72CD - Ron Caines / Martin Archer Axis - Les Oiseaux de Matisse
Ron Caines was the mastermind behind East of Eden, whose groundbreaking first two albums Mercator Projected and Snafu, mixing psychedelic rock, jazz, bluebeat, poetry, electronics and studio experimentation, were massively influential on teenage me at a stage when I was starting to explore the limits and possibilities of music. It is a massive honour to be able to record with Ron all these years later. This CD is a collision of pure jazz skill happening in real time and studio collage. We hope, even though the music is quite different, that it contains a spark and continuation of the "arts lab" ethos of Ron's early work with E of E.
- Martin Archer
The 60s were a heady mix, a time when all purified categories were dissolving and being remade. East Of Eden emerged at the end of the decade, now seen as prog rock revolutionaries, psychedelic pioneers. A cult band appearing on the UK college and university circuit and making a tremendous impact at the Actuel Festival in 1969. The revolution was happening, and music was part of it. Society had been grey, authoritarian and elitist. East Of Eden determined to be accessible and share in a democratisation of culture. The violin references Bartok and Mussorgsky and well as the anthemic Third Stone From The Sun and Eight Miles High. Marcus Junior and Confucius, two ska compositions by the now legendary Jamaican trombonist Don Drummond, became staples of the programme. Original material by Ron Caines referenced surrealist sources and spoken word poetry.
Improvisation was a key element in the stage show. According to Paris critics this amounted to a “deconstruction of the idee-fixe, then a return to the familiar”. We called such moments “the freak out”.
The music on rock-pop label Deram became a condenser for emotions and ideas. Ideas were freighted in under the radar of the record company. We were a kind of proto art-rock group before the 70s and the era of niche sophistication.
After three years of successful music making, guitarist Geoff Nicholson and myself left when personnel changes, management difficulties and musical policy issues imploded the band.
“Music is played in the moment, and then it’s gone” said Eric Dolphy. Now, once captured in the recording studio, music no longer belongs in the moment but can be processed, transposed and transformed and relocated in space and time. Creative use of the studio becomes a “ghost performer” and we experience new landscapes of collaged sounds. Looking back, early efforts of East Of Eden aimed at a collage effect like pop art, Rauschenberg etc. But studio tools are much more proficient now.
From art school days I have felt defined as an outsider or outrider. Fixed in “the underground” East Of Eden did not become mainstream or enjoy commercial success. We were eclectic, inclusive, experimental. A willingness to be unacceptable, difficult, leading to experimental music deemed as elitist. A music of resistance for the contrarian.
In the end it is this aspect of inaccessibility that intrigues me. The authentic moment. To that end I develop musically through instinct, impulse and the intelligence of feeling.
After years in Bristol, away from London, I subsequently moved to Brighton and have been hiding out on the south coast. This is where I met Martin and we played together. I thank him for this opportunity for my voice to be heard.
- Ron Caines
Ron Caines - alto and soprano saxophones
Martin Archer - saxophones, clarinets, software instruments
Laura Cole - grand piano, electric piano
Gus Garside - double bass
Johnny Hunter - drums
Hervé Perez - live sound processing, shakuhachi
Graham Clark - violin, electric guitar
This is outstanding! Loose and supple playing. Hints of Mingus at his freest, mixed with Eastern influences and even traditional jazz. Really strong compositional 'springboards'. Record of the week!! - MATT PARKER, BRITISH PROGRESSIVE JAZZ