Tim Hodgkinson, October 2009
|Birth name||Timothy George Hodgkinson|
|Born||1 May 1949|
Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
|Genres||Avant-rock, post-punk, experimental, free improvisation, electronic, industrial, contemporary classical|
keyboards, lap steel guitar,
|Labels||Recommended, Woof, Mode|
|Associated acts|| God, Henry Cow, The Work,|
K-Space, Konk Pack,
Fred Frith, Chris Cutler
Timothy "Tim" George Hodgkinson (born 1 May 1949, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England)is an English experimental music composer and performer, principally on reeds, lap steel guitar, and keyboards. He first became known as one of the core members of the British avant-rock group Henry Cow, which he formed with Fred Frith in 1968. After the demise of Henry Cow, he participated in numerous bands and projects, eventually concentrating on composing contemporary music and performing as an improviser.
Tim Hodgkinson was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire in England on 1 May 1949, and was educated at Winchester College and Trinity College, Cambridge. He graduated in social anthropology from Cambridge in 1971, but chose to pursue a musical career instead. His interest in anthropology, however, remained and he drew on it later during a series of study trips to Siberia.
While still at university, Hodgkinson and fellow student Fred Frith formed the seminal avant-rock group Henry Cow in 1968. Hodgkinson remained with Henry Cow as one of the band's core members until their demise in 1978 and composed a number of their musical pieces, most notably, "Living in the Heart of the Beast" (recorded on their 1975 album, In Praise of Learning ), and "Erk Gah" (never formally recorded, but live versions appearing in The 40th Anniversary Henry Cow Box Set ). Henry Cow was the foundation of Hodgkinson's musical education, and it was an opportunity for him to work closely with other instrumentalists and develop new musical landscapes. After Henry Cow split, Hodgkinson and fellow band member Chris Cutler compiled The Henry Cow Book, a collection of documents and information about the band, published in 1981.
In November 1973, Hodgkinson (and other members of Henry Cow) participated in a live-in-the-studio performance of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells for the BBC.It is available on Oldfield's Elements DVD.
In 1980 Hodgkinson formed The Work, a post-punk band with guitarist-composer Bill Gilonis, bassist Mick Hobbs and drummer Rick Wilson. At the same time Hodgkinson and Gilonis formed the independent record label, Woof Records. Over the next few years, The Work toured Europe. After performing at a Rock in Opposition festival in Bonn with vocalist Catherine Jauniaux in 1982, the band and Jauniaux recorded Slow Crimes (1982) for the Woof label. Later that year, with a slightly altered line-up of Hodgkinson, Gilonis, Amos and Chris Cutler, they performed in Japan. A concert in Osaka in June 1982 was recorded with a cassette recorder halfway down the hall and was later cleaned up and released on an LP Live in Japan (1982). After the Japanese tour, The Work disbanded but reformed again in 1989 with the original line-up to record two industrial/noise albums, Rubber Cage (1989) and See (1992). In February 1987 Hodgkinson toured with South African band Kalahari Surfers, playing at the "Rote Lieder DDR" Festival of Political Songs.
In 1990 Hodgkinson and Ken Hyder, a Scottish percussionist and improviser, who had been performing together since 1978 (and used to be called Shams), toured Siberia, Soviet Far East and the heart of USSR (Moscow, Leningrad) as a duo under the banner "Friendly British Invasion™: In Search for the Soviet Sham(an)s" – probably the longest tour produced at the time independently from major Soviet concert officials (by distant Far-Eastern member of the Soviet Jazz Federation and due to the latter's assistance).
Later on, they made many other trips to Russia and study trips to Siberia particularly to make contact with local musicians and ritual specialists. It was during these times that they met shamanic musician Gendos Chamzyryn from Tuva and as a trio, they toured Altay villages in the summer of 1998. Chamzyryn played a variety of traditional Tuvan instruments and used the deep-vocal Kargiraa style of overtone-singing.
The success of this "shaman" project resulted in the formation of K-Space, a band comprising Hodgkinson, Hyder and Chamzyryn. K-Space's name came from Kozyrev-Space, a space/time warp supposedly created by Russian astrophysicist Nicolai Kozyrev using a device he built called Kozyrev's Mirrors.Their music was "sham beat", which incorporated elements of shamanic culture and jazz. From 1999 they began touring Asia and Europe and have released four CDs since 2002.
