Michael Lytle and George Cartwright

Concert at Nibs’ – 6/24/83 – The Experimental Intermedia Foundation

Concert at Nibs’ – 6/24/83 – The Experimental

Intermedia Foundation


The three best places to play in the Downtown 80’s were the Kitchen, Phill Niblock’s the Experimental Intermedia Foundation and Jim Staley’s Roulette. I’m proud to say we played at all three. 

Phill’s loft is still there, in the same place on Center Street. It is a magnificent monument to the 80’s, virtually untouched since then. The room is a large space with very high ceilings, pealing plaster, (very off white) and more ambiance than anything deserves. Phill, though not young anymore, still presents several concert series a year, though he has expanded and now also has a place in Gent, Belgium where he does pretty much the same thing. He commonly presents artists from all over the world.

The Intermedia Foundation features mostly composed, “minimal”, video & audio combination pieces, but occasionally he will look the other way and let us crazy “maximal” improvisers in. (He does grumble about it a little, though) Phill is a great guy, a strong composer and film maker himself, and is one of the most important people in new music today. We have valued his friendship for many years. His loft is an incredible tradition in New Music.

This concert comes 1 & 1/2 years after the Kitchen and features collaborations with the Chicagoan George Lewis, trombone and things, and Swiss Christian Marclay, turntables, before he became quite the name he is today. George was already a big name in jazz. It is recorded quite well. This is an eight-track mix.

Interview – A part of the 2nd set was chosen for the DRAM (Database of Recorded American Music) archive. Included here is their presentation of the concert and an interview with Lytle, recorded at the time.

Section one is a quartet with Lewis, and the first time he played with us, I think, and quite an honor. I remember him standing with his trombone and surrounded by all kinds of noisemakers spread on the floor (including that cow mooer you can hear). I see him in a spot lighted circle, though he wasn’t. I’m hard pressed to hear a trombone in this section. It’s filled with noisemakers of all kinds coming from everywhere, overlapping and popping away. It’s been 5 years by this time and I think you will agree we are very good at this kind of improvisation, keeping the momentum going and colors overlapping at quite a pace. Not sure anyone has done it better, frankly.

Section two is a quartet with Marclay. He is set up a couple turntables and lots of records and parts of records and records glued together all spread around him. This is a bit of a departure from our normal “sound”, and quite a change from the first section. Much more flowing, and now with snippets of other musics thrown in. We always had Lytle’s electronic music to mix but this is very different. It is like adding Cage’s radio piece to play along with. Lots of animals here as you’ll notice. They had to be brought in during the dead of night. We seem to be having a bit of fun by the end of this section.

Set two is a quintet with all of us. Long, winding, it goes through much.  Lots of textures, very different for us.