Saturday, September 19, 2015

Lindsay Cooper - 1986 - Music for Other Occasions

Lindsay Cooper 
Music for Other Occasions

01. Speed Of Light (3:29)
02. Belfast (2:09)
03. The Number 8 Bus (1:22)
04. Torn Away (1:45)
05. Plate Dance (2:58)
06. No Missiles (1:51)
07. Royal Courts Of Justice (2:13)
08. Iceland The Long Dance (5:25)
09. As She Breathes (2:35)
10. The Assassination Waltz (1:38)
11. Who Knows? (1:21)
12. Exchange (2:07)
13. Elegy (3:36)
14. Domestic Bliss (End Credits) (2:42)
15. They're Moving In (1:48)
16. Julia / End Credits (3:15)

- Lindsay Cooper / piano, synthesizer, saxophone, bassoon, glockenspiel, bass
- Chris Cutler / drums
- Georgie Born / guitar, bass, cello, piano
- Zeena Parkins / harp
- Irita Kutchmy / piccolo flute
- Celia Gore Booth / saw
- Vicky Aspinall / violin
- Dagmar Krause / vocals
- Maggie Nicols / vocals

Track A1, A2, A8, B1, B2, B5 & B7 recorded 1983 at Wave & Milo Studios.
Track A3, A4, A6, A7, B3, B4, B6 & B8 recorded 1984 at Wave & Milo Studios and Cold Storage Studio.
Track A5 recorded 1984 at Camden 8 Studio.
Final re-mastering and editing done at Milo Studio, October 85.

"Speed Of Light", "Iceland The Long Dance", "As She Breathes", "Elegy" and "They're Moving In" are studio versions of the music from "Face On", a solo dance and song show by Maedée Duprès, which toured in 1983. "Iceland The Long Dance" was choreographed by Sally Potter and "Elegy" by Richard Alston. The music was commissioned by Maedée Duprès with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain.
"Belfast" is from "Green Flutes", a Channel 4 television documentary about a Republican flute band from Glasgow. Directed by Nancy Scheisari, 1983.
"The Number 8 Bus", "Torn Away", "No Missiles", "Who Knows?" and "Excahnge" are from "Hang On A Minute", a series of one minute films for Channel 4 television by Lis Rhodes and Jo Davis, 1984.
"Plate Dance" is from "The Time Of Their Lives" by Burnt Bridges theatre group, 1984.
"Royal Courts Of Justice" and "Julia / End Credits" are from "Breaking The Silence", a film about lesbian mothers for Channel 4 television. Directed by Melanie Chait, 1984.
"The Assassination Waltz" is from Monstrous Regiment theatre group's production of "The Execution" by Melissa Murray, 1982. Arranged from the marching song "Don't Lose Heart" by N. Peskov, 1873.
"Domestic Bliss" is a comedy/drama made for Channel 4 television. Directed by Joy Chamberlain, 1984.
"Next Century" is from "Das Nächste Jahrhundert Wird Unseres Sein" (The Next Century Will Be Ours), directed by Claudia von Alemann for Hessischer Rundfunk television.
"From Morning Till Midnight" is from the Soho Poly Theatre production of "From Morning Till Midnight" (Von Morgens Bis Mitternachts) by George Kaiser.
"The Colony Comes A Cropper" is from Monstrous Regiment theatre group's production of "The Colony Comes A Cropper" by Marivaux/Robyn Archer.
"Fledermaus" is from the Playbox Theatre (Melbourne) production of Cafe Fledermaus" by Robyn Archer.
"We'd Rather Fly" is from "Wir Wollen Lieber Fliegen Als Kriechen" (We'd Rather Fly Than Crawl), directed by Claudia von Alemann for Hessischer Rundfunk television.

