CLIVE BELL: NEWS
ASAKUSA FOLLIES released on Cusp Editions
Clive Bell solo album, June 2017
- Sunday 12th November 2017, 8 pm: April 2017: two bands led by Japanese women: CB plays shakuhachi and khene with Taeko Kunishima group at Iklektik, London. (CB produced and played on Iridescent Clouds, the new album by pianist Taeko Kunishima on the 33Jazz label.) Also on 12th Nov: "Beyond Haiku" - Emi Watanabe (Japanese traditional flutes), Elise Lorraine (voice) & Ayo Vincent (piano).
- BAFTA award for Kubo And The Two Strings, an animated film featuring CB on shakuhachi and Melissa Holding on koto. The composer is Dario Marianelli.
- September 2017: I have the honour to be included in Chris Cutler's mighty Probes series of music podcasts: Probes 21.
- Sat 23rd September 2017, Cafe Oto: CB & Mark Wastell, opposite bass legend Arild Andersen.
- Sun 24th September 2017: Japanese Avant-garde And Experimental Film Festival presents A Page Of Madness (1926). Classic silent film with live benshi narrator (Tomoko Komura) and music by CB, Sylvia Hallett (violin, saw, electronics) and Keiko Kitamura (koto).
- August 2017: re-release of 2009 album by TWINKLE3 (Richard Scott, David Ross & Clive Bell): Let's Make A Solar System, on the Sound Anatomy label. (Originally released on ini.itu .) Cover photography by Judith Goodman.
"The album features a trio whose combined experience in the field of sonic exploration easily justifies claims of them constituting a friendly supergroup. Over decade-long careers, their reach has been global, their appeal broad, their sound eclectic. While Richard Scott has immersed himself in the world of modular synthesizers and untiring acoustic curiosity, David Ross's continuous journeys to the heart of the moment have made him one of the UK's most revered improvisers. Clive Bell, on the other hand, has worked with artists as different as Jah Wobble, David Sylvian and Karl Jenkins – signs of a mind finely attuned to music's inherent qualities rather than public images. The fine friction between Ross's and Scott's digital dots and dances and his Shakuhachi lines is indeed one of the most distinct characteristics of "Solar System", which makes a point of contrasting organic with synthetic material, mood work with proficiently unfolding themes and tranquilly agitated passages with intricately agitated tranquility." Review of Let's Make A Solar System by Tobias Fischer from Tokafi.com :
- June 2017: Clive Bell solo album launch at Cafe Oto. Cusp Editions present CB, Rie Nakajima, Sylvia Hallett & David Ross. Launch of Asakusa Follies on Cusp Editions. CB plays shakuhachi, Thai pi saw flutes and Hmong khene.
- Nellie LeFey writes about Cuspeditions Presents: Clive Bell and guests Rie Nakajima, Sylvia Hallett and David Ross at Café OTO, 14.06.17:
Gig of the summer at Café OTO tonight. A fantastic launch for Clive Bell's latest album, Asakusa Follies, on one of Manchester's finest purveyors of sonic exploration, Cuspeditions. Clive played "short sets", interspersed with his pithy humour, and a tale of the bug club from Kawabata's writings, which included note of the man with the "mouth is his stomach". All game inspiration for the album, which is also woven with reference to the entertainment district of old Tokyo. Throughout the evening Clive stepped around the room with shakuhachi, khene and other exotic wind instruments, layering tones, blowing, snorting, chattering, grunting, growling and splicing sounds with those created by his sonic collaborators: Sylvia Hallett, David Ross and Rie Nakajima. These three joined him in duos, and a final trio (with Nakajima and Hallett). Through the humid, close night and the sound of distant sirens, Clive and cohorts flayed the air, pairing it back with overtones, eviscerating it with trills, painting a low register, in what sounded like indigo, across the floor. The asymmetric rhythms and high-songs of porcelain and old food tins gave us unworldly time. The plucking of violin strings kept our hearts beating with love and inspiration. For tonight, I am sutured and bound in a world away from the fear of tomorrow.
An added bonus is that the album and CD have a hypnotically indigo-dyed cover by Ecka Mordecai, carefully tied to represent the sound wave forms!
- Touring: a new outdoor theatre show, Ye Gods, from Whalley Range All Stars. Music by CB & Matt Wand. Watch the trailer HERE.
