• 1. KEW (02:54)
  • 2. UNITY THEATRE (03:01)
  • 3. QUEUE (07:15)
  • 4. CUE (04:40)
  • 5. ROOTS (02:18)
  • 6. VIRGINAL (06:04)
  • 7. PRAXIS (04:04)
  • 8. THE LOST CHORD (01:55)
  • 9. FIRST (02:31)
  • 10. SECOND (08:50)
  • 11. THIRD (06:15)
  • 12. FOURTH (01:31)
  • 13. FIFTH (02:37)
  • 14. SIXTH (02:24)
  • 15. SEVENTH (02:22)
  • 16. EIGHTH (02:39)
  • 17. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU (05:31)

Domestic & Public Pieces


Guitar – Derek Bailey
Words By – A.A. Procter (tracks: 8), Derek Bailey (tracks: 5, 12), Simone de Beauvoir (tracks: 17)

Solo acoustic guitar improvisations at home, some with telling spoken commentaries, plus solo stereo electric guitar improvisations (with two volume pedals and two speakers) in concert. A classic collection. 67 minutes.

Excerpts from sleeve notes:
I use the guitar normally. It's tuned normally. I work on, sort of, certain pitch relationships, when I use pitch. I work from a practical point of view. That is, the music to be acceptable as far as I'm concerned, has to work in my terms. That is, it has to sound right. I don't have any sort of huge abstract theories into which I try and make the music fit regardless of this other aspect of playing - if it sounds good when you're performing, then that's the main thing. It's got to be immediate - that type of thing. That I think is a very conventional way of approaching music for a performer.

I don't use a lot of conventional techniques on the guitar. But then, I'm not interested to play in the areas those techniques were developed to serve. It wouldn't be any good for my purposes to do a sort of imitation of Charlie Christian or something. People can refer to that, say, as conventional guitar playing. But it isn't. It's conventional jazz guitar playing of a certain period. To certain people, the only way to play a guitar is in a flamenco style, which I think is quite beautiful, incidentally. These are taken to be sort of standard conventional techniques - but, actually, they're techniques that serve certain purposes.

Derek Bailey (b. 1930) spent more than a decade playing in dance bands before deciding to concentrate on free improvisation in the mid-1960s. He had thus acquired a comprehensive ability in "conventional" guitar playing, to which he added all the "unconventional" techniques which he subsequently discovered. Between the two, he probably knows more about the guitar, and can get more out of it, than anyone else.

More important, though, is the fact that he is one of the finest improvisers around, both in solo and group contexts. He is one of very few musicians who seems to have an endless supply of new ideas which enable him to be continually inventive, as can be heard here and elsewhere.

This disc documents some of the different instrumental approaches that he has used. In his early free work, he used a six-string guitar with pedal-controlled amplification. This allowed him, among other things, to instantly control the volume of each note sounded, and also to vary the volume during the course of a sound. One use of this technique meant that notes could fade in and/or end abruptly, in direct opposition to what happens naturally.

In 1972, Bailey added another loudspeaker and another volume pedal to his guitar, enabling him to throw sounds around stereophonically. This was the principal instrument used in the concert from which the EIGHT PUBLIC PIECES were extracted. He performed two extended improvisations using this stereo set-up - FIRST and SECOND are extracted from the first, and FIFTH, SIXTH, SEVENTH and EIGHTH come from the second.

In order to break up the concert, there was a section between the two main pieces featuring his then "other" guitar. This had started life off as a twelve-string, but, thanks to Bailey's enhancements, had grown to carrying approximately nineteen strings. It can be heard played through a practice amplifier on THIRD and FOURTH. Also heard on these two tracks are a Waisvisz Crackle Box played by members of the audience, an amplified thundersheet, and a tape recorder that suddenly came to life.

Shortly after this concert, Bailey decided to stop using two-pedal-controlled stereo amplification, mainly because so many other people (not just guitarists) had followed his lead in this direction. He was also somewhat fed up with having to lug so much equipment around. He therefore decided to concentrate on what he was unbeatable at, namely, playing the guitar.

Another reason for largely dropping electricity was his acquisition of a couple of 1930s six-string guitars that are remarkably loud, having been designed to be used in dance bands before the advent of amplification. Most of the DOMESTIC PIECES feature one or other of these guitars, although some feature the previously heard six-string without amplification.

Album label: 
Release date: 
01.01 / 1979
Recording date: 
22.01 / 1977
Recording location: 
London 1975-7
Artwork design : Martin Davidson
Mastering engineer : Martin Davidson
Producer : Derek Bailey & Martin Davidson
Recording engineer : Derek Bailey & Martin Davidson

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