Ed Williams is a guitarist, harpsichordist and composer exploring the interstice between early music practices, free improvisation and experimental composition. His language involves noise as a tool for unfolding and breaking down the sonic elements inherent in Western notions of musical coherence.
He holds ABRSM Grade 8 in Harpsichord and Classical Guitar and graduated his Bachelor of Music with a First from Edinburgh University. He received the composition diploma “en Cycle Spécialisé” from the CNRR of Marseille and continued studies in Maxime Barthélémy’s Electroacoustic Composition class at the Cité de la Musique. He is currently studying under Andrea Neumann and Alfred Zimmerlin at the Hochschule für Musik, Basel, for the MA Open Creation. He has curated several concert series in Marseille and participated in founding various free improvisation outfits, touring Europe and North America with these and other projects including the Insub Meta Orchestra.
He has released recordings on Edition Wandelweiser, Creative Sources, Tombed Visions, and has self-released tapes and CDs for which he designed the covers.
His podcast Echo Chamber (2017-2019) explored the aspects of the different experiences experimental musicians develop in their relation to composition, improvised performance, and the ethereal quality of musical creation in general.
He currently translates texts for contemporary music publisher Maison ONA, including the 32-CD double box set of music by Denis Dufour.
“More theory (if you allow me to call that) comes from Ed Williams. I quote his information in full: “Decomposition Study is a collaborative process. The instrument featured here is an arciorgano, a special microtonal organo di legno with two manually operated bellows and 36-key octaves across two manuals, constructed according to Nicola Vicentino’s designs from 1555. The notes of the music, written according to the rules of canonic contrapunto alla mente, are passed between two organists while four other musicians disrupt and amplify the organ’s airflow, acting similarly to cellular enzymes in decaying organisms during the decompositional process called autolysis. The music is decomposed as it is played, re-composed as it is heard.” The music was recorded “on the arciorgano and amplified through a 6-faced “Cube” speaker”. Check Bandcamp and follow the links to YouTube, and you will get an idea. For me, it was illuminating, as based on playing the music, I wouldn’t have known this. The music sounds indeed organ-like, but unlike your typical organ-drone record, the music here shifts back and forth with an organ sound, and as I saw, this is due to the players adjusting the outcome from the pipes by hand and the two organists quickly changing tones and notes. Because this is an acoustic instrument, we also hear the mechanism, adding an interesting electro-acoustic texture to the music. There is (again?) some strangely orchestral music crossing with improvised music here, and it is (again!) some highly captivating music here. It is both quiet and unnerving, and this piece highly contemplative, even when it is never in the same place for a long time. (FdW) ––– Address: https://insub.bandcamp.com/“
I had a super fun and intriguing discussion with composer, sound-designer and also my very own brother Daniel Williams. As a composer, he works mostly in the theatre, writing, playing and mixing live soundtracks with a variety of companies including DEREVO, Freaks und Fremde, Theatre Subversion, Das Gegenteil (Valentin Tszin), JuWie Dance Company, as well as with a variety of other dancers.
Maintenant sur Mixcloud. Pour la première édition francophone d’Echo Chamber, j’étais rejoint par la clarinettiste et vocaliste Isabelle Duthoit.
Depuis toujours intéressée par la voix, Isabelle Duthoit développe depuis plus 10 ans une technique de voix singulière et très personnelle. Un langage avant le langage, une voix de l’origine. Inspirée par les techniques de voix du théâtre de Nô et du théâtre de Bunraku, elle cherche et développe un chant lié au cri à la voix brisée, la voix prise dans son entité du premier souffle intime jusqu’au cri.
La musique qu’on entends dans cette épisode vient de deux performances live. La première, Isabelle en duo avec Franz Hautzinger (Live at the Odeon IV Festival, 2012), et la deuxième, un solo (Nachtstimmen, 2013).