michael edwards

"Here as elsewhere, Edwards on tenor saxophone impresses with a rich tone plus keen melodic instincts on a slowly unfolding solo." (John Eyles, review of lapslap's first two CDs, All About Jazz, March 2009)

"enormous fun to listen to" (Philip Clark, review of CD "Apagon", The Wire 220, 6/2002)

"Certainly this is very atmospheric music. The ten short and varied performances explore a wide range of sonorities and textures which is further extended by use of electronic modifications. The insert notes refer to the the trio's desire "to make well-formed music in realtime", and on the evidence of these single-take tracks they have succeeded admirably..." (Barry Witherden, review of lapslap's debut CD "itch", The Wire 298, 12/2008)

"...Michael Edward's segmentation fault beta 1.0 (1996), in collaboration with Marco Trevisani, could have risen the dead. The daring so desperately missing in the previous pieces was evident here in an engaging live performance, featuring Mr. Edwards at the computer and mixer, and Mr. Trevisani playing an amplified prepared piano." (Anna Sofie Christiansen, "segmentation fault beta 1.1" review, Computer Music Journal, Vol. 20 #3)

"...brings to mind compositions based on the controlled tempo of breath. With a pace similar to a traditional Sanjo, slowly breathing in ideas and bellowing out well thought out processed thoughts, each player giving just enough titillation to provoke the other to reciprocate. Lapslap creates for the listener a suspenseful and exciting auditory world. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!" (lapslap "itch" review, Chuck Bettis, Downtown Music Gallery, New York)

"...Lapslap apply a loosely held rule ... : if the computer is not being touched then it does not make sound. This is a refreshing approach, as it avoids some of the less creative uses to which computers are put elsewhere, uses which can overwhelm the instrumental contributions. The two tracks demonstrate this admirable restraint, including the computers' music as an equal partner in the improvisations rather than as an added extra or a novelty ingredient." (John Eyles, review of lapslap's first two CDs, All About Jazz, March 2009)


Michael Edwards
Free Improvisation
MP3 Blog

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This page has now been archived. For more recent posts on improvisation activities see my main blog.

I play and record with the following groups: lapslap, electric cowboy cacophony, Not Us and edimpro.

I improvise with the tenor, alto, and soprano saxophones as well as with the computer: this is used as a sound processor (live granular synthesis, real-time sampling, analysis/resynthesis, etc.), generator, and instrument.

To interface with the computer in a traditional (wind) instrumental manner, I use the Yamaha WX5 MIDI Wind Controller (which plays somewhat like the saxophone). I trigger pre-recorded samples but also use it for live sampling and granular synthesis control. Using Max/MSP software I've developed over the last several years, I record and analyse incoming sound (usually from a fellow improvisor) and automatically map events to the keys of the WX5. This process is continually updated. In this way, I'm able to interact directly with other musicians, spitting back at them what they've just been playing. At the same time though, I don't always know what's going to come out when I blow.

Feel free to download and share these MP3s as you wish but please don't modify and/or use them in your own musical work (or otherwise) without my permission. Thanks for respecting this.

Any comments/problems/requests mail me: m(at)michael-edwards.org

lapslap in Bologna


lapslap in Bologna

Michael Edwards, soprano saxophone and computer
Martin Parker, computer
Karin Schisktek, piano

Documentation recording of the concert we did at the IV. Maskfest in Sala Silentium, Bologna, Italy on May 7th 2013.



Genoa improvisation
Conservatorio Niccola Paganini di Genova, Italy

Nicola Baroni, cello and computer
Michael Edwards, soprano sax and computer
Giacomo Lepri, clarinet and computer
Karin Schistek, piano
Students of Roberto Doati, electric guitars

Documentation recording of the concert we did in Genoa, Italy, in April 2012



Edimpro Concert
Reid Concert Hall, Edinburgh

Large ensemble group improvisation
With guest Raymond MacDonald.

Documentation recording of the concert we did at Reid Concert Hall in Edinburgh with Raymond MacDonald, alto sax. Raymond opened the first of two half-hour improvisations with a beautiful solo and contributed memorably to several other parts of the evening.

Piece A
Piece B

There are more recordings available via our Facebook page

Fritz Welch

Michael's Sauna

Fritz Welch, saw
Michael Edwards, computer



Another couple of tracks from the 2010 session with Fritz Welch. This time Fritz is on saw: bowed, struck, etc. My contribution was after-the-fact improvised computer processing using Fritz's improvisation as input. The results were pretty heavy for an originally quite delicate saw improvisation: one long, one short, not yet mastered but we're now saving that process for a more official release.


