For the past 50 years he has been an international artistic explorer constantly pushing the boundaries. He plays lap steel guitar and sings, he is an improviser and composer, song-maker, a visual and installation artist; film and video maker and radio arts producer. Initially a folk-blues guitarist he is as responsible as anyone else — and more so than many — for ushering in the acoustic blues boom in the U.K. in the mid ’60s. He has, arguably, stretched the possibilities of that genre even more than his better known contemporaries Davy Graham, Bert Jansch, John Renbourne etc. by pursuing it into the more avant-garde musical areas occupied by guitar innovators such as Elliott Sharp, Keith Rowe, Fred Frith and Marc Ribot, with an eclectic mix of the many styles he has practiced over the years. Ranging freely through free improvisation, his own idiosyncratic original songs, electro-acoustic music, exotica, traditional country blues, folk, pop songs, and ‘sonic gestural’ playing utilising open tunings, extended guitar techniques and electronics.
“Cooper, now in his seventies, is making the most adventurous music of his life… incredibly rich and evocative, and as a live performance, it’s utterly flawless. Cooper takes live guitar processing and sampling as his raw material, using it to build something complex and substantive, full of ideas and surprises, not just abandoning it half-formed”. (Jonathan Dean – Brainwashed)
“Cooper’s music, in any of its forms, seems drunk on the intermingling of folk traditions, searching for a spot between them all that renders the strange familiar and vice versa. He is an improvisatory musician, one who generates his music in sheets, loops, and layers, and he seems to accrete these found-sound albums like a spider spins silk, or a vine grows pumpkins. They just appear, fattened and ripe, the fruits of his memories, travels, and idiosyncrasies.” (Pitchfork)
Mark Wastell has been active as a musician since 1995, making his initial concerts with the trio IST featuring Rhodri Davies and Simon H. Fell. During this period he was also a member of Derek Bailey’s Company, Evan Parker’s String Orchestra and Chris Burn’s Ensemble. He formed The Sealed Knot, again with Davies, together with Burkhard Beins in 2000. Mark also helms The Seen, a metamorphic large group which has incorporated over 80 musicians since its inception in 2003. He has performed and recorded extensively and his varied resume includes projects with the likes of John Butcher, Lasse Marhaug, John Tilbury, Mattin, Mark Sanders, Tony Conrad, Tim Barnes, Bernhard Günter, Keith Rowe, John Zorn, Peter Kowald, Joachim Nordwall, Otomo Yoshihide, Paul Dunmall, David Toop, Alan Wilkinson, Max Eastley, Hugh Davies, Julie Tippetts, Alan Skidmore, Mike Cooper, Chris Abrahams and David Sylvian. Mark also runs the Confront Recordings record label which has released over 120 albums to date.
Doors 19.30 | Music 20.00 | Entry £10 (£5 unwaged)