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At the Roundhouse

The first release from the ICES concerts from August of 1972 in London.

The International Carnival of Experimental Sound, or ICES '72 for short, was an ambitious festival sprung from the mind of Harvey "Job" Matusow (1926-2002). Jumping off from his associations with Source magazine, Harvey brought together over 300 artists from over 21
countries to perform in London, England over the course of two weeks in August of 1972. Based on the theme of Myth, Magic Madness and Mysticism, he assembled an amazing diversity of performers working in diverse range of audio-visual arts. Encompassing happenings, films,
dance, a train ride, and the phantom soft pool table, the focus was on sound - specifically that of artists who were both composers and performers. Most of the concerts were held at The Roundhouse, a cavernous structure that was formerly a railroad engine house, and recorded by John Lifton and his assistants. Now, for the first time in 30 years, these recordings can be heard.

AMM was formed in 1965 by Lou Gare, Eddie Prevost, Keith Rowe, and Lawrence Sheaff. The line-up swelled to also include Cornelius Cardew and Christopher Hobbs, and sometimes composer Christian Wolff. From 1971 up until 1976, AMM found itself stripped down to the duo of Prevost and Gare. After that time, Rowe replaced Gare, and Eddie and Keith have continued making AMMusic ever since, mostly with the help of John Tilbury, and occasionally others, and are still a powerful
force. The aesthetic of AMM is that of improvised music freed from the constraints of musical style. Their sound is ever evolving and free from the ego of individual players.

"Music from half a lifetime ago - that was a very good creative time musically and maybe a new generation will appreciate what we were doing then and still are doing now. Playing with Eddie in that format, just the two of us, was my most rewarding musical experience after the break up of the AMM quartet. When Eddie and Keith tried to get it together again with the four of us I could not go back to that after the freedom of the duo." - Lou Gare.


Dan Warburton's review of the CD can be found at

The compilation Not Necessarily 'English Music', put together a couple of years ago by David Toop, opened up a begrimed window into a neglected garden of 70s free music in Britain. Cornelius Cardew and various improv players are becoming better documented from this period, but who now knows how groups such as Naked Software, Gentle Fire and Intermodulation sounded? Tapes, if any, languish in archives, private collections, or were consigned to the dustbin long ago in despair at their ever finding a willing audience, as other life choices and priorities surely kicked in.

The International Carnival of Experimental Sound, which occurred at London's Roundhouse in August 1972, was a product of this time. It was intended by its promoter, the idealistic American Harvey Matusow, to convene anti-establishment musicians, performance artists, film makers and dancers under the theme "Myth, Magic, Madness and Mysticism". John Cage participated, and AMM were one of around 300 billed artists including David Bedford & Lol Coxhill, naked cellist Charlotte Moorman, composers David Rosenboom, Michel Waisvisz, John White and Christopher Hobbs, Sweden's Fylkingen collective, Portsmouth Sinfonia, Spontaneous Music Ensemble, and The Taj Mahal Travellers. At the Roundhouse you can hear a very different AMM than the one that is still active today. The unit was in an intermediate phase after Cardew left, leaving just drummer Eddie Prevost and saxophonist Lou Gare. A few year later, when guitarist Keith Rowe came back to the fold, Gare moved out - the duo format had been too liberating. He relocated to Exeter, although he continued to play with Prevost (they even performed at the Vortex in 2002). But they were more closely associated allied to free jazz back here, and the 'J' word is not one you could ever comfortably use to describe the group today.

Gare was and remains a sold, agile player - there's something of the Prestige-era Sonny Rollins in his tone at times, but he remains fleet of foot and never locks into anything like a key during 45 minutes of music. The interplay is superb, as you'd expect. Prevost thrashes wilder and for longer than he tends to these days, though his tattoos and magnificently controlled rolls, which can suggest a manic obsessive carefully pouring mung beans into a biscuit tin, are audible as a signature even 30-odd years ago. The performance has been retrospectively titled "The Sound of Indifference", a reference to the audience's apparent lack of interest - spatterings of tentative applause, creaking doors and the occasional cough pepper the set. The remarkable thing about AMM is that their concentrated soundfield neutralises such intrusions, absorbing them into the business at hand. A remarkably clear sounding record of this most dedicated Improv group in their element.

Rob Young in The Wire issue 243 May 2004

AMM have been around since probably a lot of readers where not born or still in diapers - and that includes me. Since the mid sixties AMM is a group including Eddie Prevost, Keith Rowe, Lou Gare and Lawrence Sheaff, later versions included also Cornelius Cardew, Christopher Hobbs and Christian Wolff. By 1972, when this recording was made, AMM was only Prevost on percussion and Gare on tenor saxophone. Today AMM still exists of Prevost, Rowe (guitar) and John Tilbury (piano). In August 1972 a festival was held in London called the International Carnival of Experimental Sound, short ICES 72, organised by Harvey "Job" Matusow, which included some 300 artists from over 21 countries. The festival included films, dance, happenings but the main thing was music.

Anomalous Records, no longer an excellent
mailorder service, now unearthed the recordings of the festival and AMM kick off what will hopefully be an excellent series of unusual, improvised music. This is the first time that the entire concert is released (there was a 7" of some of this concert by Incus in the seventies). Although a line up of drums and a sxaophone might ring a 'jazz' bell, Prevost states in the liner notes that their work was 'decidedly non jazz' - but for the untrained ear, this might be hard to believe. The free improvised music here (and more from the same period), I think, is the most jazz work of the entire AMM work - the element of silence that has become a later trademark of AMM, is present here already, but only for shorter periods. The liner notes also recall the indifference of the audience during the concert. That might be so, but luckily enough the concert was recorded and now we can enjoy it. This is an essential recording to understand more about the development of AMMusic and should be part of anyone's collection of improvised music (like, I must add, all other AMM releases).

