House of Bedlam: Enclosure

House of Bedlam: Enclosure

NMC Recordings
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Release date: 26 March 2021

Entirely conceived and recorded independently in the 2020 lockdown by the musicians of The House of Bedlam, NMC’s release Enclosure reflects on what it is to play together and play apart and celebrates the technical achievement of isolated musicians in challenging times.

Larry Goves writes in the programme booklet liner notes:
'In April 2020, when I started putting together the music for Enclosure, COVID-19 meant that everyone wanted to be together, and the circumstances were really conspiring against it. So, despite the fact that these recordings were all made (and more than half of the pieces written or arranged) during lockdown, with each player recording at home and sending to me for editing and mixing, the music has been written or chosen to reflect on what it is to play together and to play apart. This collection, therefore, includes music played in obsessive unison, played entirely independently, composed after the sounds were recorded, and in one case downplaying the importance of the instrumentalist entirely.'

Works by Larry Goves include Distant airports and Music for melody instruments, objects, and electronic sounds which strive for a virtual togetherness with unison melodies weaving their way through electronic clouds, and a new work inspired by the aggressive stabbing chords of a Siouxsie and the Banshees track. Larry's arrangements of Claudia Sessa's (c.1570-c.1619) Occhi io vissi di vol plays on the tension of playing together and playing apart with alternative takes of a saxophone superimposed on itself creating a duet and then wider ensemble, while his piece Nehemiah 2 grows out of an unrecognisably-distorted sample of blues legend Nehemiah Curtis ‘Skip’ James.

Growing Block’s graphic score (by Sarah Hennies) invites the performer to explore listening in a particular space and time. 30-second blocks of music have the musicians “behave as though inside a snapshot of a moment in time if one could move around inside a moment without going forwards or backwards.” Matthew Sergeant’s piece Matters of Matter #4 celebrates the sounds objects or materials make for themselves with two branches bowing a violin’s open strings - creating a seductive, glitchy, AMSR-like music.

With the performers collectively choosing (in advance) their own sounds and approaches to a renaissance melody, Amber Priestley's With wholesome hunger plenty calls on the musicians to navigate graphically notated solos, to invite others to join in, or to choose to interrupt, and ultimately to race to the end.

The House of Bedlam
Larry Goves director/composer/electronics
Kathryn Williams flutes
Carl Raven saxophones/clarinets
Tom McKinney guitars
Stephanie Tress cello




"...try Enclosure by the House of Bedlam, an engagingly unquantifiable collective founded by the composer-performer Larry Goves. The album’s focus is playing together, playing apart, which might be a maxim for all musicians this past year."
The Guardian

"...there is a sense of the sheer joy of exploring ways of performing and ways of creating new sounds and textures together." Planet Hugill


All tracks recorded by the performers at home:
Kathryn Williams and Larry Goves – Manchester
Tom McKinney – Hadfield (Derbyshire)
Carl Raven – Glossop (Derbyshire)
Steph Tress – London

All tracks except Track 5:
LARRY GOVES Producer & Recording Engineer

Track 5 Matters of Matter #4 A bowed string instrument is played with
a found branch, twig, or similar...LARRY GOVES Recording Engineer

DAVID LEFEBER Final Mastering

Catalogue number: NMC D269
Release date: 26 March 2021