The Eleventh Hour

Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble

CD18,90 out of print
Featured Artists Recorded

November 2004, Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow

Original Release Date


  • 1Shadow Play
    (Evan Parker, Joel Ryan, Lawrence Casserley, Walter Prati)
  • The Eleventh Hour
    (Evan Parker)
  • 2Part 112:52
  • 3Part 209:33
  • 4Part 312:02
  • 5Part 415:32
  • 6Part 505:28
“The Eleventh Hour” is the fourth ECM album by Evan Parker’s Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, the group formed by the English saxophonist in 1992 to explore the nexus of free improvisation and real time sound processing. The hour-long title piece was developed in response to a commission from Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts and premiered as the culmination of CCA’s “Free RadICCAls” concert-and-workshop series in November 2004. Over the course of a week Parker rehearsed his expanded 11-piece ensemble, refining and adjusting the new piece, and each evening the ensemble members played in different semi-ad hoc combinations. On the first night, November 3rd, Parker played one of his extraordinary soprano saxophone improvisations which was subjected to the spontaneous electronic and electro-acoustic modifications of Lawrence Casserley, Joel Ryan and Walter Prati. Working with the depth of the sound as well as with transformations of Parker’s musical material, these three scientist-composers helped create a piece of vast dimension, sculpting the space in which this improvisation was heard. Now titled “Shadow Play”, this sub-group improvisation opens the present disc.

The version of “The Eleventh Hour” heard here is the live first performance from November 6th 2004. A new physicality in the ensemble sound, immediately evident, is in part attributable to the input of guests Richard Barrett and Paul Obermeyer. Both well known as composers in their own right – particularly Barrett whose recent work has included commissions from the Cikada Ensemble and the BBC Symphony Orchestra – they also comprise the tough-minded live electronic improvising duo FURT, a group with a 20-year history. Barrett/Obermayer contribute a tangled, ever-permutating riot of sound, fast moving and densely-packed with event, that is at the centre of several ‘movements’ in the new work.

The FURT duo first worked with the Electro-Acoustic Ensemble at the Donaueschingen Festival in 2003 in a performance of Parker’s “SET (for Lynn Margulis)”, in preparation for which they loaded their laptop computers with sound samples from each of the acoustic players in the band. These sounds form only a small part of their huge sonic vocabulary on “The Eleventh Hour”, but if there are fleeting moments when it feels like Barry Guy is present, then FURT is the reason why. There is a sense in which Barrett/Obermayer seem to ‘complete’ the group: their hard, very concrete sounds are in stark contrast to the spacious reverberations of the electro-acoustic processing team.