BOOKING OFFER: EYELESS IN GAZA

Dear all,

I’m booking some dates for EYELESS IN GAZA now performing as a trio.

http://www.eyelessingaza.com/

They are available between 15th and 24th February 2013.

Here follows the current (and updated) “biography” from Ambivalent Scale
on Eyeless In Gaza:

Early Spring, 2011: Eyeless In Gaza “A biographical chronicle-journal” as
relayed to this website via The Ambivalent Scale:

For Martyn Bates and Peter Becker, the story of Eyeless in Gaza “is very
much a story of a ragged spiritual journey … which became a life … ” –
Martyn Bates, March 2011.
“A life” … Or rather a “life-project” currently celebrating its 31st year
with a wealth of stimulating new music – continuing unabated to fly in the
face of changing mores, fashions, markets – with an abiding concern for
the soul of their music. Work is well under way on a series of recordings
which will constitute the follow up to 2010’s Answer Song & Dance album.
Eyeless In Gaza have also completed the production of a 26 min
story-setting entitled The Shadow – running as part of the Weird Winter
season on Resonance FM. (The series also features pieces by Advisory
Circle, Jonny Trunk et al.) The band has also been glad participants in a
series of collaborative recordings with Michael Gira/Gerard Malanga’s
erstwhile sparring partners 48 Cameras (due for release ‘late 2011’) –
working on two pieces for Jean Marie Mathoul’s stalwart project.
Meanwhile, working back under their own aegis, Eyeless In Gaza also
recorded a live session of mostly new material for Resonance FM (broadcast
March 2011). With sporadic Eyeless In Gaza gigs taking place in the late
Winter, activity also continued to bubble elsewhere, generated via
interest from (for EiG) some perhaps quite different quarters – curiosity
which may well have been further stimulated by the recent publication of
Rob Young’s Electric Eden book. This labyrinthine volume applauds Eyeless
In Gaza’s part in that which Young dubs “the visionary music of Britain” –
listing Martyn Bates’ Murder Ballads & Songs of Transformation
collaboration albums with M.J. Harris and Max Eastley as among the best
‘visionary’ albums of 2004, along with albums by such artistes as Kate
Bush / Talk Talk / Aphex Twin / Coil / Julian Cope/ Current 93.

A glimpse of the aforementioned “wealth of new music ” materialized on the
current Eyeless In Gaza releases for the German based Monopol Records –
with the album Answer Song & Dance, and on it’s accompanying single
release Shorepoem. For these recordings, Eyeless decamped to Berlin’s
infamous Hansa Studios (Bowie / U2 / Green Day etc, etc, etc.) where work
was completed on the album and single. Part new material and part overview
of latter day Eyeless In Gaza releases, Answer Song & Dance also featured
a commission from leading UK poet Simon Armitage with the band rendering
The Keep – a poem which could perhaps be said to reflect a more overtly
Byzantine aspect of the poet’s work.

These releases saw supporting concerts and radio sessions in Berlin,
London, Barcelona, and also with a set of special event “return home”
concerts in their native Coventry, with Eyeless In Gaza – in “live mode” –
displaying an increasing utilisation of the banjo/dulcimer/vocal skills of
Elizabeth S.

One particularly substantial project which spilled over into 2010 from its
beginnings in 2009 was the long awaited re-issue project Mythic Language.
The band have undertaken a considerable amount of work on this triple Cd
release consisting of formerly unreleased archive recordings, which is
scheduled for release in April 2011, on the Hong Kong based Ultra-Mail
Prod label. A huge undertaking , involving researching and sourcing
archive material ranging from live tapes, “lost” archive studio recording,
demos, and radio sessions for the BBC, stations in San Francisco, Europe
etc. A Boxed Set, it also comes with a 5 inch vinyl single containing
outtakes from the Kodak Ghosts Ep, plus two books in one – a 100 page book
of “lyric fragment/Xerox experiments, set up to mix word and image” –
entitled November: Inky Blue Sky. The second book is a 20 page work
entitled Notes on Mythic Language, which according to Martyn Bates
promises to be “a book about writing”. Selecting, sequencing, and working
on this vast amount of material proved to be a somewhat cathartic exercise
for Eyeless In Gaza. This will be the last “retrospective” release for the
foreseeable future, as the band feel there is new music to address – and
enough with the “taking stock”, already!

