Grutronic, a four-piece electro improv ensemble (Stephen and Nick Grew, Richard Scott and David Ross), augmented for the occasion by guests Orphy Robinson (vibes) and Paul Obermayer (sampler), have taken the last four decades of improvised music on board, swabbed the decks with it and served it up seven frothy pints of the stuff on what could be my favourite album of 2009.
Put that down perhaps to the musicians' openness to other areas of new music - Nick Grew works with Ballistic Cabaret and Newvacuum, and David Ross has been the drummer in Kenny Process Team since the early 90s - and a willingness to experiment and, to use Derek Bailey's favourite word, play.
Stephen Grew, Richard Scott
, Nick Grew
and David Ross constitute the vital organs of Grutronic
, an improvising body formed by musicians endowed with ascertained technical preparation on acoustic instruments.
The core participants are all free improvisers "with a past/present as acoustic ensemble players…re-incarnated as electronic musicians, extending technique through the development of highly personalised systems of sound production and control", namely: Stephen Grew (keyboard, processing), Richard Scott
(electronics, analogue synthesizer, sampler, processing), Nick Grew
(transduction, processing), and David Ross (his own wryly-named Drosscillator).
specializes in music for theatre, deploying for Grutronic
"toys and hand held instruments" alongside his
The group (a collective of composers Stephen Grew, Nicholas Grew, Richard Scott and David Ross) remind me a little of Furt in some places (another great PSI ensemble) but I sense there is a quite different aesthetic at work here: something more fun, and more funny too.