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The Scratch Orchestra’s Nature Study Notes’ performed at Chisenhale Dance Space on  Saturday 28th June 2014  7.30pm  64-84 Chisenhale Rd, London E3 5QZ  

Click to hear a recording of Nature Study Notes

Photos of the event by Martin Dixon are now  archived here:

‘The Scratch Orchestra’s Nature Study Notes’ – performed by an ensemble of original Scratch Orchestra members and new performers including: Jane Alden, George Chambers, Linn D, Carole Finer, Sharon Gal, John Hails, Bryn Harris, Les Hutchins, Robbie Lockwood, Geraldine McEwan, Matt Scott, Hugh Shrapnel, Stefan Szczelkun, Emmanuelle Waeckerle, Ali Warner.

Nature Study Notes is a collection of 152 written instructions or ‘scores’ that was published as a booklet by Cornelius Cardew at the beginning of the Scratch Orchestra in 1969. The scores are called ‘rites’ and were used in many of the early Scratch Orchestra concerts. This is a music improvisation and visual performance event about one hour duration.

One review leads to another:


I must say, in hindsight, that the improvisation rites have an overall uniqueness – almost a new art form with elements of theatre, music, visuals – but amounting to something else. They have great variety (reflecting the individual character & preoccupations of the author) but an overall character (if this makes sense!).Hugh Shrapnel, 24-12-2013

We made a rough programme so that popular rites that people wanted to do at the same time or which specified a group performance, didn’t clash. Other rites to be played by individuals, duos or trios are not listed below.

Skeletal Progamme mark2

20.00 HMSIR 5 led by Hugh Shrapnel starts the concert. When this ends we do rite CCAR17 ‘accompaniment and solo’.

20.09 ABP 128 co-ordinated by Jane. ‘9 basic sounds’

20.16 CCSR 18 ‘elected soloist repeats an action’ Ali Warner leads

20.25 HSBR 34 ’six deep breaths’ (group version) led by Bryn. NB dispersed in time version led by Sharon.

20.27 CFIRNTFM 145 ‘flower piece’ co-ordinated by Carolyn.

20.29 DJ68 led by John Hails ’slow metamorphosis to a snarling mob’

20.36 CCRR 66 co-ordinated by Carolyn ‘radiant rite’

20.40 FRLMDP 47 conducted by George ‘musical notation’

20.48 CCAMMR 129 ‘Look upward, move backward’ ensemble version co-ordinated by Sharon

20.54 BHUSR 35 ‘sing our own song finale facing the audience in a line’ led by Stefan who will signal start.

c20.57 after completing your song return to the space and continue quiet or visual improvising.

21.00 quiet ending..

21.30 Take our leave.

There won’t be a programme as such at the venue so this gives some idea of what occurred for those that came and those that didn’t

The first live event since the launch of the Agit Disco project six years ago. This benefit for Housemans Bookshop had 16 Agit Disco selectors working simultaneously on two floors of the Surya Centre from 7pm until 12 or later. Thanks to Nik Gorecki at Housemans for organising it. Plenty of people came and there was a good vibe in spite of the rather short sets.


Agit Disco1




















Selectors included:

Mark Faulkner  (ex Room 13 Scotland) who had come down from Fort William!

Caroline Heron with a video set

Sian Addicott with a set of Welsh resistance,

Stewart Home with Rebel Soul

Andy T  with his varied but tight set,

Neil Transpontine did a set on the Miners Strike,

John Eden – dancehall and reggae

Tom Vague – Post punky reggae party related to Notting Hill area

Luca Paci – resistenzia Italiana

Nic Gorecki – Roots rockin

Martin Dixon – old vinyl agit disco rediscovered

Micheline Mason – Political folk

Marc Garrett – his own mainly contemporary set

Sharon Kivland – French agit disco selection

Tracey Moberly will be at North Pole so we played her CD.

One of the headline acts to go on at 11pm is PAUL JAMROZY who was co-architect of ‘Agitative Industrialists’ Test Dept formed in the decaying docklands of South London in the early eighties. TD created percussive music with industrial debris and electronics, producing large-scale location responsive projects. Their infamous sonic assaults were regarded as a test of physical endurance that pushed the sonic envelope. Their work developed with the advent of new technology journeying through the underground dance scene and into hybrid global music.