Eyeless In Gaza continued with the idea of playing special selected
concerts throughout the year of 2009, with the band maintaining their
premise of only playing ‘events’ and gigs for special events. On the
recording front, work at the band’s Ambivalent Scale Studios was hampered
somewhat during the latter half of the year, due to equipment repairs and
refurbishment.

2009 also saw Eyeless’ seminal ‘wyrd folk’ album All Under the Leaves, the
Leaves of Life re-packaged and re-released on Cherry Red Records, complete
with extra tracks.

While not ostensibly qualifying as an Eyeless In Gaza release per se,
Martyn Bates’ solo album/ book package A Map of the Stars in Summer comes
close to qualifying for this particular distinction. Completed in February
2008 and released in March of that year, the A Map album was produced and
engineered by Peter Becker – with Eyeless In Gaza contributing a track
specifically for this release, entitled Needle to the North.

The year also saw the re-issue on Cd of the core five Eyeless In Gaza
Cherry Red Records albums, all having undergone extensive re-mastering by
Scott Davies. These classic early albums comprise what could be felt to be
the “first phase” of the band – comprising Photographs as Memories
(1980-81); Caught in Flux (1981); the later Back from the Rains (1985),
but most importantly Drumming the Beating Heart (1982) and Pale Hands I
Loved So Well (1982).

2008 saw the realisation of an ambitious Eyeless In Gaza project,
comprising completely new material. Some 3 years in the making, the source
pool of material recorded for the Summer Salt & Subway Sun was its fullest
expression and realization with the release of a box set triple album
version – the band completing work on a 3Cd version of the Summer Salt &
Subway Sun album for the U.S. label Beta-Lactam Ring Records, including
what is perhaps their longest track to date, the epic, upwards of 18 mins
Wildcat Fights.

In the August of 2008 the band also collected a prestigious Mojo Award for
their contribution to the Pillows & Prayers releases, and also specially
recording a song for a Leonard Cohen homage album for the magazine.

2007 Eyeless also completed work on a Cd of new material, entitled Summer
Salt/Subway Sun which was released in August of that year, which took the
band into yet new territories – expanding upon their long romance with key
aspects of a fragmented wyrd folk, and with ‘live performance mode’ song
settings – and also threading the album throughout with several spirited
e-guitar pieces akin to certain hybrid strands of Krautrock.

The release of Summer Salt/Subway Sun was supported by concerts in
Belgium, a festival set at Periferias, Spain plus a low key concert in
Lincoln.

2006 saw concerts in Brussels, Geneva, Athens and Thessaloniki, partly to
aid promotion of two substantial releases on the Sub Rosa label – Plague
of Years by Eyeless In Gaza, and Your Jewelled Footsteps by Martyn Bates.
These compilations, uniquely, covered the whole of Eyeless in Gaza/ Martyn
Bates’ careers, with tracks licensed across several record labels. Plague
of Years offered examples of the hitherto un-compiled experimental side of
Eyeless In Gaza’s work, whilst Your Jeweled Footsteps afforded a
long-overlooked opportunity of an overview compilation of Martyn Bates’
solo work.

2005 brought, perhaps surprisingly, a wider interest in so-called
‘wyrd-folk’ – or rather, as Eyeless themselves have long termed it,
‘avant-folk’. Bearing in mind the contemporaneous acknowledgement in
certain quarters (e.g. The Unbroken Circle) of Eyeless in Gaza’s long term
partiality for this much misunderstood form, and with the band garnering
25th Anniversary plaudits from such esteemed tastemakers as the likes of
Alan McGee (McGee wrote the sleeve notes to the then current Eyeless In
Gaza compilation career overview album No Noise), 2005 saw in degree of
consolidation – with the band’s “eclectic legacy and influential body of
work …” moving towards a degree of recognition beyond a cloistered
cognoscenti.

The earlier part of 2005 saw Eyeless attending to a flurry of varied and
teeming activities, befitting a band who were celebrating their
twenty-fifth year of activity. A 25th anniversary concert took place at
Bush Hall in London, and a series of ‘anniversary’ releases were issued on
Cherry Red records late June of that year. These releases comprised an
overview ‘best of’ Cd – No Noise – combing a distillation of the Cherry
Red recordings and the subsequent Ambivalent Scale label releases, a DVD
entitled Saw You In Reminding Pictures, which comprised footage of Eyeless
performing at Le Havre in 1982 plus footage from the November 2004 gig.

