Exposé Online banner

The Science Group — A Mere Coincidence
(ReR Megacorp SCIENCE1, 1999, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2000-10-01

A Mere Coincidence Cover artYugoslavian composer Stevan Tickmayer has worked extensively in the fields of 20th Century music (both composed and improvised) and jazz. For this project, he takes a collection of texts by Chris Cutler on various subjects relating to science, and sets them to music, which is performed by Tickmayer himself (piano, keyboards, zither, violin, guitar, samples), Cutler (drums, electronics), Amy Denio (vocals), Bob Drake (bass, vocals, guitar, drums), Fred Frith (guitars), and Claudio Puntin (clarinet, bass clarinet). Bob Drake produces and contributes one composition. The music is marvelously disjointed and complex, full of abrupt shifts in tempo and mood, ranging from delicate acoustic passages to throbbing electric dissonance. Amy Denio provides serene interpretations of Cutler’s rather unusual words, sounding surprisingly like a choirboy. This collection provides another viewpoint on the style originated many years ago by Henry Cow and Slapp Happy, lately advocated by 5uu’s and related groups. It also shows just how close complex rock (or “pop” as Tickmayer prefers to call it) can come to “serious” 20th Century music of the academic (or even snobby) sort. The prime difference is one of instrumentation. Take these compositions and arrange them for strings and winds instead of guitars and keyboards, and perform them in a symphony hall on a bill with Cage or some other modern master, and no one would think anything is amiss. But use – gasp! – a drum kit and an electric guitar, and you’ll be quietly escorted to the stage door. Ranting aside, this is a fascinating collection of unique sounds, truly a great addition to the careers of all involved.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 20, 1999 releases

Related artist(s): Chris Cutler, Fred Frith, Stevan Kovacs Tickmayer, Amy Denio, Bob Drake, The Science Group

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Ian McDonald - Drivers Eyes – Let us take a long journey back through the ether to advent of progressive rock. Who do you see lurking around in the shadows? Well one person was Ian McDonald whose group, King Crimson, was a magic...  (1999) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues