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The Music Improvisation Company


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During the early phase of its existance European free jazz developed a number of different schools or regional styles, and it was quite common to speak of german energy play, Dutch comical music or British sound research. This last is represented by the work of the Music Improvisation Company (MIC), founded in 1968. The essence of its work lies in the idea on non idiomatic music, as formulated by Derek Bailey. A freely improvised music, independant of all existing musical languages, would follow the individual techniques and preferences of the players exclusively.

Of course this idea is probably based on illusion, for although the mere avoidance of any idiomatically fixed means of creation must not automatically result in a new musical idiom ( it could, as with John Cage, lead into the domain of chance ). the practical results of the MIC’s work make it quite clear that this music can easily be identified as a particular and unmistakable form of musical creation - in other words, as a music idiom.

Obviously style , under certain preconditions, may be established when any associations with existing musical languages are forcefully avoided. One of the most important preconditions is that the improvisor acts as a concious ego and does not follow only the generative energy of chance. And this is obviously the case with the members of the MIC.

To describe the groups conceptual guidelines, it seems easier to indentify features it does not exhibit than those it does : no tonality, no repitition, no melodic continuity, no periodicity, no system.


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