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.
Salisbury is a cathedral city in Wiltshire, England, with a population of 40,302, at the confluence of the rivers Avon, Nadder, Ebble, Wylye and Bourne. The city is approximately 20 miles (32 km) from Southampton and 30 miles (48 km) from Bath.
Experimental music is a general label for any music that pushes existing boundaries and genre definitions. Experimental compositional practice is defined broadly by exploratory sensibilites radically opposed to, and questioning of, institutionalized compositional, performing, and aesthetic conventions in music. Elements of experimental music include indeterminate music, in which the composer introduces the elements of chance or unpredictability with regard to either the composition or its performance. Artists may also approach a hybrid of disparate styles or incorporate unorthodox and unique elements.
Henry Cow were an English avant-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.
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.
Winchester College is an independent boarding school for boys in the British public school tradition, situated in Winchester, Hampshire. It has existed in its present location for over 600 years. It is the oldest of the original seven English public schools defined by the Clarendon Commission and regulated by the Public Schools Act 1868.
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in England. With around 600 undergraduates, 300 graduates, and over 180 fellows, it is the largest college in either of the Oxbridge universities by number of undergraduates. In terms of total student numbers, it is second only to Homerton College, Cambridge.
Social anthropology is the dominant constituent of anthropology throughout the United Kingdom and Commonwealth and much of Europe, where it is distinguished from cultural anthropology. In the United States, social anthropology is commonly subsumed within cultural anthropology.
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.
"Living in the Heart of the Beast" is the title of an extended song written by Tim Hodgkinson in 1975 for the English avant-rock group Henry Cow. It was recorded in 1975 by Henry Cow with Slapp Happy, who had recently merged with Henry Cow after the two groups had recorded a collaborative album, Desperate Straights the previous year.
In Praise of Learning is a studio album by British avant-rock group Henry Cow, recorded at Virgin Records' Manor studios in February and March 1975, and released in May 1975. On this album, Henry Cow had expanded to include members of Slapp Happy, who had merged with the group after the two had collaborated on Desperate Straights in 1974. The merger ended after recording In Praise of Learning when Peter Blegvad and Anthony Moore from Slapp Happy left the group.
"Erk Gah" is an extended song written by Tim Hodgkinson in 1976 for the English avant-rock group Henry Cow. "Erk Gah" was performed live by the band between 1976 and 1978, but was never recorded in the studio. Three live performances of "Erk Gah" were later released in volumes 6, 8 and 10 of The 40th Anniversary Henry Cow Box Set in January 2009; Volume 6 was released in advance of the box set in September 2008. In 1993, 15 years after Henry Cow split up, Hodgkinson recorded the composition under the title "Hold to the Zero Burn, Imagine" and released it on his second solo album, Each in Our Own Thoughts (1994).
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.
Michael Gordon Oldfield is an English multi-instrumentalist and composer. His work blends progressive rock with world, folk, classical, electronic, ambient, and new-age music. His biggest commercial success is the 1973 album Tubular Bells – which launched Virgin Records and became a hit in America after its opening was used as the theme for the film The Exorcist. He recorded the 1983 hit single "Moonlight Shadow" and a rendition of the Christmas piece "In Dulci Jubilo".
Tubular Bells is the debut album by English musician and composer Mike Oldfield, released on Virgin Records on 25 May 1973. It comprises two mostly instrumental compositions of over twenty minutes each. Oldfield recorded it when he was 19 and played most of the instruments.
Elements - The Best of Mike Oldfield is a video collection by Mike Oldfield released in October 1993. It was released by Virgin Records on VHS and Laser disc. A DVD edition of the video release, including additional extras, was produced in 2004.
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.
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.
Post-punk is a broad type of rock music that emerged from the punk movement of the 1970s, in which artists departed from the simplicity and traditionalism of punk rock to adopt a variety of avant-garde sensibilities and diverse influences. Inspired by punk's energy and DIY ethic but determined to break from rock cliches, artists experimented with sources including electronic music and black styles like dub, funk, and disco; novel recording and production techniques; and ideas from art and politics, including critical theory, modernist art, cinema and literature. Communities that produced independent record labels, visual art, multimedia performances and fanzines.
Bill Gilonis is an English guitarist and composer. He co-founded the gritty experimental rock group The Work in 1980 with Tim Hodgkinson. The group was active intermittently until 1993, recording four albums and touring extensively, including in Russia, Japan Finland, Yugoslavia and Switzerland.
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).
Ken Hyder is a Scottish jazz fusion drummer and percussionist born in Dundee, Scotland, perhaps best known for combining folk, ethnic and Celtic music with jazz. He has worked with and recorded with many musicians, including Elton Dean, Chris Biscoe, Tim Hodgkinson, Paul Rogers, Maggie Nicols, Don Paterson and Frankie Armstrong.
Free improvisation or free music is improvised music without any rules beyond the logic or inclination of the musician(s) involved. The term can refer to both a technique and as a recognizable genre in its own right.
Siberia is an extensive geographical region spanning much of Eurasia and North Asia. Siberia has historically been a part of modern Russia since the 17th century.
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 90's 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.
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 August 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.
Desperate Straights is a collaborative studio album by British avant-rock groups Slapp Happy and Henry Cow. It was recorded at Virgin Records' Manor studios in November 1974, and released in February 1975. It was Slapp Happy's second album for Virgin, and they had invited Henry Cow to record with them.
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, July and 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.
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.
Greasy Truckers Live at Dingwalls Dance Hall is a 1974 live double album by various artists recorded at an October 1973 Greasy Truckers concert at the Dingwalls Dance Hall at Camden Lock in Camden Town, London. The concert featured four bands, Camel, Henry Cow, Global Village Trucking Company and Gong, and was recorded with Virgin Records' "Manor Mobile" recording truck.
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.
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.
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