Piano & Clarinet: Selected Works Vol. 1 is the debut album from Group Listening - the new project by Steve Black (Sweet Baboo) and Paul Jones - a collection of ambient works - from the likes of Brian Eno, Arthur Russell, Roedelius and Robert Wyatt - arranged for clarinet and piano.
Black is best known for recording albums and touring extensively under the guise of Sweet Baboo, as well as working with Cate Le Bon, H. Hawkline and others. Paul is an acclaimed jazz pianist and experimental musician. He played with Keith Tippett, formed The Jones O'Connor Group, performed with noise improv bands and composed orchestral and chamber music.
Cutting out the post production and keeping overdubs to a minimum, the clarinet and piano were passed through guitar stomp boxes and other analogue effects to enable processing and manipulation directly in performance. The result hums with the ghostly energy of sound pioneers Joe Meek and Martin Hannett, while mbira and drum machines are sparingly deployed amid enveloping folds of space echo.
Like Virginia Astley or Simon Jeffes, Group Listening tread the overlap between classical and experimental music. Perhaps most startling here is the breadth of material arranged as one atmospheric whole. The pieces range from the ever-spiralling, fractal phrases of German composer Roedelius to the haunting rasps of game and Hollywood soundtracker Diasasterpiece and the pioneering sonics of early electronic inventor Raymond Scott. Somehow, shot together through Group Listening's electro-acoustic lens, these works eveolve into something supremely calming, poignant and new.