2004 saw Eyeless tread the boards as a “live band” for the first time in
many a long year, performing a successful ‘secret’ gig in the Isle of
Wight – an event which presages future performances from the duo. Further
film soundtrack work also featured on the band’s agenda in 2004, with the
recording and completion of music for The Resurrection Apprentice,
directed by filmmaker Dan McQuaid – colleague/collaborator of/with Larry
Fassenden/Jim Jarmusch.

Eyeless in Gaza/Lol Coxhill’s outré Home Produce collaboration album was
realised and released in 2003, being perhaps the most “out-there” release
to date from the band. Consisting in the main of what used to be known as
“free-music”, this uncompromising release drew a deal of perhaps
unexpected plaudits from magazines such as Wire.

In 2002, Eyeless In Gaza were invited by Bill Laswell to contribute to the
maverick Hashisheen project. These recordings saw Eyeless working together
on a piece with Genesis P. Orridge – on an album which also featured new
pieces by Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Techno Animal, Paul Schütze, Jah Wobble
and William S. Burroughs. The year also initiated an exciting development
for Eyeless, in the shape of a long-sought quest into the world of film
soundtracks – with Eyeless supplying two pieces for Patrice Chereau’s film
of Hanif Kureishi’s novel INTIMACY. The soundtrack also featured cuts by
The Clash, The Stooges, David Bowie and Nick Cave.

In 2000/2001 Eyeless In Gaza recorded the seminal wyrd
folk/improvisational mix that is Song of The Beautiful Wanton – a work
that eloquently draws together several key strands of Eyeless’ long and
varied career – also constituting a “breaking away” from their
relationship of several years with World Serpent Distribution to release
the album on the well-regarded US independent label Soleilmoon.

Throughout the seeming ‘reflection’ period of 1997-1999, Eyeless In Gaza’s
public profile in some respects can be said to have took something of a
back seat, as Peter Becker busied himself to a lesser or (usually) greater
degree with the recording/development & production duties behind several
Martyn Bates’ solo works. These included the “seminal and classic”
wyrd-folk album Imagination Feels Like Poison … not forgetting Bates’ U.S.
release album Dance of Hours and the Bates/Anne Clark album of settings of
Rainer Maria Rilke. Becker and Bates oversaw an extensive release and
re-mastering programme of the Eyeless Cherry Red period recordings for Cd
release – including several compilations. Bates put together two books of
lyrics and notes for Stride Publications, while Eyeless In Gaza worked on
further collaborations and contributions to several of Anne Clark’s
European Sony released albums – while at the same time upholding their
sustained ethos and ideas as regards contributing to several key
compilation Cd’s released via a still-flourishing
d.i.y/underground/alternative network – e.g. Ptolemaic Terrascope’s Alms
release. Throughout this period, the duo continued to write, develop and
record a vast body of studio works – amassing a working backlog of some
hitherto unheard 100 plus pieces – work that continues to be transformed
and re-modelled by the twin EYELESS workaholics, who have appropriately
been dubbed by one particularly sympathetic journalist as “seemingly
insatiable/indefatigable explorers of strange song and sonic hinterlands.”

1995 saw Eyeless relaunch the Ambivalent Scale label in co-operation with
World Serpent Distribution initially with a sister/companion release to
Saw You In Reminding Pictures entitled Streets I Ran, once again focusing
on the improvisational. November 1995 brought Bitter Apples – a Cd of
material with an emphasis this time strongly shifting the balance from the
previous two releases onto the re-investigation of Eyeless’ own particular
brand of song and avant-folk. Geared towards a live performance bias
Bitter Apples focuses on the vocal/bass/guitar/drum axis – albeit in a
distinctive and individualistic Eyeless mode, perhaps closest to their
Drumming the Beating Heart/Rust Red September period in approach. Bitter
Apples draws on folk, improvised and European traditional musics all
combined with a fresh take on Eyeless’ own personal backgrounds of pop and
art-punk ethics. An eclectic blend of melody and rich lyricism – the rawer
side of which July 1996s’ All Under the Leaves, the Leaves of Life both
continues and yet expands upon.

Collaborations with This Mortal Coil’s Deirdre Rutkowski followed rapidly
(recordings later abandoned), as well as troubled flirtations with bands
Cry Acetylene Angel and Hungry i (possibly, in some respects Bates is too
much of a control freak; “if I work with more than one person at a time,
then something about what I do becomes invisible”). Bates, incidentally,
continued to carve out a fevered solo career, beginning with a 2-volume
solo set, in 1994/95, on the Bruxelles based Sub Rosa label – song
settings of James Joyce’s Chamber Music poems – and shortly after going
onto explore markedly different territory on the Italian Musica Maxima
Magnetica label with Scorn/Painkiller mainstay M.J. Harris entitled Murder
Ballads (Drift); folk forms meet isolationist with chillingly eerie
results (followed by two further volumes, Passages, and Incest Songs).
Bates’ later solo releases are the song-based Mystery Seas, Imagination
Feels Like Poison, and 2002’s Dance of Hours – a return to a simple
context of voice/organ; stark, denuded songs and a very personal
territory.

