Tim Souster – Nice and Nasty

Tim Souster – Nice and Nasty LP front cover
Tim Souster – Nice and Nasty LP back cover
Tim Souster – Nice and Nasty LP side A

Versatile British composer Tim Souster (1943-1994) had a feet in rock criticism; electroacoustic music (in Cambridge’s King College with Roger Smalley); television, film and library music; improvised music (with bands Intermodulation and Ødb); and contemporary music (as a radio producer with BBC3 in the 1960s and as Stockhausen’s teaching assistant in Cologne during the 1970s). In 1974, Pierre Boulez conducted his Song of an Average City for orchestra and tape in London. Souster’s first LP was SW1T DR1MZ in 1977, a unique mixture of avantgarde traits and cheesy synth sounds. See BBC portrait here.

♫ Published 1982, Nice and Nasty started Tim Souster’s collaboration with the de Wolfe library music company. If the cover art is any indication, the music is not intended for romantic interludes and, indeed, the 13 instrumentals on this LP would suit more thrilling, action-packed movies. The music goes from guitar/bass/drums pop-rock efforts to deep, melancholic ambient compositions, like the exquisite #3 Stella’s Theme, reminiscent of Colin Towns’ extraordinary Full Circle film soundtrack, 1979. But the LP also includes a personal take on dub (#10), as well as strange, semi-improvised experiments, or almost contemporary music on percussion in the 2 last tracks.

01 Shakedown (3:33)
02 The Big Wind (2:44)
03 Stella’s Theme (4:52)
04 Still Waters (4:27)
05 Skyfighter (2:52)
06 Thunderscape (3:09)
07 Disco Coda (2:12)
08 Shark (1:55)
09 Mountain (3:01)
10 Rub-a-Dub (2:12)
11 Hamstrings (2:35)
12 Format 1 (2:23)
13 Format 2 (3:12)

Total time 39:07
LP released by Music de Wolfe, UK, 1982


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Tim Souster discography:
1977 SW1T DR1MZ, LP, Transatlantic Records, UK
1977 The Future Is Now, 7” single, Transatlantic Records, UK
1979 w/ Paddy Kingsland: The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, LP, Original, UK
1982 Nice And Nasty, LP, Music de Wolfe, UK
1982 New Music From England, LP, Leonarda Productions, N.Y.C., USA
1983 Action, Not Talk, LP, Music de Wolfe, UK
1983 Sonata/Equalisation, LP, Nimbus, UK (Ambisonic system)
1987 Scream And Scream Again vol.2, LP, Music de Wolfe, UK
1989 Great Moghuls OST, CD, Silva Screen, UK
1999 Electric Brass, CD, Doyen Records, UK
2001 w/ Intermodulation: Performants, in Not Necessary English Music, curated by David Toop, CD, Electronic Music Foundation, USA
2002 The Transistor Radio of St. Narcissus, in Stockhausen: Michael’s Farewell, CD, Deux-Elles, UK
2007 Hambledon Hill (string quartet) in Ghost Stories, CD, Signum, UK

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11 Responses to “Tim Souster – Nice and Nasty”

  1. 1 tusco October 6, 2011 at 7:12 am

    These latest posts look so good. Thank you!

  2. 2 litlgrey October 6, 2011 at 7:19 am

    Oh, sweet – I don’t have this. Thank you ! The discography is quite helpful too !

  3. 3 continuo October 6, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Thank you, guys. It’s my pleasure to delight the ears and help the researcher.

  4. 4 John Hails (@harmonyharmony) October 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    I don’t know enough Souster so this is a welcome addition to my ‘collection’ (i.e. SW1T DR1MZ).

  5. 5 continuo October 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    HI, John. I’d also like to hear more from this interesting composer.
    Thanks for your comment.

  6. 6 John Hails (@harmonyharmony) October 12, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    Well according to Grove most of his music is unpublished. I’m not sure how much of it is represented by recordings, let alone extant recordings. Perhaps it’s time for a visionary record label (do we have any of those left?) to issue a Souster edition…

  7. 7 continuo October 13, 2011 at 7:27 am

    Let’s not put too much hope in today’s record labels. But maybe enthusiast bloggers might eventually post existing records…

  8. 8 John Hails (@harmonyharmony) October 13, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    I’ve just seen that the London Sinfonietta are performing Spectral (which I think is on SW1T DR1MZ [available here: http://mutant-sounds.blogspot.com/2007/04/tim-souster-swit-drimz-lp-uk-1977.html%5D) at King’s Place in London on Friday 21st October (http://www.londonsinfonietta.org.uk/node/793).
    Check this link out for an interview with Souster from 1978, conducted by Charles Amirkhanian: http://www.archive.org/details/MC_1978_11_10.
    The programme features a performance of Driftwood Cortege, and excerpts from Spectral and Surfeit.
    There’s also an archive of his scores at Sound and Music (Somerset House): http://soundandmusic.org/thecollection/resources/thecollection/browse/composer/12721
    His widow, Penny runs 0dB Editions, which published most of his instrumental work, and she used to maintain a web presence for his music as well, but that seems to have gone now.

  9. 9 continuo October 13, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    I had come across some of these links while researching this post, but wasn’t aware of 0db Editions, though. Thanks for your knowledgeable comment, John.

  10. 11 Peter January 20, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    Missed it both times. Any chance of a re-up? Thanks!

    Th Tim Souster Archive can be found at http://www.sara.uea.ac.uk

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