Edimpro Concert

Large ensemble group improvisation

Documentation recording of the concert we did at Reid Concert Hall in Edinburgh. We're a very mixed ensemble, with a constantly changing lineup; we've been playing together for a year at this point. Everyone played really well here, which was very gratifying.

Listen via soundcloud

There are more recordings available via our Facebook page

Fritz Welch

Michael's Sauna

Fritz Welch, snare drum, vocal
Michael Edwards, tenor saxophone


Fritz is the first person other than myself to record in my sauna / home studio. Doghouse Reilly is Fritz solo; it has formal discipline, was recorded in one take and displays both snare and vocal inventiveness of impressive variety.

no deposit, no return (mixed and mastered June 24th 2010)

Long one, this: almost 33 minutes (c. 60MB). I like the sound-block structural approach Fritz uses, where one sound-type dominates for a considerable time before stopping (often abruptly) and moving on to something quite different. Certainly gave me some textural and invention challenges, especially when trying to find some common timbral ground (try matching tenor sax to polystyrene rubbed on a bell). Also used SSL's new X-Verb plugin for the first time on this mix; might have overdone it a bit (new toys!) but I think it might actually rival my Lexicon...hmmm...

way off limits

Reid Hall, Edinburgh

Marcus Weiss, soprano sax
Michael Edwards, laptop and MIDI wind controller

Marcus returned to Edinburgh to give an amazing concert and workshop. He premiered a new piece of mine for tenor sax and computer processed sound. We also did a short improv (linked below). There's no way I was going to play sax next to this maestro so I had to pull out the old fisher price clarinet and stick it into the laptop...

This was recorded ad hoc with just a couple of mics stuck up in the middle of the audience--not the greatest sonic perspective of course, but nice to have as a documentation recording--thanks Kevin.



Reid Concert Hall
September 2008

Michael Edwards, laptop, MIDI wind controller
John Irvine, electric guitar, electronics
Martin Parker, laptop

From an electronics trio we did as a side session during lapslap's Zuppa Inglese recordings. This is what happens when Karin can't make it (pretty noisy stuff). Thanks to John Irvine for provoking us and waiting patiently for this mix.


cheap 'n' cheerful

Alison House, Edinburgh

Michael Edwards, tenor sax
Christophe Fellay, drums
Karin Schistek, piano

Bit of fire music here. An impromptu session recorded when Christophe was visiting Edinburgh. Not the best room acoustic/recording but I'm doing my best to get something out of these as there's some good music I think. More to come.


And here's a more gentle one, mixed and mastered March 2010. The room acoustic was a real problem here; tried to tame it with gates and a rather heavy dose of artificial reverb (like fighting fire with fire of course). I love the long piano tail and second mobile bleep at the end (damn!).



sauna mics

Michael's Sauna, Edinburgh

Michael Edwards, tenor saxophone

Tenor with a bad throat. beast is a bit similar to zerbroetzeln, my solo on lapslap's scratch I suppose. space is its polar opposite: more breath and resonance than tone.

These are the first recordings I've made through my mytek stereo96 ADC. Given the high standard of components in my current recording setup, if I sound awful I've only got my playing to blame :)


yellow pages

sauna mics

Michael's Sauna, Edinburgh

Michael Edwards, alto saxophone

Jordan Fleming very kindly (or perhaps foolishly) lent me his 1958 Selmer Mark VI alto. It's so good I almost believe the hype about these instruments now. Don't know about parting with 3k for one though.



sauna mics

Michael's Sauna, Edinburgh

Michael Edwards, soprano saxophone

High squeeky soprano legging it all over the place and nowhere.



sauna mics

Michael's sauna, Edinburgh

Michael Edwards, soprano saxophone

I've been experimenting with my DAV BG1 mic pre-amps recently. This is one of the early results, using a single Neumann TLM 103 mic. I mastered this with the DAV BG6 compressor too, going into the Lexicon PCM91...ok, this is getting too gearheady...got to stop...

play slippage.mp3


sauna mics

Michael's sauna, Edinburgh

Michael Edwards, tenor saxophone

Hot out of Michael's home studio (aka the sauna...ah, the joys of city living and dual-purpose spaces...).