 The world of Prog music has suffered a recent and dear loss. Lindsay Cooper, is no longer in this emanation of life. Her pioneer work in the early , developing RIO/AG scene (Henry Cow, Comus, National Health, and the later and magnificent News from Babel, among others). Her continous explorations as a composer and performer with a completely and own aquired musical structure, that led her eventually to follow her own nature, beyond the borders of tags or genres, will remain in our collective memory and in this page. This "Music for Other Occasions", could turn out to be the best way to understand, her personal contributions to the now, very structured, RIO/AG language, which were many and varied. And also as a work which will come closer to the Prog world, than the more "classical" later works which are closer to the contemporary "Classical" music concept, (the same as Zappa's, it is like a normal course to be taken eventually by 'Classical Music" disciples, of course not by rule) Anyway!,... A twenty-one, rather short songs effort, it exemplifies the musical-structures, she developed, and the ones she was coming up with at that specific period (1985). But let me be not, misunderstood, 'Music for other Occasions", never loses that undercovered sense of humour (if needed), it is as subtle as good humour has to be. She as a performer, was more than accomplished, quiet daring indeed, but her dynamics (and the other musician's) never pervades the compositional structures, which is a very, very, thin line. This project, if you like, will be the perfect introduction, to a more mature and wise, contemporary music composer. Why? Because she never stopped searching, for her own way of expression. And that is a privelege to testify!

Lindsay Cooper - 1984 - The Small Screen. Music for Television

Lindsay Cooper
The Small Screen. Music for Television

Songs for Five Short Films Made by Lis Rhodes & Jo Davis (Four Corners for Channel 4)
01. The Song of the Goose & the Common
02. Off the Fence
03. Fair Exchange
04. Windscale
05. The Number 8 Bus

Green Flutes, a Film About a Republican Flute Band in Glasgow, dir. Nancy Schiesari for Channel 4
06. Belfast
07. Fanfare
08. Flute Tune
09. Priesthill

Domestic Bliss, a Comedy/Frrama dir. by Joy Chamberlain (Newsreel Collective for Channel 4)
10. End Credits

With Our Children, a Film about Lesbian Mothers dir. Melanie Chait (Lusia Films for Channel 4)
11. Court Entry
12. Lord Wilberforce
13. Home Movie 1
14. Open Letters
15. Linda B.
16. Home Movie 2
17. Three Heads
18. Julia/End Credits

Drums - Chris Cutler (tracks: A6 to A10)
Guitar, Bass Guitar - Georgie Born (tracks: A6 to A9, B1 to B8)
Horn [Tenor] - Kate Westbrook (tracks: A2, A3, B1 to B8)
Idiophone [Musical Saw] - Celia Gore Booth (tracks: B1 to B8)
Piano, Keyboards [Casio], Bassoon, Oboe, Sopranino Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Bass Guitar - Lindsay Cooper
Piccolo Flute - Irita Kutchmy (tracks: A6 to A9)
Vocals - Dagmar Krause (tracks: A4, A5) , Kate Westbrook (tracks: A1 to A3) , Maggie Nicols (tracks: B1 to B8)

Lindsay Cooper - 1983 - The Gold Diggers

Lindsay Cooper
The Gold Diggers

01. Seeing Red 2:23
02. Iceland 4:32
03. Celeste's Room 2:27
04. Banker's Song 1:17
05. The Empire Song 1:45
06. Melodrama 3:51
07. Ruby's Gold 3:17
08. Dawn Skyline 1:19
09. Horse Waltz 4:29

- Lindsay Cooper / Bassoon, Saxophone [Alto, Sopranino], Oboe, Piano
- Georgie Born / Cello, Guitar, Bass
- Marilyn Mazur / Drums, Percussion, Marimba
- Kate Westbrook / Horns [Tenor]
- Eleanor Sloan / Violin

Soundtrack to the Film "The Gold Diggers", directed by Sally Potter.

Recorded at Wave Studio May '83

Lindsay Cooper, Maggie Nichols & Joelle Léandre - 1982 - Live at the Bastille

Lindsay Cooper, Maggie Nichols & Joelle Léandre
Live at the Bastille

 01. Heads Will Roll - 5:07
02. Les Tricoteuses (The Knitting Women) - 6:25
03. Almost The Blues - 3:33
04. Forgotten Faces - 4:20
05. Ancient Station - 6:42
06. Une Journée - 2:58
07. Dream On - 5:16
08. Let Them Eat Telly - 2:46
09. Quiet As A Mouse - 0:45

Maggie Nichols - singing
Lindsay Cooper - bassoon, electric bassoon, dismantled bassoon, sopranino saxophone
Joëlle Léandre - double bass, backing vocals on "Head Will Roll

