Following the reissue of the entire recorded output of South London-based experimental act This Heat and its successor, Camberwell Now, Modern Classics Recordings holds the lens up to a special split album created by one of the driving forces behind those groups – drummer Charles Hayward – in collaboration with Italian musician Gigi Masin, whose looping, rhythmic, electronic compositions have seen his cult following grow in his four decades as a recording artist. TIP!!
Originally released on Belgium’s Sub Rosa label in 1989, Les Nouvelles Musiques De Chambre Volume 2 is a split LP on which Masin’s eight tracks occupy side A and Charles Hayward’s long-form piece (at 21 minutes long), "Thames Water Authority”, occupies side B. Geography may have separated the two artists, who each recorded their pieces in isolation from the other, but there’s a commonality to their approach. Previously, Masin had released the inspired 1986 album Wind, while Hayward’s music had long been influenced by the landscape and society of London and the UK. For this album, the label challenged the two musicians to write about the waterways of their respective cities, Venice and London. For Masin, that meant describing the human interactions related to the Italian city’s famous landmarks. “Places, faces, memories... that’s what most of the people love to find when they travel to Venice – some kind of magic that’s deep in the city,” he writes in the new liner notes accompanying this new re-release. For Hayward, it meant describing the physicality of water, the “densities and energies” as he puts it, and the politics of it too. Writes Hayward: “Water was being privatized at the time, the profit margin had been factored in, cost-cutting was implicit, people were being poisoned. Water was a political thing; it still is.”