in 2001. Their first gig (as a part of a workshop of 12) was a support slot for tabletop guitarist Keith Rowe. Ever since,Murmansk have met semi-regularly to record their improvisations and play live in Dublin's Trinity College chapel, and Lazybird, Dublin's best underground music club The first Murmansk release was 'The missing Code', an exclusive extract from a 2 hour piece in the first issue of Brane Magazine and CD in September 2002.
Their music is similar in approach if not in sound to AMM's, utilising prepared piano, tabletop guitar, bowed percussion and whatever else is lying around the room. A squeaky chair is as likely to influence the outcome as whatever instruments are at hand. A Murmansk performance differs from the jazz approach to improv in that there is no pre-existing structure to improvise within. The structure in a Murmansk performance evolves in real- time, often to the surprise of both musicians and listeners.
All the pieces on the debut album are live performances, although 'Glass Valleys' (their first concert) was the only one recorded in public. The five current members of Murmansk are all involved in a diverse range of other projects and come from different backgrounds such as academic modern composition, jazz and self-taught rock. This enriches the music and creates tensions in the
performances, which can be resolved in unexpected ways or not at all.
Free improv often alienates listeners because it sounds harsh, emotionless or experimental for it's own sake. The pieces on the debut Murmansk album all affect the listener in a visceral way and each creates its own atmosphere. The prepared piano piece 'Untitled' is both intricate and exuberant and rocks in it's own way. Murmansk interpret free improv as being free to also play with melody and
rhythm on occasion. 'Seven mile sound' even incorporates the traditional Irish air, 'Spancil Hill'.
Murmansk will soon be releasing their second album on Deserted Village. It departs from the original
premise of completely live free improv in that some tracks are studio creations assembled from edited improvisations such as 'Sky-wide and Crooked' which can be heard on our low-price sampler CD. There will also be some good old-fashioned free improv soundscapes
sandwiched in there too...........................
Check out the artist's website:
1. Glass Valleys
2. Untitled part 1
3. Untitled part 2
4. Fata Morgana
5. Seven Mile sound