David Coulter

David CoulterThe bio below was written in 2000. David continues to make extremely interesting music and is always involved in a fascinating project – or several simultaneously… look him up!

- Michael Gira | Young God Records, 2008


David Coulter is a master multi-instrumentalist and sound artist. David spent six years with The Pogues; he was a member of Test Department and he has worked and recorded with Marc Ribot, Talvin Singh, Peter Hammill, The Kronos Quartet, Nitin Sawney, Roger Eno, Joe Strummer, Band of Holy Joy, Arthur H., Steve Nieve, Boy George, The Communards, Pete Townsend and others.

British master multi-instrumentalist (playing guitar, violin, mandolin, theremin, ukulele, bass, didjeridu, Jew's harp, musical saw, accordion, harmonium etc.) and sound artist. David spent six years with The Pogues; he was a member of Test Department and he has worked and recorded with Marc Ribot, Talvin Singh, Peter Hammill, The Kronos Quartet, Nitin Sawney, Roger Eno, Joe Strummer, Band of Holy Joy, Arthur H., Steve Nieve, Boy George, The Communards, Pete Townsend and many others. He has collaborated with French composer, arranger and electronica artist Jean-Jacques Palix and Parisian vocalist, author and live sound mixer and turntable artist, Eve Couturier since 1987, for the label Song Active Production and together they have just released their latest album Un Bruit qui Court. Both Jean-Jacques and Eve Couturier are also represented by Fringecore. 

David sees his music as a form of sonic meditation - a musical exploration of resonance - playing with time, a creation of space, an exploration of emotions to create vivid images. 

David continues to work as a musician/sound artist with The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in Oxford, where he recently worked with Gustav Metzger in restaging the Fluxus performance "Zyklus". Otherwise, David performs in various guises and we generally put him together with other extraordinary artists who are able to create a totally unique fusion of live improvisation. 

INterVENTION is the first solo album release from British master multi-instrumentalist and ex-member of the Pogues and Test Department: David Coulter. It includes collaborations with Marc Ribot, JJ Palix, Steve Nieve, Chris Long, Terry Edwards, Ghedalia Tazartes, Phil Minton, Paul Buck etc. This thirteen track album is an unparalleled adventure into a mindfield of sonic and spiritual seduction. Coulter's ability to approach each of the sixteen or so instruments he plays, in a unique and fresh way in order to give it a new character and identity, ensures that this album exudes a sonotronic kaleidoscope of musical expression that imbues the unearthly beauty of Glass, intermingled with the mind-stabbing improvisation of Fred Frith. If pressed to declare his instrumental speciality, Coulter would say it is the didjeridu, which he learnt from the Aboriginal musician Bart Willoughby, some fifteen years ago and which has formed the centre-piece of his overall low-tech noise ritual. It is featured on this album in pieces such as Darkness Aside Trail with Paul Buck and the radio collage Polaroids featuring master guitarist Marc Ribot, Steve Nieve on piano and the voice of Muriel Teodori. Ribot also provides the e-flat horn as they all mesh in a rabid version of Sandpaper Blues. 

The talking point on this album is the brilliantly engulfing drone ritual Broken Mass, an entirely new composition, which sees Coulter in mesmerising, engaging mood, evoking the spirits by fusing classicism with shamanism, punctuated with harmonic singing. Although minimal in structure, it displays a rapturous full harmony which reminds us of Arvo Pärt. 

The album incorporates a number of other new pieces, such as the enrapturing, compelling Wailing written for four hands, two bows and double bass, played simultaneously by Coulter and his long-term touring comrade, Brad Scott from the band of Arthur H (the French Tom Waits). Brad's emotive overdubs of lyrical double bass have added much to this album, providing a low frequency seasoning to tracks such as the sonic landscapes for the Kinsnow Orchestra, and Shinju, where Coulter adds improvised terracotta gamelan and we succumb to the musing, evocative tones of hip French songstress, Eve Couturier, who has a voice as hard as nails, but manages to draw out a strange demonic turbulence, on the extract of dialogue from Godard's film "Pierrot le Fou". 

If ever there was a gem on an album, Coulter's collaboration with esoteric French vocalist/accordionist Ghedalia Tazartes steals the show. Their piece Harmonik is an unusual example of ethno urban eclecticism. Coulter's improvisations on violin and accordion fuse into a raw folk, guttural vibe, reminiscent of early Velvet Underground. 

Chris Longon harmonium, features on Widow's Lament, with Coulter providing the incredibly intense, beautiful angled melodies on the electric violin. This piece is simply profound and rhythmically absorbing. 

Coulter's treatment for Graeme Miller's Picnic On is shortened here to preserve the power of the piece, with its swirling eeriness menacingly eroticised by the musical saw and sampled string harmonies. 

For pure soul-searching, duende passion, check out Coulter's take on urban-style flamenco present in Looking at Trees. Here, Coulter's guitar improvisations and cathartic rhythms introduce the piece with a punishing build and intricate harmonies compounded by Chris Long on the piano and Brad Scott again appears on bass. Coulter also adds euphonium, jew's harp and percussion. Despite its sonic complexity there is a strength of simplicity about this piece that is only intersected in the second section when Coulter's treated vocal performance is sent in to broker the impending chaos captured by J.J. Palix in Vocus Solus. 

The closing Polaroids sound collage section includes a wide variety of live archive recordings including the amazing voice of Phil Minton reflecting the sensibilities of metaphysical pain with the corporeal desires for mutable transgression, and Coulter unleashing a sonic mystery that somehow creates a breathtaking ecstasia of rituals. In between we find cut-ups and snatched experiences from Coulter's live pieces from The Museum of Modern Art. 

This is a truly brilliant and monumental album which not only defies our sonic expectations but opens our minds to some of the weirdest, yet most profound collisions around in music today. This CD offers up a stimulating feast of amazement.

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