A reissue of the 1981 Incus LP of guitarist Derek Bailey with one-time King Crimson percussionist Jamie Muir ("Larks Tongues in Aspic"), also a member of Bailey's Music Improvisation Company, an album of hovering harmonics from Bailey's feedback amidst Muir's kitchen-sink collection of items that creates a unique and riveting complement to Bailey's playing.
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Label: Honest Jons Records
Catalog ID: HJR 206LP
Squidco Product Code: 26134
Recorded in Crane Grove, London, England, in August, 1981.
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1. Carminative 11:30
2. I Soon Learned To Know This Flower Better 7:15
3. Ja Ja 7:30
1. Dart Drug 25:30
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"For the uninitiated, Jamie Muir was percussionist for King Crimson during its Larks' Tongues in Aspic period. Since that time, he has concentrated on playing in the free improv arena, and has interacted with just about everybody on the British side of things. This date with guitarist Derek Bailey is in many ways quite remarkable. In these four improvisations, Bailey himself attempts to become a nearly lyrical player, sensitively looking for timbral elements within his already sonant tones, and Muir moves to underline that aspect of his playing. This is not to say that dynamics and violence are not found here -- quite the contrary, they're just more closely observed. The title track, clocking in just shy of half an hour, is for practical matters the hinge piece of the album, though it comes last in sequence. From random plinks and plonks, where Bailey accompanies Muir as a percussionist in the way he uses his strings and Muir dances all over the mix, a kind of pattern develops where dynamic threads are woven and carried forth into others, always leaving the fully articulated one as the process begets the creation of another. This systematic approach is different for both men, and results in a kind of ideational clarity that lesser players would love to emulate. The result is as open as silence itself, albeit a more playful gazer into its open mouth by this pair of yobs who are winking and laughing."-Thom Jurek, All Music
"Honest Jon's Records present a reissue of Jamie Muir and Derek Bailey's 1981 duo album, Dart Drug, originally released on Bailey's Incus label. Percussionist Jamie Muir was a member of King Crimson during the recording of Larks' Tongues In Aspic, in 1973. Staying less than a year with Robert Fripp, the Scot had already cut his teeth with another master guitarist, Derek Bailey, as part of the Music Improvisation Company, along with Evan Parker, Hugh Davies and Christine Jeffrey.
There's no shortage of great percussionists in the brief history of free improvised music but on the strength of Dart Drug alone Jamie Muir deserves among them. Unlike for example Han Bennink and John Stevens, though, you can't hear echoes of any particular jazz drummer in Muir's playing, even if he has expressed appreciation for Milford Graves. What on earth did Muir's kit consist of? Some instruments are clearly identifiable (bells, gongs, chimes, woodblocks), while others could be anything. Old suitcases thwacked with rolled up newspapers? Tin cans and hubcaps inside a washing machine? Who cares? It sounds terrific, but if you're the kind of person who faints at the sound of nails scraping a blackboard, you might want to nip out and put the kettle on towards the end of the title track.
Dart Drug is consistently thrilling, and often amusing, but it's certainly not easy listening. In music we talk about playing with other musicians, whereas in sport you play against another opponent (or with your team against another team). Why not play against in music, too? That's often precisely what happens in improvised music, and Bailey was particularly good at it. How can a humble acoustic guitar hope to compete with Muir in full flight? Sometimes Bailey's content to sit on those open strings, teasing out yet another exquisite Webernian constellation of ringing harmonics and wait for the dust to settle in Muir's junkyard, but elsewhere he sets off into uncharted territory himself.
"The way to discover the undiscovered in performing terms is to immediately reject all situations as you identify them (the cloud of unknowing) which is to give music a future," Bailey evidently concurred with this spoken statement by Muir, including it in his book Improvisation (1980). Derek Bailey is no longer with us, of course, and Muir gave up performing music back in 1989; all the more reason for seeking out this magnificent, wild album."-Honest Jon's
Get additional information at All Music
• Show Bio for Jamie Muir
"Jamie Muir (born in Edinburgh, Scotland) is a Scottish painter and former percussionist, best known for his work in King Crimson.
Muir attended the Edinburgh College of Art during the 1960s, and began playing jazz on trombone before settling on percussion.
After moving to London, Muir worked with choreographer Lindsay Kemp, and was active in free improvisation, recording, and performing with Derek Bailey and Evan Parker in The Music Improvisation Company from 1968-1971. Muir used various found objects as part of his percussion repertoire. He spoke of "approach[ing] the rubbish with a total respect for its nature as rubbish", and that "The way to discover the undiscovered in performing terms is to immediately reject all situations as you identify them (the cloud of unknowing) - which is to give music a future". During this period he also played in the band Boris with Don Weller and Jimmy Roche (both later of jazz-rock band Major Surgery) and put in a stint with Afro-rock band Assagai in which he met keyboard player Alan Gowen. Muir and Gowen subsequently formed the experimental jazz-rock band Sunship with guitarist Allan Holdsworth and bass player Laurie Baker, although Muir has admitted that "we spent more time laughing than playing music" and suggests that the band played no gigs and got no further than rehearsals.