1994 found Eyeless In Gaza side-stepping much of the “pop” sensibility of
1993’s Fabulous Library with a 2nd post re-union (see below) album
entitled Saw You In Reminding Pictures – essentially an album of
spontaneous improvisations recorded in June of 94. Practically a
continuation of the Pale Hands I Loved So Well vein of E.I.G. stylings,
the music is richly lyrical and evocative, with much use made of
non-verbal vocalisations, clattering percussion, keyboard drones and
acoustic instrumentation. As ever with Eyeless, rich vocal melody is to
the fore of the music and mix. Recorded mainly “live” at Ambivalent Scale,
good use is made of subtle tape manipulation and “live” recording
techniques, resulting in a compelling and intriguingly dense web of sound.

This music, however, was not “ambient” in the then current “Chill-Out” or
even “Isolationist” usage of the term – being instead a vividly filmic
music with a direct lineage that had more to do with Eyeless’ own
individualistic personal path of development than with an interest in any
current musically fashionable mores. To paraphrase the Cd sleeve notes, on
this release, much as they do throughout their illustrious catalogue:
“Eyeless volunteer imaginary soundtracks, soundscapes for the reminding
pictures in us all.”

1991 saw Bates and Becker inexorably drawn together again to work with
self-styled Poet Anne Clark, contributing to and writing for her album The
Law is an Anagram of Wealth. This collaboration helped precipitate a
permanent re-union for Eyeless In Gaza in 1993, for the Fabulous Library
Cd. Initially starting life as a Becker solo work (with Elizabeth S.), an
invitation for Bates to contribute saw the album take on a hitherto
unexplored aspect of Eyeless. With fresh impetus and enthusiasms for
exploration and experimentation re-located, a permanent re-union was
decided upon. Low-key “live” gigs followed in Holland, Belgium and
Germany, embarked upon as something in the nature of an experiment, given
that E.I.G. was felt by the duo to be pretty much of a “studio animal” in
those days, preferring to work within the controllable confines of the
Ambivalent Scale studios in Nuneaton, Warwickshire – (perspectives
regarding this issue have proved to alter and shift from time to time
during the course of the band’s long and varied career). Eyeless In Gaza
nevertheless went on to play a ‘secret’ gig in the Isle of Wight in
November 2004, where “the music felt right” … which augured well for
further live performances by the band.

THE HAITUS/ EYELESS IN GAZA “Resting Period”: In February 1987, citing a
need to explore fresh territories and musical configurations/situations,
Eyeless In Gaza suspended activities, leaving behind an eclectic legacy
and influential body of work that whilst being recognised by peers and
contemporaries has still yet to be fully acknowledged and accredited by
the press and the music industry in general.

Post-Eyeless, Peter Becker worked with Indie doyens In Embrace before
briefly eschewing music concerns to teach computer skills. During this
period Bates meanwhile, avidly pursued a solo career – covering a wide and
varied remit … including collaborations to the soundtracks of Derek
Jarman’s The Garden and The Last of England, as well as a series of solo
albums that saw Bates armed with a 12-string acoustic guitar investigating
traditional troubadour stylings whilst moving further and further from
that particular context with each successive release.

Which (phew!) brings us (sort of) & finally, back to (a version of) the
beginning.

… when, sometime way back in 1980, after releasing experimental/industrial
tapes of Antagonistic Music/Dissonance (as Migraine Inducers), Martyn
Bates formed Eyeless In Gaza as a duo with Peter Becker. Keen to explore
musical territories that veered crazily from filmic ambience to rock and
pop, industrial funk to avant-folk styles, the band steered hungrily and
rapidly through several albums that culminated (or so it seemed!) in the
reflective swan songs of Rust Red September and Back From the Rains,
whilst chalking up along the way hundreds of concerts all over Europe and
several best-selling Independent Chart singles and albums. And, as we all
now know, all of THAT turned out to be just one of several
beginnings/points of departure … .

I would like to hear from you asap.

Regards.

Alain

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