Chris Goode on ‘VIOLENCE’.

“ Meanwhile, in another part of Trumpet Island (now there's a reality show I could get into), far removed from Arve Henriksen's ambient chic, we find Matt Davis, beating a caribou to death with his instrument. Howzat for extended technique. Actually, in most ways this isn't a violent album at all -- as anyone familiar with Davis's remarkable body of work will have suspected. He's long been one of the most intriguing figures on the UK's improv / lowercase scene, extending the (so-called, or not even) 'New London Silence' outwards into considerations of not primarily musical performance, especially in that shadowy but engrossing interzone between dance and live art: most notably through his excellent Field series at Chisenhale Dance Space, to which many local heroes such as Rajni Shah and Tim Jeeves were contributors. What's really exciting about this release (free to download through Davis's web site) is observing Davis apply his intensely perceptive consideration of the socially constitutive aspects of sound to an entirely solo project: in this case, by using the qualities of the attentive space generated between musician and listener to host and nurture a profound and essentially collaborative reflection on violence. Where is violence in relation to this music? Violence is haunted by a sense of constraint, certainly, of self-harm even; notes are purposely split and misshaped, the trumpet itself is 'misused', its familiar voice made strange and broken; on the long centrepiece track, 'violence as cognitive mapping, an antidote to groundlessness' (I imagine its sharing of its title with the unexpectedly alarming 2001 farewell single by Steps is purely coincidental), it's made to resemble -- perhaps to ventriloquize -- shakuhachi and shawm... But isn't this part-demolition somehow also a release, a liberation, in a way that, for example, sadomasochists might recognize? Is this whole process somewhat akin to that familiar Thompson's bonnet-bee about the necessary 'breaking' of theatrical text? Part of the conundrum around violence surely is its sensuality, its insistence on a corporeality that will not be transcended or wished away; yet its inhabiting of hidden systematic pathways and occluded syntaxes does more harm by a mile than its spectacular irruptions in pop culture or in any number of artistic practices distortively labelled as 'extreme'. How Davis manages to create with such economy a site for this kind of contemplation, I've no idea, though certainly it matters that this is a music entirely devoid of ego and decoration, for all its sensual reach: it's lean, often delicate and minutely detailed, sometimes harsh and rebarbative, though it holds its ground in relation to the listener with uncommon grace, making its textures compelling even as they repel. I guess for newcomers to Matt Davis's work and ambit I might recommend a preparatory listen to, for example, Open, his beautiful 2003 album with Mark Wastell and Phil Durrant for Erstwhile, which is perhaps a little less freighted in its challenges (or, rather, invitations) to the listener; Violence is tougher going -- as it obviously should be -- but rewarding, expansive and profoundly stimulating..”

Mute Correspondence - review by Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic

“Matt Davis' solo trumpet CD Mute Correspondences was originally released four years ago on the Confront label back when it was a CDR imprint whose ridiculously limited editions sold out far too quickly, so its reissue is cause for some celebration. This new edition on the trumpeter's own Field imprint - slim transparent boxes and text and visuals on pale grey onion skin vellum - is in fact credited to Davis and Rosa Munoz, who is in fact a dancer (but dancers make noise too) performing with Davis on four tracks recorded in Salamandra Dance Studios in Barcelona in October 2000. For the reissue Davis has selected just seven of the original eleven cuts, dispensing with four multi-track pieces (shame, as they were rather wonderful: all the more reason to search out an original Confront if you have the patience) and also apparently changed round some of the titles. As a solo trumpet outing (no disrespect intended to Ms Munoz), Mute Correspondences certainly ranks alongside Franz Hautzinger's Gomberg, Axel Dörner's Trumpet and Greg Kelley's, erm, Trumpet (well, what's in a name?). It might not push things to the same extreme limits as Dörner, whose aforementioned offering on A Bruit Secret sounds more like an industrial ventilation system, studiously avoids the raw testosterone blasts that characterise much of Kelley's Meniscus album, and sure as hell doesn't come with a ranting set of liner notes by Bill "Trademark" Dixon like Hautzinger's, but for sheer musicality and, excuse the tired cliché, listening pleasure, Mute Correspondences has my vote. Extended tech trumpeters now seem to be all over the place, so high pitched whistles, barks, flaps, snaps, gurgles and plops might be familiar to several listeners, but what makes the difference here is not the vocabulary itself but how Davis puts it together to create organic and intricate pieces of music that richly reward repeated listening. It's been one of my favourite solo albums ever since I got hold of a CDR copy, and I can't recommend it too highly.”


matt (at) f-i-e-l-d (dot) co (dot) uk


London 1970

Matt Davis is an artist working in sound, music and performance, living in Bristol.

Working in improvised and experimental music - using trumpet, field recordings and electromagnetics.

The latter could be described as live acoustic/visual performance of electromagnetic signals harvested from cracked household or industrial electrical devices which are mainly originally designed as light sources - exploring them as naturally acoustic events and for their potential as feral musical elements.

‘Field’ is a live art/performance project, operating since 2003, which investigates Space as an ‘ongoing contemporaneity of crossing trajectories’*..... as a non-hierarchical, always-being-made matrix of realities, thoughts, histories or concepts.  Rather than a discreet work of art which invites a singular reading, concept or idea.

(*see ‘For Space’ Doreen Massey, Sage 2005)