north east scotland's festival of new music


fORCH was initially formed for the 2005 New Jazz Meeting of the SWR (South West German Radio), which consisted of a week of intensive rehearsing and recording followed by four concerts. CD recordings from this project have been released by Psi Records - the double CD "spin networks" and the single CD "equals". fORCH is based around the electro-acoustic duo FURT (, which was formed by Richard Barrett and Paul Obermayer in 1986 and which has performed throughout Europe and released five CDs of its own. FURT's music is a unique combination of kaleidoscopic electronic/concrete sound with the headlong energy of free jazz, and has recently been described in The Guardian as "one of the most blisteringly energetic and experimental partnerships over the past 20 years."

Expanding FURT into a new kind of "orchestra" (hence the name fORCH) was been an objective of Barrett and Obermayer for many years, and the SWR project created an opportunity to establish such an ensemble, in which the electronic duo is combined with two vocalists and four instrumentalists, all leading players in the world of improvised and experimental music who have developed their own unprecedented sounds and techniques, so that the boundary between electronic and acoustic sound may be constantly crossed from either direction.

fORCH plays a combination of "pure" improvised music and composed frameworks by Richard Barrett which serve to coordinate and channel the musical energy of the ensemble in clearly structured but still "free" directions, so that it has a strong musical "personality" which is more than the sum of its parts. This is a new kind of contemporary music ensemble which no longer recognises any hierarchy between composer and performers.

In 2005 the line up was Richard Barrett and Paul Obermayer (electronics), Phil Minton and Ute Wassermann (voices), John Butcher (saxophones), Paul Lovens (percussion), Wolfgang Mitterer (piano/electronics) and Rhodri Davies (celtic and concert harps). More recently the group has also incorporated the young New York-based trumpeter Peter Evans and violist Aleksander Kolkowski so that future performances might expand the personnel to ten or more players.

fORCH will be performing again on 28th November, as part of Huddersfield Contemporary Festival 2009.

events in 2009 with fORCH
  Date Day Time Location Event Details
Please check back for updates.
8Sun 7.00 pmAberdeenfORCH, Resonant Frequencies