Recorded on 25 March 1982 at l'Ancienne Gare de la Bastille, Paris

There isn't much that could happen short of a serious illness that could make this session come out anything less than brilliant. The 1982 live date presents three European avant-garde music masters interacting on an intense and wildly entertaining level. Fans of Lindsay Cooper will really appreciate locating a copy of this somewhat rare vinyl release. She is a fine composer as well as one of the few bassoonists in progressive rock, who was later robbed of her physical ability to play this challenging instrument by a debilitating illness. Bassist Joëlle Léandre by herself could carry the entire album, and her vocalizing on "Heads Will Roll" is a memorable moment. Tracks such as "Un Journee" and "Forgotten Faces" are full of the surprises great improvisers come up with, from dusty little corners to entirely unknown rooms. This is a nice live recording done by the experienced Jean-Marc Foussat. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, All Music Guide

Lindsay Cooper - 1980 - Rags

Lindsay Cooper 

01. The Exhibition Of Fashions (1:29)
02. Lots Of Larks (1:05)
03. General Strike (1:48)
04. Woman's Wrongs I (3:35)
05. Woman's Wrongs II (3:05)
06. The Charter (1:40)
08. Woman's Wrongs III (2:30)
09. Film Music (4:21)
10. Prostitution Song (2:19)
11. 1848 (2:05)
12. The Chartist Anthem (1:19)
13. Cholera (2:35)
14. Stitch Goes The Needle (2:34)
15. A Young Lady's Vision (1:23)
16. Pin Money (0:49)
17. Woman's Wrong IV (3:46)
18. The Song Of The Shirt (4:59)

Georgie Born / Bass, Cello
Lindsay Cooper / Bassoon, Saxophone, Oboe, Flute, Keyboards, Accordion, drums
Chris Cutler / Drums
Fred Frith / Guitar
Sally Potter / Vocals
Phil Minton / Vocals, Trumpet

Lindsay Cooper was once concerned that an ensemble specialising in conventional opera would not be able to play one of her technically challenging compositions. Its conductor, a former biologist, advised her to think of the bee: aerodynamically, it should not be able to fly, but oblivious to this theoretical limitation, it does so nonetheless. Similarly, if left unaware that they were not designed for such cutting-edge work, the musicians would probably come up with the desired result anyway.

Much the same principle operated more widely in Cooper's imaginative, spirited, humorous and courageous approach to life. She simply chose not to notice that a bassoonist, trained classically in the 1960s, was not supposed to play art-rock, free-improv, 1930s cabaret music or Cool School jazz – or for that matter, that the spirit of a multiple sclerosis sufferer might be assumed to wilt under the condition's advance.

Cooper was diagnosed in 1987, but, fearing it would influence people's perception of her work, kept the news quiet for almost a decade. "Hello, I'm very well," was her usual telephone greeting, long after she had faced the end of her remarkable creative career. Between 1971 and 1997, she had taken key roles in the influential avant-rock bands Comus and Henry Cow and in Mike Westbrook's jazz bands; given solo recitals on bassoon and saxophones; and composed for theatre, dance, film, and jazz and contemporary-classical ensembles all over the world.

Born in Hornsey, north London, she studied the piano, and then from her early teens the bassoon. Between 1965 and 1968, she studied at Dartington College of Arts, Devon; at the Royal College and Royal Academy of Music in London; and played in the National Youth Orchestra.

But on moving to New York at the end of the decade, Cooper met musicians with sharply different interests, and when she returned to Britain in 1971 it was to join the creative Canterbury art-rock scene that was nurturing such original such original bands as Soft Machine and Gong. Cooper joined the experimental folk-rock ensemble Comus for a year, transforming her technique and adding oboe and flute to her resources. She contributed to Mike Oldfield's Hergest Ridge, and in late 1973 was invited to join Henry Cow – an uncategorisable band inspired about equally by avant-garde classical music, Frank Zappa and Karl Marx.

Cooper arrived in time for the group's second album, Unrest (1974), and worked with them sporadically. She developed advanced techniques for the bassoon, played the soprano saxophone and piano, and by the band's final album, Western Culture (1978), was composing half the material. "Henry Cow always wanted to push itself," Cooper told the Guardian in 1998. "So sometimes we would write music that we couldn't actually play – I found that very encouraging."

She strengthened as both an ensemble player and an improviser – with the pull of the latter leading her to co-found, with the singer Maggie Nicols, the Feminist Improvising Group. It ran for five years and at various times included the cellist Georgie Born, the film-maker and vocalist Sally Potter, and the Swiss free-jazz piano virtuoso Irène Schweizer.

