Vultures Quartet is an improvising and new music group from London, England; consisting of Daniel Beattie, Matt Chilton, Will Connor and Anthony Donovan. Working across the fields of music, visual art and film, its members take influence from industrial, post-rock, free-jazz, avant-classical and noise, to create a new hybrid that seems somehow to be organically formed. Vultures Quartet has a fearsome live reputation; both in its own right and in collaboration with the likes of Steve Beresford, Z'ev, PAS, Sandeep Mishra and Ampersand. A recent tour of the UK and Europe included support to Faust, Nurse with Wound, John Butcher, Adam Bohman and Fullborn Taversham; whilst forthcoming shows see collaborations with Damo Suzuki and John Russell, and further support to Faust and Z'ev.
Vultures vs. Ampersand is the bandís second full length release following up 56:29, the quartetís first CD. Each album demonstrates a vital and exciting new direction for improvised music; in marrying elements of doom-drone, extended techniques - in percussion, guitar and prepared-zither, cracked electronics, and esoteric light-reactive software; creating an unholy new sound for lovers of the avant-garde. Vultures vs. Ampersand and 56:29 will be of interest to fans of Supersilent, Death Ambient, Sunn O))), Deathprod, Burning Star Core, Einstreuzende Neubauten, et cetera. Both albums were recorded live in one day with only minimal editing. They are available from UK label, Born in Mind; http://www.borninmind.com
For general information about Vultures see http://www.myspace.com/justvultures or contact email@example.com
Dan Beattie uses guitar, zither, objects, electronics, and computer processing. He studied 20th Century Classical Music at Sussex University and Music with Visual Practice at Brighton University, and released a number of records of sample collage, mostly sourced from Free Jazz and Modern Classical Music, under various aliases, before moving to Free Improvisation. Beattie has also worked as a sound-designer, creating music and sound for many video games, installations, theatre performances, films and websites. Most recent live performances have been with the Free Jazz/Noise duo, Sarcomasine Bloc (with Tim Goldie), playing guitar in The Ailerons (with Dave Rowntree), and numerous solo laptop performances. Beattie has been a member of Eddie Prevost's improvisation workshop, and mixed/mastered recordings for Sarcomasine Bloc, Deflag Haemorrhage / Haien Kontra, Vultures Quartet, and These Feathers Have Plumes, besides a former career as a sound engineer in a Dutch studio. He also runs the miniature record label, Born In Mind. Beattie is also active on software development, including extensive programming in Max/MSP, and has had his work in this field featured in Creative Review and in the ICA's New Media Centre. He's also recently been responsible for designing the user interface for Birmingham Conservatoire's "Integra" live electronic music project.
Matt Chilton uses laptop, webcam, torches and various microphones. Chilton principally employs Max/MSP/Jitter, PureData, and ChucK to create patches that can be played in real-time. It is something of an obsession of his that he does not use any pre-prepared sounds or samples when playing with Vultures Quartet; meaning that all of his sounds made for recordings and live performances are improvised in real-time. The patches he writes do various things; key examples include a light sensitive patch which uses two simple FM synthesizers and two looping samplers connected to an analysis of the feed from a webcam. As the luminosity of the webcam feed changes so do the pitches and harmonic content of the FM synths and the pitches of the looping samplers. Live sample manipulation is carried out using a patch that can hold four samples but with two separate channels of playback for each. Any start and stop points and any speed of playback, forwards or backwards, can be chosen for the samples and various. Generally Chilton samples percussion, as it offers a far wider expressive range of sounds when sampled and manipulated; often sounding nothing like the original sample. Other patches deal with algorithmic composition. These use sounds ranging from percussive to soft sine-wave-generators to create odd rhythms, microtonal "melodies" and atmospheric textures. Chilton started learning classical piano at the age of nine; going on to complete a fine art degree; and has worked as an artist for several years. More recently, he spent five years as a professional Java and Perl programmer. All of these things inform his practice as it is today. Along the way, Chilton has performed with many different groups - playing guitar, bass, piano, synth and laptop. As well as playing with Vultures Quartet, Chilton currently plays with Renderplant - a purely electronic experimental band with a dancer - and he records, solo, as Astrometria. He also occasionally revisits Spork, a guitar, drums and electronics band he has played in, sporadically, for some twelve years. Most recently, Chilton has collaborated with Jay Westfold, performing live as Atricyclist - sometimes as an experimental electronics and vocal duo, sometimes as an electronic dance music act.
