Oren Ambarchi sniffs out another rare cult classic for Black Truffle: presenting Max Eastley / Steve Beresford / Paul Burwell / David Toop’s assortment of Whirled Music improvisations on bull roarers, bird whistles, spinning gongs, and much more, on vinyl for 1st time in nearly 40 years.
Whirled Music was recorded live in performance at the IKON gallery, Birmingham, at the London Musician Collective, and at various outdoors spots during 1979. It pretty much marks the ground between the early work of instrument builder/musicians Structures Sonores Lasry-Bachet, the modern materials research experiments on Alku by EVOL and Edwin van Der Heide, and myriad, far-flung ethnic rituals ranging from Australian natives to football fans. The A-side is a single performance making use of all instruments at their disposal, whereas the B-side breaks down to a series of shorter recordings of specific instruments.
"It's one of the key documents of the inventive and energetic scene around the London Musicians Collective in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Originally released on Toop's own Quartz label in 1980, the LP features a remarkable series of performances made entirely with whirled and swung instruments and objects. Part of the second generations of British free improvising musicians, the prolific scene centered around the performers heard here chafed at the limitations present within the music and ideology of improvising legends such as Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Tony Oxley, and John Stevens. Where the first generations of British free improvisers often demonstrated a rigorous commitment to non-idiomatic free improvisation and instrumental virtuosity, musicians like Beresford reconnected with the dada antics of figures like Han Bennink and surrendered to joyful musical promiscuity, gleefully disrupting expectations around 'serious' improvised music through quotations (of anything from Beethoven to reggae) and deliberate amateurism. . . .
Beginning in 1979, Whirled Music was the title given to a series of performances in which a variety of instruments and objects, both home-made and store bought, traditional and invented, would be whirled to produce sound. In addition to variations on traditional instruments such as the bullroarer, Whirled Music also made use of whirled whistles, hand drums, radios, and microphones. Due to the danger this represented for both performers and audiences, the performers wore protective masks and were separated from the audience by a net. . . . Presented in glorious cassette-recorded room fidelity, the LP's first side features a single extended live performance in which percussive chattering, resonant gong-like tones, mysterious wind tones, and swells of delirious noise join together to create a sonic landscape as reminiscent of an environmental recording (wind in the trees, the squawking of birds) as of an ethnographic recording of the music of an unknown civilization. Although purely acoustic, the music has an unstable, dispersed quality reminiscent of the pioneering live electronics of the Sonic Art Union or even early Voice Crack. The LP's second side presents a series of shorter excerpts, including some beautifully sparse outdoor recordings where the sounds of the whirled instruments blend indistinguishably into the backdrop of environmental sounds." --Francis Plagne”