- January 2016: a fresh album from Twinkle3 on CUSP EDITIONS , Sam Weaver's new label. Debris In Lower Earth Orbit features CB, Richard Scott and David Ross in the company of stellar Scandi-vocalist Sidsel Endresen. Liner notes by David Sylvian.
- What's So Funny 'Bout British Improvising? An essay by Clive Bell on The Wire magazine website probes the history of comedy in British improvised music.
- CB (shakuhachi) and Melissa Holding (koto) appear on Salt, the new album by Russian singer-songwriter Boris Grebenshikov of Aquarium (try track 7).
- An essay by CB about Henry Cow appears in the collection Epiphanies: Life Changing Encounters With Music , ed. Tony Herrington, published in 2015 by The Wire magazine.
- April 2014: LP album from David Ross & Clive Bell: Recovery Suite, on the ini.itu label, run by Asmayani Kusrini & Sylvain.
- VIDEO of Clive Bell playing shakuhachi and talking (not at the same time), filmed as online marketing for the Suzuki Swift car.
- Also online: an interview by CB with long-lost proto-minimalist composer Dennis Johnson, on The Wire website
- Listen on SOUNDCLOUD: June In Tottenham, 16 short improvisations on shakuhachi, recorded June 2012.
- July 2017: CB at WOMAD with Taiko Meantime's new show, Dojoji. Japanese taiko drums, flutes, Tsugaru jamisen (Hibiki Ichikawa), plus special guest Chieko Kojima (dance/drumming - an original member of the legendary taiko groups Ondekoza and Kodo).
- June 2017: CB with Nicole Vivien Watson's Surface Area Dance in Newcastle Dance City.
- March 2017, St Patricks Festival, Dublin: A Page Of Madness New live soundtrack to expressionistic Japanese film from 1926. "Produced by acclaimed Irish musicians and composers Matthew Nolan and Seán Mac Erlaine in collaboration with London based shakuhachi (Japanese flute) master, Clive Bell."
- April 2017, Vortex, London: CB with David Ross (electronics, perc) and Marjolaine Charbin (piano).
- May 2017: Singing With Nightingales, produced by Sam Lee. CB engages with wildlife in a wood near Lewes, Sussex.
- Feb 2017: Verity Lane's Yugenism, two London concerts with new animated film and visiting performers from Japan: Etsuko Takezawa (koto), Ko Ishikawa (sho) and Kaho Aso (dance). Plus CB on shakuhachi, Liam Noble (pno), Tomoko Komura (narration). New compositions by Verity Lane. Trailer is here. T Chances and Cafe Oto.
- September 2016: CB played solo at Bovey Tracey's Nourish Festival (Devon), and performed with The Tale Of The Bamboo Cutter by John Roberts's Puppetcraft.
- August 2016: Aberjazz Festival, Fishguard, Pembrokeshire - Taeko Kunishima Trio with CB and Dominic Lash.
- July 2016: CB took part in The Reverse Collection by Tarek Atoui, improvised performances on a new collection of ten instruments in the Tank at Tate Modern.
- April 2016: CB solo shakuhachi concert, opposite the Vickers Bovey Guitar Duo, launched an album of new music by Forest Of Dean composer Ryan Probert, inspired by the Thirty-Six Views Of Mount Fuji. Concert organised by The Japan Society at The Swedenborg Society, London.
- Oct 2015: UK tour for I Burn For You, composer Ian Wilson's Dracula opera, starring Attila Csihar (Mayhem, Sun O)))), Phil Minton and Lauren Kinsella. Music played by CB, Lee Patterson and Cathal Roche.
- March 2015, Flatpack Festival, Birmingham: Sylvia Hallett & Clive Bell performed live soundtrack for a silent 1930 comedy gangster movie by Yasujiro Ozu: Walk Cheerfully, originally presented at the BFI, with Tomoko Komura as the Benshi narrator. Video here.
- 2015-17: a new theatre show, The Man From Fukushima, performed by Kazuko Hohki. Live music by Clive Bell & Andy Cox. A tale of monsters, survival and distant homeland.
- Seven Sisters Of Smyrna (CB accordion, Viv Corringham vox, Sylvia Hallett violin and electronics). A fresh and sternly psychedelic look at Greek Rembetika songs.
