Benedict Taylor is an improvising viola player and composer, active in a number of ensembles and groups. He also runs the CRAM and Subverten labels. His latest solo release is 'Striations'. Here are a selection of Benedict's 2013 musical favourites.
Terry Day - drums & percussion performances
In the autumn period Terry Day was giving a number of concerts with many different artists.
Some of the most incredible percussion playing, from one of the musicians who has been a pioneer since the very beginning of this music. Inspired and original, with abounding imagination and relentless energy.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLltlvCE9OU
Pat Thomas solo (piano, synth), Bar Abbey - Sheffield
A mix of fascinating virtuosic piano & synth playing, from one of the most free & imaginative artists. With a limitless flow of ideas and hugely spontaneous style, his playing constantly challenges all norms of improvisation and modern performance.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jq9xUOlZ_gk
Mopomoso on tour
This tour, co-produced by the arts organisation Sound and Music, alongside being a highly successful musical project with great audiences and concerts, also represented a hugely positive step for the presentation/championing and recognition of improvised music in the UK.http://www.mopomoso.com/touring/
John Russell (guitar) and Furt/Richard Barrett & Paul Obermayer (electronics)
One of the key, pivotal players of improvised music, with two of the most pioneering new music artists, hearing John Russell using his electric guitar with Furt - Richard Barrett & Paul Obermayer playing a live set at Mopomoso in the autumn, was a unique and exhilarating musical/sound experience.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dP9SOQG6gI4
Foley Street Improvised Music Concert Series
A new ongoing concert series began this year, curated by guitarist Daniel Thompson. Run by one of the most active young artists in the scene, this series brings a fresh platform for improvised music. It also highlights the importance of artists initiating performance events and creating space and time to promote music.http://www.soundandmusic.org/thesampler/event/2013/11/foley-street-improvised-music-concert-series
Veryan Weston solo (piano), Shoreditch church
In the stunning setting of Shoreditch Church with it's wonderful acoustic and fine concert grand, it was a fantastic to hear the great pianist Veryan Weston open up for a solo set. With his touch, it's possible to hear everything from the most delicate music and intricate contrapuntal explorations, to the biggest piano sounds. http://veryanweston.weebly.com
From the composer & improviser Stephen Crowe (Francis Bacon Opera, Wretched Bliss Opera), comes Streisband - classic Barbra Streisand songs, arranged for heavy metal/hardcore voice & drums only. Created/arranged and sung by Crowe, alongside some remarkable drumming. Once more as with many of his operatic and instrumental works, this artist pulls the rug from under your feet, and compels you to think differently.http://stephencroweopera.org/StreisBAND
Tom Jackson (clarinets) & Alex Ward (clarinet) duo, Lumen
A superb performance from two of the finest wind players around, and that too both clarinetists. The energy and inventiveness of this pair, together in the acoustic of Lumen URC, was a spellbinding sonic experience. https://soundcloud.com/tom-jackson
Herakles - Neil luck/ARCO
Composer Neil Luck (Squib Box, ARCO) aligns contemporary composition, improvisation, English folk music & morris dancing, blues, musical theatre, Disney characters, Schwarzenegger, electronics, film and of course the relevant theme of the Athenian Tragedy/Greek Myth, in this extraordinary performance work. http://www.arcoarcoarco.com/#!herakles/caob
Noel Taylor (clarinet) & John Bissett (guitar) - Arch 1
A collaboration between two players who've been central in the London scene for a very long period, originally playing together in the group The Mosquitoes. It's a pairing which has had some time out of the performance arena, so hearing these two improvisers reunite to play encapsulated a great deal of the essence of improvisation. Completely spontaneous, anarchic and free in the most creative way, and very sensitive playing created a musical work of the most natural and pure form. http://www.noeltaylor.net
Benedict's Twitter page can be found here, the CRAM website here, and his blog here. Also Bandcamp pages for CRAM and Subverten here and here.