Cooper's first solo album was the 1980 song-cycle Rags, based on the sweatshops of Victorian England, and film and TV scores followed, the most acclaimed being for The Gold Diggers (1983), Potter's directorial debut, with Julie Christie in the lead role. The score reflected the meticulous Cooper's close study of silent-film accompaniment, early Russian film composition and the work of Hanns Eisler. Disliking what she called "wallpaper" music for films, Cooper made her score a form of counterpoint to the movie – to be listened to, rather than simply being illustrative or emotive.

Cooper and Potter then collaborated on the song-cycle Oh Moscow – written for the 1987 Zurich Jazz festival, with Potter's lyrics examining a divided Europe during the cold war, and Cooper's accomplished score splicing bebop, art-rock, gypsy music and the freely acknowledged influence of Westbrook.

She worked in Australia in 1990, with the Australian singer, writer and director Robyn Archer – notably on Sahara Dust, a jazz-influenced vocal piece on the Gulf war – and also performing as a solo instrumentalist. In 1991 she released her collections of contemporary dance pieces Schrödinger's Cat and An Angel on the Bridge, and the following year wrote her Concerto for Sopranino Saxophone and Strings for a European Women's Orchestra commission, and Songs for Bassoon and Orchestra for the Bologna Opera House Orchestra.

For San Francisco's Rova Saxophone Quartet, Cooper also composed the pieces Face in the Crowd and Can of Worms – elegant, tightly structured, culturally diverse works that one reviewer described as "Ellington meets Milhaud". She improvised over composer Charles Gray's synthesiser and computer-generated sounds for the album Pia Mater in 1997, and the following year saw the double-album A View from the Bridge, her final release.

As a creative multi-instrumentalist and composer, and a woman energetically active in contemporary music, Cooper became an inspiring figure to young composers and musicians, and her music's appeal also endures for visual artists, film-makers and choreographers. In 2007, her sopranino concerto featured in the choreographer Jacky Lansley's View from the Shore at the Royal Opera House, and next month Cooper's work will be used to accompany an exhibition at the Athens Biennale, and in a London installation by the film-maker Sue Clayton.

A creative vision guided all of Cooper's work. As Potter put it: "Her life was threaded through with political commitment and idealism – but her work was never didactic. She believed in the transcendental power of pure sound."

Cooper is survived by her friends, who became her adopted family.

• Lindsay Cooper, bassoonist, saxophonist and composer, born 3 March 1951; died 18 September 2013

After Henry Cow dissolved, reed player Lindsay Cooper stayed busy with such projects as the Art Bears, but released her first album under her own name in 1980, and it's a delight. She had already proven herself a composer of very high stature on Henry Cow's swan song "Western Culture" album, composing the music for the entire second side of that record. Here, she applies that skill to a series of miniatures, composed as the soundtrack to "Rags", a documentary about women textile workers at the turn of the century.
Former Henry Cow-mates Chris Cutler (drums) and Fred Frith (guitar) provide low-key musical support, letting Cooper's overdubbed reeds (bassoon, sax, oboe), as well as her piano, provide the foundation for the songs. Sally Potter and Phil Minton provide the vocals for the songs with lyrics (about one third of the songs), and their voices are dramatic and distinctive. Minton in particular (who also plays trumpet here) sings in a deep voice with the authority of a cranky schoolmaster.

Of the instrumentals, the multi-part "Women's Wrongs" is especially fine, with a sad piano line lifted up by Frith's gentle but firm guitar sustain. "Film Music" likewise reflects the grim but determined resolve of the film's subject. The vocal pieces are generally more animated, often borrowing old folk melodies that one imagines could have been sung by labor strikers in the picket line -- "General Strike", in fact, takes it's lyric from such a song ("Hurrah my boys, and make no noise / Stand firm in all disaster / United be, and you will see / We'll conquer all the masters"). On the opening "The Exhibition of Fashions", Sally Potter performs a woozily seductive vocal that builds rather impressively during its short length (1:29), becoming a frenzied shriek by the end!

This may be "just a soundtrack", but I've found it one of the most enjoyable and re-playable ones I've heard. Great balance of vocal and instrumental pieces, and a well-sustained melancholy mood that still manages to be uplifting. With Frith and Cutler on board, it certainly bears more than a passing resemblance to Henry Cow's later material, but Cooper puts her own unique stamp on it. Excellent.