- September 2014: CB & David Ross live at the Fluxus museum, Museo Vostell Malpartida, Caceres, Spain.
- May 2014: concert of Japanese music at Durham Oriental Museum, DH1 3TH, by Okeanos artists CB (shakuhachi), Keiko Kitamura (koto) and Robin Thompson (sho, Okinawan sanshin). Musicon Festival of East Asian Music.
- CB's interview with film maker David Lynch (about Lynch's Crazy Clown Time album) was in the November 2011 issue of The Wire magazine. Listen to audio of the interview here.
- The Floating World Ensemble played in Warneford Chapel, Oxford, December 2011. Koto (Melissa Holding) & shakuhachi (CB). The concert was filmed by Pier Corona and can be viewed here. Pier's photo album of the concert is here.
- Opera North's Lullaby Project - CB plays a Japanese lullaby on YouTube.
- CB played shakuhachi for composer Alexandre Desplat on the soundtracks of both the recent Harry Potter films.
- July 2011, CB solo shakuhachi at Apiary Studios, 458 Hackney Road, London E2 9EG.14.46 Time Stood Still, Fundraiser concert. This show was filmed by USTREAM, and you can watch the set HERE
- June 2011 in Glasgow: Japanese Noh play Matsukaze, directed by Paddy Cunneen, with live music by CB, at ORAN MOR
- April, 2011: album by B.I.L.L. Clive Bell plus Jaki Liebezeit (Can), Robert Lippok (To Rococo Rot) and Jochen Irmler (Faust), on Klangbad Records.
- May 2011: album by Jah Wobble & The Modern Jazz Ensemble, titled "7", on 30 Hertz. Played Ronnie Scotts (May) and Glastonbury (June).
- Oct 2010 in Bridlington, CB on stage with Jah Wobble & Keith Levene, see "Poptones" on YouTube.
- CB & Jaki Leibezeit, Klangbad 2010, photo by Manuel Wagner.
- August 2010, CB live with B.I.L.L.: Jaki Leibezeit (Can), Robert Lippok (To Rococo Rot) & Jochen Irmler (Faust) at Klangbad Festival, Germany.
- Autumn 2009, David Sylvian's album release Manafon. CB contributed introductory essay to Deluxe Edition of CD and DVD Amplified Gesture. Samadhisound label
- Clive Bell onstage with Jah Wobble's Nippon Dub Ensemble, photo by Paul Cantrell
recent recordings :
CB: shakuhachi, flute, producer
Japanese Dub by Jah Wobble on 30 Hertz Records
Car Ad Music, CD by Jah Wobble on 30 Hertz label , featuring BJ Cole and CB
Jah Wobble's Chinese Dub on 30 Hertz Records
David Honigman in the Financial Times on WOMAD 08:
"Away in the arboretum, Jah Wobble gave the performance of the festival. His new project, Chinese Dub, started as a relatively modest commission for Liverpool 08, marking the city's year as European capital of culture, and grew into a tour and an album. Wobble, in grey suit and hat, played forceful basslines that could have performed CPR two fields away. Dodging about the stage, he cued other players to drop in and out. His wife, Zi Lan Liao, sat playing the guzheng, a plucked zither. Clive Bell played Chinese pipes.
Dub and Chinese music proved a perfect mixture. The earnest folk melodies leavened the dub's conceptual self-importance; the dub hardened the Chinese music against kitsch. As if to demonstrate the kinship, the band played Augustus Pablo's “Java”, echoing with melodica and a guzheng solo dovetailed in as the rhythm dropped out. Later, Clea Rose sang Dawn Penn's “No, No, No”, rising from a low growl to impressionistic wails, accompanied by the Tibetan singer Gu Ying.
Midway, Wobble brought on two mask-changing dancers. As they twirled and high kicked, red and yellow silk cloaks whipping around them, their masks constantly changed from one eyeblink to the next, expressions and colours and designs constantly transforming as hands flashed across faces. It was a moment of stage magic so surprising, and so inexplicable, that the audience was dumbstruck."
The Rooms by Philip Clemo, released October 2008.
"This all adds up to pretty much a dream ticket. Clemo's 'compositions' meander into your peripheral auditory field and recede again with dreamlike nuance. It's beautiful, transcendent and yes, indefinable." 4/5 . Chris Jones, BBC Online , UK.
