Remember those records from the seventies, where Columbia or whoever would bring two or three musical giants together, only for it to end up a musical train wreck? As with all of Archer's work, his records with Tippetts are transcendentsomehow or other the sum of more than their parts. There's something spiritual, magical almost hereand in Orchestra of the Upper Atmosphere
and Blue Meat
that sees all these strange influences and musical loves come togetherfrom Faust and Magma through Soft Machine and AACM to Pentangle and Sandy Dennyand even on to György Ligeti and John Cage
. At one point, the result might be the dark, angry jazz-funk of Combat Astronomy
's Flak Planet
or the electronic wanderings of Inclusion Principle's Leaf Factory Fallback
, with Hervé Perez. At others, Archer's affection for AACM will surface with, for example, his new band, Engine Room Favourites.
"I've run my own label for a long time on the basis that no-one else was interested in releasing the stuff," he says without any apparent regret. "There are a lot of releases on the label because I'm lucky enough to be able to afford the luxury of running at a loss. I stopped playing sax because there were not enough live gigs on offer. I spent a lot of time in the studio because the music I started to make with collaging and technology was un-performable live. But then you get to a point of being experienced enough to start getting to the heart of things, of having one idea present after another and now I work hard trying to balance the various elements. And, of course, when you're involved in a lot of scenarios, then each one only has to move quite slowly. Add it all together and you're busy."
There's so much, we just haven't had time or space to discuss. But one thing is very clear indeedMartin Archer is definitely taking care of business.
"Right now, I'm actively making the first Juxtavoices CD, the fourth Julie Tippetts CD, the seventh Combat Astronomy
CD, the second Orchestra of the Upper Atmosphere CD, the third Inclusion Principle CD, the second Engine Room Favourites CD, a new chamber work for voices and ensemble, some further Juxtavoices recordings, a new solo CD, plus I'm producing a singer-songwriter CD for Frostlake. Then, I'm doing ten gigs per year with Juxtavoices, four gigs per year locally with various one-off ensembles, whatever one-off gigs come along and hopefully a small tour with Engine Room Favourites. And it's a case of knowing all these great people, who deserve to be heard. Their projects deserve to be progressedit simply has to get done! Somehow...I mean, I don't waste a lot of time watching TV or in the pub or shit like that. Then, of course, there's mailing the CDs out, updating the website, keeping SoundCloud up to date. I could really do with an extra life. But I don't think any of that is particularly unorthodox. What's different, or at least what people say about me who help me create this stuff, is that they don't know how I manage to sustain so much activity all the time. But as I say, it's got to be done, there isn't a choice."
Martin Archer, Blue Meat, Black Diesel & Engine Room Favourites
Orchestra of the Upper Atmosphere, Orchestra of the Upper Atmosphere
Julie Tippetts and Martin Archer, Serpentine
Julie Tippetts and Martin Archer, Tales of FiNiN
Combat Astronomy, Flak Planet
Inclusion Principle, The Leaf Factory Fallback
Julie Tippetts and Martin Archer, Ghosts of Gold
Martin Archer, Heritage and Ringtones
Martin Archer, English Commonflowers
(Discus, 2003)Photo Credit
Courtesy of Martin Archer