Post TD his individual practice evolved within the wider digital diaspora of experimental sound artists and electronic practitioners. He has worked under many guises including Satellitic, Deep Face, Full Spectrum Dominance and most recently C.3.3. inspired by his music workshops inside Reading Gaol. His Polish background has also had a strong influence on his work and led to the formation of Bigos Planet an Anglo-Polish cultural radio programme for Resonance FM.


IMG_2209Cornell Campbel record snapped in the window of Sister Ray in Soho London – photo processed in Decim8

Good article on the Pete Seeger heritage:

Charles Trenet’s patriotic ‘Douce France‘ 1943 was reinterpreted in 1986 by the French rock band Carte de Séjour (meaning “green card”, “residence permit”), whose lead singer was Rachid Taha.

“The social context of the time and the identity of the musicians (born in France from Algerian immigrants) give it a completely different meaning. To take this standard patriotic song and to sing it with this “furious irony” was actually very provocative and can be considered as an act of protestation against discrimination.”

Here is a more recent version by Madjao:
 Thanks to Sharon Kivland

What did people make of Gordon Sumner’s aka Sting’s TV concert on 22nd December with Jimmy Nail? (1). On the one hand it was a promo for his latest album ‘The Last Ship’, on the other an impressively reflexive return to the subject matter of his working class childhood in the ship-building town of Wallsend in the North East of England.


photo credit: ‘Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums’

He was refreshingly honest for a celebrity. He told us that as a boy he was scared of going into the shipyards because of the noise and danger. He was inspired by catching the eye of the ship-launching Queen Mother from her regal RollsRoyce. He thought that this might have sown the seed of his aspiration to grandeur that later drove him to become a pop superstar. That was before the whole ship building industry in the North East went belly up. His songs deal with all aspects of that community from the militants to Read More »

In 1994 Nelson Mandela, Madiba, became president of South Africa. That year The Mad Professor a Guyanese record producer in South London suburb of Thornton Heath began to bring out a series of agit-disco albums under the title Black Liberation Dub.

Black Liberation Dub 1front

Black Liberation Dub  Chapter 1  1994

“Reverb slashes through the tick-tocking pulse of “Chip on the Slave Master Shoulder.” The song is almost entirely rhythm. Even its bassline is more an indistinct presence than a palpable element.” Nathan Bush

Includes tracks with titles ‘Slavery 21st Century’, ‘Freedom Must be Taken’, ‘Black Skin, White Minds’, ‘Colonial Mentality’.

Brilliant cover graphics hammer home the message of liberation.

Read More »

‘The Political Calypso; A Socio – Linguistic Process of Conflict Transformation’. by Everard M. Phillips 2009 seems like a rare book – at least you can’t buy it online. I found a copy in the Oasis Academy public library in Shirley whilst waiting for my daughter to have a music session. It seemed to hold clues as to how we might get out of the mind cage of Humanist (neo-classical) western Literary elite thinking structures? I scanned a couple of pages with my phone.

“Call and Response allows the audience to co-author the proceedings of the evening, while they are engaged in the process of co-constructing meaning…. The phenomenon of Call and Response is a co-active, reciprocal process that involves inter-communication, taken in turn, between the calypsonian and subsets of an audience, as a story is told through the medium of a calypso. The process enables the performer and the audience to engage in a form of rhetoric union, whereby they are together able to create, interpret and respond to a rhetoric act.” p.55

In this book Everard M. Phillips argues that calypso “is an attempt to consciously articulate a congruent, coherent paradigm for transforming indigenous conflict”.


Read More »

The Janey Buchan Political Song Collection at Glasgow University

Read more here

“Oh, dear me, the warld’s ill-divided,

Them that work the hardest are aye wi’ least provided.”

Janey Buchan, born 30th April 1926; died 14th January 2012.

(A Political Song night at the Concert Hall of the University of Glasgow. It was £7 pay on the door – took place on 30 November 2013)

33RPM – Voices of the Revolution,

an album of powerful revolutionary and political music produced by artists from across the globe, is to be digitally released via Bandcamp on Monday 14 October 2013.

The collection of 33 songs chronicles oppression, uprisings, land rights issues, political and social abuses and acts of revolution drawn directly from the experiences of established and emerging artists representing over 33 countries across 6 continents, and spans Afrofuturismo, Indian folk-rock, soulful New Zealand reggae, Electro Caribe, Malian hip hop and Iranian electronica amongst other diverse styles and genres.

A global snapshot of musical resistance. Including ‘our’ very own incendary Jun Tzu

Full details of the players on Facebook and here:


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