JAZSPEAK was first conceived and formed in 1988, in Newquay, Cornwall, as a vehicle for the songs and compositions of P.S.Belcher. Starting as a guitar and piano duet and later developing to include a variety of other musicians, the early recordings of JAZSPEAK reveal the roots of the compositional style that now utilises entire computerised orchestras.

As the Resident Composer for JAZSPEAK, P.S.Belcher is best known as a Jazz guitarist having performed with a wide variety of bands and ensembles, including recitals with Bobby Wellins (formerly tenor sax in the Stan Tracey Quartet), and The New Society Jazz Band. P.S.Belcher attended Chichester College of Arts, Science, and Technology where he studied Jazz, being tutored by tenor saxophonist Bobby Wellins, guitarist Dave Murrell, and other notable musicians, such as Chris MacDonald, who taught Jazz Harmony and Arranging. P.S.Belcher then studied Popular Music at CCOAST, which led to an interest in Academic studies of music, moving on to study at University College Chichester.

In the summer of 1999, P.S.Belcher was commissioned by University College Chichester to research and compose a piece of music depicting a history of Jazz from Blues to Bebop. The research report that accompanies the composition traces a history of the development of the original work songs and field hollers of the slaves to the sophistication of chromatic theories in Jazz. The influence of Western European music on the slave song-styles has been clearly documented in the report, which seeks to describe a lineage of the development of Jazz from the apparently simplistic Blues and field hollers to the obviously complex and sophisticated chromaticism of Bebop.

Also created and produced a multimedia composition, Phototropism, as part of a collaborative project with University College Chichester and Queen's College (New York) in 1999. The collaboration, based on the theme of Phototropism, was performed at the Chichester Fringe Festival, and in New York, in 1999. The compositions of P.S.Belcher have achieved international recognition.

Engaged in Postgraduate research at University College Chichester, researching the Semiotic of Music and the possible prenatal origins of the language of Music. These studies have found a correlation between the Final Cadences in Jazz and Zipf's Law of Human Languages. Other Academic research by P.S.Belcher into the creation and performance of Synchronic Art was referenced in an Honours Level Dance and Technology examination in 2001.

After succesfully establishing a strong correlation between Music and Zipf's Law of Human Language, Peter Belcher has succeeded in getting a computer to compose coherently. This research has the Institutional backing and support of the University of Plymouth in the UK.

In addition to the Academic work, P.S.Belcher has composed, recorded, and released fifteen JAZSPEAK albums - with more in the pipeline.

Aliens Abducted My Daughter




Alternative
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M25
A daytime journey clockwise around the M25 motorway that surrounds London, UK, like a bizarre moat.



Guitar Instrumental
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Jazspeak

10/12/2008 12:23:37 PM
Jazspeak band pages at
http://jazspeak.co.uk
has some excellent music that is freely downloadable as mp3 and MIDI files, along with some intriguing multimedia artworks. There are also freely downloadable back issues of Jazspeak News that carry some very interesting articles on music, music theory, critical and cultural theory, all rounded of with a large helping of humour.



 

       

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ALIENS ABDUCTED MY DAUGHTER
This album has been described as taking music “…not just a step forward but a giant leap.” Depicts an emotional commentary of the life of Composer, P.S.Belcher, through the 1990s and features the multimedia movie, Trains of Thought Colliding at Southall, which provides an historical reference-point for the album.


BLUE SEAS
“YOU CAN’T PLAY JAZZ UNTIL YOU CAN PLAY THE BLUES AND YOU CAN’T PLAY THE BLUES UNTIL YOU HAVE FELT THEM.” (Anon).
The Jazspeak album, Blue Seas, may seem to be something of a retrograde step when compared to the more obviously experimental albums from Jazspeak. However, there is a great deal of experimentation in Blue Seas, particularly apparent from the sometimes-deceptive use of unusual time signatures. Early Blues songs could have as many bars or, indeed, beats in a bar as the performer felt necessary but in the 20th century the format was standardised into the now usual 12-bars. Since the solidification of the format there has been very little in the way of experimental development within the form except for the introduction of the now common chord substitutions. The Jazspeak album, Blue Seas, has taken the form several steps forward and demonstrates that even the most well established formats can be effectively reworked.


CLUBBING volumes one and two and three
Each of the two volumes of Clubbing has been composed with the concept of DJ-type ‘sets’ rather than the more usual structure of a music album. The tracks, or sets, are also designed to be used by Club DJs, who can make use of easily found loop-points in the tracks for inclusion in their own mixes and sets. However, these are adventurous albums in their own right and make for some excellent sounds for parties.


DREAMING OF ELECTRIC SHEEP
This album takes Jazspeak into the realms of computer-generated compositions. A 9033MMX computer under the guidance of the Resident Jazspeak Composer, Peter Belcher, composed all of the tracks on this album except where the computer was given MIDI file inputs of Jazz Standards (arranged and orchestrated by Peter Belcher) and instructed to compose the solos. The results are very convincing indeed.


MILLENIUM
MILLENIUM is a name given to an element not yet discovered. This element is not to be confused with an arbitrary calendar date (millennium), so it may be helpful to remember that MILLENIUM is, unlike Time, without en’. The element, MILLENIUM, has properties that allow it to be assimilated into everything that exists in the Universe, with the effect that everything, living or otherwise, becomes aware of the interconnectedness of all things. The assimilation occurs through the interchange of sub-atomic Quanta, which only function at the level of statistical probability. Thus, the chance of awareness of interconnectedness increases with the number of things that have assimilated the MILLENIUM element. The quantities of MILLENIUM fluctuate like tidal waters, causing fluctuations in the perception of unity within the Universe.


