a present from the pickpocket
lee noyes and phil hargreaves

The story so far: we created this recording over a period of four years. Originally it was to be a kind of follow up to the recordings i did with Bret Hart ('the greater part of what my neighbors call good i believe in my soul to be bad', whi003), and in a way it is. However, we abandoned Bret's purist approach of using only first takes and single overdubs, and laid the ground rules wide open. Not long after we started exchanging recordings, i had a breakdown and Lee developed carpal tunnel syndrome. By the time i'd recovered sufficiently to approach Lee's CD's, i'd stopped playing saxophone altogether - i was then playing cello and singing.

We've taken the decision not to charge for this recording, so it's available as a free download in MP3 format, AAC or lossless FLAC, via Bandcamp. This means that if you prefer CD's, you can convert the FLAC file to a wav, print off the parts for a jewel case and make your own. The Bandcamp arrangement means that you can pay what you like - if you insert £0, you won't be asked for a credit card or paypal account, just taken to your download. So you can auditon first and decide what it's worth later, if you like.

"This is seriously warped and seriously wonderful!" Review by Mark Francombe on


1. returning, success
2. mirrors the movement
3. later that day
4. the institute of  mental health (burning)
5. solstice
6. the memory of pain
7. rulers did not visit
8. smile for you


abstract painting

phil hargreaves: saxes, flute, voice, cello, programming

lee noyes: drums, guitars, erhu

recorded in Liverpool, UK and Dunedin, New Zealand 2002-2005

all tracks by hargreaves/noyes except for 'the institute of mental health (burning)', by Hammill/Smith

cover painting by Luke Hancock, Nelson, Aotearoa


Downloads are handled by this is a 'name your price' arrangement - feel free to name a price of £0 if that's what you want. Or to name a higher price, if that's what you think it's worth. As things stand, the only take out of that is PayPal fees: the rest goes to offsetting whi music's costs, and if there's any left over, to the musicians involved. One benefit of using Bandcamp is that there is a lot of flexibility over formats: the album is hence available in most, if not all, of the popular formats, including lossless formats that are CD quality.

Download here


I'd had the CD that Lee sent sat sitting on my desk for around two years when i finally put it in a CD player and played it. In the meantime he'd received my solo stuff, put his contributions on to it and passed it back, so i actually had quite a decent pile of disks to listen to. The solo recordings turned out to be 34 minutes of acoustic guitar, but the Lee/phil duos were more promising, and my first thought was that they had the feel of incomplete trios, so i added flute or cello where appropriate, or in one case moved one of Lee's guitar solos, via an amp simulation, to make quite a substantial power trio. I think it might have been that that set off a train of thought, and within two or three weeks i was shaping the raw materials into a kind of improv rock album.

Although there are track listings, all tracks have been run together to form one long piece of music: it's up to you to decipher where one track ends and another begins. There are some definite clues, if you're interested, including a cover of Peter Hammill's 'the institute of mental health (burning)'. Making it was entirely unlike a conventional improv recording: i set out to make as listenable a record as possible (for people who like fairly difficult music, natch), as there wasn't an original performance to be faithful to, so i had a free hand to manipulate the raw materials as i saw fit. Probably the most enjoyable recording i've ever done - i hope you feel something similar towards it.

phil hargreaves
Liverpool, Dec 2005


'The Institute of Mental Health (Burning)' was written by Peter Hammill and Judge Smith. You can find out more about Peter Hammill's work at the Sofa Sound website, and Judge Smith's stuff is here, at his personal website. Thanks to both of them for permission to use their song.