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Hugh Davies Composer
Black and white photograph of Hugh Davies with Shozyg I Uher mixer and clarinet
From 1968 to 1971 Davies played in a group called the Music Improvisation Company. The group's guitarist Derek Bailey later wrote that "the live electronics served to extend the music both forwards and backwards (...) Davies helped to loosen what had been, until his arrival, a perhaps too rarified approach". He was also a member of the group Gentle Fire, active from 1968 to 1975, which specialised in the realisation of indeterminate and mobile scores, as well as verbally formulated intuitive-music compositions (such as Stockhausen's Aus den sieben Tagen) and in the performance of its own Group Compositions.
Davies invented musical instruments that he constructed from household items. Among them was the shozyg, a generic name he used for any instrument housed inside an unusual container. The name is derived from the first of such instruments, which was housed inside the final volume of an encyclopaedia (covering the subjects from SHO- to ZYG-).
From the 1960s onwards Davies made very significant contributions to the documentation of electronic music history, and in 1968 published a catalogue in which he listed - ostensibly - all the works of electronic music ever composed worldwide. It has been argued that, through his research and documentation, Davies characterised electronic music for the first time as a truly international, interdisciplinary field.
^Davies, Hugh (1968). Repertoire International des Musiques Electroacoustiques/International Electronic Music Catalog. Paris; Trumansburg, NY: Le Groupe de Recherches Musicales de l'ORTF; The Independent Electronic Music Center, Inc.; MIT Press.
Mooney, James. 2016. "Technology, Process and Musical Personality in the Music of Stockhausen, Hugh Davies and Gentle Fire". In The Musical Legacy of Karlheinz Stockhausen: Looking Back and Forward, edited by M.J. Grant and Imke Misch, 102-15. Hofheim: Wolke Verlag. ISBN978-3-95593-068-4.