A free improvisation band Hodgkinson is deeply involved with is Konk Pack. Formed at the Szuenetjel Festival in Budapest in 1997 with Thomas Lehn from Cologne on synthesizer, Roger Turner from London on percussion and Hodgkinson on reeds and prepared guitar, the trio performs a blend of psychedelia, free jazz and electroacoustic improvisation. In 1999 they released a CD of live recordings The Big Deep and made further CDs in 2001, 2005, 2010 and 2013. In 2005 Konk Pack toured the United Kingdom with Lol Coxhill replacing Thomas Lehn. In 2007 they toured The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany with the original line-up.
As an improviser, Tim Hodgkinson performed with many musicians over the years, including Lol Coxhill, Fred Frith, Chris Cutler, Tom Cora, Lindsay Cooper, John Zorn, Evan Parker, Catherine Jauniaux and Charles Hayward. In December 2006, Cutler, Frith and Hodgkinson performed together at The Stone in New York City, their first concert performance since Henry Cow's demise in 1978.
From 1983 to 1985 Hodgkinson managed the Cold Storage Recording Studios in Brixton, London, producing records for Fred Frith's Skeleton Crew, Peter Blegvad and others. He has written a book on the anthropology of music and contributed to periodicals such as Contemporary Music Review, Musicworks, Musica/Realta, and Resonance on music and technology, ethnomusicology, improvisation and other topics. In 2016 his book Music and the Myth of Wholeness – Toward a New Aesthetic Paradigm was published by MIT Press.
Hodgkinson appeared in Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel's 1990 documentary film on Fred Frith, Step Across the Border , rehearsing with Frith at Hodgkinson's home in Brixton, London in December 1988.
Tim Hodgkinson's first solo album was Splutter in 1986, consisting of improvisations on alto and baritone saxophones and clarinet, sometimes accompanied by electronics, sometimes multi-tracked. He followed it up with KLARNT in 2008, an album of eleven solo clarinet improvisations.
Beginning in the early 1990s Hodgkinson again applied himself to composition, initially returning to the approach developed in his Henry Cow period.
In 1994 he released Each in Our Own Thoughts , a collection of pieces including his first string quartet, and a piece written for Henry Cow in 1976 ("Hold to the Zero Burn, Imagine"), which was performed at the time (as "Erk Gah") but never recorded in the studio. When finally recorded in 1993 he brought in three other members of the original band: Chris Cutler, Lindsay Cooper and Dagmar Krause. A further piece "Numinous Pools For Mental Orchestra" was realised entirely with MIDI-instruments.
However his work as an improviser by now made him far more aware of the limitations of his current way of writing. An encounter with Iancu Dumitrescu and the Romanian Spectralist school provided a turning point, after which he began to find new ways of developing musical structures out of the behaviours of sounds and unstable acoustic systems. This became evident with the release of the CD Pragma in 1998, on which the pieces are realised on a computer using a mix of live instruments and samples.
In 2000 Hodgkinson made Sang, a collection of new compositions. The first and third pieces were performed by Hodgkinson alone, playing viola, piano, alto saxophone, percussion and MIDI instruments; the second piece GUSHe, which he has often performed live, is for clarinet with electronic accompaniment, while the last, MÀ was performed by Federica Santoro (singing) with a montage made from recordings of other pieces of Hodgkinson's (a rehearsal with Banda Municipal de Barcelona and fragments of his second String Quartet).
Hodgkinson then released Sketch of Now on the Mode label in 2006. It comprises three compositions for the Romanian Hyperion Ensemble, of which Hodgkinson conducted two and played on one (conducted by Iancu Dumitrescu); two compositions performed by Hodgkinson: one for bass clarinet and tape, one for computer-modified cello and electric guitar; one piece for two clarinets, one doubling on bass, and piano, performed by Isabelle Duthoit, Jacques Di Donato and Pascale Berthelot. The track, "Fragor" appears in the 2010 film Shutter Island , but was not featured on the soundtrack CD.
This was followed up in 2014 with Onsets, a second CD for the Mode label. Five of the six pieces are performed by the Hyperion Ensemble, and one piece by the New York based ensemble Ne(x)tworks. Hodgkinson conducts all the pieces and also plays bass clarinet on “Ulaaraar.”
