Here follows the current (updated Feb 2016) “biography” from Ambivalent Scale on Eyeless In Gaza:Eyeless In Gaza – “A biographical chronicle-journal” as relayed to this website via the Ambivalent Scale. For Martyn Bates and Peter Becker, the story of Eyeless In Gaza “is still very much a story of a ragged spiritual journey … which became a life … ” – Martyn Bates, January 2014.
- work continues on Ill Star (projected release date: late summer 2016).
- release of triple cd archival retrospective Mythic Language
- rare live performance in Berlin.
- recording/ production completed for Mania Sour album
- release of Mania Sour
- London concert, with Anne Clark
- extensive studio work undertaken throughout the year, recording Mania Sour + the as yet the unreleased I Also Dwell album of improv/mood pieces.
- release of a compilation album of Pete Becker’s early work – Peter Becker: Ambivalent Scale; Tape Recordings 1979-82, on the Vinyl On Demand label – being a first time issue for some of the material, which also features Martyn Bates and members of Bron Area.
- music commissioned for The Fifth Season/La Cinquième Saison a film by Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth. Eyeless In Gaza contributed a piece entitled ‘Broken Bud, False Star: A Farewell for Phoebus’.
- Eyeless In Gaza’s music was used in the TV series sequel to Sex & The City entitled The Carrie Diaries.
- music commissioned for Helen Alone,directed and produced by the Texas based NDN label boss Henrik Poulson. This full-length feature film features several Eyeless In Gaza tunes as well as various Martyn Bates solo performances.
- Eyeless In Gaza also undertook a series of live gigs including concerts in Paris, Mont St Michel, Coventry, and Covent Garden, London during the two year period spanning 2012 and 2013.
- release of Everyone Feels Like a Stranger. The album covered a particular territory for the band, where can be felt a deep respect for the song format … melody/harmony, a focus on the voice, inventiveness, and atmosphere … being particularly inward looking and reflective, for the most part. Martyn Bates having the following to offer about the whole project: “I really like the way that the songs and sonics have run on this particular album. As a general rule, personally, I’ve come to feel more and more that recordings are ‘where it happens’. Records or recordings are more ‘alive’ in many senses than live concerts are. Of course I feel that the two things are intrinsically different, and I also feel that the art of playing ‘live’ concerts is a peculiar, and a most special and ‘rare’ occurrence – each concert being a unique ‘happening’, for want of a better expression. But for me – records are the creatures that you send out into the world, things that will always live – creatures that live and breathe and take on lives of their own, beyond the moment.”
- release of a companion/sister album to Everyone Feels Like A Stranger entitled Butterfly Attitude, on cd, vinyl and mp3 formats – via the UK/Berlin based Downwards label. This release constituted a rare ‘licensing experiment’ by the still fiercely independent Eyeless In Gaza – which meant that among other joys Eyeless had the opportunity to do some work at George Martin’s renowned Air studios in London.
- re-issue of the long deleted Orange Ice & Wax Crayons compilation, albeit with several extra tracks – constituting quite a different version from the original.
- completion of a 26 minute story-setting/reading entitled The Shadow – running as part of the Weird Winter season on Resonance FM. (The series also features pieces by Advisory Circle, Jonny Trunk et al.)
- participation in a series of collaborative recordings with Michael Gira/Gerard Malanga’s erstwhile sparring partners 48 Cameras – working on two pieces for Jean Marie Mathoul’s stalwart project.
- live session of mostly new material for Resonance FM (broadcast March 2011).
- accolades/plaudits arrived via Rob Young’s Electric Eden book. This labyrinthine volume applauds Eyeless In Gaza’s part in that which Young dubs “the visionary music of Britain” (essentially, folk-based hallucinatory musics) – listing Martyn Bates’ Murder Ballads & Songs of Transformation collaboration albums with M.J. Harris and Max Eastley as among the best ‘visionary’ albums of 2004, along with albums by such artistes as Kate Bush / Talk Talk / Aphex Twin / Coil / Julian Cope / Current 93.
