Synth cults as diverse as Vangelis and David Vorhaus’s White Noise were onto the Zyklus, a hardware sequencer enabling a performer to control up to four synthesizers or samplers simultaneously.
It also gave a name to British jazz’s founding adoptees, likewise charmed by its possibilities, Neil Ardley, Nucleus’s Ian Carr along with John L. Walters and Warren Greveson.
Formed in 1988 with the aim of exploring the boundaries of composition and improvisation, the band aimed to be a ‘live electronic jazz orchestra’, conspiring to produce both composed and semi-improvised music to inspire an improvising soloist.
Walters, Ardley and Greveson handled three MPS machines with Carr solo improvising on trumpet and flugelhorn while Greveson also adds guitar.
Their only album, “VIRTUAL REALITIES”, was recorded in 1991. It contains original compositions by Ardley, Greveson and Walters, notably the latter’s ominous epic Before The Oil Ran Out, and an unusual Ardley-Greveson arrangement of Round Midnight in which the classic tune is taken to pieces and hauntingly reassembled note by note.
The quartet gave several live performances and later also worked as a trio. With the passing of Neil Ardley and Ian Carr, the album remains a testament to the talents of both men, fusing jazz with repetitive and minimalist music – a style at which the Zyklus sequencer excelled.
So – does anyone still have one?
Title: Virtual Realities
Label: Dusk Fire
- Refracted Rainbow
- No Score
- Enchanted Isle
- I K Brunel
- Round Midnight
- Before The Oil Ran Out