The document, then, is no longer for history an inert material through which it tries to constitute what men(sic) have done or said, the events of which only the trace remains; history is now trying to define within the documentary material itself unities, totalities, series, relations.
-Michel Foucault

"To develop improvisation as a primary means of making music it will be necessary for most of us to change the ways we receive music (hear and listen). The expectations that have developed from centuries of being exposed almost exclusively to preconceived music carried out by non-autonomous performers have made many of (most of) us uncomfortable with and/or unable to understand the unknown and the unexpected. We will need to refocus our sense of expectation, learn to embrace the anomalies implicit in spontaneous self-organization, suspect the triteness implicit in order that derives from pre-limitations. As players we will have to re-think our expectations of ourselves and each other, rely less on roles and more on deeper levels of cooperation. We will have to learn to accept our symbioses without feeling disempowered by them (not an easy step in a society based of selfishness) and develop forms of symbiosis that free, rather than restrain, us."
-alex ferris

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

Selections are downloadable free from Noisejunk.

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


recorded 8-1-07 at labyrinth speakeasy


This was an unscheduled session that took place the afternoon after our regular tuesday night. The first 12+ minutes were edited out to fit it on a single cd. Although 24 tracks are listed, it is a single continuous piece. The track divisions were put in to make it amenable to shuffle play (I may eventually remaster all the long live recordings this way). The divisions were marked on the fly so they tend to fall a few seconds after they would if they'd been planned (sometimes I had to cross the room to push the requisite button).

void if detached from cdbaby

Contingent (51:51) re-ev018
recorded december 16-18, 2006 in santa fe
Dawn Edelman
Garry Transue
Bill Wolford
Alex Ferris

Garry Transue came to the studio intending to sample sounds for an audio/visual installation and decided to play instead. He called his collaborator, sound designer Bill Wolford, who came from Seattle for the sessions. With Dawn and Alex they played for several hours over the next few days. These nine pieces are some of the music they made.

remnant (27:42) re-ev017
recorded november 17, 2006 in santa fe
Gaspard Cabanes
Dawn Edelman
Alex Ferris

This is the last recording made by the remaining members of the regular (Plenum) group (without Dezbah, who had moved to Chcago) at the studio in Santa Fe.

DRY ICE (38:19) re-ev015
recorded august 12, 2006 in Santa Fe
Gaspard Cabanes & Alex Ferris (Anarchestra)

The sounds on this recording were made by contacting various metal objects (ranging from a streetlight housing and a step ladder to the instruments Daisy and Dish) with chunks of dry ice (-109.3 F). The metal vibrates as its heat causes the dry ice to sublimate (melt into CO2)) where the two make contact. The pressure of the expanding gas pushes the metal away from the dry ice and it stops sublimating. In microseconds the dry ice re-contacts the metal and the cycle repeats causing periodic vibrations (i.e., sounds).

Dedicated to Ndrew Kirkpatrick

anarchestra: plenum (62:57) re-ev014
recorded live june 7, 21, 28, 30, 2006
in santa fe

performed by
gaspard: sacre bleu, botree
dezbah: voice, pharo, ‘sprong
dawn: quesera, smile
alex: basuka, sprawl, bish-bosh

plenum is both the name of this cd and a subtitle (of anarchestra) designating this specific group of people. In may of 2006, after playing all the instruments for several months, we decided to select a few and play only them as we would in a more conventional band. We also decided to investigate playing short (5 minute and less) pieces instead of continuous (hour plus) improvisations. As in the past, we didn’t discuss or direct what we would play prior to playing it.

The sixteen pieces included here are from our (usually) weekly sessions. They are presented in chronological order to document the evolution of our responses to this approach. Some have been edited for time (beginnings and endings), but no content has been altered. As always, no effects or processors (other than simple amplification) were used to alter the natural sounds of the instruments.


Well . . . the Moon is in Scorpio (23:13) re-ev013
For 11 instruments and voice
Recorded may 10, 2006 in santa fe

smile, botree, 'sprong, bish-bosh, 2 sly for 1, big drum, bootzilla, guillotine, daisy, monte, sacre bleu, voice

Played by:
Dawn, Dezbah, Gaspard, Alex

We selected this group of instruments to accommodate space constraints for a performance at High Mayhem. This recording was our rehearsal. Owing to technical problems, the show itself didn’t get recorded.

High Mayhem 2005 (54:07) re-ev009
played by participants in the High Mayhem 4th Annual Emerging Music and Arts Festival, October 7-9, 2005, at the Bikanda space.

86 samples of joyful noise ranging from 27 to 57 seconds taken at five minute intervals from the hours of tapes of collective improvisations covering the three nights of the interactive installation. This arbitrary method (core sampling) seemed like the best way (short of a multi-cd set) of representing the marathon performance and including the contributions of as many of the (200-300) participants as possible. The samples are presented in the sequence in which they occured and listeners can infer and/or extrapolate (if they want to) what continuities / discontinuities developed between the samples and over the course of the festival. No effort was made to editorialize the content.

Thanks to all at High Mayhem (particularly Keith) for a great working experience, Bikanda for use of their space, and all of the participants for making the noise.

Hot Flash (55:13) re-ev008
played by Gaspard Cabanes, Linzi Arundale, Alex Ferris

Instrumentation: all instruments available

This is an unedited collective improvisation (55:13) recorded direct to two tracks at the studio / workshop on September 4th, 2005.

Labyrinth Speakeasy (67:41) re-ev002

contains excerpts from Lith and 68 Chihuahuas (pt 2), longer collective improvisations from February 2003. Six people (Alex, Charmaine, Linzi, Paul, Rod, and Scott) participated. The music was recorded direct to two-track at Labyrinth Speakeasy, a multimedia performance center (i.e. barn) operated by Rod Welles.


October 10 pts 1 & 2

A.D.D. pt. 1 the timidity factor pt. 2 joules
moment /um pts 1 & 2
last full moon



Frieze pts 1 & 2
Sleeping Gods Lie
Consensus of Silence
68 Chihuahuas pts 1 & 2
square root of minus one
the geese have no choice

The 2002 and 2003 recordings are collective improvisations involving six or more players filling whole CDs and sometimes running over 80 minutes (hence pt 1 pt 2). All of these are available. If you contact me (anarchestra@Yahoo.com) I’ll make you a copy and you can contribute something to me (money, blanks, old parts/electronics, whatever). (Factoid: CDs were originally made to run 74 minutes because that was long enough to hold the glorious 9th of Ludwig Van. The chairman of Sony probably didn’t think any music needed to be longer than that.)

All the instruments were accessible to all the players.



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