- release of Answer Song & Dance, for the German label Monopol Records – and accompanying single release Shorepoem. For these recordings, Eyeless decamped to Berlin’s infamous Hansa Studios (Bowie / U2 / Green Day etc.) where work was completed on the album and single. Part new material and part overview of latter day Eyeless In Gaza releases, Answer Song & Dance also featured a commission from leading UK poet Simon Armitage with the band rendering The Keep – a poem which could perhaps be said to reflect a more overtly Byzantine aspect of the poet’s work.
- concerts/radio sessions undertaken in Berlin, London, Barcelona, plus a set of special event “return home” concerts in their native Coventry, with Eyeless In Gaza – in “live mode” – displaying an increasing utilisation of the banjo/dulcimer/vocal skills of Elizabeth S.
- work continued on the Mythic Language project – involving researching and sourcing archive material ranging from live tapes, “lost” archive studio recording, demos, and radio sessions for the BBC, stations in San Francisco, Europe etc. A Boxed Set, it also comes with a 5-inch vinyl single containing outtakes from the Kodak Ghosts Ep, plus two books in one – a 100-page book of “lyric fragment/Xerox experiments, set up to mix word and image” – entitled November: Inky Blue Sky. The second book is a 20-page work entitled Notes on Mythic Language, (a book about writing). Selecting, sequencing, and working on this vast amount of material proved to be a somewhat cathartic exercise for Eyeless In Gaza.
- working on unissued Winter Sang album.
- Martyn Bates concert in London: Eyeless In Gaza (Martyn, Pete Becker, with added onstage support from Elizabeth S.) performed mainly items from Martyn’s solo roster at this rare live concert outing. The evening’s bill consisted of Martyn headlining performances by a range of artistes from the Sub Rosa label, with Eyeless In Gaza joining the whole line up for some finale pieces at the end of the evening. The whole event was recorded and filmed for posterity.
- Xmas gig, Coventry: Taylors John’s House – with Temple Music / Orchis + a set by Twelve Thousand Days.
- All Under the Leaves, the Leaves of Life re-packaged and re-released on Cherry Red Records, complete with extra tracks.
- release of A Map of the Stars in Summer – while not ostensibly qualifying as an Eyeless In Gaza release per se, this Martyn Bates’ solo album/book package comes close to qualifying for this particular distinction. Completed in February 2008 and released in March of that year, the A Map album was produced and engineered by Peter Becker – with Eyeless In Gaza contributing a track specifically for this release, entitled Needle to the North … with the book also featuring a variety of Eyeless In Gaza song lyrics.
- re-issue on Cd of the core five Eyeless In Gaza Cherry Red Records albums, all having undergone extensive re-mastering by Scott Davies. These classic early albums comprise what could be felt to be the “first phase” of the band – comprising Photographs as Memories (1980-81); Caught in Flux (1981); the later Back from the Rains (1985), but most importantly Drumming the Beating Heart (1982) and Pale Hands I Loved So Well (1982).
- realisation of an ambitious Eyeless In Gaza project, comprising completely new material. Some 3 years in the making, the source pool of material recorded for the Summer Salt & Subway Sun was its fullest expression and realization with the release of a box set triple album version – the band completing work on a 3-Cd version of the Summer Salt & Subway Sun album for the U.S. label Beta-Lactam Ring Records, including what is perhaps their longest track to date, the epic, upwards of 18 mins Wildcat Fights.
- band also collected a prestigious Mojo Award for their contribution to the Pillows & Prayers releases, and also specially recording a song for a Leonard Cohen homage album for the magazine.
- work completed on a Cd of new material, entitled Summer Salt/Subway Sun which was released in August of that year, which took the band into yet new territories – expanding upon their long romance with key aspects of a fragmented wyrd folk, and with ‘live performance mode’ song settings – and also threading the album throughout with several spirited e-guitar pieces akin to certain hybrid strands of Cosmische rock.
