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Thurston Moore and Ecstatic Peace Library present an exhibition about MUSICS, London’s first magazine for improvisers

Wednesday 7 September, 6-8pm 
8 - 30 September
Tuesday - Saturday, 11-6pm

Free improvisation: what goes on? how does it work? how can you write about it?

Musics was published, from 1975 to 1979, by musicians and artists on the London scene of free improvisation, focusing on the most innovative participants of their generation. Steve Beresford, David Toop,  Annabel Nicholson, Evan Parker, David Cunningham, Lindsay Cooper, Eddie Prevost, John Russell, Derek Bailey, Valerie Wilmer, Hugh Davies, Peter Riley and many, many others contributed to the writing, graphics and photography.

Musics was a blueprint for the interdisciplinary activities of sound art, field recording, free improvisation, live electronics, 20th century composition and audio culture. It came out six times a year and ran for twenty-three hand-assembled issues. The journal covered improvised and non-western music alongside performance art, reflecting the broad interests of the so-called “second generation” of London’s improvisers, and provided a convivial focus point.  Overlapping with the London Musicians’ Collective (LMC), the publication first launched in Spring of 1975, with the tagline: 'an impromental experivisation arts magazine' and a manifesto that proposed the destruction of artificial boundaries, and linked Free Jazz, the academic ministrations of John Cage, Cornelius Cardew and K. Stockhausen and indigenous and non-European music. Musics was significant in the discussion of traditional Asian instruments as paths of equal value for the performance of musics.

Produced by what was effectively an anarchist collective with few publishing skills and no support, the magazine’s roughness, marginality and scarcity has kept it from those who are active, even prominent in the field.  Musics is an entree to the arcane world of the 1970s London improviser’s scene and presents scores, dialogues, debates, positioning, arguments, accolades, critiques, absurdist/ dada notions, and a bit of pranksterism - all with collective enthusiasm.

Founding Editor David Toop: “with rose-tinted affection I recall mass paste-up sessions with spray mount… a page of reviews of electronic music by women, written by Lily Greenham in 1978… in the same issue are five beautifully written and illustrated pages about listening in Greece. An Aural Sketchbook by Dave Veres was just one example of pieces about listening practice and field recording; others include Found Sounds by Michael Leggett, Sounds in Kyōdo by Kazuko Hohki, New York Sounds by Fred Frith and Sounds Heard at La Sainte-Baume by Hugh Davies. There are also invaluable accounts of groups such as The People Band, Feminist Improvising Group, CCMC, Los Angeles Free Music Society, MEV and the Dutch musicians associated with Instant Composers Pool. Interspersed among all this loamy archival material are a few essays of grinding tedium, snarky barbs of wit, barely decipherable photographs…” 

Thurston Moore and Ecstatic Peace Library present an exhibition of MUSICS art and ephemera at Tenderbooks to celebrate the publication of MUSICS, a new 800-page complete facsimile of all 23 of the magazine issues. 

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