Derek Bailey ‎– Fairly Early With Postscripts (CD comp)




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Derek Bailey ‎– Fairly Early With Postscripts (CD comp)

IMPROVISED GUITAR SOLOS also with: Anthony Brax ton flute & sopranino saxophone (on 3 & 4 only) .Kent Carter: double bass (on 9 & 10 only). John Stevens: percussion (on 9 & 10 only).

1-2, 8, 11-13 originally issued in 1988 on Emanem LP 3404
(The remainder of that LP was reissued on Emanem CD 4001)
3 originally issued in 1980 on Inner City double LP IC 1041
4 originally issued in 1974 on Emanem double LP 601
9-10 originally issued in 1975 on Emanem LP 304
5-7, 14 previously unissued

Excerpts from sleeve notes:

“This disc comprises various items, mainly from Emanem LPs, that have not made it to CD yet. It is not meant to be a comprehensive portrait – more a sort of scrapbook showing some of the different instrumental approaches that Derek Bailey has used over the years.

In his early free work, Bailey used a six-string guitar with pedal-controlled amplification. This allowed him, among other things, to instantly control the volume of each note sounded, and also to vary the volume during the course of a sound. Using this technique meant that notes could fade in and/or end abruptly, in direct opposition to what happens naturally. The SIX FAIRLY EARLY PIECES from 1971 are a fine example of this approach. They are a complete performance – a set of miniatures that are “highly disciplined examinations of their material which, had they been composed by Berg or Webern, would be required study” (to quote Barry Witherden in Wire Magazine). The stereo gives good separation between the sounds emanating directly from the guitar and those coming from the single speaker. (The source tape has several problems, and for that reason was originally issued in edited format on LP. Both Adam Skeaping and myself have recently spent many hours working on it to make it acceptable in its entirety.)

Around 1972, Bailey added another loudspeaker and another volume pedal to his guitar, enabling him to throw sounds around stereophonically in addition to what he was already doing. IN WHOSE TRADITION?, a short example of this modus operandi, is one of those informal moments when one is glad to have left the tape recorder running.

As an alternative to his stereo set up, Bailey was also using a 19-string (approx) guitar – perhaps the only modified instrument he has used. This can be heard on the two 1974 REHEARSAL EXTRACTs with Anthony Braxton. As well as having several unconventional strings, including two that went around his feet, this guitar leant itself well to bowing, as can be heard. (The following day, Braxton and Bailey played their first duo concert which can be heard on Emanem 4006.)

An edited extract from 1980 – TUNNEL HEARING – is an excellent example of acoustic guitar playing, which Bailey concentrated on after giving up stereo amplification around 1975. There is also an explanation to something which may have been puzzling some listeners. The two EXTRA FREE extracts are more of the same without any explanation.

SELF-ERASING is a self-evident extract from a 1987 cassette letter which had no direct music content.

Back to 1973 for the two BITs, which feature a mono recording of the stereo guitar along with bass and drums played by Kent Carter & John Stevens. These are excerpts from club performances by a Steve Lacy Quintet that also included Steve Potts. (Three complete quintet performances from this concert can be heard on Emanem 4024.)

THE LAST POST, an acoustic guitar cassette letter, was sent to my then wife and myself when we were living in the USA in 1979. It is much too good to be heard by just two people, so it is included complete on this CD, apart from two cuts to remove some private parts from the MORNING section. (On the original LP release, I over-cautiously edited more out, so this version is a couple of minutes of minutes longer.) THE LAST POST, written on the eve of the Thatcher Winter, was in response to the LP release of DOMESTIC & PUBLIC PIECES (now available on Emanem 4001). It was also some time after Bailey’s move from Islington to Hackney, hence the sonic introduction to the kitchen. (Voices other than that of the guitarist may be heard from time to time – pay no attention to them, they are not worth listening to.)

POSTSCRIPT is all of the musical section of a cassette letter, sent to us when we were living in Australia in 1987. It was written the day after the commencement of the third devastating season of the Thatcher Winter, and features a newly purchased Martin guitar which Bailey did not keep for long as its non-standard width made it uncomfortable for him to play.

After I proposed the above compilation, Bailey decided to add a POST POSTSCRIPT which brings some things up to date.” MARTIN DAVIDSON (1998)

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