Oren Marshall

Composer and Performer, Tuba and Electronics

Albums by Oren Marshall

Spedy Sponda

An Introduction to the Story of Spedy Sponda. Inspired by a dream, the composition traces Spedy Sponda’s journey to enlightenment, mirrored by Oren’s ongoing search for strategies to unlock the potential of his instrument. When asked to describe his sound Oren replied, “…a contemporary classical ambient space heavy metal experimental improvised folk blues”.

The first of a planned five part cycle, Spedy Sponda explores the unique live setup Oren has developed, and captures the range and intensity of his solo performances.

Oren uses the tuba to trigger electronic sounds and loops with the aid of a selection of effects pedals. Part of the piece also involves the connection and simultaneous playing of 5 tubas spread around the room, connected by rubber tubing- a sort of surround sound tuba scape.

Click on the following link to view a short extract of Oren playing Spedy Sponda live at the Abbesmuseum in Eindhoven, Holland :

http://www.axesjazzpower.nl/movies/2007/070311_Oren Marschall.mov

Time Spent at traffic Lights

‘Time Spent at Traffic Lights’ - A set of experiments, compositions and improvisations by Oren on the electric/ acoustic tuba and recorders aided and abetted by The Charming Transport Band, made up by Steve Buckley on bass clarinet, Dean Brodrick on melodica/clavinet and Simone Haggiag and Davide Giovannini on drums and percussion. Charming, humorous, challenging and at times infuriating! A fascinating insight into the “brilliant alien mind” of Oren Marshall.

“Everyone has room in their collection for at least one tuba virtuoso, and if yours is looking a bit bleak in that department may we cordially introduce you to Mr. Oren Marshall. Nominated two years running for the BBC award in jazz innovation, Marshall has finally seen fit to release ‘Time Spent At Traffic Lights’ - a selection of solo and small ensemble compositions originally recorded during the mid-nineties with The Charming Transport Band and here committed to record for the first time.

As with any such endeavor, there’s always the danger that one man’s jazz odyssey will be another man’s gold-plated ball-ache, but thanks to Marshall’s brass skills (honed to perfection since the age of fourteen) ‘Time Spent At Traffic Lights’ remains the right side of the innovative/insufferable divide throughout. Opening with the jaunty excursions of ‘Harry’s Pain’, Marshall then takes us on a meandering journey through the evocative clearing of ‘Bush Baby Part One’, gives us a brief pep of rabble-rousing quirkiness on the title track, before seeing you out with the dawn-chorus of ‘Bar’s Dream’. It’s enough to expunge the image of Harold Bishop forever…”

For more information on Slowfoot Records see www.slowfoot.co.uk and www.myspace.com/slowfootrecords

Reviews of some of Oren´s live solo work

From the CMN tour, supporting Murcof :

“The support slot tonight is Oren Marshall, a man who is doing for the tuba what Hendrix did for Fender Strats. He has even altered the shape of his tuba renaming it the ‘Orenophone’ and when you hear what he does with a tuba, you will understand why he retains the right to rename the instrument. It is a simple enough set up: one man, one Orenophone and about 5 Boss effect pedals. Oren’s set moves from seemingly classical tuba pieces to soundscapes, in which he will play through his table full of delays, samplers, flangers, distortions, pitchshifters and then edit the sound live (and its subsequent layers of feedback) to produce a sound of beauty… all this while still playing. His use of circular breathing is something to behold as he plays note after note without stopping, while I am desperately coming up for air. Oren’s use of dynamics is something only learnt by a thorough knowledge of his craft and although minimalist in its approach, his pieces  are never tiresome. If tubas ever become the next rock n roll must have, I am sure Mr Marshall will be hailed as much as Robert Johnson is to any guitarist worth their salt.” Alan Neilson writing for ´Birmingham Live`

“He takes to the stage and sits down, a thin man with a green hat pulled down low over his eyes. Between his legs emerges a huge custom-built tuba. He looks at the crowd for a second, nodding in acknowledgement. I stare in a mixture of bemusement and horror, half-memories of marching bands flashing through my mind.