In 2015, he released CUTS on the Freeform Association label, which groups together three compositions having a mathematical approach in their structure. “Hard without I” is performed by the composer on solo bass clarinet. “On Earth” is Hodgkinson's second piece to be performed by Ne(x)tworks, this time with Joan La Barbara. “Ananké” is performed by the Hyperion Ensemble. The latter two pieces are conducted by the composer.
Tim Hodgkinson's music displays many personalities: from the serious and complex musical structures of Henry Cow to the angry post-punk crash of guitars in The Work; from free-wheeling improvisations with Konk Pack to the contemporary classical music of his recordings for the Mode label.
The instruments he plays are principally reeds (clarinet, bass clarinet, and alto saxophone), but with Henry Cow he mostly played keyboards, and with The Work, K-Space and Konk Pack he played and plays lap steel guitar. He also sang in The Work. For his solo recordings he added viola, percussion, sampling, sequencing and MIDI.
Hodgkinson is a self-taught musician. He started formal piano and clarinet lessons as a child, but quickly abandoned them. He then began writing down music, initially using a keyboard but soon switched to writing the sounds in his head directly onto paper. To assist with this process, he studied sight-singing with Andras Ranki at Morley College, London in 1983.
Jeremy Webster "Fred" Frith is an English multi-instrumentalist, composer, and improvisor.
Henry Cow were an English experimental rock group, founded at Cambridge University in 1968 by multi-instrumentalists Fred Frith and Tim Hodgkinson. Henry Cow's personnel fluctuated over their decade together, but drummer Chris Cutler, bassist John Greaves, and bassoonist/oboist Lindsay Cooper were important long-term members alongside Frith and Hodgkinson.
Chris Cutler is an English percussionist, composer, lyricist and music theorist. Best known for his work with English avant-rock group Henry Cow, Cutler was also a member and drummer of other bands, including Art Bears, News from Babel, Pere Ubu and (briefly) Gong/Mothergong. He has collaborated with many musicians and groups, including Fred Frith, Lindsay Cooper, Zeena Parkins, Peter Blegvad, Telectu and The Residents, and has appeared on over 100 recordings. Cutler's career spans over four decades and he still performs actively throughout the world.
The Henry Cow Legend is the debut album of British avant-rock group Henry Cow. It was recorded at Virgin Records' Manor studios over three weeks in May and June 1973, mixed in July 1973, and released in September 1973.
Unrest is an album by British avant-rock group Henry Cow, recorded at Virgin Records' Manor studios in February and March 1974. It was their second album and was released in May 1974. It was their first album including oboe and bassoon player Lindsay Cooper, who replaced saxophonist Geoff Leigh.
Concerts is a live double album by English avant-rock group Henry Cow, recorded at concerts in London, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway between September 1974 and October 1975. Sides one and two of the LP record consist of composed material while sides three and four contain improvised pieces.
Western Culture is a studio album by English avant-rock group Henry Cow, recorded at Sunrise Studios in Kirchberg, Switzerland in January and July–August 1978. It was their last album and was released on Henry Cow's own private label, Broadcast, in 1979. Later editions appeared on Interzone in the US and Celluloid in France. Only the UK Broadcast pressing used the custom label artwork design.
Lindsay Cooper was an English bassoon and oboe player, composer and political activist. Best known for her work with the band Henry Cow, she was also a member of Comus, National Health, News from Babel and David Thomas and the Pedestrians. She collaborated with a number of musicians, including Chris Cutler and Sally Potter, and co-founded the Feminist Improvising Group. She wrote scores for film and TV and a song cycle Oh Moscow which was performed live around the world in 1987. She also recorded a number of solo albums, including Rags (1980), The Gold Diggers (1983), and Music For Other Occasions (1986).
Gravity is a 1980 solo album by English guitarist, composer and improviser Fred Frith from Henry Cow and Art Bears. It was Frith's second solo album and his first since the demise of Henry Cow in 1978. It was originally released in the United States on LP record on The Residents's Ralph record label and was the first of three solo albums Frith made for the label.
