As a prime mover in the Sheffield improv scene, Martin Archer has played with a great number of musicians and is constantly exploring new combinations. In 2016, having played with both Nick Robinson and Steve Dinsdale individually, he originally put this trio together with the idea of exploring a “motorik” vein.

Steve’s relentless drumming (and occasional keyboards) providing a basis for Nick’s guitar motifs / loops and Martin’s soaring woodwind & keyboards to interact and explore the sonic and atmospheric possibilities. Recently, we expanded our line-up with Jon Short on bass, (who shines on “Veer”) and Peter Rophone on vocals.

Described in a recent review – “a pure heavenly euphoria, to put simply, astounding. Progressive music in the truest sense of the term, transcending the oft-clichéd sobriquet ‘prog’. They walk in the footsteps of the rock/jazz/fusion gods of the 70s but make their imprints deeper, more unshapely, and longer-lasting. Ears be blown here, folks. Godlike.” 

All the band’s albums are available on CD/DL from Discus Bandcamp.  

Shock horror, we have a tour being lined up, alongside the very wonderful This Celestial Engine – here’s the booking page for the first date

Sep 3 – Manchester TBC
Sep 4 – Todmorden, Golden Lion
Sep 5 – Hyde Park Book Club Leeds
Sep 6 – Sheffield, Sidney & Matilda
Sep 7 – Derby, Dubrek

Short

bass / keys

Robinson

guitar, loops & keys

Archer

sax/woodwind & keys

Dinsdale

percussion & keys

Rophone

vocals & gutiar

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Jon Short

Starting with proto jazz-rockers March the Third and playing cello on a Pulp single, Jon Joined Nick in the 80s for a promising outfit called “Harriet”, with a singer who later wrote for Tina Turner and won awards. 

Sadly it fell through and Jon formed Deep Sky Divers, a feted ambient duo. 

Chosen by Das Rd not only for his consummate playing but also because his surname matched a letter from the band acronym!

Nick Robinson

His early musical career included Typhoon Saturday, (who spawned chart-toppers “Living in a Box”)  who had a deal with Polydor and released 3 singles to minimal success.

Another band was Dig Vis Drill. Those that saw them in the early 80’s felt this band were destined for greatness. They had a unique and awesome sound, a live act second to none, they were confrontational, challenging, intelligent and fronted by motor-mouth Ogy McGrath, a cross between Woody Allen and Attila the Hun.

From the mid 80s, Robinson began to explore improvised music (supporting Archer’s band “Bass Tone Trap” at a local gig). His path led to his current main activity performing and recording solo, looped guitar soundscapes. 

You can check out his discography on his site, along with extensive information, audio, video and a blog covering midi, ableton and live looping amongst other topics. You can find more of his music on his Bandcamp page and his solo CD was released by Discus Music in 2022, attracting rave reviews from Adrian Belew, Steve Hackett and others.

Robinson and Archer had played a variety of gigs together in different formations so when Martin suggested bringing drummer Steve Dinsdale into the mix, Das Rad was born, later to be augmented by his old musical sparring partner Jon on bass.

Nick is one of England’s only professional origami artists, with over 100 books on the subject to his name.

Martin Archer

A composer / improviser / producer who is equally at home on stage or in the studio, and whose principle music work is organising the Discus Music label, the imprint for his own various releases, notably by the groups described below, plus those of a wide range of other artists.

His own distinctive saxophone playing is rooted in AACM style free jazz. Through his use of keyboards and electronics, and as a studio producer, he extends this interest into extended song form and leftfield progressive rock music.

His live projects include the electric Miles era influenced Anthropology Band, the improvising group Hi Res Heart with Charlotte Keeffe, Martin Pyne and Michael Bardon, and electronics duo Inclusion Principle with Herve Perez, which operates in a space between electronics, nu-jazz, contemporary electroacoustic music and free improvisation.

The sprawling studio based band Orchestra Of The Upper Atmosphere was formed by Archer as an improvising rock group with shades of Terry Riley, Magma, Alice Coltrane and Sun Ra, very much in the progressive / krautrock tradition, and noted for its large scale string, horn and vocal arrangements.

Julie Cole, Tim Cole and Keith Jafrate are Archer’s partners in the prog-folk group Army Of Briars.

Archer has long running music partnerships with vocalist Julie Tippetts, guitarist John Jasnoch and saxophonist Ron Caines. 

He also directs the 30 strong avant-garde choir Juxtavoices.

Archer put together the Das Rad line-up with a view to exploring the concept of “motorik thru to abstraction”.

“Archer’s aesthetic is an intriguing and transformative one—whatever enters his world comes out changed, if not utterly, then beautifully.” – DUNCAN HEINING

Steve Dinsdale

Drummer/Keyboardist cut his teeth on the Teesside and Sheffield music scenes  before moving to London in the late 80’s. Drummed with Honey Smugglers who recorded indie-classic single `Listen’ in 1990, and who are still asked regularly to appear on period compilations.

Joined T.V. Eye alongside ex-members of Eat and future celebrity-botherer and `Game Of Thrones’ star Paul Kaye. Gave up dreams of stardom after returning from holiday to find that said singer had gone off to live on a Kibbutz, and the guitarist was suddenly number one in the charts with a record he’d arranged for an unknown female singer with an eye patch.

Formed electronic improvising trio Radio Massacre International playing keyboards, electronics and drums with oldest friends and collaborators Duncan Goddard and Gary Houghton, who over a 25-year career have played dozens of concerts in the UK, Europe and USA as well as appearing on an MTV Europe co-host. The discography currently stands at some 60 or more releases including a trio of albums for acclaimed US label Cuneiform, and five solo albums made over the last ten years.

Performed as Drummer and/or Floor Percussionist with the Damo Suzuki Network on some half dozen occasions, one of which has led to a number of collaborations with Martin Archer including Orchestra of the Upper Atmosphere which was founded in 2009 and has since made four albums, and Engine Room Favourites the 10-piece Jazz ensemble.

And now…Das Rad.

Peter Rophone

Peter Rophone is an accomplished and eclectic singer, guitarist and songwriter who tackles everything from gospel, soul and earthy traditional music to haunting musical experimentation.

His set is always likely to include a few surprises – to him as much as to the audience. Typically there will be familiar and original numbers, and versions of well known songs that take them into a new place.

Peter’s musical background includes many years in Sheffield’s folk sessions at Fagan’s, as well as writing and performing music of many styles. He is a member of Sheffield’s moody a cappela group the Fates. He sings and plays guitar in the hypnotic guitar and (classical) harp duo the Third Half. He plays in Ceilidh band Roger the Badger. He’s a frequent collaborator with other musicians in the city in a wide range of genres. Occasionally he stops to have a cup of tea.

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