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Formed in 1989, European avant ensemble Blast play both scored and improvised music with a distinct Rock in Opposition edge. Most often a quartet and as of 2009 comprised of Dutch saxophonist Dirk Bruinsma and guitarist Frank Crijns (both of whom are featured on all of the group's discs thus far), Swiss bassist Paed Conca, and Italian drummer Fabrizio Spera, Blast perform music often centered in avant rock while ranging from total improvisation to complex written passages and extensive use of counterpoint. The group has played new music venues and festivals such as the MIMI Festival in Arles, France, and the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville in Victoriaville, Quebec. Blast's first release, Purist Sirup, arrived on the Vonk label in 1992, followed by three albums on Cuneiform -- Wire Stitched Ears (1995), Stringy Rugs (1997), and A Sophisticated Face (1999). In 1998, Blast began touring as an octet, and moved their music further in modern classical directions by increasing the complexity of their instrumentation and composition. However, after the turn of the millennium the group returned to a quartet formation -- now known as the Blast 4tet -- and began introducing a greater degree of improvisation into its music, as reflected by Altrastrata, released by the ReR label in 2003. A totally improvised album, As Nowhere as Anywhere, was released by the British FMR label in 2007; the album featured a lineup expanded to a sextet by the addition of Turkish-Kazakh singer Saadet Türköz and Swiss saxophonist/clarinetist Hans Koch. The Blast 4tet returned with Sift in 2008, back on ReR and in many ways continuing the mix of composition and improvisation as heard on Altrastrata, rather less complicated than Blast's music had been evolving during the Cuneiform years while at the same time pulling back from As Nowhere as Anywhere's completely improvised approach. ~ Joslyn Layne & Dave Lynch