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About the Artists

Fields and Refrains

David Ryan, Dominic Lash, William Crosby, Luca Innocenti

Duration 60.33 | Released June 2022

‘Fields and Refrains’ (2021) for guitars [ 23’ 37’’ ]

– William Crosby, Guitar

‘Overlays’ (2019) for organ [ 18’ 26’’ ]

- Luca Innocenti, assisted by David Ryan, Church Organ

‘Sanjo’ (2019/20) for contrabasses  [ 18’ 09” ]

- Dominic Lash, Contrabass

‘Ligeia 2021’ (2007/2021) for contrabasses, organ, guitar  [ 4’ 20” ]

- William Crosby, Electric Guitar; Luca Innocenti, Hammond Organ; Dominic Lash, Contrabass.

Recorded at  

1) Laurel Studios, Walkern, UK, 2021.

2) Church of San Francesco, Pescia, Italy, 2019.   

3) Upper Perry Studios, Bristol, UK, 2020 4) Various, UK, Italy, 2021.

4) William Crosby, Luca Innocenti, Dominic Lash.



by David Ryan/William Crosby/Thanos Chrysakis

between June 2020— Dec 2021



About the Artists

David Ryan is a visual artist and musician.  He has long been associated with experimental music and improvisation, having performed with many distinguished musicians including Anton Lukoszevieze, John Edwards, Ian Mitchell, Alberto Popolla, John Tilbury, Luca Venitucci, Gianni Trovalusci amongst others.  In the 1990s/early 2000s he curated many concert series featuring both improvisors and composers, including Bunita Marcus, Kaija Saariaho, Ken Vandermark and many others as well as concert collaborations with Earle Brown, David Behrman, Phill Niblock and Christian Wolff.  In 2016 he was an Abbey Fellow at the British School at Rome, and in 2020 was a judge for the Franco Evangelisti prize in composition, Rome.  Recent pieces have been broadcast on Radiophrenia, CCA Glasgow and also at the Video Poetry festival, Athens (Institute of Experimental Arts). He is currently Associate Professor in Fine Art at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. 


Picture of David Ryan

Dominic Lash is an improviser and composer. The musicians he has worked with include Cristián Alvear, John Butcher, Tony Conrad, Angharad Davies, John Edwards, Jürg Frey, Matthew Grigg, Elizabeth Harnik, James Ilgenfritz, Charlotte Keeffe, Paul Lytton, Joe Morris, Steve Noble, Evan Parker, Éliane Radigue, Mark Sanders, Roger Turner, Lisa Ullén, Fay Victor, Alex Ward, and Jason Yarde.

Picture of Dominic Lash

William Crosby is a composer and musician from the UK. His artistic practice incorporates guitar playing (electric and acoustic), compositions, sound works, film, performance, text, installation, and thematically considers ecologies in their various forms, from the micro-ecologies of day-to-day interactions and archives, to posthuman sound practice and larger issues around climate emergency. He is a member of the video/performance ensemble Opera Aperta, and art/geology group MUD Collective, and also teaches improvisation/sound art as a visiting lecturer at University of the Arts, London.

Picture of William Crosby

Luca Innocenti was born in Florence and resides in Italy. He studied piano and organ at La Spezia Conservatory and formed a broad repertoire ranging from baroque to contemporary music, including Scarlatti, Mozart, Clementi, Bach, Schubert, Debussy, Prokovief, Ligeti, Gulda and Kapustin. He has participated in master classes with international pianists such as, for example, Bruno Canino, and more recently as a conductor has performed the First Symphony by Schumann, the Stabat Mater by Rossini, amongst many other symphonic works.

