Day 7 – our final day with Alex.

We made it! Seven days of intense collaboration and exploration, culminating in a gig at The Cube Cinema in Bristol. We decided to give our lips a rest all day until the evening of our gig, so day seven was all about our final gig with Alex.

Following on from a storming set by Anta was interesting. We have been developing our live sound over recent weeks and had decided to play our gig at The Cube quietly, acoustically + some amplified reinforcement. It’s a small venue and we wanted to keep the sound of our instruments as pure as possible. Anta and the other acts on the night were pretty loud so it was interesting to hear the juxtaposition.

We enjoyed playing very much and appreciated the warm response to our set. As usual we were playing around a structure, according to how Stuart conducted proceedings. This always makes for a fresh experience but I didn’t think he’d actually make us play THAT COVER!?

Despite a mess up on the audio recording, the whole thing was filmed.

Thanks to everyone that made it down to see us.


Our week with Alex brought a lot of stuff into sharp focus for us. We have plenty to reflect and build on. We are going back into our bunker for a bit now to write and develop some stuff, and to plan the next stage of ORE.

Day 6

By the sixth day of recording and exploration our lips were practically falling off us.

We wanted to conserve our energy for our gig the next day so went for a fun session up at Gullet Quarry again. David brought along a second furry friend, so we could explore some exciting recording techniques.

At one point we all wondered off around different sides of the quarry and fired notes across the space at each other. Sonic weapons!

And…relax. A whole day off until our gig at the Cube Cinema the following night. One funny from day six was when we contemplated what the reaction might be if we put “large boulders to sit on” put on our gig rider.

Day 5

What a great day!

Firstly, we headed to Gullet Quarry [PDF] in The Malverns, for a recording session. We had a lot of fun playing within that acoustic landscape. Improvised, sparse drones seemed to be the order of the day. Towards the end of our time there Alex went down to the water to play some solo stuff.

Following on from this we played a gig at short notice in the EC Arts space in The Mailbox shopping centre, Birmingham. We were joined by our guest Alex Sramek and a great group of improvising musicians including Trevor Lines, Lydia Glanville and Simon Gray. We were really pleased with how this went. A few more people in attendance would’ve been great but we did far too little in promotion to expect anything else. It was a great experiment and EC Arts are keen to have us back!

Photo: Simon Riley

Day 3 – Technical glitches

It’s been a slightly frustrating morning with microphone troubles but some new tunes have been borne from it.

While Sam, Alex and David were trying to make sense of the strange things happening with the contact mic on Alex’s contrabass clarinet, I wrote up and developed a couple of ideas that cropped up during yesterday’s improvisations. We also have a new cover – and not by an established doom act this time. I’ll be both surprised and delighted if anyone manages to identify it when we play it live…

The technical support department doing some emergency soldering

The technical support department doing some emergency soldering...

Day 1

As mentioned in a previous blog post ORE are currently taking a week to explore ideas with contrabass clarinet player Alex Sramek, culminating in our performance together at The Cube Cinema in Bristol on Saturday the 25th.

We aim to keep putting snippets up here and there. Today, an excerpt from our dabblings with Seven Angels by Earth. This was only the second piece we have ever played together and also only the second time ORE have covered this tune. Our day with Alex started well though, with an EPIC fifty minute improvised set that included our new tune “Morton” along the way.

For those of you who can’t make the Bristol gig, keep the evening of Thursday the 23rd free for some improvised group drone in Birmingham. All will be revealed soon.

Tomorrow we are joined by David Morton, for some proper recording. Enjoy!

AUDIO: ORE – Demo, acoustic recording of Seven Angels by Earth(excerpt)

Stuart notating the piece for Alex:

A week of exploration

On the 25th of February, we have our third formal performance as ORE, featuring our special guest, Alex Sramek. We are so pleased to be playing in Bristol and at such a great venue as The Cube Cinema, an old favourite of ours.

In the run up to our gig we will be spending some time in the studio exploring our collaboration with Alex and his contrabass clarinet, the sound of which is something to behold. We will be developing some ideas for our performance, recording some bits and getting out and about to odd venues to explore the effect of our surroundings on our sound, and for some pop-up performances. These will mainly be around Birmingham and Worcester and might be over before you even get there…but if you want to be kept informed about what we are up to, please check our updates on Twitter.

We hope to see you at some point on this journey. We are very excited to have Alex over from the US to work with us. This is a rare combination and we hope you will come to hear / witness it in Bristol on the 25th February, or at least one of our pop-up performances beforehand.

Special guest

We like to collaborate with like-minded musicians, which is why we were delighted when Alex Sramek got in touch with us towards the end of 2011. It was obvious from the first conversation that we should make some noise together. Alex plays contrabass clarinet and has been described by The Clarinet as “The world’s loudest clarinet player”. He also shares our love of long, low drones and improvisation.

Alex is coming to the UK in February for the SABRe (Sensor Augmented Bass clarinet Research) event at Keele University. It seemed like an obvious opportunity to get some stuff done together, culminating in a live performance together at The Cube Cinema in Bristol on the 25th – lovely poster below, designed by another Alex.

We are currently trying to organise something to take place in Birmingham while Alex is over, alongside some recording time, pop-up performances (well, not that pop-up with two tubas and a contrabass clarinet), playing in some odd spaces, etc. If you’d like to suggest something you want to see / hear us do during the last couple of weeks in February, please get in touch or post a comment below.