Martin Archer

Born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, 1957; composer, saxophones and synthesizer. Martin Archer is a musician, composer, and recording artist who has been involved in creative music since 1980. Archer started his career as a saxophonist, with a lot of inspiration from Evan Parker and Anthony Braxton. He moved to electronics and new technology in the 1990s. Archer is a composer who is more interested in organizing sound material than producing notated music. He believes that it is the best place to find creative musicians space within a pre-existing framework. Archer’s compositions more often rely on chance. This will create an unexpected musical event that no amount planning can engineer. Archer has given many concerts of improvised musical music in one-off settings since 1980. He was also involved in Company Week 1988. His main work was in the contexts of his own recordings and groups. From 1980 to 1984, the first, Bass Tone Trap was formed from the fertile improvised musical scene in Sheffield in the mid/late 1970s. It was a six-piece electric jazz band for which Archer was principal songwriter. The group moved between free abstraction and punk-informed rhythmic speed. It was unique in its mix of untrained ‘naives and virtuoso musicians. Archer’s main vehicle for the decade was the Hornweb Saxophone Quartet, which ran from 1983 to 1993. The group was able to perform as a quartet at many hundred concerts in the UK and Europe, but it was flexible. Sixteen was a collection of compositions that could be used by different line-ups. Later performances included the addition of a trumpet, trombone and bass, as well as guitar. The Venona Breaks, Hornweb’s last recording, was an extended piece for nine instruments, including woodwinds, brass, piano, and percussion. Archer decided to abandon live acoustic music after Hornweb was disbanded in 1993. He instead made creative use of the new technology. Transient v Resident, Chris Bywater and Archer, synthesizers, and electronics, is informed by all aspects electronic music. This includes the abstracts of the classical avantgarde, the excitement of techno, new ambient movements and the classic experiments of German synthesists from the 1970s. Two CDs were recorded by the duo, Electrical Shroud (with Foster) and Medulla (with Paul Hession). TvR became a five-piece group in 2000. It was renamed Atlas with Benjamin Bartholomew (guitars), Foster on bass guitar, and Paul Hession on drums. The emphasis has been shifting to live music rather than recorded music. In 1993 Archer formed Ask (Archer, synthesizer, saxophones; John Jasnoch, guitars). To date, the duo have recorded Disconnected bliss (1998), which includes studio-created compositions that are based on improvised material. Archer also started the Network CD project in 1993. He edited 55 pieces of music from different sources to create one continuous stream of music. 1995 saw the release of a second volume. In 2001, Geraldine Monk and Julie Tippetts started a collaboration. The first CD Angel High Wires was released that year. Archer’s majority of work is released on his Discus record label. from

Leave a Comment