Blank Canvas Ensemble London 19.02.2023

Blank Canvas Ensemble - London shaping sound with silence



Chris Hills Babble and Squeak brought Phil Morton's System 50:50 for improvisers to London on November 6th 2022, it was a rewarding and fun day for 19 improvisers and a small audience at the Hundred Years Gallery. Chris and Phil are back at the Hundred Years Gallery on the following two dates noted below. The aim during 2023 is to increase the frequency of session, to include session in Birmingham and to later in 2023 develop the Half The Sky concept.

Two dates for your diary

  • Sunday Feb 19th 2023 @  3.30 - 6.30
  • Sunday April 23rd 2023 @ 3.30 - 6.30

Why not enjoy an afternoon of small group free improvisation that will explore longstanding improviser Phil Morton's unique chess clock-based performance methodology.

The players will be drawn from the experimental and improvised music scene in London and are familiar names to many as performers in their own right and as regular participants in the London Improvisers Orchestra and Eddie Prevost's Workshop among other vehicles for the promotion of free improvised music.

About System 50:50

What is System 50:50?

A detailed summary is here: CLICK THIS LINK

Quick summary using 50:50 ratio
Each player `improvises` for 50% of the piece
Each player is `tacet` for 50% of the piece
The totals are aggregated
Each player/improviser has their own clock and manages their own time
Each player has `agency` over the content they share during the performance.

Phil Morton (Liverpool:UK) developed this system during a ten year, nay 20 year period. Phil Morton has been active in `free improvisation` as a player, promoter, teacher, since 1998 and as a listener since 1968. He commends this project `to the house` to the genre of free ensemble improvisation, as a unique methodology that unpicks the complexity of this music, its sounds, our reactions  and emotions using a simple method. Phil Morton's personal belief is that this is a gift that will keep on giving. A bold statement, it maybe a fallacy, or of substance, the research process will explore this and find out. If you would like to be involved, contribute, debate, whether you are local or global please make contact.

Phil Morton

What people say about system 50;50

System 50/50 works well - it’s a really good way to get a group to play effectively without egos , virtuosity , and shyness getting in the way. It is democratic, inclusive. coherent, leaderless, focused, there is room to think and time to listen, choices. It is less competitive more cooperative. Ends well. Simon Ross (Macclesfield), Blank Canvas  - Liverpool

On system 50:50 “Definitely something with LOADS of possibilities - the reaction in the car driving back was unbelievably positive - no one could remember playing in a large ensemble that was so "open". The openness allowed me to play quietly, which meant the dynamics were incredible for an improvising large ensemble.” - Charlie Collins Sheffield

It seems to me that any attempt to restrict what free improvisers play, presents a threat to the core nature of their music. Generally, 'To play or not play' is about as far as any predetermination can productively go, the player retaining (almost!) complete formal agency regarding when and what(s)he decides to play - Dan Goren Oxford Improvisers

 mechanical labelled 600 450px


About Babble&Squeak


Chris Hill is co-promoting the Blank Canvas Ensemble - London with Phil Morton (Liverpool)

Here are some notes about Chris Hill's babble&Squeak series, you can also contact him about the Blank canvas Ensemble London activities.

Babble&Squeak is an irregular performance forum for the performance of free improvisation and experimental music.

Babble&Squeak celebrates the joyousness and insights free improvisation elicits and the musical challenges of spontaneous composition.

If you interested in taking part in a Babble&Squeak event please contact me, Chris Hill, at for future dates.

Sign up

Suggested script:

  • In the field - name of the event of project - please insert Blank canvas Ensemble London.
  • In the field, location, please insert London

Name of the event or project, you have viewed on the website that interests you*
Location of the project if known: if not known, simply enter `not known`*
add your name to the contact list for this project and receive newsletters: .*
Your comments
Word Verification:

About the venue

Hundred Years Gallery
13 Pearson Street
London E2 8JD

Tel: +44 (0)20 3602 7973

Buses : 67, 149, 242, 243, 394
Train : Hoxton Overground


Hundred Years Gallery is a dynamic art space situated in Hoxton, East London supporting experimental and innovative art. The Gallery`s exhibition programme is aimed at presenting a wide spectrum of contemporary art production with an emphasis on providing a platform for radical ideas and young or unrepresented artists. The space also provides opportunities for those in the arts to become part of its exhibition programme through its annual open calls short residencies, internships and art projects.

Hundred Years Arts is a not for profit Community Interest Company (Registered company number 9059577)

image location of HYG




Read 141 times