This free-improvising group was formed in May 1989 by Adam Bohman (b. 12 August 1959, Leicester, England; prepared strings) and Nick Couldry (b. 1 July 1958, Epsom, Surrey, England; keyboards) who met at Phil Wachsmann’s improvisation class at the City Literary Institute in London. They were joined by Barry Edgar Pilcher (b. 10 June 1943, Beckenham, Kent, England; saxophone) and Andy Hammond (b. 22 June 1958, Maidstone, Kent, England; electric guitars), the latter from the rock-influenced band Yo Seagull. In July 1989 Conspiracy were chosen from 50 entries to perform at the Society For The Promotion Of New Music’s Improvisation Day at London’s Donmar Warehouse. The Beaufort Scale confirmed the group’s growing reputation as purveyors of intelligent abstract music with a strong emotional charge. Wire magazine called it, ‘a magnificent debut... very original and unnervingly powerful’. In autumn 1990 Pilcher departed to be replaced by John Telfer (b. 11 January 1963, Gillingham, Kent; baritone and alto saxophones/flute). Throughout 1991 the group worked intensively in London, occasionally with percussionists Eddie Prévost and Mark Sanders. They also collaborated on a mixed-media project with the sculptor Chris Dorsett, performing in museums and other spaces not usually associated with music. Their influences range from contemporary classical composers such as Xenakis and Berio, to the experimental rock of Fred Frith and 60s improvisers AMM. Conspiracy also founded the Polar Bear Club in London, which is devoted to the promotion of improvised and experimental music.
Share this page