Frans de Waard in Vital Weekly 413

AMM's "at the roundhouse" has always been a kind of a mythical recording especially for the cycles of the early british/free improv scenes as it was an obscure 7" issued on incus some 3 decades ago and ever since was a hard to find item. It wasn't though until a couple of years when eric @ anomalous showed an evergrowing interest in obtaining infos & recordings around the ices festival of 72 where the
actual amm set took place and almost a year when he announced the forthcoming cd reissue of the amm's entire set of that festival from which the grooves of the incus 7" were cut. gotta admit that my knowledge for ices festival was almost zero and was thanks to eric that did I learn infos about it I must also admit that regarding the whole festival thing I wished eric or someone could track down more infos, etc plus more recordings in order to do a kind of a retrospective box or something like that reissue, without meaning to underestimate the reissue of amm's music of course. the introductory cd booklet notes work as a great guide to it and lots of weird scenarios were born in my mythoplastic imagination around it. but coming to the recording itself. Is a documented era of amm's mark 2, where for nearly 5-6 years the super improv group is down to 2 members, eddie prevost on percussion and lou gare on sax. the duo that issued the memorable "hear and back again' lp in the early 70's (reissued on cd on matchless) and to be honest must be one of the amm eras that don't work that good for me. an era that today sounds more affiliated to free jazz to my ears rather than the bizarre free improv nature am looking for. this doesn't mean that that the recording is kinda jazzy nor expect to listen the standard free jazz patterns of that era instead I think that captures the atmosphere of the more classic free musics live spirit of that time. - Nicolas in absurdities#10

Cat.# :: Composer(s)
:: Enzo Minarelli
:: Aliona Yurtsevich
:: Yiorgis Sakellariou
:: Kasper T. Toeplitz
:: Tom Hamilton
:: David First
:: Tomomi Adachi / Jaap Blonk / Owen F. Smith / Duane Ingalls
:: Marta Sainz &
If, Bwana
21081 :: Aliona Yurtsevich
:: If, Bwana
:: Ulrich Krieger
:: Triple Point
:: Robin Hayward
:: Ron Nagorcka
:: Secluded Bronte
:: David Rosenboom
:: Peter Batchelor
21072 :: Alvin Lucier
21071 :: Lou Cohen
21070 :: Brian Chase
21069 :: Jerry Hunt
21068 :: If, Bwana
21067 :: Jorge Antunes
21066 :: Enzo Minarelli
21065 :: Tensions At The Vanguard
21064 :: Frances White
21063 :: Noah Creshevsky
21062 :: If,Bwana/Trio Scordatura
21061 :: Nate Wooley
21060 :: Leo Kupper
21059 :: Pauline Oliveros/ Francisco López/Doug Van Nort/Jonas Braasch
21058 :: Philip Corner
21057 :: Alvin Lucier
21056 :: Dimitri Voudouris
21055 :: Birds + Machines
21054 :: Kiva
21053 :: César Bolaños
21052 :: Lionel Marchetti & Olivier Capparos
21051 :: Tom Hamilton/
Bruce Eisenbeil
21050 :: Source Records 1-6
21049 :: Noah Creshevsky/ If,Bwana
21048 :: Simon Wickham-Smith
21047 :: Kenneth Gaburo
21046 :: If, Bwana (Al Margolis)
21045 :: Annea Lockwood
21044 :: Felix Werder
21043 :: Dimitri Voudouris
21042 :: Nick Didkovsky
21041 :: Montreal Sound Matter
21040 :: Anla Courtis
21039 :: Crawling with Tarts
21038 :: If, Bwana (Al Margolis)
21037 :: Hans Otte
21036 :: DIY Canons
21035 :: Band/Myers
21034 :: Chris Brown
21033 :: Tom Johnson
21032 :: Roger Reynolds
21031 :: Trios - Collaboration
21030 :: Beth Anderson
21029 :: Hamilton, Silverton, Margolis
21028 :: Warren Burt
21027 :: Jorge Antunes
21026 :: David Dunn
21025 :: Roger Reynolds
21024 :: If, Bwana (Al Margolis)
21023 :: Pauline Oliveros
21022 :: David Rosenboom
21021 :: Ross Bolleter
21020 :: Kenneth Gaburo
21019 :: If, Bwana (Al Margolis)
21018 :: Leo Kupper
21017 :: Robert Rutman
21016 :: Matthew Ostrowski
21015 :: various
21014 :: Rune Linblad
21013 :: If, Bwana (Al Margolis)
21012 :: Pauline Oliveros
21011 :: Rune Linblad
21010 :: If, Bwana (Al Margolis)
21009 :: Leo Kupper
21008 :: various
21007 :: If, Bwana (Al Margolis)
21006 :: Trigger
21005 :: Big City Orchestra
IB :: If,Bwana
FPM :: Frog Peak Music
CUE :: C.U.E. Records
SOP :: Sound of Pig Cassettes
ANTS :: Ants (Italian Label)
ANIMUL :: Ned Rothenberg
HOMLER :: Anna Homler
OAKSMUS :: oaksmus (German Label)
GD STEREO :: Geoff Dugan
ANOMALOUS :: Anomalous Records
NONSEQUITUR :: Nonsequitur
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