Cyril Bondi (percussion)
D’Incise (laptop, objects)
Daniel Larwood (guitar, percussion)
David Grundy (laptop, recorder, percussion)

Recorded 10/03/2010 at the Judith E. Wilson Drama Studio, English Faculty, Cambridge, as part of the 4th Annual Miscellaneous Theatre Festival. Thanks to Ollie Evans for making the recording.

Download Link:

Recorded 07/03/2010 at a New Music Morning in Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge. The concert was entitled ‘Background: Noise’, and featured Pete Um, C Joynes, Babygrand and The Cambridge Free Improvisation Society (on this occasion, a duo of David Grundy and Dan Larwood). The first piece, which opened proceedings, is a duet for acoustic guitar and piano; the second, which closed them, is for laptop and percussion. The recording is, unfortunately, of quite poor quality, and the first piece in particular will be practically inaudible without headphones.

Download Links:

Video Clip by Pete Um:


Darwin College, Cambridge – Sunday 8th November 2009

Jo Davis, Daniel Larwood, David Grundy – flute, xaphoon, recorder, acoustic guitar, voice, piano

Download the Recording Here

Four performances from 2009 have been released on an album entitled ‘The Cambridge Free Improvisation Society In Hell.’ This is the third album on the newly-formed CD-R label Woe Betide Records, which is run by CFIS member David Grundy. It can be purchased for £6 (including postage, both UK and international) at the Woe Betide Records website.

CFIS members featured on this recording are: David Curington, David Grundy, Nathan Bettany, and Daniel Larwood. Instruments featured on this recording are: oboes, recorders, xaphoon, electric guitar, (lots of) percussion, piano, laptop…

Towards the end of what was, for many members of The Cambridge Free Improvisation Society, their final term before graduation, an idea was suggested which sounded as if it could be full of exciting possibilities. We hoped that a totally improvised opera could provide the chance for fertile cross-disciplinary collaboration, with sets, narrative/texts, acting and singing combining in a risk but potentially rewarding way. In the event, arrangements meant that the opera – or a trial-run version – happened during Graduation Week, and several of the planned participants weren’t able to make it. As ever, the audience was minimal, made up of less people than were performing (though maybe that was just as well, given the try-out nature of what we were doing). The Improper Opera took place in the Drama Studio of the English Faculty, a wonderful space, full of intriguing props and possibilities. Without any actors or other narrative figures, the ‘opera’ element ended up being provided by some hastily assembled pre-written  texts, which you can hear being read out from time to time, and physical performances (often close to mime, I suppose, though with vocal elements as well) from several musicians. The latter, of course, don’t translate into the recording: they involved slow and stylised movements, claustrophobic and hampered bursts for freedom, door-opening routines, foots in buckets, spades, and rope.  A couple of artists were also present: their main centre of activity was a long scroll of paper, onto which were poured various materials, the most prominent of which was a thick red dust. Quite a few photographs were taken, which I’ll put up on this site once I get hold of them. Hopefully this will be an ongoing project; watch this space for more news from September onwards. In any case, for now, here’s the recording, which is best listened to on headphones.

  • Jo Davis – flute, xaphoon, piano (very out of tune)
  • David Curington – oboe, recorder, piano (very out of tune), performance
  • David Grundy – laptop, recorder, performance, voice
  • Daniel Larwood – guitar


01. In What Gaps Are You Found (15:22)
02. In Whose Flaps Are You Drowned (19:43)
03. O Classic Moment Martyr (13:37)

04. Life-Thinner (9:21)
05. Song-Skimmer (16:13)

06. A Hymn of Praise, Part 1 (14:17)
07. A Hymn of Praise, Part 2 (14:16)

Oscar Lomas – soprano sax, piano, drums, percussion, voice
David Curington – oboe, piano, recorder, drums, percussion, voice
David Grundy – piano, laptop, recorder, drums, percussion, voice

The first three tracks were performed as one continuous improvisation, as were the fourth and fifth tracks, and the sixth and seventh tracks.

