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Gavin Bryars


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Richard Gavin Bryars (born 1943) is an English composer and double bassist. He has been active in (or has produced works in) many varied styles of music, including jazz, free improvisation, minimalism experimental music, avant-garde, neoclassicism, and ambient.

Born in Goole, East Riding of Yorkshire, England, Bryars initially studied philosophy at Sheffield University before studying music for three years.

The first musical work for which is he remembered was his role as bassist in the trio Joseph Holbrooke, alongside guitarist Derek Bailey and drummer Tony Oxley. The trio began by playing relatively traditional jazz before moving into free improvisation. However, Bryars became dissatisfied with this when he saw a young bassist (later revealed to be Johnny Dyani) play in a manner which seemed to him to be artificial, and he became interested in composition instead.
Bryars’s first works as a composer owe much to the so-called New York School of John Cage (with whom he briefly studied), Morton Feldman, Earle Brown and minimalism. His first known work as a composer, The Sinking of the Titanic (1969), is quite an indeterministic work which allows the performers to take a number of sound sources related to the sinking of the RMS Titanic and make them into a piece of music. The 1994 recording of this piece was made famous to a whole new audience via its promo single featuring the Aphex Twin remix “Raising the Titanic” (later collected on his 26 Mixes for Cash album).


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  • lennford

    Where have you been all my life

    16 Apr 5:31pm Reply
  • affasf

    nostalgia of the unexperienced

    10 Jul 2014 Reply
  • a___-___a

    listening to jesus' blood, crying some fat tears

    14 May 2014 Reply
  • TripRepetae

    lol aphex is on top... [2]

    13 Apr 2014 Reply
  • Tuberkulloosi

    The Sinking of the Titanic. Impressive.

    10 Apr 2014 Reply
  • zjatteke

    The sinking of the Titanic. Playing it exactly 100 years after it happened.

    14 Apr 2012 Reply
  • Hannesr

    Gavin opens a cosmos (beauty)...a breathing space... nourishing by his creative source.

    31 Jan 2012 Reply
  • swoephowx

    lol aphex is on top... the original versions is painfully beautiful...

    2 Jan 2012 Reply
  • precipitous

    Gavin Bryars is like a god to me...

    7 Oct 2011 Reply
  • ChriSThaaRippeR


    10 Sep 2011 Reply
  • Phaeton

    @iDEATHMACHINEi Love the anecdote matey, all versions are great, the full 20 minute, or those shorter versions with or without Tom, they're all fantastic.

    19 Jul 2011 Reply
  • F0000000L

    it failed me.. yet!

    20 Jun 2011 Reply
  • Istofaellt

    a big living..

    15 Jun 2011 Reply
  • Laser_

    the sinking of the titanic is the bible of minimalism [2]

    15 May 2011 Reply
  • cautivametal

    If you like piano music and minimalism like Wim Mertens or Michael Nyman, you'll like this:

    18 Apr 2011 Reply
  • headey

    How is it that a big hitter like GB has some tracks with only 33 listeners ?? : ! HE HAS DONE MORE THAN TRAMP & TITANIC !

    17 Apr 2011 Reply
  • special_user

    the sinking of the titanic is the bible of minimalism

    17 Nov 2010 Reply
  • moduin

    you should all check out his 'prologue' for 'three viennese dancers'. hauntingly beautiful.

    7 Nov 2010 Reply

    your right. to me the only version is the 27min- version: Tramp with Orchestra I (string quartet). probably my favorite song of all time. i remember first hearing this as a child in east germany behind the iron courtain at night in bed under the covers. and after about 10 minutes i finally started recording it, thank goodness. still have this very bad recording, and never will give it away. thank you gavin and all the people who made this,THANK YOU!

    30 Jul 2010 Reply
  • lumbercartel

    that whole version of jesus' blood with tom waits is terrible. the music overpowers the old guy's voice too much, the music itself is too clean and disney, and tom waits coming in just ruins it completely.

    5 Jun 2010 Reply
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