Scatter is a British, free improvising super-group. The group was formed in 1992 by prolific, master pianist and electronics player Pat Thomas with the intent of approaching the sonorities and energy of rock music with quiet intensity via non-idiomatic improvisation, and it features the idiosyncratic personalities of vocal artist Phil Minton on voice, drummer-percussionist Roger Turner’s insistent percussion, and guitarist (acoustic and electric) Dave Tucker. Throughout their many years together, the four musicians of Scatter have continued to develop and nurture a philosophy of pure group improvisation, and the music is never discussed before creation. Scatter has become one of the most interesting contemporary improvising ensembles in the process.
Surprisingly, On A Clear Day Like This, is only the second album of Scatter, it follows its self-titled album (FMR, 2007), and was recorded at Cafe OTO in London in July 2017. The album features the extended improvisation «On A Clear Day», where often the urgent vocal acrobatics of Minton are extended by Thomas’ raw and noisy electronics and Tucker’s distorted electric guitar effects. Minton, in his turn, transforms the instruments’ sounds into a hyperactive, cartoonish theater, and all is ornamented by the free drumming of Turner who solidifies the powerful commotion and keeps all on their toes. «Like This» stresses the ironic, playful side of Scatter in a compact piece.
This album takes the extensive and highly inventive experiences of Thomas, Minton, Turner and Tucker and conjures vivid, eccentric and completely unpredictable stories, shaped in fast-changing but organic forms, from a subtle and sparse whisper to raging intensity and density. And these four musicians always adopted risk-taking approaches that are not shy of being scary, outrageous, or sound-oriented in the most inquisitive way possible, but always express a profoundly human essence, in its primal nature and core. Excellent free improvising performance.
WAZIFAH volume 1 collects nine electronic compositions of Thomas, all realized using the IRCAM’s (The Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music, based in Paris) software TimeStretch, and recorded between March 2022 and February 2023 at Urban Sufi Studios in Rosehill, Oxford. Here Thomas investigates, experiments and orchestrates new sonic timbres from different sound sources – traditional, some quite familiar and vintage (the last piece «Wazifah 8A» sounds like a twisted lullaby), and others are non-traditional, and even chaotic and futurist ones, musical and non-musical ones, and creates complex sonic architectures and virtual ensembles that are impossible in the real world. Thomas titled this series of compositions after the Arabic word wazifah (وَظِيفَة) which refers to a series of spiritual exercises that a Sufi believer practics every day in order to realize his ethical and spiritual ideals, to become a Sufi, tasawwuf (التَّصَوُّف). Thomas like this term (which he already used with his Norwegian quartet Hiss on the album Zahir – ظاهر, referring to the actions of an individual in Sufism, Rossbin, 2003) as it corresponds with the work he needed to invest in order to master these abstract and enigmatic electronic pieces. As all of the scatterArchive releases, it is offered at pay as you-like model on the label Bandcamp page.
Phil Minton (v), Pat Thomas (p, elec), Dave Tucker (el.g, ac.g), Roger Turner (dr, perc)