The Work were an English post-punk rock group, founded in 1980 by multi-instrumentalist/composer Tim Hodgkinson and guitarist/composer Bill Gilonis, with bass guitarist Mick Hobbs and drummer Rick Wilson. The band toured Europe in 1981 and 1982, and recorded their first album, Slow Crimes in 1982. After a tour of Japan later that year and releasing Live in Japan, the band split up. In 1989, the Work reformed to record Rubber Cage and performed throughout Europe between 1989 and 1994, releasing another album, See in 1992. A live album, The 4th World, recorded in Germany in 1994, was released in 2010.
Hopes and Fears is the debut album by the English avant-rock group Art Bears. It comprises tracks by Henry Cow, Art Bears's predecessor, recorded at Sunrise Studios, Kirchberg in Switzerland in January 1978, and tracks by Art Bears, recorded at Kaleidophon Studios in London in March 1978.
Henry Cow Box is a seven-CD limited edition box set by English avant-rock group Henry Cow. It was released in December 2006 by Recommended Records and comprises the six original albums Henry Cow released between 1973 and 1979, including those recorded with Slapp Happy. A bonus 3" CD-single was given to advance subscribers of the box set which contains previously unreleased material taken from live performances in Europe by the Orckestra, a merger of Henry Cow, the Mike Westbrook Brass Band and folk singer Frankie Armstrong in 1977.
Duck and Cover were a multinational avant-rock septet founded in West Germany in 1983, comprising Chris Cutler (UK), Heiner Goebbels (GER), and Alfred Harth (GER) from Cassiber; Tom Cora (US) and Fred Frith (UK) from Skeleton Crew; Dagmar Krause (GER) from Art Bears; and George Lewis (US) from the ICP Orchestra. The ensemble was initially commissioned for the 1983 Moers Festival at the request of festival director Burkhard Hennen to Alfred Harth.
Each in Our Own Thoughts is a 1994 solo album by English experimental music composer and performer Tim Hodgkinson from Henry Cow. It is his second solo album, after Splutter (1985), and comprises six unreleased pieces composed by Hodgkinson between 1976 and 1993. They were recorded in 1993 and co-released in 1994 on CD by Woof Records in the United Kingdom and Megaphone Records in the United States.
Volume 6: Stockholm & Göteborg is a live album by English avant-rock group Henry Cow, and is disc 6 of the 10-disc 40th Anniversary Henry Cow Box Set. It was released in September 2008 by RēR Megacorp as a free-standing album in advance of the box set release in January 2009.
The 40th Anniversary Henry Cow Box Set is a nine-CD plus one-DVD limited edition box set by English avant-rock group Henry Cow, and was released by RēR Megacorp in January 2009. It consists of almost 10 hours of previously unreleased recordings made between 1972 and 1978 from concerts, radio broadcasts, one-off projects, events and the studio. Included are new compositions, over four hours of free improvisation, and live performances of some of Henry Cow's original LP repertoire.
The Virgin Years – Souvenir Box is a three-CD limited edition box set by English avant-rock group Henry Cow. It was released in 1991 by Recommended Records and East Side Digital Records, and contains three albums Henry Cow made for Virgin Records between 1973 and 1975, Legend, Unrest and In Praise of Learning. Included in the box set is a 24-page souvenir booklet and a Henry Cow fold-out family-tree.
Live Improvisations is a 1992 collaborative live album of improvised music by English experimental musicians Fred Frith and Tim Hodgkinson. It was recorded in May 1990 in England and was released on Woof Records in the United Kingdom and Megaphone Records in the United States.
"Ruins" is a 1974 instrumental composed by Fred Frith for the English avant-rock group Henry Cow. It was recorded in February and March 1974 by Henry Cow, and released on their May 1974 album, Unrest by Virgin Records.
The Henry Cow Box Redux: The Complete Henry Cow is a seventeen-CD plus one-DVD box set by English avant-rock group Henry Cow; it was released by RēR Megacorp in December 2019. The box set comprises the previously released 2006 Henry Cow Box and the 2009 40th Anniversary Henry Cow Box Set, totalling over sixteen hours. A bonus CD: Ex Box – Collected Fragments 1971–1978 was given to advance subscribers of the 2019 Box Redux, and contains newly recovered and previously unreleased recordings, plus the contents of the 2006 box set bonus CD-single: "Unreleased Orckestra Extract". The 2019 Box Redux plus the Ex Box bonus CD contains all the officially released studio and live recordings of Henry Cow.
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