The well-known trio of Paul Rutherford, Derek Bailey and Barry Guy caught in performance, mostly at Goldsmiths College in London in 1972, with bits from another concert of unknown provenance. The band was founded by Paul Rutherford in 1970 as a trio particularly interested in working without percussion. Iskra is the Russian word for spark, with 1903 denoting the 20th century (19) and the number of members (3). With additional players the title would change.
As expected, the interplay is often quite rapid and the playing is infinitely detailed, a beautiful picture becoming ever more intricate with concentration. Things move by so quickly that it's difficult to give a blow-by-blow of the action. There is a constantly shifting patchwork of melody, rhythm, timbre and texture, with one voice advancing occasionally to obscure the other two before receding. Or two will fall away leaving one alone briefly, and nothing ever seems to repeat. At times that it can be quite difficult (if not impossible) to keep a mental picture of the whole of any one piece, especially on the longer pieces. This is not criticism, merely an acknowledgement of the difficulty some listeners may encounter with free playing. When the stream of events is so fascinating, it's best to just pay attention and fly by the seat of one's pants.
Spark is a perfect word for these gents' activity. The initial impetus of inspiration elongated into often lengthy expositions. With nary even a thought of waning.
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