NEWS


ALEX WARD
composer/improviser/performing
musician

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29/10/14: Seems to be settling into a once-yearly update schedule around here - so here's what's happened, and what's about to:

1) New albums from Dead Days Beyond Help, N.E.W. and God's Mama all came out this year. The DDBH album is called "Severance Pay", and is out on vinyl and download on Believers Roast records - make it yours here. (DDBH have also sprouted a website since my last communication, at www.deaddaysbeyondhelp.co.uk.) "Severance Pay" is an all-instrumental album comprising the material we wrote between September 2009 and mid-2012, and marks a quantum leap in compositional ambition over our previous releases. The N.E.W. album "Motion" is also a vinyl release, and is on Dancing Wayang records. And "God's Mama II" is out on CD on SM Press, and is not currently web-available but we'll be rectifying that very soon - watch the Discography page for details.

2) More releases forthcoming: scheduled for release between now and the middle of 2015 are the debut releases from the trio of Colin Webster/Alex Ward/Andrew Lisle (high-energy improvisation, me on guitar) and my duo with Dominic Lash (composition by both of us mixed with free improvisations, me on clarinet); a new monster-themed opus from Dr. Eugene Chadbourne for which he enlisted the assistance of myself and Steve Beresford; and the second album by Weavels (my trio with Mick Beck and Chris Cundy). The debut album by the Alex Ward Quintet, featuring two versions of my long-form composition "Glass Shelves And Floor" is also finished and ready to go, and I will be doing everything in my power to get it unleashed on the public as soon as is possible...

3) I've been writing a ton of material for the Alex Ward Sextet, and we debuted some of it this year at gigs at the Vortex and Cafe Oto. We'll be playing around as much as possible in 2015 and hoping to record at some point. Predicate and Forebrace are also slowly amassing material towards their next releases. Dead Days Beyond Help have written a new 16-minute piece which is likely to feature in all our gigs for the foreseeable future as we prepare ourselves to record it for our next album... And in the midst of all this compositional endeavour, the usual array of freely improvised activity continues apace - this year marked my first opportunities to play with Joelle Leandre (in duo), Adam Golebiewski (in a trio with Thurston Moore), plus a whole range of first encounters at John Russell's Fete Quaqua...

25/11/13: Ok, so it's been a while, but there's plenty of stuff to report that you should find worth the wait... First up, there are TWO new releases out now, both representing my work in the collision zone between composition and improvisation, and which, when taken together, provide the fullest representation yet available of whatever it is I'm trying to spew forth...
1) "Nails", the second album by Predicate is out now on Gaffer Records. Recorded in the middle of our 2012 UK tour, it extrapolates the approach established on our debut album into darker and more intense realms, and captures the levels of improvisational energy we reached during the tour. I'm as proud of this album as anything I've ever been involved in... Big thanks to Tim Hill, Dominic Lash and Mark Sanders for their commitment and amazing playing!
2) Having spent much of the past few years scalding ears with the electric guitar in Predicate, Dead Days Beyond Help and other entities, I thought it was time to give myself a taste of my own medicine - by forming ANOTHER high-volume brutal electric outfit, but this time making myself play clarinet in it instead and see how I liked it... and the answer is I like it plenty. Forebrace features Roberto Sassi on guitar, Santiago Horro on bass and my DDBH cohort Jem Doulton on drums, and we've just released our debut album "Bad Folds" on Copepod. "Bad Folds" was recorded in over the course of two savage days in the studio this summer, during which we essayed a number of improvisations plus compositions I made up on the spot, and then I took the results and edited them into a 46-minute post-harmolodic hellride. And in keeping with this under-the-gun aesthetic, I decided to release the thing as quickly as was logistically possible, so what you have here is the closest thing to a picture of where I'm at right now that it's possible to buy...
These albums, along with many others are available at the newly set-up "buy cds/vinyl" page - but, from now until the end of the year, I am offering a special sale on these two items if bought together. Until the end of December 2013, the "Nails" and "Bad Folds" CDs are available as a pair for £15 postage paid ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!!! This offer will not run into 2014 though, so act quickly... Payment by Paypal to alexjward AT hotmail DOT com. And if you want to listen before you spend, the albums can be streamed in full here and here.

In upcoming news, the next Dead Days Beyond Help album "Severance Pay" is finished and set for vinyl+download release in April 2014. At least one, possibly two new albums by N.E.W. (Steve Noble/John Edwards/Alex Ward) are set for vinyl release early next year. The Weasel Walter/James Sedwards/Alex Ward album should also come out around then... Still no word on a release for "The Dark Estate", but Ben and I have been making future plans including writing a bunch of new material for a possible live incarnation... The Alex Ward Quintet (with Olie Brice, Tom Jackson, Hannah Marshall and Rachel Musson) that debuted my new long-form composition "Glass Shelves And Floor" in August will be resurfacing in March, playing that piece plus a new composition for sextet (with the addition of Steve Noble), and we'll be recording one or both of those pieces around that time. God's Mama will also be entering the studio next year, having recently finished writing the material for our next album. And a wealth of improvisational activities continue apace... Next update soon.

