|Excerpts from sleeve notes:
I began playing with John Russell and Phil Durrant in 1984, meeting for weekly rehearsals. We performed as this trio up until 1998, but, early on, in 1986, we had the chance to invite Radu Malfatti and Paul Lovens to join us for an 8 date tour of England.
It was soon clear that this quintet, then called Quaqua (Russell's name for particular ad-hoc groupings), was not a trio-plus-guests. Malfatti's emerging concerns with composition and silence, the trio's interactive language and Lovens' vast experience and range didn't provide an obvious consensus for the music we would play, but, as the tour progressed, News from the Shed became a group.
Over 15 years on, when many improvisational methods have crystallised out of the earlier solutions (some, maybe, a bit too clearly), I think I can hear the push and pull of their tensions in aspects of the group's music. Perhaps that has something to do with why Mark Sinker described, in the WIRE, the original LP as 'Microscopic, Minimalist, dirty Abstract Expressionism'.
It was released on Acta in 1989, and I remember having to take the tape back for remastering, as the quiet work was lost in the noise of the vinyl test pressing. So it's a great pleasure to have this new, extended, CD release.
News from the Shed continued to play concerts until 1994.
John Butcher (tenor & soprano saxophones), Phil Durrant (violin & electronics), Paul Lovens (selected drums, cymbals & saw), Radu Malfatti (trombone, zither & accessories), John Russell (acoustic guitar)