It seems that everything but military pomp emerges from the tuba’s bulbous bell. Farted parps and splutterings gradually morph into resonant bass beats, which, with the addition of some FX pedals and masterly breath control, break out into glitchy grooves. Next comes an extended ear-shattering burst of distorted drone, and some smoky horn to finish.” Adam Bambury, FactMagazine

“Take Oren Marshall, who opened up last night’s concert at the Purcell Room with some brilliantly gripping improvisations for solo tuba. Big brass instruments seem to say “jazz”, but Marshall started his set with abstract, almost animal-like noises. He played acoustically, wandering around the aisles and disappearing round the back of the stage. Another piece was predominantly electronic, employing a little chain of effects pedals that delayed and looped and eventually distorted and scrambled his tones so that we were immersed in a dense, squalling tangle of fuzz and feedback - all from one tuba.” John L Walters, The Guardian Music Blog

“Playing up his instrument’s reputation as the lumbering beast of the orchestra, he began by stalking the aisles, growling and grunting through his instrument, sneaking up behind people and letting out a dinosaur-like roar. Returning to the stage, he used a variety of effects pedals to loop his instrument, build reverberating little chamber pieces, and make it sound like a feedbacking electric guitar. He went on another walkbout at the end which had the crowd in stitches; squeezing himself along the rows, sitting awhile in an unoccupied seat, engulfing a poor man’s head in the tuba’s vast bell, and finally disappearing through the curtain at the back of the stage, all the while playing a rumbling, cyclic, didgeridoo-like phrase.” Review of same gig at the Purcell Room in Mapsadaisical

…and another review of the Purcell Room gig(London Jazz Festival 2008)

“Pacing the room like a dragon scanning a dark cave for intruders, breathing heavily, following the sent of unfamiliar bodies, Oren Marshall’s opening piece of this performance at the Purcell Room, on the South Bank in London was made solely of breathing sounds propelled through the gigantic mouth of his tuba. Music was not the concern here; instead, it seemed as if Marshall’s purpose was to get up close and personal with his audience. Getting off the stage to walk slowly past the whole front row, then venturing up a few steps on each on the aisles, it felt as if Marshall and the audience were evaluating each other. Once back on stage, the sounds extracted from the tuba were processed through various delays to build the outlines of cyclical pieces and occasional rhythmic patterns. Twisted and bent out of shape, the sounds coming out of the instruments seemed to gain otherworldly features, sounding for a moment like a broken acid squelch or a little girl’s scream, until, at one point, the layers of noise had very little to do with the reality of the instrument. It is with his last piece though that Marshall demonstrated the highest level of dexterity. Leaving once again the relative safety of the stage, he found himself playing a recurring theme with no pause or breathing point of sort, the only apparent sign of any human scale being the heavy nasal air intake punctuating the music. This time, Marshall went up the whole set of steps on one side of the auditorium, fought his way through a row of seats and came back down on the other side, again coming so close to a handful of audience members that they almost ended up swallowed by the beast. His last outburst took place as he disappeared behind the curtain at the back of the stage, bringing this surprising performance to a close with a truly humoristic twist.” TheMilkFactory

“Opening in the semi-darkness, a seated Marshall cast long, soulful notes into the room in sequence, using one hand on an effects box to sculpt them into a subtly echoing soundscape evocative of wide, monumental Scandiwegian vistas, with the occasional Arabic/Spanish lilt thrown in. Ending this first piece with a terrible feedback noise that he grabbed and twisted into a pulsing, scraping sound that finally petered into nothingness, Marshall asked ‘Did you like that?’ Confirmatory applause preceded a confession the ending had been an accident caused by technical problems. The audience was delighted. Marshall then took to the floor to perform the rest of his set unamplified and unlooped, providing us with a fantastic, playful demonstration of his incredible musical skill. If you’ve never heard a tuba sound like a farting, vomiting, rutting elephant in a plughole, or do a call-and-reponse with a squeaky floorboard, or use a wall or an audience member’s lap for a mute, or be sung into and harmonised with like a didge, or swung irreverently around on the floor for effect - well - you should have been there!” Daily Information, Oxford