These enigmatic and engaging pieces come from a collaboration between Gavin Bryars and the Spanish sculptor and artist Juan Muñoz. The project they developed was for a sound piece designed for radio, dealing with the description of actions which themselves involve visual illusion and trickery, and placing them in some kind of broadcasting framework.
For 'A Man in a Room, Gambling', Muñoz wrote 10 texts, each one describing the manipulation of playing cards. Each lasts exactly 5 minutes and would ideally be placed before the last radio news of the evening so that the programme would be encountered, in Britain at least, like an encounter with the Shipping Forecast. Each is accompanied by a string quartet, playing at exactly the same tempo for each piece, giving an overall unifying texture to each five-minute piece and to the sequence of ten programmes.
Five of the pieces were released on Point in 1997, in different orchestrations (now deleted) but the company was too timid to release all ten! This is the first recording of the way in which Gavin Bryars and Juan Muñoz intended them to be heard.
Juan Muñoz died in August 2001, aged 49, shortly after his enormously successful installation at Tate Modern. He and Gavin Bryars had planned to resume their collaborations after their respective summers away - for this album and for a projected chamber opera.
Juan Muñoz (speaking voice), Yukio Fujishima (additional speaking voice), The Balanescu Quartet: Alexander Balanescu, Claire Connors (violins), Bill Hawkes (viola), Caroline Dale, Pal Banda (cello)