Originally formed in the late '80s under the name of Clinch, this Danish improvising group became not only for its own music but for its interesting collaborations with a variety of other improvisers, particularly the British saxophonist Evan Parker. The use of a series of dashes in between the words in the group's name seems to be, besides the obvious issue of musical genres, the only thing that differentiates this ensemble from a heavy metal band, Ghost-in-the-Machine whose name seems to be culled from the same polter-grist. Is it the relative obscurity of both groups that makes such a thing possible legally, or should entrepreneurs begin planning a new ensemble to be called the-Rolling-Stones?
The original Clinch trio was begun by the pianist Christer Irgens-Møller, bassist Peter Friis Nielsen and drummer Claus Boje in 1981. This group released an album entitled Fri Frei Libre in 1986 on the Olufsen label. A switch in drummers occurred the following year, with Pere Oliver Jorgens the new man behind the drum kit. Beginning in 1988, the group began working with saxophonist John Tchicai, who made a reputation for himself on the American free jazz scene of the '60s, but was nonetheless actually of Danish descent. Members of the group had also worked with Tchicai in some of his various projects. The group toured with him in Finland, Italy, and Germany, and in 1989 released a collaborative record, again on the Olufsen label and accurately titled Tchicai/Clinch. At this time, the group was still using its original name, but the arrival of a new decade brought in the new identity of Ghost-in-the-Machine, as well as a new series of collaborations with the almost out of control German saxophonist Peter Brotzmann, Danish guitarist Pierre Dorge, and British trombonist Paul Rutherford, an old mate of Parker's and the creator of one of the great solo trombone albums, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgiouse on the Emanem label. And of course there were the performances with Parker himself, a busy and prolific performer who works his unique improvising style into a wide variety of settings. Even before the Ghost band was to meet up with Parker an additional collaborative aspect was added to the outing with the guest presence of Martin Klapper. This Czech musician, who had relocated to Copenhagen in the early '90s, brings an even further abstract aspect to the proceedings as his instrumental arsenal consists totally of invented gadgets, toy instruments, and out and out toys. Adding saxophonist T.S. Hoeg to the group in 1995, the members were fortunate enough to be invited to take part in a large-scale tour of both their own country and Germany in which they frequently performed for schools. The following year, the Leo compact disc Evan Parker With Ghost-in-the-Machine was released, featuring material that had been recorded in 1993 both live and in the studio in Copenhagen. A second CD with the same lineup of players was recorded at the 1998 Copenhagen International Experimental Festival and released in the same year on the Ninth World Music label. (Saxophonist Hoeg performs on neither recording.)
Christer Irgens-Møller also works as a soloist, sometimes utilizing vocals, as well as in other combinations of musicians. He has performed with percussionists such as Claus Van Bebber and Jindrich Biskup. In duo with fellow bandmember Peter Friis Nielsen, he has also created the CD MeYou, released by Olufsen in 1994. Nielsen has also worked with Kenneth Knudsen, a Danish keyboard player, as well as drummer Marilyn Mazur, and several prominent free jazz figures, drummer Sunny Murray and multi-instrumentalist Don Cherry. Peter Oliver Jorgens shares a similar background with free jazz, having performed with tenor saxophonist Frank Lowe, once one of that genre's most ferocious performers. Jorgens has also played on his own with vocalist and percussionist David Moss and the previously mentioned Peter Brotzmann. In the late '90s, Jorgens began specializing in the musical worlds of ballet and dance theater. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi