Young God Records is proud to announce the debut solo release by the talented British multi-instrumentalist David Coulter. Coulter plays an array of instruments including guitar violin ukulele theramin mandolin double bass/bass didjeridu Jew's harp musical saw accordion harmonium etc . Coulter was a contributing member of the Pogue's and Test Dept. and has also performed with the Kronos Quartet Marc Ribot Peter Hammill Roger Eno among many others too numerous to mention here.
He is a master of the Didjeridu having studied with the Aboriginal musician Bart Wiloughby. Leaving aside any notions of virtuosity here with INterVENTION Coulter creates a series of 13 somber deeply resonant sonic mediations. Mostly instrumental though sometimes accompanied by a vocal - sung narrated or chanted -each piece has its own unique cinematic atmosphere as if he's briefly tapped into an ongoing transcendental stream of pre-existing sonic imagery. Low-key low-tech and intimate this understated and organic music seems always to be searching for something beyond itself - through the juxtapostion of colliding acoustic and electronic sounds through the obsessively nuanced ritualized grooves and through the subtle interaction and improvosation of the wide assortment of players/ collaborators .
INterVENTION includes contributions from Marc Ribot Steve Naive (of Elvis Costello fame) Terry Edwards Phil Minton and others. Though decidedly "serious" in tone Coulter's music has the accessible immediacy of an Indian Raga or the bluesy intuitiive trance-lines of Mongolian folk songs. It's hand-made ambience manages to achieve a rare quality - a combination of subtlety and intensely commited instrumental performance. INterVENTION has the purity of an invocation . For those interested in modern experimental music that is both sonically inventive and emotionally rich this album is a must.
– Michael Gira/Young God Records 2000
The 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!
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.
David CoulterINterVENTION 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.
Here’s a review:
6/20/2001 ; allmusic.com ; Thom Jurek
David Coulter ; INterVENTION ; Review
AMG Expert Review
David Coulter is well known among musicians as a sideman of enormous talent on virtually any instrument he chooses to play and can perform in almost any musical setting. (Hint: he was in the Pogues and the industrial power unit Test Dept. at the same time.) His debut solo album on Young God (label boss Michael Gira has a knack for discovering new talent and recording them before anyone else does) is a compendium of Coulter's amassed musical and sonic knowledge. The disc opens with "Kinsnow Orchestra on which Coulter plays jew's harp, krar, and one-string fiddle, while being accompanied by a sheet-like soundscape by Palix, a double bass, and guitar. There is an Indian raga feel to the piece, but it has no time signature, it's all microtones strung together in rows. On How Can I Love Thee?" Coulter's soprano saxophone accompanies an over-the-phone reading by Iain Morris of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poem of the same name. Its darker-than-night feel gives the impression of a suicide note being left on an answering machine. When Coulter writes his short "Broken Mass one can hear the Kyrie Section of the orthodox liturgy cut short all but one tone and three notes. Coulter does a vocal in the tradition of the Tuvans and Tibetans meeting in the Himalayas while using a plectra violin and a piano for sonic architecture; it doesn't tower above you, it floats through your body, leaving a longing for the sacred with the taste of the profane on your skin. On Harmonik where the entire piece is a dance tune created and executed in just intonation with Ghedalia Tazartes on vocal and accordion, the overtones come from the sawing of the violin in its high register, just behind its own drone and the accordion pulsing with the organic percussion the same series of chords over and over again. The effect is not just hypnotic, it's entrancing. Coulter's record is virtually unidentifiable as genre music—it doesn't even fit in the world music category because more often than not, whether he's playing violins, saxophones, the didgeridoo, ukulele, or singing, his music sounds as if it were from another world, where musical languages are interchangeable and complimentary rather than codified and restrictive. His mates on this date are as varied as the music—from avant jazz/improvisational vocalist Phil Minton, guitarist Marc Ribot, and pianist Steve Naïve, all of whom appear on the album's astonishing closer, Polaroids a composition of such dynamic and textural wealth and modal invention it appears to defy musical logic while sounding so far inside Western musical systems as to be inherent in their origins. Intervention is a confoundingly beautiful work from an artist whose name should be synonymous with the term original."