David Toop & Paul Burwell – Wounds

David Toop & Paul Burwell - Wounds LP front cover
David Toop & Paul Burwell - Wounds LP back cover
David Toop & Paul Burwell - Wounds LP side A

Paul Burwell (1949-2007) and David Toop (b1949) first collaborated in Bob Cobbing’s abANA sound poetry project in 1972 (sound excerpt here). Burwell was the companion of Cobbing’s daughter, Sheila. Around 1975, Burwell founded the London Musicians’ Collective. He played in the Rain in the Face duo, and, between 1983-1991, drummed on junk materials with the Bow Gamelan Ensemble, along sculptor Richard Wilson and performer Anne Bean. In 1974, David Toop included Burwell in his book on British instrument makers titled ‘New/Rediscovered Instruments’. Around the same date, Toop launched his Quartz music label for improvisation and ethnic music – some references listed below. During the 1970s, Toop made several trips to South America from where he brought back recordings of local musicians (including birds). The trio of singer Nestor Figueras plus Toop and Burwell issued their Cholagogues LP on Bead Records in 1977, Burwell playing assorted percussion, and Toop taking care of exotic wind instruments

♫ The improvisations on this LP were recorded by Max Eastley and Russ Wood during a 1979 live performance at the L.M.C. Burwell plays a quite varied assortment of percussion on found objects, while Toop distills occasional guitar and flute traits, both contributing various noises, including cassette recordings. A kind of  non-music from which any rhythm or melody have been deliberately bowdlerized, these short tracks seem to embrace the Free-Improv dogma – think AMM – were it not for the exotic touches brought by flute, bamboo instrument and field recordings. To the innocent listener, this might even appear like smuggled aural documents infused with Mexican mushroom ceremony, Pygmy healing chanting and Chinese opera percussion. Generally speaking, the music on Wounds manages to sound like nothing else while being highly evocative of a distinct otherness. Track #9, No Electricty, might be the exception, as Toop indulges into something vaguely reminiscent of a no-wave guitar solo.

01 Stigmata (5:34)
02 Marks and Social Purpose (9:29)
03 Mud/Swifts/Din/Stench (5:18)
04 Concerning the Housing Situation in London (1:02)
05 Cosmopolitan Order of Birds (4:58)
06 The Experiment of Olgas Hand (6:53)
07 Extasy of a Bird Karma (2:41)
08 We Can Have a Good Time Without Snakes (5:38)
09 No Electricity (2:03)

Paul Burwell, assorted percussion, 6-string harp, bamboo fiddle, bird decoys, whistle, noises, rubbish, paper, water
David Toop, electric guitar, flute, cassette tapes, water, rubbish, noise, small explosives

Total time 43:36
LP released by Quartz Publications, ref. 003, UK, 1979


.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

Quartz discography (tbc):
1975 Steve Beresford “Three pullovers”, Quartz cassette 12
1977 Madang: Sacred Flute Music From New Guinea, LP, Quartz 001
1979 Windim Mambu. Sacred Flute Music From New Guinea: Madang Vol. 2, LP, Quartz 002
1979 David Toop & Paul Burwell “Wounds” LP, Quartz 003
1979 Hekura: Yanomami Shamanism from Southern Venezuela LP, Quartz 004
1980 Beresford (w/Eastley, Burwell, Toop) “Whirled music” LP, Quartz 005
1980 Alterations (incl. Steve Beresford) “Up your sleeve” LP, Quartz 006
1981 Frank Perry “Deep Peace” LP, Quartz 007

* *

10 Responses to “David Toop & Paul Burwell – Wounds”

  1. 1 owlqaeda November 21, 2011 at 7:19 am

    such wonderful shares, as owlwaze. never even heard of this. thx so much

  2. 2 continuo November 21, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Isn’t it what this blog is about? Thanks for your comment.

  3. 3 jan November 21, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Birds again, in a way, included! Thanks!

  4. 4 rob November 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    mr. burwell was indeed a force of nature, it seems. i was hoping to find an upload of william raban’s ‘beating the bridges’, which has burwell playing drums on a boat floating down the thames. sadly, the original film doesn’t seem to be viewable..

  5. 5 continuo November 21, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    @ jan: Birds are always welcome on this blog.Thanks for your comment;
    @ rob: I think the video you mention is this one. There are several other Burwell movies on this page.

  6. 6 Cristho70 November 23, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Mein Liebe Continuo , please HELP ME !!

    I’m looking for a rare LP
    GINO MARINUZZI JR. Musica ed Elettronica (1977?)

    Can you give me a link or upload it ?

    Thanks for Your work

  7. 7 continuo November 23, 2011 at 10:27 am

    It just doesn’t work this way on this blog.

  8. 8 Joaquín Mendoza Sebastián November 24, 2011 at 11:58 am

    wonderful again my friend..reading his discography..I didn’t knew someone have done a record about yanomami shamanism…I’ve read about their rituals back in Venezuela…sure it’s very interesting
    thanks as always my friend!


  9. 9 continuo November 24, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    The problem is, Quartz LPs are rather rare on the market and Toop’s prolific output during the 1970s is not available either.

  10. 10 rob December 1, 2011 at 12:30 am

    actually no – but these are great to see nontheless..

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