recordings: studies


All Anarchestra recordings are issued by re-evolve/re-evolve.

I think of the music on these recordings as studies, a sub-category of what I consider to be 'real music'. One can learn a lot from recording and it allows one to investigate specific aspects of music and sound in a slower, more drawn out, process than live playing. To me they fall somewhere between playing music with people and thinking about music, like a painter's or sculptor's sketchbook or a novelist's journals.
-Alex Ferris

Several of these recordings are available as mp3s from CDBaby for $2.

Selections are downloadable free at Noisejunk.

For those who wish to copy, sample, etc., we consider all the recordings licensed as creative commons
(this symbol isn't available on the disc printer re-evolve/re-evolve is currently using).

For more about various issues arising from non-simutaneous music see the articles "The Ethics of Overdubs", "Form & Ambivalence", and "Technology is Option" in the Aesthetics section and "The Process of Recording" in the Acoustics section.



Rumor 2001
(53:27) re-ev001
(available from CDBaby -link below)
played by Alex Ferris

1 Bass / Dubass / Pig / Sir Gamelan / Bish-Bosh / Pedal Guitar / Bosco2
2 Bass / Pig / Bish-Bosh / Copper Whistle 1 / Bosco2 / Paired / Dubass
3 Paired / Dubass / Croon / Pedal Guitar / Bosco2
4 Bish-Bosh / Bosco2 / Lamellop / Harp / Dubass / Pig / Chant
5 Lamellop / Harp / E3W / Paired / Bass / Sir Gamelan / Bosco2
6 Bish-Bosh / Pedal Guitar / Croon / Paired / Lamellop / Bosco2
7 Paired / Pig / Lamellop / Bish-Bosh / Bosco2 / Dubass / Bosco3
8 Paired / Bish-Bosh / Lamellop / Bosco3 / Bass
(some of these instruments had not yet fully assumed their current forms)

These are the first recordings of the instruments. At this time I was mostly interested in finding out how the instruments behaved together, how they recorded, and whether they could stand alone without including conventional instruments. The compositional ideas are simple, more instinctive than intentional. Rumor is the romance language root word for noise.



8/03(abandoned) (13:25) (the + of 4/04+)
recorded august 2003 in santa fe
instruments payed by alex ferris

Thump / Squat / Pipes / Tubes / Basuka / Lamelop / Harp / Copper Reed / Copper Whistle 1

I abandoned this because I felt my conception was too (4/4) mainstream and I lost interest in it as anything except what it was. I didn’t record again for several months. It was the first piece I attempted with the Mackie SDR2496 and I realized I was more concerned with learning how to use the machine than with the music I was making. It was composed more as a dance-music track than a self-sustaining piece of music. I don’t dislike it, but I find it unchallenging (It reminds me of 70’s cop show cruising-in-a-car/following-a-suspect-on-foot montage music). It was included on the cd more because there was was room for it than because it belonged aesthetically.



(62:15) re-ev003
played by Alex Ferris

4/04 (demented jazz) (48:50)

1 Copper Baritone / Steel Reed

2 Thump / Squat / Kyzyl Kum / Bass / Steel Reeds
3 Dish / Bish-Bosh / Steel Reeds
4 Thump / Squat / Paired / Bish-Bosh / Bosco2 / Basuka / Steel Reed / Steel Flute
5 Thump / Squat / Paired / Bish-Bosh / Bosco2 / Pharo / Basuka
6 Harp / Phorques / Dish / Bish-Bosh
7 Basuka / Bish-Bosh / Pharo / Steel Reed / Thump / Squat / Tubes
8 Basuka / Furtwangler / Kyzyl Kum / Pedal Guitar / Thump / Steel Reed
9 Sir Gamelan / Bish Bosh / Phorques
10 Pharo / Steel Flute / Steel Reed / Thump / Squat / Chant
11 Kyzyl Kum / Pig / Bass / Steel Reeds
12 Sir Gamelan / Phorques / Dish / Bish-Bosh
13 Thump / Squat / Bish-Bosh / Paired / Phorques / Gurney
14 Steel Reed / Chant
15 Thump / Squat / Quesera / Bass / Steel Reed
16 Dish / Bish-Bosh / Steel Reed / Phorques
17 Kyzyl Kum / Basuka / Thump / Squat / Strumpet / Pharo
18 Copper Whistle 1, Copper Baritone

April is very windy in New Mexico and I was making a lot of horns when I was recording this and investigating limited (4, 5, 6, and 7-note) scales. With the priority of horns as melodic voices the music seemed to me to take on the methodology (wind instruments / rhythm section) of jazz. The second piece (which inspired the subtitle) reminded me of a very early Mingus recording called Purple Heart which featured clarinetist John LaPorta and my notebook title for it was The Ghost of John LaPorta. Co-incidentally he died a week or so after it was finished. The scalar limitations prompted me to explore irregular time signatures and some of the pieces ended up being more about drumming than aerophones. All the tracks of each piece were recorded on the same day and (usually) mixed the following morning (fresh ears).