05/9/12: Update to site: I've added a "reviews/press" page - so far it just contains links to various stuff dotted around the web, but I may try to add some transcriptions/scans from actual printed publications when I have a moment. Latest music news: 1) "The Dark Estate" is finished. 2) The second Predicate album "Nails" (recorded midway through our recent Jazz Services UK tour) is also finished. I think these are two of the best things I've ever been involved in, so if any enterprising record labels are reading this, drop me an e-mail... In the meantime, Dead Days Beyond Help's "The Game Face" is set to go to the pressing plant in the next week in readiness for its release on Copepod later this year, and then we'll be touring Europe in October and recording our next album when we get back. Also recorded and in various states of being mixed/mastered/prepared for release are new albums by Weavels, N.E.W., Steve Noble/Alex Ward, James Sedwards/Weasel Walter/AW, Eugene Chadbourne with Steve Beresford and AW (all horror/monster-themed material) and my "jazz" trio with Steve Noble and Olie Brice. And should you wish for verbal elaboration as to what I think I'm doing while I'm doing all this, you can find some such within the appendix to Joe Morris' newly published book "Perpetual Frontier: The Properties of Free Music" (Riti Publishing), which concludes with contributions from 15 musicians (including Marilyn Crispell, Joe McPhee, William Parker, Ken Vandermark and yours truly) who Joe invited to respond to a questionnaire dealing with many of the issues he discusses in this remarkable tome.

28/4/12:
Latest news: The debut album by Predicate is out now on FMR Records. The line-up of the band is Tim Hill on saxes, Dominic Lash on bass, Mark Sanders on drums, and myself providing electric guitar and the compositions, and we're a third of the way through our somewhat spread-out Jazz Services tour - look out for gigs in Oxford and Reading in May, and London and Newcastle in June. You can read gratifyingly enthusiastic reviews of the album here and here. Meanwhile, Dead Days Beyond Help have been working with SignDance Collective on a new show based around several of my songs called "Half A Penny" - we're just coming to the end of a residency at the Croydon Warehouse, and we'll be taking it to many other places over the coming year. The second DDBH composed album "The Game Face" will also finally be released around October. (We've just about finished writing the third one as well, and will be recording it later this year.) Other releases due in the coming months are a clarinet/drums duo album with Steve Noble (only 21 years since our previous one), and the James Sedwards/Weasel Walter/Alex Ward trio album (band name to be revealed imminently). The long promised Benjamin Hervé/Alex Ward album (provisionally entitled "The Dark Estate") is very nearly finished also, so who knows, you may even see that become available at some point. And keep checking the upcoming shows page for more of my day-to-day activities...

13/3/12: Alright, so my intention of updating this page at least once a month went the way of most of my intentions - so shoot me... I shall provide a proper update in the next few days, but in the meantime - there is a CD SALE on here, starting now. Basically, as a working musician without a car, I am frequently in the position of dragging a sack of "merch" with me on public transport, while simultaneously trying to hang on to the actual instruments/amps/etc. that I intend to use at the evening's show. Inevitably, in the course of such travels, the aforementioned merch sustains some local injuries. I have now a hearty collection of CDs in slightly cracked jewel cases - and while in many instances it will be a simple job to replace these so that you'll never know the difference, some of the other albums are shrink-wrapped, and so I'm loath to open them up to perform modifications. So.. I'm offering a sale on shrink-wrapped CDs with slightly damaged jewel cases. In each instance, this only amounts to between 1 and 3 cracks in the case - none of them are about to fall apart, rest assured. You can find out which CDs are on offer by going to the discography page and looking for the red notice next to the CD name. Any CDs so identified is on offer at the following rates: £4 per CD, any 3 for £10, any 5 for £15. P&P is inclusive within the UK, and payment can be made by PayPal to alexjward AT hotmail DOT com. (If you reside outside the UK, e-mail the same address and we can negotiate a mutually amenable deal...) As I say, these copies will have cosmetic damage to the jewel cases only - any defective CDs will of course be replaced forthwith. Get in touch!

25/6/11: Updates: Recorded the basic tracks for the 4-piece Alex Ward & The Dead Ends album last week - seemed to go very well, will be working on overdubs/mixing during July. UK shows with Weasel Walter start in London on June 26 and finish in Reading on July 2 - full details in upcoming shows. Been mastering the debut album by Joey Herzfeld & Hooverville - really good record I think, makes me recall fondly my tenure in that band. Had a few rehearsals with a new trio with Olie Brice and Steve Noble (me on clarinet) - tunes by me and Olie, been fun finding out ways to write/play stuff that might fairly unambiguously be called "jazz" without feeling like a total fake about it. Wrote a new piece for Predicate recently, and Dead Days Beyond Help and God's Mama have both been brewing up a bunch of new stuff as well. Several enjoyable recent improvised gigs with the likes of Ian Smith, Dave Tucker, Kay Grant, John Edwards... I'll try to update this page at least once a month, so keep checking back.

15/5/11: Ok, so here's a quick summary of what's going on round here at the moment... The Lol Coxhill/Alex Ward duo CD comes out on Incus Records on May 20th, and there's a launch event that evening at the Lumiere to mark the occasion. The Dead Days Beyond Help improvised album "The Verbing" is now available directly from me - £10 (p&p inclusive in the UK) payable by PayPal to alexjward AT hotmail DOT com (or e-mail me at that address if you want to ask about p&p costs outside the UK). The second DDBH composed album ("The Game Face") has been finished for a few months now - I'll let you know release details when I know them myself. (We have about 80% of the material for the one after that written as well.) The Predicate album and an improvised duo album with Kay Grant are both scheduled for release in the second half of the year. The second Duck Baker Trio album has been recorded, and I'm working on the mixes of that at the moment. The 4-piece version of Alex Ward & The Dead Ends is scheduled to record an album in June, and I'll try to finish the preceding 3-piece one ("Snares And Delusions") around then too. Dates are set for UK shows with Weasel Walter in late June/early July - consult upcoming shows for details. Work continues on the forthcoming Benjamin Hervé/Alex Ward atrocity "The Dark Estate". That enough for now?

1/5/11: Website is launched! 


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