the first solo release by the radical improviser from London:

mark wastell

w.m.o/r 14 cdr

Vibra # 1

mark wastell : 24" tam tam


1. vibra # 1 [23''54']

vibra # 1 is the first in a series of compositions of solo tam tam dedicated to the memory of the artist, writer and musician roger sutherland. the tam tam used for this recording was hand crafted in tuscany, italy and formed part of roger's collection of percussion instruments which used in performance iwth the british group morphogenesis.

recorded by graham halliwell at the old school, norfolk on 21st june 2004

photo by wayne spencer




Paristransatlantic ( France Oct. 2004)

London-based lowercase improviser Mark Wastell has been in commemorative mood recently; not content with dedicating a piece to the memory of Who bassist John Entwistle (see below), he's also embarked on a series of compositions using instruments belonging to the late Roger Sutherland (formerly of Morphogenesis), to whose memory Vibra #1 is dedicated. It's a 24-minute composition that delicately explores the sonorities of a hand moulded Italian tam-tam, and deserves to take its place in the tam-tam top ten (well, six) along with La Monte Young's "Studies in the Bowed Disc", Karlheinz Stockhausen's "Mikrophonie I", Mathias Spahlinger's "entlöschend", Rhys Chatham's "Two Gongs" and Tobias Liebezeit's outstanding reading of James Tenney's "Having Never Written a Note for Percussion" (on the New World double album Postal Pieces). Gong fans - the instrument, not the group, dummies - will love it. Dan Warburton


   number   434
   week      32

'Vibra #1' by Mark Wastell. It's the first
composition in a series for solo tam tam dedicated to the memory of
Roger Sutherland (see Vital Weekly 411). The tam tam used is from his
collection and used by him when he was member of Morphogenesis. I
have no idea how Mark Wastell plays this tam tam, but the twenty four
minutes that this piece is filled with beautiful humming drone music.
Maybe he feeds signal through the tam tam and picks up the signal of
the vibrations of the surface? A pastoral sounding piece that is not
closely related to that Morphogenesis, but defintely one to
contemplate the unfortunate early death of Sutherland. (FdW)

Touching Extremes ( Italy), Massimo Ricci

MARK WASTELL - Vibra #1 (w.m.o/r)

Recorded using a single 24" tam tam that belonged to the late, great Roger Sutherland, "Vibra #1" is an impressive recording by all means. Getting a gong-like infinite low resonance, Wastell generates a state of abandoned trance through a series of vibrations able to reorganize the whole architectural physics of my listening environment. Mark feeds our belief in something superior, caressing, stroking and hitting with complete command of dynamics, like in a dungeon ceremony where silence is the only god to be revered. This is a crosscurrent akin to our deepest psyche, in total opposition to sonic wreckage and noise exploitation; it also confirms Wastell's constant growth both as musician and point of reference for everyone - player or listener - who's involved in reductionist improvisation.

GIAG (a.k.a. Gaze Into A Gloom) - electronic music & non-music website. (Latvia)
This track is a nightmare clash of low end electronics designed to chill your heart, your spine and your mind. Ahhh, lay back and relax to the ambient sounds of "Vibra #1". The slow motion tune takes you to a drifting state where you leave your troubles behind. This 1-track is calm but at the same time pulsating and hardly ever boring. Merje Lõhmus (a.k.a. Mad Sister), 2004



Ancor più speciale è “Vibra #1”, se non altro perché l’autore non è affatto un batterista ma un bassista / violoncellista. Il disco, realizzato con un tam tam a 24 pollici, inaugura una serie di composizioni per solo tam tam dedicate alla memoria di Roger Sutherland (saggista e strumentista che ha suonato, tra l’altro, con Scratch Orchestra e Morphogenesis). Il tamburo utilizzato, fabbricato in Toscana, proviene proprio dal set di strumenti a percussione che Roger utilizzava nei concerti con i Morphogenesis. Il brano di Wastell è tutto giocato su effetti di risonanza e, oltre allo Stockhausen già ricordato, fa pensare alle musiche per gong, comprese quelle elaborate elettronicamente da Thomas Köner nei suoi dischi di orientamento più ambient. Onde che si allargano, come cerchi sull’acqua, e pian piano si affievoliscono fino a venire sommerse dall’onda successiva. I cultori di questo genere di cose non devono assolutamente lasciarsi sfuggire queste due realizzazioni. Per gli altri non è mai troppo tardi per cominciare.

Signal To Noise

This release, a CD-R on Mattin's w.m.o/r label, documents Mark Wastell's continued explorations of sonic abstractions. With groups like IST, The Sealed Knot, his trio with Matt Davis and Phil Durrant, and a duo with Mattin, Wastell has expanded his use of cello as dynamic sound source to include what he refers to as 'amplified textures'. Though the scant liner notes for this release describe the 24-minute work as a composition for solo tam-tam dedicated to Roger Sutherland, that doesn't even begin to hint at the haunting shimmers and shadings that Wastell is able to coax from the hand-crafted gong. (As an aside, the gong in question is from Sutherland's own collection.) From the first reverberating waves, the piece pulses with complex layers of metallic overtones. With spectacular control, attack and decay are woven into enveloping, resonating gradations; from low, palpable rumbles to swelling surges of higher-frequency vibrations. It is how these basic elements unfold over time, meted out with an intense focus and control, which makes this such a riveting listening experience. Wastell works with percussionist Eddie Prevost in the group Sakada and this piece brings to mind Prevost's ability to create expansive pieces from a single floor tom. The recording by Graham Halliwell effectively captures the physical nature of the sound, though clearly some of the more subtle overtones of the room are lost. The CD mentions that this is the first in a series of pieces for solo tam-tam and it is a remarkable inauguration of the cycle. (michael rosenstein - signal to noise)