David Watson and Tony Buck met and started improvising together almost 30 years ago in a loft concert in Brooklyn. The two Antipodeans have shared stages in many parts of the world since then, their music conversation surviving changes in times and instruments. Originally scheduled to perform together at Roulette in April with 75 Dollar Bill guitarist Che Chen, we check in with both in this Dispatch to talk about their longstanding collaboration and respective quarantines.
As an experimental musician, David Watson is drawn to combinations of order and disorder. A guitarist, bagpiper, and advocate for intelligent listening, his work encompasses improvisation and composition in a wide variety of contexts. Originally from New Zealand, he has lived and worked in New York City since 1987. He has worked intensively with a wide range of extraordinary artists, including Chris Abrahams, Robert Ashley, Frisner Augustin, Marcia Bassett, Tony Buck, Che Chen, Anthony Coleman, David First, Alastair Galbraith, Frode Gjerstad, Shelley Hirsch, Samara Lubelski, Chris Mann, Christian Marclay, Sean Meehan, Ikue Mori, Bill Nace, Andrea Parkins, Lee Ranaldo, Talibam!, Yoshi Wada, Alex Waterman, John Zorn, 75 Dollar Bill, amongst many others. His bagpipe work has created a new vocabulary for the instrument. His album for composer Phill Niblock’s XI label Fingering an Idea was described in The Wire as, “shimmering lines piling-up like an old Terry Riley piece.” While his record Throats, on Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label, was described by Volcanic Tongue as “brain rearranging massive walls of constantly shifting drone.” Recently, Niblock created a new piece “Bag” using his playing as source material. Watson is in the trio Glacial, an ongoing collaboration with two highly acclaimed partners, Lee Ranaldo and Tony Buck. Watson’s guitar playing was for many years a staple in performances of John Zorn’s seminal piece Cobra. Watson founded and organizes the New York City music performance series WOrK which has presented over fifty concerts since 2015 and is predicated on exploring what experimental means to practitioners today.
Percussionist Tony Buck is one of the most sought after musicians in Europe. Burke has played / toured / recorded with John Zorn, The Ex, Lee Ranaldo, Phil Minton, Evan Parker, Tom Cora, Clifford Jordan, and Otomo Yoshihide among many others.
As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.