In the mid-60s John Cage placed microphones in and around the concert hall, deploying them in the formation of a graphic score from a previous piece, to create the “environmental collage” Variations IV. In so doing he opened up the world for both Robin Rimbaud and Kaffe Matthews. But whereas his concern was with synchronicity and the “spatial aggregates” of recognisable sounds, the ensuing years have given rise to technology that enables Kaffe Matthews to instantaneously process her sounds sampled in and around the venue rendering them unrecognisable. And whereas his approach was compositional she uses a laptop to improvise with her material. Creating her music live gives it a sense of a deadline, she has only a certain amount of time to make this work – a sense that informs all improvised pieces – but the pace is unhurried and she deploys her resources sparingly, looping and unfolding sounds with a gentle sensuality that belies the grittiness of her glitch-laden textures.
Over the years the violin has moved from its role as central sound source to become redundant. Thus the central piece ‘The Last Of The Violins’ (1999) is bookended by more recent work in which she is free to concentrate on moulding her material with greater focus and integrity to produce another beautiful album.