Will Connor uses percussion and objects. Heavily influenced by Italian Futurism and Dadaist mentalities, Connor incorporates a variety of metallic and household objects into his sonic arsenal. Pot lids, grill hoods, sheet metal, springs, and bicycles enhance the more traditional percussion he uses - with a goal of reversing the aural expectations of the instruments, attempting to create electronic sounds with acoustic devices, et cetera, creating drones and sustained sounds along with truncated, abrupt tinklings. Connor's background in improvised music, modern composition, and ethnic ensembles prepared him for playing with Vultures Quartet. Since first picking up drum sticks in 1978, Connor has played with projects such as The Pigeon Frequency Orchestra (Improv), one3four (Math-Punk and Improv), BAAMPHF!!! (Math-Punk), the Centre for Transgressive Behaviours (Absurdist Theatre and Improv), the Hawaii Kakula Ensemble (Sulawesi percussion group), and Fukadugalon (Improv),as well as playing Chinese opera and Tibetan folk music, working with Butoh and contact improv dancers, and performing new compositions by upcoming young composers. Currently, he is also playing with SonVer (cello-driven Gothic Improv) and The Atomic Crashdown (Improv Rock); and plays regularly with artists such as Laetecia Statier (Stereolab/Monade), Z'ev, John Butcher, and Farouk El Safi (Egyptian percussionist). Connor holds degrees in acoustics, music, and ethnomusicology and is currently an ABD Ph.D. candidate at Royal Holloway, University of London, conducting a research project on musical instrument construction.
Anthony Donovan uses basses, fretless half-guitars, zither, objects & scant electronics. His work with Vultures Quartet utilises so-called extended techniques, in an approach that is, in each case, unorthodox, agit prop and visceral. Donovan has worked in collaboration with musicians such as Steve Beresford, Stephen Flinn, Kay Grant, Dom Lash, Sandeep Mishra, Alpesh Moharir, PAS, Pixyblink, Jo Quail, Bryan Lewis Saunders, Damo Suzuki, Undress Beton and Zoologic; as well as supporting the likes of Adam Bohman, John Butcher, Faust, Nurse with Wound, John Russell, Phil Waschmann and Z'ev. Donovan works solo, as Murmurists, across several disciplines; combining words, composed music and soundart, images and film; releasing such material via suRRism-Phonoethics (Germany), Dadaist-Audio (Netherlands) and Foetal Orange (UK). He is also a member of the.clinamen with Zafer Aracagök; whose KOG album was released by White-Label Music (UK), in 2009. As a visual artist, Donovan has exhibited widely throughout Europe, the Americas, Russia, Uzbekistan, India, Japan, Malaysia, Australia, and Ghana, and has curated well-received exhibitions of Conceptual Art which have included the work of, for instance, Vittore Baroni, Robin Crozier, John Held Jr., Dick Higgins, Ray Johnson, Ruggero Maggi and Ben Vautier. Donovan is an ardent blogger. His long-running series of numbered 'items' - variously comprised of prose-works, poems, and aphorisms - currently runs into thousands of postings; with several of these being published by, for instance, Raw Dog Screaming Press (USA) and Blood Pudding Press (USA). He is a long-standing member of the on-line collective, Discharge, and contributes regularly to the on-line publications, the title we just forgot, unRecordists, New Absurdist, and Translated Text of Automatic Form. Donovan co-runs the Classwar Karaoke label with Adrian Beentjes and Jaan Patterson; whose international back-catalogue includes work by Jochen Arbeit, Gerd Bessler, Colin John Conas, EHIEM 1000.220, Inferno Speedgown, Lezet, Philippe Petit, Hopek Quirin, and SIFIR. He holds a Ph.D. from the Manchester Metroploitan University, and is a recognised authority on aspects of Conceptual Art.