Muir was a member of King Crimson from mid-1972 to early 1973. With King Crimson, Muir occasionally played a standard drum kit, but more often he contributed an assortment of unusual sounds from a wide variety of percussion instruments, including chimes, bells, thumb piano, mbiras, a musical saw, shakers, rattles, found objects, and miscellaneous drums. Muir initially appeared on a single King Crimson album, 1973's Larks' Tongues In Aspic. Several live recordings featuring Muir have been released later by DGM records; the 15-CD box set released in 2012 for the 40th anniversary of the album includes every recording from that line-up, be it live or studio, documenting everything Muir has ever contributed. King Crimson violinist/keyboardist David Cross reports that "We all learned an incredible amount from Jamie. He really was a catalyst of this band in the beginning and he opened up new areas for Bill [Bill Bruford, the group's "conventional" drummer] to look into as well as affecting the rest of us."
In 1972 Muir decided to pursue a monastic lifestyle, in accordance with the strict principles of Buddhism. He left King Crimson abruptly in early 1973 and moved to Samye Ling Monastery near Eskdalemuir in southern Scotland. He had just completed his contribution to Larks' Tongues, released subsequent to his departure. The British Press at the time attributed his decision as the result of "personal injury sustained onstage during performance", a phrase attributed to the band's management company, E'G.
Jamie Muir also showed Yes's Jon Anderson about Paramahansa Yogananda's works during the wedding reception of the previous Yes drummer Bill Bruford, which ultimately led up to influencing the album Tales From Topographic Oceans by Yes, based on the Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi.
In 1980, Muir returned to the London music scene, recording with Evan Parker and Derek Bailey. He was also on the soundtrack of the film Ghost Dance, a collaboration with another Crimson alumnus, drummer Michael Giles and David Cunningham recorded in 1983, and eventually released in 1996.
Muir has since withdrawn completely from the music business and now devotes his energies to painting."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamie_Muir)
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• Show Bio for Derek Bailey
"Derek Bailey (29 January 1930 - 25 December 2005) was an English avant-garde guitarist and leading figure in the free improvisation movement.
Bailey was born in Sheffield, England. A third-generation musician, he began playing the guitar at the age of ten, initially studying music with his teacher and Sheffield City organist C. H. C. Biltcliffe, an experience that he did not enjoy, and guitar with his uncle George Wing and John Duarte. As an adult he worked as a guitarist and session musician in clubs, radio, dance hall bands, and so on, playing with many performers including Morecambe and Wise, Gracie Fields, Bob Monkhouse and Kathy Kirby, and on television programs such as Opportunity Knocks. Bailey's earliest foray into 'what could be called free improvised music' was in 1953 with two other guitarists in their shared flat in Glasgow. He was also part of a Sheffield-based trio founded in 1963 with Tony Oxley and Gavin Bryars called "Joseph Holbrooke" (named after the composer, whose work they never actually played). Although originally performing relatively "conventional" modal, harmonic jazz this group became increasingly free in direction.
Bailey moved to London in 1966, frequenting the Little Theatre Club run by drummer John Stevens. Here he met many other like-minded musicians, such as saxophonist Evan Parker, trumpet player Kenny Wheeler and double bass player Dave Holland. These players often collaborated under the umbrella name of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, recording the seminal album Karyobin for Island Records in 1968. In this year Bailey also formed the Music Improvisation Company with Parker, percussionist Jamie Muir and Hugh Davies on homemade electronics, a project that continued until 1971. He was also a member of the Jazz Composer's Orchestra and Iskra 1903, a trio with double-bass player Barry Guy and tromboneist Paul Rutherford that was named after a newspaper published by the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin.
In 1970, Bailey founded the record label Incus with Tony Oxley, Evan Parker and Michael Walters. It proved influential as the first musician-owned independent label in the UK. Oxley and Walters left early on; Parker and Bailey continued as co-directors until the mid-1980s, when friction between the men led to Parker's departure. Bailey continued the label with his partner Karen Brookman until his death in 2005.
Along with a number of other musicians, Bailey was a co-founder of Musics magazine in 1975. This was described as "an impromental experivisation arts magazine" and circulated through a network of like-minded record shops, arguably becoming one of the most significant jazz publications of the second half of the 1970s, and instrumental in the foundation of the London Musicians Collective.
1976 saw Bailey instigate Company, an ever-changing collection of like-minded improvisors, which at various times has included Anthony Braxton, Tristan Honsinger, Misha Mengelberg, Lol Coxhill, Fred Frith, Steve Beresford, Steve Lacy, Johnny Dyani, Leo Smith, Han Bennink, Eugene Chadbourne, Henry Kaiser, John Zorn, Buckethead and many others. Company Week, an annual week-long free improvisational festival organised by Bailey, ran until 1994.
In 1980, he wrote the book Improvisation: Its Nature and Practice. This was adapted by UK's Channel 4 into a four-part TV series in the early '90s, edited and narrated by Bailey.
Bailey died in London on Christmas Day, 2005. He had been suffering from motor neurone disease."-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derek_Bailey_(guitarist))
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