19 (see abandoned 8/03 above)



Bathtub Music / 3 pieces for single objects
(discontinued -still available)
I included both of these on a single cd
(motivated by frugality -both mine and the potential consumer's) because they were recorded consecutively and filled the allowable time more completely. Other than those, there is no good reason for the two to be together except perhaps to demonstrate the contrasts of approach and result that lie within the scope of anarchestra. In the future they, and all other single works regardless of duration, will be presented separately.

Bathtub Music (30:19) re-ev004
recorded early june, 2004 in santa fe
played by Alex Ferris

Instrumentation: stringed instruments

I was investigating the ergonomics of stringed instruments when I recorded these pieces. Almost all of them are fretless. I was thinking about how to use them as a section in the traditional orchestral sense rather than as part of a band. My intention (not abandoned) was to record groups of pieces for each family of instruments. These four pieces, with their ambient sonority (I was thinking about recording techniques involving microphone placement), grouped themselves (I postponed and eventually abandoned several other more aggressive and/or dissonant all-string pieces). "Bathtub Music" is a term I had used derogatively for many years as a live player, referring to the sort of music one listens to passively in the tub as opposed to the more active, physically engaging music one plays in a club. As with the pieces on 4/04 all the parts of each piece were recorded on the same day. Some of the instruments were built between tracks of the same piece.

Bathtub Music

3 pieces for single objects (21:52) re-ev005
recorded september, 2004 in santa fe
played by Alex Ferris

Instrumentation: Dish Tank Sheet

Following the string pieces I was planning to do a series involving only idiophones. While experimenting with miking methods of potential instruments (the dish and the tank) I made these recordings. With minimal alterations in equalization and playing techniques I found many different sounds in the objects I was using. The playing is very simple, stroking, rubbing, or striking the objects (on their bodies or their edges) with a variety of things I have around the workshop (bars, rods, lengths of chain, left over constructed scraps, files, dollies, beaters). As with the pieces on 4/04 and Bathtub Music all the tracks of each piece were recorded the same day.


(29:35) re-ev006
pt 1 (for 30 instruments)
played by Alex Ferris and Linzi Arundale

big drum / thump / squat / basuka / pilon / twoslide / steel flute / 1/2 straight / crank / wheely wheely / steel reed curved / kalimbent / phorques / sir gamelan / steel flute 3/4 straight / blow drum / scrap(e) / bass / dish / kyzyl kum / copper whistle 1 /
paired / trinidad & tobago / basicable / bosco 1 / bosco 2 / pedal guitar / one slide / steel reed bent / pig / mckeytoo

This is the most "compositional" studio piece I have attempted so far in that the recording process extended beyond a single day and that it involved a large number of instruments used episodically and non-sequentially. Most of the parts were recorded on the first two days with others added during the mixing / listening process as they suggested themselves. Both the form and the individual parts were improvised and the whole has not been edited (cut and/or spliced) within the context of its own "real time". The piece is dedicated to (inspired by) Sun Ra whom I consider to be vastly underrated as a modern composer (I was reading "Space is the Place", his biography, around this time).



Residue(1-6) (27:40) re-ev007
played by Alex Ferris

1 OBO, Drums
2 12 stringed instruments
3 Drums, flutes, Basuka
4 Pilon, Bustelo, Flattery / Waver, Drums
5 Edgetones, Reeds
6 Drums, Bass, Gurney, Steel Reed, Dish

When summer gets hot, it becomes inordinately grief-intensive to have the studio doors and windows closed -even with them open and several fans running the temperature usually reaches 100 by early afternoon. The noise of the fans and the trucks passing outside make recording with microphones impossible. I recorded these pieces as studies toward / beginnings of possible longer works, but the hot weather arrived a few weeks before I'd anticipated and I had to leave them. Listening to them when it had cooled off I felt I'd lost touch with the ideas I'd had at the time, but I liked the pieces as they stood well enough to release them.



RASHOMON (45:42) re-ev010

recorded and mixed february 4, 2006 in santa fe
played and mixed by Gaspard, Dawn, and Alex

1: mixed by gaspard
2: mixed by dawn
3: mixed by alex

gaspard: slider, tank, bo tree,
alex: steel reed, daisy, wheely wheely,
dawn: doc ock I, ‘sprong, sir gamelan

We recorded the 9 constituent tracks of Rashomon in three passes. Each of us then made a mix. Unlike other anarchestra recordings the mixing process is an active ingredient in the final piece: raising the mixing board to the level of an instrument and endowing the mixer as a player / composer. The variance ("differance") between our dispositions of the same material is as much an element of the piece as the actual, performed, parts.


