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I think it's an amazing ability to improvise - especially if you can do it in more than one key. I don't think those examples (or the ones i listened to) are 'improvisation' in the classic sense - but i'm not a big fan of 'modern' and 'minimalist' music. To hear in improvised guitar, drum, bass or trumpet solo, for me, is one of the best things you can hear. Especially if the musician knows how to really 'work' their instrument. Simon gall is one of the few local musicians that i have really enjoyed watching improvise.

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Guest Puppets

Those audio samples feature some of the most respected players of improvised music, Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Lol Coxhill etc have been doing this for more than 30 years!

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There's the obvious difference in improvising within a set framework, like 12 bar bluesy stuff, which can be very open to showing-off, and a lack of emotion, and total free-improvisation where none of the musicians have any preconceived ideas about where the piece is going. I favour the latter, and particularly like some of Lol Coxhill's stuff. He has recorded things with John Cavanagh doing electronics that sound lovely.

Not being a muso I'd steer clear of the framework things, as I'd make too many errors, but totally free stuff allows a poor musician like myself to join in (no doubt some of you out there will think this would be a bad thing!)

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Guest Neubeatz
Poor musos of the world unite... and play duff chords.

A good improvisation technique is to learn how to play your way out of duff chords, making them sound like they were "meant to be"..;)

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Guest Tooms

i love improvising, especially with a musician or two who i really get on well with (musically, of course).

it's one of the reasons i was so sad to leave MMW because me and dan got on very well musically and just free flow jam for ages, either to warm up or just after a practice for fun.

But i do really love to listen to 'professionals' improvise...awesome

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i love improvised music. particularly when it's people who aren't exceptional musicians cause i think it's more fun. first gig i ever did was the mystery lounge in drakes when dedalus improvised over a film we'd made. terrifying but huge fun.

i find doing gigs with improv bands has helped me overcome stage fright a lot. cause if you can go onstage and perform unplanned for 40 minutes then a rehearsed set shouldn't pose to many problems. and it teaches you to overcome little problems like string breakages during songs.

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My old band used to get the crowd to shout out any three chords, and we'd improvise a song round them. Sometimes sounded awful, like getting G, A and Bb or something, but sometimes it was great and it was always fun. It's good to challenge yourself.

Improvising's also a great way to learn how to play in a band. First time I played in public was at the Blues Jams in the Drift Inn, and they were fucking terrifying. You'd get "12 bar in A, quite fast" barked at you, then you were off. If you couldn't keep up, you were laughed out the door. Excellent apprenticeship.

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Guest Electric Tibet
Originally posted by Dag'n'Mandy:

A good improvisation technique is to learn how to play your way out of duff chords, making them sound like they were "meant to be"..;)

The best advice I ever heard was that if you make a mistake, you should repeat it!

I love improvising. Not sure if the audiences would agree.


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when i used to run sonic deth monkey the only one that attracted a large amount of people who i didn't know, apart from the microphones gig, was the improv special. some of them came up and spoke to me afterwards and said they'd been in aberdeen for a few months and that was the first decent music they'd seen since they arrived. so i think there are people out there who enjoy seeing people improvise, i've certainly always had positive response after gigs.

obviously when i say large amount that's relative to the sonic deth monkey attendance. so that was about 5 people i didn't know. :)

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sorry you may have missed this

electronic improvisers extraordinaire,

this Sunday night @ Drakes

These guys are fabulous & not a guitar in sight, read on for enlightenment.

si-cut.db (live) aka Douglas Benford has had so many guises in the past, not to mention side projects and collaborations, that you might be forgiven for being more familiar with his label and music night SPRAWL. Douglas did a lot of experimenting in the

80s with pop and ambient music, moving into more full-on instrumental dance music in the late 80s, with the whole "acid house" revolution. He released a load of 12"s under the SIDECUT>>DB moniker, working with artists such as St Etienne's Sarah Cracknell, Momus and Scanner. Gradually this metamorphosed into si-{cut}.db, in the kind of 'intelligent electronica' guise. Asked if he has a 'musical vision' as such, Douglas seems again to suggest a strong unwillingness to compromise. "Although it is difficult to know whether what one produces will stand the test of time, I don't really care about that, I just do it for myself at the time. I always start with the question 'what do I want to hear?' rather than what should I play to please other people...I make music that I would want to go out and buy". His music reflects his interests in dub/sound processing, but still rooted in melody and rhythm. " A lot of the sounds were fragments of the sound of wood splintered and broken, although they are integrated to such a degree that you can't really tell what they are." He's keen to move the sound on further, whether on his own, or through collaborations, which help him 'think and work differently': Again testimony to his disciplined work ethic is the number of international gigs he's done recently, playing new material out live in the US, France, Germany, Australia and Spain. Not surprisingly, his music seems to have accrued a rather cosmopolitan flavour: "in the US I am presumed to be Canadian, in France I was asked if I was German. So it's good not to be associated with English music!' With that in mind, it's not surprising that Douglas's idea of a compliment is to be told that he sounds like 'Jan Jelenik on a good day', which someone bestowed on him in Glasgow. But with increasing attention being paid to him in the music press over in the UK, with accolades from the likes of Time Out and The Wire, he may not be able to abstain from giving his music a nationality for very much longer.


Phillipe Petite (DJ set)

Philippe has chosen to use his e-mail address, ip@bip-hop.com, as his

"live" alias to keep it easy, and avoid pretentiousness too often

encountered among DJ circles. According to him a DJ is not only an

instrument for dancing but as a living musical library he should also take

his audience to a new cultural trip/discovery. Philippe wants to entertain

listeners and to open new "doors of perception", to create a virtual world

to enable them to forget about their own existence for a short while.

Philippe tries to tell us a story, with a beginning and an end.

The content of the mix is obviously of critical importance, but the DJ's

technique should never overflow its creative aspect (inspiration); however,

it must bring the live touch to the fluid sequence music to give birth in

the end, to a unique and truly lively performance. DJ ip@bip-hop.com is specialized in mixing electronica, ambientism, avant hip-hop, dubby and minimal-techno in a plunderphonic way, essential part of different songs all mixed together to keep the rhythm alive. Using 2CD players + a laptop to add sci-fi, prepared guitar chords, various clicks and electro acoustic or field recordings in the background forming a

tapestry of sound, running up to 6 different sources altogether to create a

mess of asymetrical electrode. Topping it all he surfs through the waves of

his mobile radio player ,improvising through radio frequencies, noises.

With many levels going on at once, it's a great depth that he creates.

Phillipe has been preparing a set using only music from all girl bands,

very electro, rock but rhythmic and dance-floor, guaranteed to make girls

scream.... there will be dancing!


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Guest Marching Children

I like these words from Charlie Hadden:

'Improvisation and spontaneity are about honesty. It's completely pure honesty. The musician is baring his soul to the people, and hoping he can touch their lives, in a humble way. Improvisation teaches you the magic of being in the moment you're living in. You get a different perspective about life. And you see yourself in relation to the universe in a completely different way. There's no such thing as yesterday, there's no such thing as tomorrow. There's only right now, when you're improvising.'

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