It has the sound of people joining together, and it is based on people working together within what they are capable of doing." >>> Większa okładka A <<<
Certainly a well-known pop group who happened to be around when the tape was being re-mastered were eagerly enquiring as to how on earth one could achieve such a sound. For this is the first recorded example of a large group improvisation by the Spontaneous Music Ensemble to be released. John Stevens' first attempts at large group improvisation were made in 1967 at a time when the SME was basically a duo of himself and Evan Parker. A piece called FAMILIE became the means of incorporating several other musicians into an extended improvising group. By the time it had been recorded in 1968 - a beautiful recording that has still not been released - FAMILIE had evolved into a slow-moving, sustained-note piece with a strong influence from Japanese Gagaku music. Stevens sees that this ancient music "has a very slow-moving line not played in a normal unison fashion. It has the feeling of things overlapping with each other and therefore keeps a very sustained quality about it. It absolutely knocks me out from the point of view of sound, and the point of view that these people are playing in such a natural way which has all the untogetherness and beauties of that way plus a real togetherness. It has a combination of things that really require the structure of what they are playing to be free, and the people playing together to be well together. In fact, it has all of the elements that would make up a good large group playing together." This successful fusion of the recent discoveries of the small SME with some of the oldest living music in the world continued until some of the musicians felt that "it didn't allow them to get into their own thing sufficiently, or they didn't feel the need to get involved with such group music." Stevens then realised that: "If I wanted to get involved with large groups of people towards large group improvisations, I should look for the real enthusiasm to do it, which I later found in young musicians who would come and hear the SME play, and with people who didn't play but who could get involved in vocal things with the group." Actually these vocal things also go back to FAMILIE which had always incorporated voices. Thus by 1970, when this record was made, the SME would range in size from ten to thirty participants, with John Stevens and Trevor Watts as the nucleus. "We'd include people who started out as the audience, both young musicians and other people who would sing sustained and play gongs or shake bells. The idea was to have at the centre a fairly developed group improvisation between say, Trevor and I (because we'd been associated together for such a long time). Then there were young musicians who had just joined in and who were interested. They were playing on instruments, but playing sustained long melody lines or sustained notes that would be moving on in a natural sympathy with the improvisation that was going on in the middle. The next rank out would be people who weren't playing but just wanted to take part - audience type people who would be singing and playing gongs. Then there would be the audience. It was intended that as people became more and more involved and stayed with it, they would gradually join the centre to expand the group improvisation. Also, on gigs we always tried to get audience participation to attract another layer of people to the outside, and we succeeded in doing it. The idea was to make the whole environment into an environment of active relationships." FOR YOU TO SHARE on this record is a superb example of this. Fortunately, it was preserved on tape, and although the acoustic quality is not brilliant, the actual music more than makes up for that. It was always intended to put out a record of this music and donate all the profits to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament - the band often took part in peace demonstrations. The music begins with a short CLICK PIECE - another concept that was first explored two years earlier during the FAMILIE period. "You make as small a sound as possible - either tap it or click it with your mouth or on your instrument." (In this case only voices are used.) "You repeat your own sound in your own pace as perfectly as you can - not particularly in relationship to anyone else and what they are doing, as they will be in their own paces. You just click and try to repeat your click, and if it grows together at all, you'll find that the empathy that there is will attract people to form the clicks together. The clicks falling together naturally are like a magnet, and as soon as that magnetism happens it seems to create a thought in your mind that wasn't there previously, like: 'Oh! We're together!'. The next click will then almost certainly fall apart, as that thought distracts you from your pace. You are, however, trying to be unconscious of this and allow the clicks to be a natural manifestation of your deepest feelings and deepest consciousness." This soon evolves into a SUSTAINED PIECE in which: "You inhale as deeply as possible, then play or sing sustained on the exhale. You then inhale deeply again and repeat the process, not necessarily with the same note, but allowing yourself to adjust for comfort of pace. The sustained quality comes out of some people having longer or shorter breath lengths - a naturalness of pace which people get into as individuals. It's like a drone and we are together in that drone in another type of togetherness which is not only a turn on musically for initiated musicians - it can incorporate anybody. Anybody can join in and have that same experience that we are getting within the small groups. You can think of a sustained sound as being made up of many little tiny involvements, yet its production by this method is virtually unconscious." This recorded SUSTAINED PIECE begins with just sustained voices over which Trevor Watts and John Stevens play an improvised duet on soprano saxophone and percussion respectively. When this duet finishes, all the other instruments gradually merge into the sustaining to perform a vast body of slowly evolving sound which leads the ensemble into the majestic, slow moving theme IF YOU WANT TO SEE A VISION - slow moving because Stevens wrote it with such a group of musicians in mind. It is here that the influence of Gagaku music is most noticeable as the theme floats over the gongs and bells. The whole piece ends with all the participants chanting in their own paces. This large semi-official ensemble eventually became very impractical to work with regularly. "So it fizzled out because it had the usual human conflicts in it. But it was beautiful while it lasted." Now [1973] once again Stevens is involved in music closely related to this in the various workshops that he conducts. One of his ambitions is to perform such music using a symphony orchestra. And why not? There have not been many symphonies as beautiful as this one.