MISSA MUNDI
A Postmodern non-Liturgical Ecumenical Mass featuring music composed, orchestrated, and arranged by P.S.Belcher with texts from around the world. This takes the traditional Mass as a compositional, rather than Liturgical, format but, whilst remaining true to the contexts and order of the format, brings together some of the Truths common to many Religious Belief Systems around the world. The Credo has been described as “…the most interesting music ever heard…” and features a virtual choir created initially from text-to-speech software.


NUMBER 14
A journey that starts with a clockwise day-time race around the M25, a drive and a stroll around parts of South West London that have significance for the Composer, and ends with an anticlockwise night-time race around the M25 before escaping into the relative peace of the countryside.


REQUIEM FOR THE UNSUNG HERO
"A THING ONE WRITES FOR ONESELF" (Schumann)
A Jazspeak recording of Requiem For The Unsung Hero, composed by P.S.Belcher. In spite of Schumann’s assertion, it is hoped that the Requiem will be used to celebrate and memorialise the millions of people who struggled heroically through a relatively anonymous life. Of course, there is a measure of truth in Schumann’s comment but Readers can be assured that the Composer has no immediate plans to apply the Requiem to himself.


SLEIGHTLY FUNKY
An album in Fourteen Funky Fits. This album includes the track, Interface, which was composed as a soundtrack for a Site-specific Installation, (placed in part of the cellar at Oaklands House, Chichester, 1998) inspired by A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595), by William Shakespeare. The spectator entered Interface through a doorway, along the interface (the Liminal) of the two main parts of the Installation, and was immediately confronted by a choice of direction. One direction took the spectator through a jumbled chaos, whilst the other took the spectator through a clinical order. The two sides represented the two sides of the mind, just as, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Athens represents logic, the rational mind, the Conscious mind; and the wood represents the mysterious, the Archetypes, the Unconscious mind. Both sides lead to a place where the spectator confronts their own interface. Freud thought of the Unconscious mind as a rubbish bin where we hide all our mental and emotional rubbish, and suppress the dark aspects of personality with a strong lid of sanity. Jung (a former student of Freud) thought of the Unconscious mind as a well from which we can draw universal images and where resides access to the Collective Unconscious. Freud was unable to come up with any theories to explain creativity, writing in 1927 that “before the problem of the creative Artist analysis must, alas, lay down its arms”, an activity which Jung thought draws on Archetypes from the well of the Unconscious. The soundtrack is a representation of both viewpoints, having been composed, and performed, on a digital synthesiser where a backing was programmed, over which was an improvisation using various sounds programmed into the synthesiser. The synthesiser uses algorithms, which are logical, mathematical procedures for computation, to generate the sounds. Improvising with these algorithms combined the logical with the Unconscious. The music was then recorded onto 4-track, overlaid with analogue samples, and recorded a continuous tape-loop for the Installation, which explains the composition of the opening and ending of the track being designed for looping.


THE SOUND OF ART
When Mussorgsky (1839 - 1881) composed Pictures at an Exhibition (1874) he tried to lead the listener around a sort of mini-gallery of selected paintings. The Sound of Art is similar in so far as the music describes, in part, an assemblage of paintings. Most of the paintings featured on the album are by Kandinsky (1866-1944), who found that Painting and Music can be somewhat interde_s_c_r_i_p_tive and often described his own work in musical terminology. As with Mussorgsky, the compositions of P.S. Belcher are often Modal in character or construction.


THE WHALE OF SIRENS
An album of experimental electronic and post-rock music, which utilises samples of whale-song and was inspired by a news reporter who was heard to say, “…The Whale of Sirens could be heard across Baghdad…” (BBC Radio4, 2003). However, this is not an album about a dubious war.


VIRTUALLY LIVE!
Nearly a live album! Based on experiences of the Great British Pub Gig, this album includes the time-honoured intrusion into the performance when Publicans all over England and Wales nearly simultaneously announce, “Time Gentlemen please.” However, with this album there are no Last Orders, preferring the Cymbolic Ending.


WAITER, I ORDERED THE SOUND!
A fusion of Jazz, Electronica, and Contemporary Classical, this CD contains some great tracks and introduces the Euro-heroic figure of Drummond Basie who travels through a contextual Time and Plaice on a Slow Beat to China. There is much more to this album than meets the ear. Inspired by the observation of Composer and Academic, Dr Michael Waite, that music is not a language but merely “…ordered sound…” which prompted P.S.Belcher to observe that Dr Waite had ordered sound in order to impart his educated opinion. The titles of many of the tracks demonstrate that the sounds of the English language can be ordered in such a way that the speaker can mean one thing whilst the listener hears something completely different. Try speaking some of the track titles aloud. Music can be as vague or deceptive (but not as deceitful) as any other language and has been demonstrated to conform to some traits found to be common to all Human Languages, including Zipf’s Law (Heartbeat to Drumbeat - An Investigation of the Semiotics of Music, P.S.Belcher, UCC, 2000). The essence of the language of music is contained within the sounds in a similar way to that which has been identified in spoken languages by the Linguist, Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913), who was arguably the founder of Semiotics.


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