- concerts in Belgium, a festival set at Periferias, Spain plus a low key concert in Lincoln.
- concerts in Brussels, Geneva, Athens and Thessaloniki, partly to aid promotion of two substantial releases on the Sub Rosa label – Plague of Years by Eyeless In Gaza, and Your Jewled Footsteps by Martyn Bates. These compilations, uniquely, covered the whole of Eyeless In Gaza/Martyn Bates’ careers, with tracks licensed across several record labels. Plague of Years offered examples of the hitherto un-compiled experimental side of Eyeless In Gaza’s work, whilst Your Jewled Footsteps afforded a long-overlooked opportunity of an overview compilation of Martyn Bates’ solo work.
- 25th anniversary concert, at Bush Hall in London.
- a series of ‘anniversary’ releases were issued on Cherry Red records late June. These releases comprised an overview ‘best of’ Cd – No Noise, with sleeve notes by Alan McGee – combining a distillation of the Cherry Red recordings and the subsequent Ambivalent Scale label releases, plus a DVD entitled Saw You In Reminding Pictures, which comprised footage of Eyeless performing at Le Havre in 1982 including footage from the November 2004 gig.
- return (of sorts) to gigs – with a successful ‘secret’ gig in the Isle of Wight – an event which presages future performances.
- film soundtrack work: the recording and completion of music for The Resurrection Apprentice, directed by filmmaker Dan McQuaid – colleague/collaborator of/with Larry Fassenden/Jim Jarmusch.
- Eyeless In Gaza/Lol Coxhill’s outré Home Produce collaboration album was realised and released in 2003, being perhaps the most “out-there” release to date from the band. Consisting in the main of what used to be known as “free-music”, this uncompromising release drew a deal of perhaps unexpected plaudits from magazines such as Wire.
- invited by Bill Laswell to contribute to the maverick Hashisheen project. These recordings saw Eyeless working together on a piece with Genesis P. Orridge – on an album which also featured new pieces by Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Techno Animal, Paul Schütze, Jah Wobble and William S. Burroughs.
- film music commissioned – two pieces for Patrice Chereau’s film of Hanif Kureishi’s novel Intimacy. The soundtrack also featured cuts by The Clash, The Stooges, David Bowie and Nick Cave.
- recording the seminal wyrd folk/improvisational album Song of The Beautiful Wanton – a work that eloquently draws together several key strands of Eyeless’ long and varied career – also constituting a “breaking away” from their relationship of several years with World Serpent Distribution to release the album on the well-regarded US independent label Soleilmoon.
Eyeless In Gaza’s public profile in some respects can be said to have taken something of a back seat, as Peter Becker busied himself to a lesser or (usually) greater degree with the recording/development & production duties behind several Martyn Bates’ solo works. These included the “seminal and classic” wyrd-folk album Imagination Feels Like Poison … not forgetting Bates’ U.S. release album Dance of Hours and the Martyn Bates/Anne Clark album of settings of Rainer Maria Rilke, Just After Sunset. Becker and Bates oversaw an extensive release and re-mastering programme of the Eyeless Cherry Red period recordings for Cd release – including several compilations. Bates put together two books of lyrics and notes for Stride Publications, while Eyeless In Gaza contributed to several key compilation Cd’s released via a still-flourishing d.i.y/underground/alternative network – e.g. Ptolemaic Terrascope’s Alms release. Throughout this period, the duo continued to write, develop and record a vast body of studio works – amassing a working backlog of some hitherto unheard 100 plus pieces – work that continues to be transformed and re-modelled by Eyeless, who have appropriately been dubbed by one particularly sympathetic journalist as “seemingly insatiable/indefatigable explorers of strange song and sonic hinterlands.”
- recording/release of All Under the Leaves, the Leaves of Life album.
- relaunch the Ambivalent Scale