Gavin Bryars
Guy Lochhead, 11/09/10
English composer and double bassist. Bryars studied philosophy before pursuing music. He has played in jazz, free improvisation, minimalist, historicist, avant-garde and neoclassicist groups. He is best known for his ‘Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet’, which takes Bryars’ recording of a homeless person singing and overlays looped, arhythmic (suiting the singer) strings. He was a founding member of Portsmouth Sinfonia. He has scored operas, films and choreographies. Bryars is a successful composer. The ‘Jesus’ Blood…’ piece is undoubtedly moving, but smacks of co-opted emotional weight and artistic apathy. I’m not a massive fan. Portsmouth Sinfonia is cool though. I’ll write about that separately.

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