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The Blank Canvas Octet - needs improvisers

The Blank Canvas Octet  - Liverpool


The Liverpool based promoter of "free improvisation in music" Blank Canvas, which recently returned to presenting bi-monthly concerts at the Ship & Mitre, Liverpool is pleased to announce the creation of a "house band" that will play at Blank Canvas events; it is to be called The Blank Canvas Octet. It is the house band, it is the support act, the main act usually being a visiting group. The Blank Canvas octet membership is drawn from a closed list of 15 improvisers, but only eight musicians play on the night. The target is to have a list of 24 improvisers. 

The house band - The Blank Canvas Octet - will play "free improvised music" but also use the music system, "System 50:50" - for more information "System 50:50" click here
There is no short term aim to explore contemporary compositional methods, e.g. Conduction, Cobra, graphic scores.

Frequency: The concerts schedule when the Octet was launched was bi-monthly, these happen: in addition the plan is to introduce bi-monthly rehearsals, to facilitate the ensemble's development through the playing of the music and the sharing of our thinking, these are yet to happen. This combination of the private rehearsals and concerts may result in monthly sessions. The recent trend has been, monthly concerts

There is no formal audition. New members are required to attend one performance as a member of the audience, then we have a discussion.

Here is a list of musicians who may currently appear in and with the Blank Canvas Octet, . 

  • IAN SIMPSON, guitar
  • PAUL PIGNON [ Stockholm! ]
  • MARTIN HACKETT [ Oxford improvisers ]
  • PHIL MORTON, accidents and treatments
  • CLAYTON JACKSON, (Lancaster) electronics
  • PETER JONES, guitar
  • TIM WISE, reeds, Salford.
  • SIMON ROSS, Turntables, Macclesfield.
  • ALEX SCOTT, trombone,

The Octet list is short in percussionists & string players, we are especially keen to hear from improvisers who use percussion and string instruments ( excluding guitars)

Lapsed or floating members of the Octet: Julia Cadman, John Pearson, Adam Roberts, Yashashwi Sharma, Kristina Warren ( returned to the USA), PHIL LUCKING, trumpets, PHIL HARGREAVES, RICHARD HARDING, guitar, DAVID CANTER, bass clarinet, ROB THORPE, guitar (Manchester), ANDREW LESLIE HOOKER, no input mixer (Pandy Tudor)

Some feedback on `System 50:50` froma participant

On system 50:50 “Definitely something with LOADS of possibilities - the reaction in the car driving back was unbelievably positive - no one could remember playing in a large ensemble that was so "open". The openness allowed me to play quietly, which meant the dynamics were incredible for an improvising large ensemble.” - Charlie Collins Sheffield


System 50/50 works well - it’s a really good way to get a group to play effectively without egos , virtuosity , and shyness getting in the way. It is democratic, inclusive. coherent, leaderless, focused, there is room to think and time to listen, choices. It is less competitive more cooperative. Ends well Simon Ross (Macclesfield), Blank Canvas Octet - Liverpool

To express an interest, to request more information, to communicate, go to the contact link on the side menu or complete the form below

Phil Morton

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