Michael Nyman (b. 1944)

Untitled (1982)

  1. Bird Anthem (2:37)
  2. In Re Don Giovanni (2:48)
  3. Initial Treat/Secondary Treat (4:29)
  4. Waltz (5:55)
    Clarinet [Bass], Saxophone [Tenor] - Peter Brötzmann
    Saxophone [Soprano] - Evan Parker
  5. Bird List Song (4:19)
    Vocals - Lucie Skeaping
  6. M-Work

Banjo, Bass - Doug Wootton
Clarinet, Clarinet [Bass] - Ian Mitchell, Rory Allam
Engineer [Audio Roughening] - Tony Cousins
Flute, Piccolo Flute, Recorder, Saxophone - Keith Thompson (2)
French Horn - Anne Barnard
Guitar, Bass - Ben Grove
Keyboards, Composed By - Michael Nyman
Mastered By - Tim Young
Photography - Narcia Resnick
Producer - David Cunningham, Michael Nyman
Recorded By - Al Williams, Dave Hunt
Saxophone [Soprano] - John Harle
Trombone [Bass], Tuba, Tuba [Euphonium] - Steve Saunders
Violin - Alexander Balanescu
Violin [Rebec], Violin - Nick Hayley, Roderick Skeaping
Violin, Viola - Elisabeth Perry

Decay Music

  1. 1-100 (27:30)
  2. Bell Set No.1 (20:54)

Total time 48:24
LP released on Island Records, Obscure #6, 1976

From 1968 to 1976, Michael Nyman worked as a music critic for various magazines (Studio International, Time Out, Tempo, The New Stateman or The Spectator). He studied 16th and 17th c. baroque music in the mid-1960s, composing only a handful of musical pieces prior to the present 'Decay Music' in 1976, the real starting point of his carreer as a composer. '1-100' is an auto-generative composition for piano that feeds itself along the way while remaining fairly minimal throughout. The kind of music that makes sense at low listening level - I would advise trying the experience at least once. After all, this is inspired by Erik Satie's musique d'ameublement (furniture music). 'Bell Set No.1' is a brilliant pseudo-gamelan composition with a slight touch of 'Pump and Circumstances'. The interprets are Nigel Shipway and Michael Nyman on metallophones, ie: bells, triangle, gongs, cymbals and tam-tam. 'Bell Set No.1' is a system piece based on the percussions' sharp attack and slow decay, alternatively enhancing each. It works perfectly as a sound installation devoid of progression or change, without beginning nor end. I think the piece bears some influences from Henry Wolff and Nancy Jennings' 1971 'Tibetan Bells', one of the earliest example of fusion between ethnic and meditative music. 'Bell Set' is a gorgeous piece of upper-class british gamelan played with tongues firmly in cheek as if composed for an imaginary tea ceremony at Windsor Castle. Note: as with the entire Obscure series, LP pressing quality is bad, probably made from recycled vinyl. It seems the Island Record A&R manager who commissioned it didn't believe in any commercial potential for the series.

Notes by Continuo

Presented in collaboration with Continuo

Various Tracks

  1. Man with a Movie Camera 2002 (1hr, 6min, 31 sec)

A DVD of the film by the British Film Institute was released with a score by Michael Nyman. This score is readily available on several different DVD editions. It has not been issued on CD, but some of the score is reworked from material Nyman wrote for the Sega Saturn video game Enemy Zero, which had a limited CD release, and Nyman performs a brief excerpt, "Odessa Beach" on his album, The Piano Sings.

Thanks to Chris Yewell.