Endgame defy convention, photo by Jim, collage by Alan

Endgame: Leicester's foremost electronic improvising band.
Above photo & design by Alan Freeman.

Left to right...
Alan Freeman (Alto Stratus, ZBB, Shapeshifter, etc., also Ultima Thule shop)
Jim Tetlow (ex Bluish, Shapeshifter, and surreal graphic artist)
Steve Freeman (Alto Stratus, ZBB, etc., also Ultima Thule mail-order)


You can find a nice informal write-up on Endgame's history (penned by Jim Tetlow) in the CD insert of "Catalyst". Simply put, the roots of Endgame go way back to our early works as Alto Stratus and ZBB (both with CD reissues on Ultimate Transmissions) in the early to mid 1980's. As dabblers in weird sonic exploration: Alan (myself) & Steve Freeman released a wealth of cassettes on the Auricle label (1982-1990). I first worked together with Jim Tetlow when he joined Shapeshifter in 1998. When (band leader) Maureen Anderson decided she wanted Shapeshifter to be more commercial, I left, and then Jim did shortly after. I had the idea of establishing an improvising group, to which other musicians expressed an interest but nothing came of it. Only Jim was enthusiastic at the idea, telling me he'd like to try working together with just Steve and myself.

Steve had also thought of this idea, he thought of the name too: Endgame (an ideal nom-de-plume for a free improvising trio). My idea was "Minus Infinity" which became the title of one of our first pieces. There's no deep meaning to the name Endgame, after all it's not just the closing moves of a chess game, but also the title of many a drama, an "X Files" episode incidentally (an influence), but nothing to do with Samuel Beckett, nor the Highlander film (which came later). "Endgame" just because we play until...

Established in July 1999, we pretty much established the no rules, no bounds, no concept idea from the start. Although I used the blurb: Endgame play Kosmische Krautrock, in the spirit of the most "out-there" Pink Floyd or primordial Tangerine Dream onto pure musique-concrete electroacoustic music, that has such restraint against awesome power that it defies any easy description but "Wow - sehr kosmische!" to help promote us, really Endgame can be anything from the most sedate new-age through to wild over-the-top Krautrock or even towards Nurse With wound.

What we try to achieve in our regular 45 minute sessions is a sort of psychic musical connection. In our later days with Shapeshifter Jim and I acted as the foils for some tripped-out jams now documented in the Shapeshifter "Time Capsule" set. We had a type of link that is rare, and with Steve this expanded to a communication that can result in Endgame becoming a collective musical consciousness. That's what we often try to aim for, a balance between reaction and co-ordination, of move and counter move. Thus, despite often being made up totally on the spot, a 46 minute work can sound as though it was carefully composed!

The music...

As Endgame music is instantaneous invention, it's hard to say where its roots and inspiration are. Initially, I know that what I foresaw was a music that stepped on from German cosmic music in the manner of Lightwave, but with the serious avant-garde feel of Morphogenesis. I think we have often achieved that, though occasionally I'll be totally perplexed at how we came up with something that bears no resemblance to anything else I've heard. But, there again, some of you may notice the early Tangerine Dream cosmic edges to "A Strange Time for Angels", the Kluster meets Stockhausen of "Place Your Bets", the mystic ethnic trance of "Evaporating Demons from the Mind's Eye" taking us to experimental Holger Czukay territory. I'm still yet to fathom out how we spontaneously created such an opus as "Six Pathways Through the Dark" it's such a mind-boggling trip! But that's the Endgame!

The experience...

Endgame could boast as being the most exciting band from Leicester since Volcano The Bear! Well, I would say that as a member of the band, wouldn't I? Endgame are always evolving sonically, especially with the diverse range of musics that make up our live concerts. Ever more so, we are exploring intuitively a broad palette of experimental, electroacoustic and synthesizer/cosmic musics, always furthering our expression and range with new techniques, instruments and gadgets.

The releases documented on this web site amount to the choice works from our archive to date. It's an ongoing process, with reassessment and evaluation a regular listening pass-time. Now beyond session 150, the wealth of music to treat you with is vast.

Endgame know no bounds, except for our own sensibilities or what we are capable of. It's all exploration and new invention. Endgame could be described as...

...venturing from Lightwave meets Conrad Schnitzler with Stockhausen at the mixing desk territory onto pure musique-concrete/electroacoustic music,...
crossing the realms of Morphogenesis through to Taj Mahal Travellers, the "sound pools" of Agitation Free, and the totally unclassifiable.

The industrial rock "Faustian Farmyard" album will indeed surprise many. Largely though, Endgame focus on vast sonic tapestries, invented by pure improvisation, that sizzle the senses and dilate perceptions in time and space.

The Live game...

There are no rules to the Endgame, and when live in concert the tension rides the edge. At some gigs you are likely to catch solo performances by each member, an Alto Stratus set, and even guest soloists (if you're lucky), all in a great value (sometimes 3 hours) concert. Such is the nature of Endgame that every performance is a totally new creation. So, if you miss it - you may never catch it again!

Also, anyone out there wanting to jam, get in touch, and let us know what you'd like to do!

Attention, record labels, if you publish music in the realms between the new-age and the avant-garde, we may have the album you're wanting to release already recorded. If you are interested, tell us what sort of feel you are after and we'll forward a cassette or CDR demo of rough unmixed extracts.