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by John Eyles
Paul Rutherford's trio Iskra 1903 existed in two different editions, both including Rutherford on trombone and Barry Guy on bass. The first (in existence from 1970 to 1974) added Derek Bailey on guitar, the second (from 1977 to 1995) Philipp Wachsmann on violin. Thanks largely to the efforts of Emanem (with a contribution from Guy's own Maya label), both editions have been well represented on disc, excellent news given the importance of the group in the development of improvised music ...read more
by Raul d'Gama Rose
Iskra is the name of a group comprised of ingenious British improvising musicians on the very edge what is idiomatically modern. Iskra is Russian for spark," and also happens to have been the name of the paper that Lenin edited before the Russian Revolution. Add to the equation Goldsmiths, a venue for their breathless, expressive music. In a very odd but fortuitous manner, it all seems to come together, to make sense. For here is music that has been mined ...read more
by John Eyles
The years 2010 and 2011 have already been a bumper period for re-releases of '70s improvised music--notably Emanem's Teatime and Life amid the artefacts--plus unreleased Derek Bailey (on More 74, Concert in Milwaukee and Scrutables). Now, after some delay, comes Goldsmiths, which could well be the pick of the bunch. It consists of a 67-minute live concert recording from London's Goldsmiths College made in March 1972, augmented by two shorter extracts of unknown provenance that are no mere extras, but ...read more
by John Eyles
This is only the third triple CD set ever released by Emanem--and two of the three are by Iskra 1903. Chapter One: 1970-1972 focussed on the first edition of Iskra, with Derek Bailey, Barry Guy and Paul Rutherford. The second incarnation of the group replaced Bailey with Philipp Wachsmann and ran from 1977 until 1995. (A third edition, Iskra³, has since recorded for Psi.) Whereas most of Chapter One had been previously released, none of Chapter Two has been out ...read more
by Nic Jones
Some titles are more apt than others. Iskra 1903 has spanned the decades as a working group, and this edition was recorded at gigs back in the early 1980s. Dates, however, seem irrelevant, as this music is essentially unbounded by the constraints of both time and place. The titular Chapter Two refers practically to the revision of the group where violinist Philipp Wachsmann stepped in to replace departed guitarist Derek Bailey.
Barry Guy, Paul Rutherford and Wachsmann all utilise electronics ...read more
by AAJ Staff
Iskra 1903, for those not in the know, is the name of a poorly-documented improvising trio consisting of trombonist Paul Rutherford, violinist Philipp Wachsmann, and bassist Barry Guy. They played together for nearly two decades, yet only one available recording documents their work together: an eponymous '92 disc on Maya. Emanem to the rescue--for this release, a 1991 Frankfurt performance sees the light of day. The first set, a half hour-long trio improvisation, leads to a second brief trio piece, ...read more
by Robert Spencer
Iskra 1903, named after a newspaper founded by Lenin, has had several incarnations. This one, as befits a disc entitled Chapter One, was the first: Paul Rutherford (trombone and piano), Derek Bailey (guitar), and Barry Guy (double bass). The first revelation is that Rutherford plays piano, and that he's a worthwhile improviser on that instrument. The second is that this music, for all its uncompromisingly unpremeditated and atonal character, contains a great deal that beguiles and fascinates.
This massive 3-disc ...read more