Un Coeur Simple (19:18) re-ev011
for heartbeat and 13 instruments.
recorded and mixed March 7 and 9, 2006 in santa fe
by alex ferris

recorded heartbeat / basuka / kyzyl kum, / bosco 3 / steel reed / steel reed / steel flute / isolch / ‘sprong / trinidad & tobago / bustelo / springer / pig / kalimbent

The basis of this piece is my own heartbeat, recorded through a Bebe Heart Sounds prenatal listener. These are made so expectant parents can listen to their baby’s heartbeat in the womb. It’s not a very high tech piece of equipment and it tends to pick up and amplify a lot of unwanted sounds (passing cars, appliances, the slightest of motions), but for $20 it works. I took it apart, separating the microphone element from the body of the device and bedding the mic in foam to reduce unwanted noise.

I had been thinking about heartbeats for a couple years since reading about the work of legendary drummer Milford Graves. I bought a 20 dollar stethoscope, which wasn’t much good. The idea lay dormant until Dawn Edelman suggested doing some music with heartbeats. We tried a few things with the stethoscope, but it didn’t work well enough. I asked for help on the Oddmusic message board and Dave X (itderadio) suggested the Bebe device.

Dedicated to Milford Graves, Dawn Edelman, and Dave X

Endurzbo (22:49) re-ev012
for heartbeat and 8 instruments
recorded & mixed march, 2006 in santa fe
by alex ferris

recorded heartbeat / daisy / bo tree / bmc / wheely wheely / springer / gurd / dish / bootzilla

Like Un Coeur Simple, the basis of this piece is my heartbeat recorded through a prenatal listener. The similarity ends there. I have long been an admirer of Merzbow and have wanted (vaguely) to investigate aspects of his (density-based) soundworld using acoustic, physically generated, unprocessed sounds. Some of the methodology for this piece recalls Three Pieces for Single Objects in that I recorded some of instruments (daisy, bo tree, springer, and gurd) to more than a single track with different microphones and/or equalization in order to reveal different qualities of the instruments. Every sound was physically played and nothing was sampled or processed. Some of the parts were physically demanding to play for twenty plus minutes which suggested the title. The mix was done in real time on an analog board. I originally intended to do a piece like this as a collaboration with Gaspard Cabanes, but he injured his knee at work and wasn’t able to participate.

respectfully dedicated to merzbow


6-06 (34:10) re-ev016

recorded june, 2006 in santa fe, played by alex ferris
quesera with
1. bish-bosh, thump, squat, blow drum, monte
2. bosco 2, bosco 3, big drum, thump, 'sprong, la bas
3. basuka, kyzyl kum, big drum, thump, blow drum
4. thump, squat, big drum, sprawl, bish-bosh
5. 'sprong, 2 sly for 1, sacre bleu, bootzilla
6. paired, pilon, la bas, tubes

The subject underlying the six pieces that comprise 6-06 is phrasing. For the last two and a half years I have been examining odd time signatures and these pieces represent how I have come to rethink the smallest and most flexible component of musical construction. I chose quesera as the primary instrument in these because for most of my musical life prior to Anarchestra my principal instrument was guitar and my technique was better developed and more natural than on other classes of instruments. For the last six years I have been avoiding the guitar to a large extent hoping to break musical habits –phrasing in 4/4, 6/8- built up over a lifetime. During this same period I have also been avoiding the context of solo instrument / accompaniment for the most part, trying to think more polyphonically and more about timbral aspects of the instruments in combination with one another. To me these pieces are more conventional in concept than any I have undertaken recently -they represent a kind of side step, a deliberate and temporary skewing of perspective, rather than a true change of direction.

Manque: res les los (59:57)re-ev022

recoded on the vine fall 2009

all instruments played by alex ferris



Most of the instruments heard on Manque were built in the fall of 2008. Some of the players from the east were coming to live in Tucson (snowbirds), but the truckload of instruments was staying behind. The people involved were inexperienced as musicians, so the instruments were designed to be diatonic in nature and sonically traditional to narrow the range of tonal and timbral choices and allow the players to concentrate more on rhythm and phrasing.  It had been suggested from both within and without the group that we learn to play a few things both to make performances more interesting and to better demonstrate the potentials of musical expression and experience to first time participants.


Sadly the practice/learning necessary to develop a performance never took place and nothing we did as a group transcended the level of any random collection of people.


After the failed socio-aesthetic experiment ended, I felt I owed it to the instruments to make some music with them as a group. Manque is the result. The title derives from the several levels of “withoutness” that characterized the entire episode (the absence of effort on the part of my collaborators, the instruments played without the group of players the were intended for, the lack of group interaction in the making of the music, etc.) and that the music itself (made without my general aversion to diatonicism) expresses its own internal incompleteness.


Rumor, 4/04+, Bathtub Music, . . .terofourdis. . ., and Residue, (others to follow) are available from CD Baby, an independent distributor for independent musicians (there's a Link to them at the bottom of this page), and as downloads from several sources. You can hear samples from them there. If you are interested in any of the others please contact us through anarchestra@yahoo.com.

-Alex Ferris





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