Martin Archer

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Martin Archer's career goes against every possible aspect of the music business. After 15 years as a sax player on the British improvisation scene, he called it quits, bought a synthesizer and a sequencer,…
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Artist Biography by

Martin Archer's career goes against every possible aspect of the music business. After 15 years as a sax player on the British improvisation scene, he called it quits, bought a synthesizer and a sequencer, and started to record dense and challenging experimental music that blends elements of free jazz and electronics. His records are released through his own Discus label and are available only through direct order from www.discus.mcmail.com, as he refuses to distribute them.

Martin Archer was born in Sheffield, England, in 1957. He started playing saxophone at age 15 and first got active on the Sheffield improvisational scene in 1973. In the early '80s, he recorded an LP with Bass Tone Trap, his first group. In 1983 he formed the saxophone quartet Hornweb, which, in ten years of existence, released three albums. It is during that time that Archer released his first solo album, Wild Pathway Favourites (1988) and founded the Discus label on which he since releases all his music.

In 1993, he disbanded Hornweb and turned to synthesizers and sequencers while shifting his activities from stage to studio. He developed a compositional approach in which he records improvisers soloing, then manipulates this raw material, combining it with electronics and structuring it into a whole new piece. This technique is illustrated on Wild Pathway Favourites, Ghost Lily Cascade (1996), and Pure Water Construction (with bassist Simon H. Fell, released in 1999). Later works such as Winter Pilgrim Arriving (2000) moved toward more constructed and less abstract pieces, even making room for melodies and rhythm tracks at times.

Apart from his solo work, Archer is also involved in Ask, a duo with guitarist John Jasnoch, and Transient v Resident, an ambient electronics project with Chris Bywater.