Freedom, flux, spontaneity. This is the anti-manifesto of English quartet Volcano The Bear. They aim for a no-style style where anything can, and does happen. The four, Clarence Manuelo, Nick Mott, Aaron Moore and Daniel Padden, have a unique take on the DIY punk approach; they are anti-virtuoistic, but also anti-genre and interested in the very fundamentals of sound. So what can happen in this non-space that is created? The surprising answer is: anti-chaos. In Volcano The Bear’s hour-long improvisations, there is no plan, but there is structure; threads are pulled together through the four member’s intuitive reactions to each other, the audience and their own recorded past material – Faust-like, VTB recycle their own sounds - an engaging piece of musical cannibalism.
Filled with complexity, their live performances are fresh and funny. Humour is an important element in the VTB philosophy. Says Daniel Padden: “We don't take ourselves too seriously, and we know that music can be very funny.” Aaron Moore adds: “A lot of "experimental" music is played so deadpan that an audience can have difficulty engaging with the music and the musicians on stage, staring at their shoes. This isn't a problem with The Bear. To make an audience smile and laugh with you is very special…”
VTB use conventional instruments in their music making, guitars are played with pliers and electric razors, clarinets are blown for texture rather than tone, they also use an enormous range of non-instruments: vacuum cleaners, balloons, straws and an assortment of home-made electronics. Voice is another important element, with chanting, shouting and poetry reading all coming into play through characters invented and affected for the occasion.
Together since 1995, each member is also simultaneously involved in various side and solo projects. VTB have an impressive back catalogue spun across several labels including the CD-R imprint Volucan, Nurse With Wound’s United Diaries and the French Textile Records, making them label-mates with Jackie O Motherfucker and Vibracathederal Orchestra. Many of the albums are live recordings and have limited edition, hand-painted covers.
A new studio album Classic Erasmus Fusion
is scheduled for release on Beta Lactam Ring Records in February 2006, a double cd and a limited edition double vinyl album.
Volcano The Bear's appearance at CTM 06 will be the first time they have performed as a quartet for 3 years, and this will be their first ever German performance. VTB will be creating new music specifically for the CTM show.