"Its best track is actually the longest - a 16-minute opener called "The Place". Clemo's hypnotic grooves form the backdrop for rich and satisfying textures from his repertory company of improvisers, ably recorded and mixed by Talk Talk engineer Phill Brown." John L Walters, Guardian.
numb and number: different fish
numb and number are clive bell (flute, shakuhachi, khene, duduk, bansuri, norwegian seljefløyte, zither) & david harrow (monome 128, theremin, juno 106). album recorded los angeles / london 2008 produced and mixed by david harrow at workhouse studio LA.
"successfully illustrates Bell's ruminative, intelligent style." Nick Cain in The Wire.
Wood Wind Tide by Ampanman is an album by Clive Bell (shakuhachi) and Richard Scott (processing). Psychedelic, spectacular landscapes, all generated from the sound of the Japanese flute. On Chinese indie label KWANYIN RECORDS. Cover by Kazuko Hohki.
"Clive Bell is always a treat when it comes to new approaches to traditional instruments, and a true master of the shakuhachi for that matter. This CD, which risks being buried under an undeserved coat of mystery given that it's not exactly easy to find (here goes a tip of my hat to Yan Jun, label honcho, who gracefully sent me a bunch of releases including this one), sees the English improviser lending his abilities to Richard Scott's processing.
Let's make it perfectly clear: this is not a “Clive Bell with delay and reverb” kind of a record. Scott thinks in instrumental fashion with his machines, capturing the essence of the partner's flute and building from it, or deciding instead to rape that very wooden soul by transforming its purity in the asphalt of a highway that leads to mesmerizing positive hollowness, an engrossing alternance between gigantic “chords” made of harmonized pitches and ever-mutating shapes where the shakuhachi starts with its regular timbre but soon morphs into some sort of quavering extraneous propagation.
The overall sound is ominous in traits, luminous quite often, engaging throughout, taking possession of the listening environment with firm levity in a cross of extreme dissonance and disciplined stretching of unknown harmonies. Beautiful, in a word - and worthy of being tracked down." By Massimo Ricci
Acoustic Dream is the 2008 release of trio improvisations from CB, Sylvia Hallett and pianist Roberto Filoseta, on UH RECORDINGS
"Through various manipulations Bell, Filoseta and Hallett successfully tap into forgotten worlds and the subconscious to communicate with musical voices that have since passed into memory but still evoke a powerful presence." The Wire Magazine, June 2008
An Account Of My Hut is an album of improvisations for shakuhachi and nay (Arabic flute), by CB and Bechir Saade Cover painting by Sylvia Hallett. Hear extracts on the Another Timbre label website. Released 2008.
“British shakuhachi player Clive Bell seems to have found a soul mate in Lebanese ney player Bechir Saade. The pair use a variety of extended techniques to put their point across. The main feeling one gets from their music is that of overt peacefulness and a state of rest. It's not that the music stands still, but rather that it doesn't particularly move into places of eruption, nor does it wander off into unchartered, murky waters. Though the state of calm prevails, there are still moments of improvised vitality here. The bursting, breath-popping, tongue-rolling can clearly be pictured as the duo rev up their collective engines on "Withered Leaves". Haunting, exhilarating but mostly calm improvisations that see the two musicians become one single unit, An Account of My Hut is naked and honest music of the highest timbre.” Review by Tom Sekowki, Gaz-eta.
Hear the Simon Reynell "Wire Wind Mix" from The Wire's Adventures In Modern Music radio programme on Resonance FM.
David Sylvian's When Loud Weather Buffeted Naoshima,
featuring Clive Bell, Christian Fennesz, Arve Henriksen, Akira Rabelais and David Sylvian.
review by Chris Jones on BBC website:
"...Conceived as a work in progress to be completed by the external sounds of the actual Chichu Art Gallery, When Loud Weather… is a collage of found sound, drones and contributions from a ensemble of big-hitters in the European avant fraternity including shakuhachi maestro Clive Bell, guitarist Christian Fennesz and Norwegian trumpet/electronics genius, Arve Henriksen.
... it shows how far the man has come in recent years and how carefully and wisely he's choosing his fellow travellers. Never less than beautiful, When Loud Weather... deserves to be given space next to his more mainstream work."
CB playing pi saw flute at Klangbad 2010, photo by Manuel Wagner