Bit of tenor, lexicon, and subharmonic synth...no editing...no laptop...just hardware...(turn up your subwoofer again).


creepy uncle

sauna mics

Michael's sauna, Edinburgh

Michael Edwards, soprano saxophone

AKA unappetitlich or bad dinner guest, this one makes some pretty disgusting mouth noises. Not sure you want to hear it really but there is something about it.

play creepy-uncle.mp3

electric cowboy cacophony live in Marseille


GRIM, Marseille

Michael Edwards: soprano saxophone, wx5 midi wind controller, computer
Paul Elwood: banjo
Jean-Marc Montera: electric guitar
Karin Schistek: piano, synthesiser

MP3s of our performance at the festival Nuits d'Hiver now available. Don't miss Paul singing on my immortal home.


electric cowboy cacophony live in Edinburgh


Dialogues Festival, Edinburgh

Michael Edwards: tenor and soprano saxophones, wx5 midi wind controller, computer
Paul Elwood: banjo
Jean-Marc Montera: electric guitar
Karin Schistek: piano, synthesiser

MP3s of our performance at the 2008 Dialogues Festival now available.


electric cowboy cacophony debut release


GRIM, Marseille

Michael Edwards: tenor and soprano saxophones, wx5 midi wind controller, computer
Paul Elwood: banjo
Jean-Marc Montera: electric guitar
Karin Schistek: piano, synthesiser

Project website, mp3s, and recording now available.

The inclusion of banjo in this group just sometimes lets loose a kind of yeehaw! that's unavoidable (sorry Paul), hence the title.

We formed in February 2006 in Marseille and mix up live electronics, avant-garde classical, rock, free jazz, and bluegrass (for now at least).

The recording was made in Marseille in July 2008. Get the flavour here:


lapslap live


lapslap in the Atrium, Edinburgh

Michael Edwards, soprano sax, computer
Martin Parker, computer, flugel horn
Karin Schistek, keyboard, synth

lapslap played a set in the Atrium of Alison House, Edinburgh, on October 1st 2008. You can see one of the pieces on youtube or listen to a better recording below (in-ear binaural microphones; thanks to Scott Lahiff). More at lapslap.net


Montreux Jazz Festival 2008


Percussion and Piano Pieces
(Christophe Fellay)
Petit Palais, Montreux, Switzerland

Sarah Nicolls, piano
Michael Edwards, WX5 MIDI wind controller, computer
Christophe Fellay, composer, drums, percussion, electronics

Found a bunch of videos on YouTube of our performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2008. OK, this is not completely free improv as Christophe wrote some pieces for Sarah that he wove into our set, but it must be 80-90% improvised (or 100% in my case).

There are some nice photos too.Thanks Christophe!

Part 2: The wind controller is clearly in action for the first time (starting around 1:18) with some granular crunchiness.

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7: Some live sampling on the wind controller. I hijack Sarah's piano sound around 1:50 and from there pick up on Christophe's drums. I'm holding back, believe it or not, until just before the end:

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11: Wind controller starts getting a little out of control in the one below (see around 3:20):

Part 12


la leque

La Leque, Camargo Foundation, Cassis, France

Michael Edwards: alto saxophone, computer

Solo improvisation with alto (no mouthpiece), granular synthesis, loops, sine waves (deliberately crude auto/instant analysis-resynthesis). I was playing sax and controlling the computer simultaneously here in the beautiful composer's studio of La Leque at the Carmargo Foundation, Cassis (near Marseille), France.

This makes use of loud very low frequencies so turn up your sub if you have one.


Off Limits


Gare du Nord: Bahnhof für Neue Musik, Basel, Switzerland

Michael Edwards: computer, WX5 MIDI Wind Controller
Marcus Weiss: soprano saxophone

This was the first improvisation in which I used the Yamaha WX5 MIDI Wind Controller, most conspicuously for live sampling (starts around 7:20). Listen to Marcus play. He's one of the best. A privilege to work with him.

play off-limits.mp3



Michael Edwards - tenor & soprano saxophones, computer, midi wind controller
Martin Parker - french horn, flugel horn, recorder, computer
Karin Schistek - piano, synth

lapslap is a free improv trio based in Edinburgh. We have our own website and have released CDs on Leo Records. Head over to www.lapslap.net for more info, links, and MP3s.

play Grab a taste of not cheddar but from our debut album.



Final Concert of the 10th Mittersill Composers' Forum
Caritas Zentrum, Mittersill, Austria

Michael Edwards: computer
Manon Liu Winter: amplified clavichord

This was the first free improvisation I made in concert with my Max/MSP granular synthesis and looping patch. Both are performed with a dedicated Max/MSP external object I wrote in C for this purpose.

This was released on CD by KOFOMI

play mm.mp3