Download from:


1. The Airport of Keith Rowe’s Toilet (30:20)
2. I Don’t Want To Eat Your Bread (37:54)

1. Daniel Larwood (electric guitar)
David Grundy (piano, xaphoon, laptop, recorder)
Nathan Bettany (ukulele, oboe)

2. Daniel Lawood (electric guitar, piano, voice)
Nathan Bettany (oboe, piano)
David Grundy (xaphoon, ukulele, piano, voice)

Download Link:



Mark Anthony Whiteford/ Stuart Chalmers + The Cambridge Free Improvisation Society
Robinson College Music Room,
Saturday 16th May, 8pm

This concert saw Mark Anthony Whiteford (saxophone and miscellaneous percussion/electronics), and Stuart Chalmers (kalimba and electronics),  performing as a duo and in various combinations with members of the Cambridge Free Improvisation Society. Mark has been active on the Bristol improvised music scene since the 1980s, having been involved in the punk movement inspired by the likes of the Pop Group and Rip Rig and Panic; Stuart, who records solo material under the moniker Skarabee, incorporates elements of ambient music and minimal improv to create unique soundscapes and intense threads of textured quiet and silence.

The Cambridge Free Improvisation Society, a group of student musicians, have performed a number of gigs in recent years, sharing the bill with Styles J. Kauphmann, Eric Chenaux, The Dead Rat Orchestra, and others. Their most recent performance was a recreation of Dantes Hell alongside Jeremy Hardinghams actors group.

On this occasion, members of the society playing were: David Grundy, David Curington, Daniel Larwood, Jo Davis.



Set One: Mark Anthony Whiteford/Stuart Chalmers Duo

Set Two: Cambridge Free Improvisation Society

Set Three: Cambridge Free Improvisation Society with Mark Anthony Whiteford/Stuart Chalmers








  1. Convergence (22:09)
  2. Dja-vante Ga-Reinhardt (5:28) Duo: DG, DL
  3. Webern’s Conversion to Buddhism (7:29) Duo: DC, DL
  4. The Clangers After Hours (6:54) Duo: DC, DG 
  5. Credit Crunch 3000 (11:51) 
  6. Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind (17:25)


  • Nathan Bettany – xaphoon, percussion, ukulele (track 1 only)
  • David Curington – oboe, piano, voice, percussion
  • David Grundy – piano, laptop, voice, recorder, percussion, ukulele
  • Daniel Larwood – electric guitar

Robinson College, Saturday 9th May 2009

Multiple links:

Performance 2009
Culvert, Robinson College, Cambridge

Inferno (final section)
Cambridge Free Improvisation Society/ Jeremy Hardingham & Co.

video will be uploaded soon. for the moment, sound at:  (if you dare)

David Curington – oboe, misc percussion
Nathan Bettany – oboe, xaphoon, misc percussion
Daniel Larwood – electric guitar, potato peeler
David Grundy – laptop, recorder, voice, misc percussion

in conjunction with

Jeremy Hardingham & co. – performative acts, screams

the ‘ideas’ part (from initial workshop discussion)

ideas of space in hell – a confined space, you can’t get out. being trapped inside a body, inside yourself cf. ideas from music therapy about improvisation being about listening to other people, and mental patients are so trapped – trapped inside too much self-expression, unable to get out of their own little world, unable to listen to what other people are playing when improvising with them because so self-absorbed, and the improvisation helps them see that they are that absorbed.

self, empathy – dante as not just ‘I saw this, I saw that, I’m going to tell you about it’, but a more collaborative relation with the reader. the extent to which he cannot express, or understand the torment he witnesses – that he is an outsider (e.g. that when he cries the tears are the right way round, flowing down his face rather than his buttocks, but in the place he’s at, that’s actually not the norm). passages in Canto III about the groaning of sinners. the second tercet revolves round ideas of words and language, and I thought interesting here how would be something where you can tell that

Sighing, sobbing, moans and plaintive wailing
all echoed here through air where no star shone,
and I, as this began, began to weep.

Discordant tongues, harsh accents of horror,
tormented words, the twang of rage, strident
voices, the sound, as well, of smacking hands,

together these all stirred a storm that swirled
for ever in the darkened air where no time was,
as sand swept up in breathing spires of wind.

(Kirkpatrick translation, Canto III, l. 22- 30)

lack of relation and intelligibility – hence the use of the cut-up words. idea of things too horrible (or wonderful) to be expressed in words, but dante tries it anyway. so trading off between on the one hand this excess of expression (the mental patients thing) and a complete lack of expression – or of anything to express. in that sense hell merges with limbo – so it doesn’t just work off one specific text but off various different ideas which coalesce (or contradict) in potentially interesting ways.

those were some initial ideas, anyway. the performance itself, who knows…