Steve Moore ‘A Quiet Gathering’

01 A Quiet Gathering (20:40)

02 Eight Openings onto a Vermilion Sky (21:08)

  • I/ Opening of Visions
  • II/ Opening of Origins
  • III/ Diptych
  • IV/ Opening of the Sculptor
  • V/ Opening of Ancient Wisdom
  • VI/ A Ladder for the Child
  • VII/ Mechanical Opening
  • VIII/ Opening of Liberation

03 Somnambule (03:49)
[from ‘A Quiet Gathering’, RēR 30, 1988]
04 The Treshold of Liberty (09:33)
[from RēR Quarterly Vol. 1 No. 1, 1985]

05 Hermetic Discourse (06:45)
[from RēRQuarterly Vol. 1 No. 4, 1986]

Total time: 61:53

After the inclusion of Steve Moore‘s ‘The Threshold of Liberty’ on RēR Quarterly vol 1 in 1985, Chris Cutler suggested the idea of a field recording album, the future ‘Quiet Gathering’ LP. Little is known of Steve Moore’s biography, though I guess some of it is similar to that of french composer Luc Marianni, who quit music to become a psychologist and expert in esoteric theories. Here’s a Chris Cutler end note to a Moore’s article: ‘Steve Moore is an autodidact psychology graduate dropout from Durham. He first used a recording studio, in a rock context, in 1980 and as an instrument in 1982’. Moore obviously had access to a studio allowing tape splicing and editing.

Side one, ‘A Quiet Gathering’, is based on 3 years spent collecting location recordings. Sounds were later juxtaposed and organized, without much further sound processing, as Moore prefered un-treated sounds. What is rare in this music is the way Moore is taking into account the psychological aspects of sounds, chosen for their power of evocation, their suggestive possibilities in the listener’s mind. Moore uses stressful/tense sounds along relaxing/reassuring ones, to make us aware of their ability to evoke feelings. The music features un-realistic acoustics disorienting the listener, like wide reverberant spaces contrasting with more focused recordings. During ‘A Quiet Gathering’, we will hear various foreign languages, chosen for their sound properties rather than meaning. As we recognize familiar sounds – flys, seagulls, engines, children, grandmother chatter, bells, grinding noises… –, we associate them with personnal memories, the music building up on our own reminiscences. Some of the techniques used reminds Trevor Wishart’s Red Bird (and Hitchcok The Birds), like the birds sounds at 3:00 morphing into bells ringing. But on a psychological level, this is only comparable to some of Francis Dhomont’s own researches, like ‘Sous le regard d’un soleil noir’ (1981), based on Ronald Laing’s anti-psychiatrist theories.

‘Eight Openings onto a Vermilion Sky’ applies the same process to samples and loops from dozen LPs including many classical music and ethnic recordings. Speed change, reversal and key-shifts are the main studio treatments in this non-dogmatic concrete music. Sounds include acoustic and electronic samples, found sounds, field recordings, concrete music, various noises and objects. ‘Vermillion Sky’ is a suite of 8 short concrete/electroacoustic vignettes, of which only ‘Opening of the Sculpture’ is played on a synth, namely a VCS3. On first hearing, some of the juxtapositions might seam surrealist, though Moore is not interested in the extremes of collage music. Anyway, ‘Vermillion Sky’ is a brilliant and much-varied composition.

Thanks to Vespucci who kindly offered the material for this post. The LP was posted a while back on a discontinued blog, Mended Records.


  • Return Of The Poet cassette, Mirage 1984.
  • A Quiet Gathering LP, ReR 1988
  • The Threshold of Liberty cassette, Inner Ear (Scotland) 1990
  • The Way In cassette, Inner Ear (Scotland) 1990
  • Various tracks on Recommended Records Quarterly samplers


10 Responses to “Steve Moore ‘A Quiet Gathering’”

  1. 1 vespucci May 8, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Thanks for your effort to describe that release, continuo!

    Does anybody knows more about Steve Moore (there is hardly anything about him on the internet)?

  2. 2 vaubu May 12, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Thank you contiuo for an opportunity to revisit this. I was introduced to this by vespucci last year and it’s spectacular. The info you have provided has made it even more enjoyful.

  3. 3 mramnesiac May 27, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Thanks for this. A much-loved album. I have a copy on vinyl so don’t feel too bad about downloading your rar. What I am really looking for though is the Threshold of Liberty cassette that I frustratingly have the case for but not the cassette itself.

    It would be great to hear that again. I love this man’s work, it is remarkable how obscure he remains.

  4. 4 stefan May 28, 2008 at 3:47 am

    Huge thanks for this, and for your wonderful blog! Completely unknown name for me this Steve Moore, but what a revelation! The Treshold of Liberty is a fabulous work, prefiguring in its dynamism what John Wall will do 10 years later. I would absolutely love to hear other stuff of him.

  5. 5 continuo May 28, 2008 at 7:00 am

    Thanks should go first to Vespucci, as he provided mp3s and pictures. I’m trying to get hold of the Treshold Of Liberty cassette.

  6. 6 Mike Dickson December 25, 2009 at 12:32 am

    Hi – I followed Steve Moore’s work when I was in regular correspondence with Chris Cutler of Recommended Records in the 1980s and have the articles Steve wrote for their Quarterly ‘magazine’ as well as a tap copy of his second tape album, ‘The Way In’. Anyone interested in these? I can make them all available if so.

    I’ve loved Steve’s music since I first heard it. It’s just captivating. Anyone who hears parts of the albums ‘Six Consequences’ or ‘In Excelsis’ from my web site will know *right away* where my influences come from, and Steve is a large part of that.

    I was in contact with Chris Cutler again fairly recently on other business and asked him about Steve’s current work. It seems that he grew disillusioned with musical business (such as it must have been to him!) and moved to the Hebrides where he is living a very frugal life and no longer even plays an instrument. I also understand that he was at one time a teacher up there.

  7. 7 continuo December 26, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Thanks for your exciting comment, Mike. Of course, any additional Steve Moore material would be welcomed, both by readers and myself.

  8. 8 Mike Dickson December 27, 2009 at 12:45 am

    Following up on my previous post I can now offer Steve Moore’s other album ‘The Way In’ for download from my web page at

    It’s a seriously no-frills web page and contains only the information from the cassette’s inlay card. I hope to get the artwork scanned and uploaded at some time.

    In terms of content it’s more ‘musical’ than Steve’s other efforts, but I still adore it. I hope this small but devoted band of his followers feels the same way!

  9. 9 meryon March 25, 2012 at 1:06 pm


    Two years after the last post I want to say thank you. I very like Steve Moore’s music, so thx for the sharing.

    I’m making a movie in this moment and I use many diferents music sources.
    It’s about a work with the montage theory and the sense of History.

    I used some excerpts from Steve Moore’s musics (and others).

    If you want to watch an excerpt of the movie, it’s here:


  10. 10 continuo March 25, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Glad to know you’ve been using some of Steve Moore’s music in your film.
    Thanks for dropping by.

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