4CD - Martin Archer - Ghost lily cascade - CD plus download

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Since recording his previous solo work Wild Pathway Favourites in 1988, Archer's music appeared to have gone through a  radical change, virtually abandoning both live performance and saxophone  in favour of studio experimentation and new music technology. In fact  this recording is very much a continuation of previous work, as concepts  developed over the previous decade by Archer here find their most perfect  expression to date.


As before, these pieces draw their principal energy  from the interaction between improvising soloists and intricately arranged  structures. However, this time around notated material has been discarded  in favour of structures built around synthesizer improvisations gathered  over a period of eighteen months, then subjected to extensive collaging  and manipulation in the studio.


Extensive use of chance has been made by  overlaying parts made by different players at different times, and by  wholehearted acceptance of the randomness and uncertainty inherent in new music technology. The end result? Another beautifully detailed, tense,  spacious and totally original Archer recording.


Martin Archer - synthesizers and electronics, sopranino saxophone

Chris Bywater - synthesizers and electronics

Charlie Collins - electronics, flute, producer

Michael W. Evans - percussion

Simon H. Fell - double bass

John Jasnoch - guitars

Martin "Mad Dog" Jones - trumpet

Brian Parsons - vibraphone

Angie Rosenfeld - cello

Max Wall - bass guitar, engineer


"Equal measures of beauty, depth and an unadulterated focus that shines through both the combination of spontaneity and arrangements alike. A remarkable album." - Fourth Dimension.

"The drama is startling. Archer's chill, separate sounds hang in the mind long after listening. Special" - Ben Watson.


"These pieces fire the imagination and stir the emotions, conjuring an intriguing soundscape. Recommended" - Wire.


"Intriguing and fresh sounding" - Resonance.


"Archer at his finest" - Noisegate.


"Rich and complex ..... dark and subtle ..... a unique blend of control and spontaneity" - Variant.


"Toujours aux croisees de l'electronique aggresive d'avant garde et des musiques serielles, Archer delivre sa musique avec la serenite d'un angoisse chronique et fait de cet album une merveille de tension alternative. Sans jamais etre absconse, toujours en retrait et assez souvent melodique, la musique se cache derriere les rideaux etranges d'une cascade assechee." - Jerome Schmidt, Art Zero.


"A sense of prolonged anticipation and constant surprise. A consistently fascinating effort, which confounds expectations even after repeated listening." - Bill Tilland, Motion.


"Elegant.....understated.....disturbing.....worth playing to death" - Progress Report.


"The programmatic texts which accompany both of these disks refer to stagnant waters; an appropriate reference, both as an analogy and, in a more tenuous sense, as a Freudian symbol. Like a dark pool, the music has a lapidary surface which speaks of hidden depths, of activity deep beneath what is visible. Superficially, for example, the pieces on Ghost Lily Cascade often seem to go nowhere; there is little by way of conventional development. Instead, subtle ideas flit up to the surface only to vanish again, creating a music in which, moment-to-moment, as the French have it, everything changes and everything stays the same.
Archer created the compositions on the earlier disk using improvisation as a sound-source or "detail generator". His keyboards are the most prominent feature, but all but one of the tracks -- "Telecottage", the most conventional on the disk in terms of rhythm and harmonic structure, a track which a fan of The Orb, say, would have little difficulty with -- all but one includes at least one collaborator. Archer has carved up their improvisations and re-assembled them, allowing "chance to shape many of the events" but also, surely, applying careful attention to others.
"How did that story end?", with sampler work by Collins (an important sideman on this disk), is everything 88 Enemies promised to deliver but did so only sporadically -- a post-piano music of intricate angularity and eerie directionlessness, interspersed with the most disturbing musique concrete interjections -- voices, telephone tones, digital glitches, footsteps. Ghost Lily Cascade is at once approachable and inaccessible, a beautiful building without a door. One walks around it, seeing intriguing movements through the windows, always shut off from its secrets. Dense, knotty and abstract, its surface as blank as a pool of water, it calls to mind Adorno's conception of high modernism, an enigmatic, plastic form which confronts its social context with its own alien impenetrability". - Richard Cochrane, Musings


"This is a language of sound which has only recently been compiled into a modernist dictionary, but Archer is fluent in it." - Steve Hanson, Ptolemaic Terrascope


Das Jahr 1993 sollte Martin Archers musikalische Ausrichtung entscheidend verändern. Der Produzent und Freund Charlie Collins animierte den gerade kompositorisch etwas auf der Stelle tretenden Archer dazu, sich einen Synthesizer und eines Sequenzer zuzulegen. Archer entdeckte schnell das kreative Potential dieser Klangerzeuger, die es ihn ermöglichten neue Soundwelten zu betreten und auch Abläufe der elektronischen Rockmusik aufzugreifen. Aus dem free-jazzig frei-improvisierenden Saxophonisten wurde innerhalb weniger Monate ein (Zitat) Soundsmith.

Erstes Zeugnis dieser Entwicklung war Archers zweites Soloalbum "Ghost lily cascade", welches 1995 als vierte CD auf dem Discus Label erschien. Archer betätigt sich hier in der Tat als Klangschmied und definiert die Strukturen, die auch auf seinen weiteren Alben fortan zu finden sein werden. Elektronische Sounds, Synthesizertöne, verfremdete und bearbeitete Instrumentalklänge werden mit den mehr oder weniger unveränderten Hervorbringungen von weiteren, teils von Gastmusikern bedienten Instrumenten vermengt und es entstehen dichte, elektro-akustische Klangbilder, die mal rhythmisch gefügt voranschreiten, mal schwebend dahin gleiten.

Im Vergleich zu späteren Werken Archers ist "Ghost lily cascade" etwas elektronischer ausgefallen und weist kaum jazzig-retro-canterbureske Verunreinigungen auf. Archer greift auch nur selten zum Saxophon. Damit steht die Scheibe den Klängen von Transient v Resident, Archers Duo-Elektronik-Projekt mit Chris Bywater (mit dem zusammen auch das abschließende Titelstück eingespielt wurde) näher als seinen späteren Scheiben. Offenbar war Archer von den elektronischen Klangmöglichkeiten erst einmal so fasziniert, dass er seine jazzigen Wurzeln weitestgehend (nicht ganz - man höre "I'll meet you at the centre of the sound") vernachlässigt hat. Auf späteren Alben dürfen diese dann aber wieder sprießen, was dann auch den Reiz von Archers Musik im neuen Jahrtausend ausmacht.


Das freiformatig-wirre Akustik-Elektronik-Gemenge auf "Ghost lily cascade" hat aber auch einen großen Reiz, besticht bisweilen durch beeindruckend intensive Klänge (in "Telecottage" z.B., das ätherische Gesänge, allerlei Elektronikblubbern und hektische Perkussion miteinander verbindet, und im Titelstück) und bietet alles in allem sehr erfrischende, ausgesprochen originelle, sehr farbige und kreative Tonkonstrukte, die Freunde von experimenteller Elektronik und krautig-schrägen Avantgardeklanggebilden nicht verpassen sollten! - Achim Breiling, BABYBLAUE