Picture of Luca Innocenti


Julian Cowley — THE WIRE — #465 — November 2022

Cambridge based artist David Ryan composed Fields And Refrains with

guitarist William Crosby in mind. Granted latitude in choosing his palette of sound

events, Crosby scrapes the strings of his acoustic instrument, taps its body, plinks

above the nut, generating patterns that shift and evolve. Precisely plucked and

rung notes are added. This contrasting layer, responding and interacting in

acoustic space, suggests parallels with the vibrant relationships of shapes

and colours in Ryan’s widely exhibited visual artworks. Sanjo, a comparably

collaborative and dialogic composition, unfurls with bulbous grace in the hands

of double bassist Dominic Lash. Overlays introduces still more weight and depth as

Luca Innocenti flits between the glimmer and glower of a church organ. Those three

soloists are brought together briefly for Ligeia, a lucid distillation of their

instrumental voice.


Nick Ostrum — The Squid's Ear — 21.09.22

Coming into its fifteenth year, Aural Terrains is still going strong. Fields and Refrains, a collection of three modified solo pieces and one collective performance, is a case in point.

All works on this album are compositions by David Ryan, who does not personally appear on any of the tracks except as an assistant to the organist on the second track, “Overlays”. The scores, or recorded and augmented “grounds” to which the musicians must respond, are relatively loose, intended to create, to paraphrase Ryan, a dialogue with the soloist. (For more on the composition and performance process for each piece, see Ryan’s illuminating liner notes.) The result is a largely quiet set of performances, underneath which simmers a near-constant restiveness. The listener may anticipate but can never really know what will come next: a single tone, a short and soft cascade of notes, a strum or a woody pluck.

The first track, “Fields and Refrains”, is the longest, clocking in at over 23 minutes. Ryan wrote the score specifically with guitarist William Crosby in mind. It begins with spacious, understated rubbing and thuds. One hears a few plucks here and there after the first few minutes, which slowly fall into tones and at times feint a slow, disjointed melody. The scraping slows, then stops, as the plucks and knocks come into play together. Gradually, this turns, as the title hints, somewhat pastoral. Crosby begins to stretch from the non-idiomatic sounds to more standard notes, albeit without really settling on anything conventional. And, about halfway through, the piece coheres. The notes come in tighter clusters. The scrapes bleed into high plucks which merge into chords and a soft ever-emergent sweet melodic backdrop.

“Overlay”, performed by Luca Innocenti on organ (with a hand or two from Ryan himself) on organ, follows. This one will especially appeal to listeners who indulge in wide-eyed explorations of what tones layered on tones layered on tones can do. Pitches range and pile and collide. The piece ends with crisp five-note scales. At times, it sounds as if an ensemble of strings, winds and reeds are playing. At others, it sounds as if someone is really having a go at possibilities for elongation and perception-warping drones. That seems to be much of the point. This is maybe the least fluttery but most propulsive of the three solos captured here.

“Sanjo”, the next track, features Dominic Lash on bass and it is a minimalist, understated scorcher. It swings between slow and low arco and high sparse pizzicato. Lash is a musician of fastidious technique and of ideas. He avoids full melody in favor of full sounds, tonal decay, bends and frictions and atonal structures. The result is sad at times, as in when Lash approaches tuneful phrases, and is mysterious at others, most often when he avoids them. Always, however, the result is captivating. A fine show of what one can do with a contrabass, some modified playback and a lot of patience.

The final piece is a group effort and, at four minutes and twenty seconds, is the shortest piece by far. It is based on a recently reworked score, based on a 2007 work, which was inspired by the Edgar Allen Poe story Ligeia. As the most active piece, as well, and the only collaboration among all three musicians and the composer, “Ligeia 221” is a fitting, if brief culmination. Crosby, Innocenti and Lash each contribute long tones. Lash and Crosby also throw in some pizzicato and strumming that breaks up any potential monotony. In the end, these three musicians create a fuller sound — though not necessarily vision — than each achieved alone and work remarkably well towards a singular aesthetic through a range of techniques and sounds. Much of this could also be said of this entire album, which is a statement of some of the territory Aural Terrains has covered recently, as well as where acoustic-improv — more entrenched in new music than new thing — stands today.