Track By Track: Woo – Awaawaa


January saw the release of the latest record from Mark and Clive Ives, two brothers from South London who have been making music since 1972. Together, the pair make up a duo called Woo and have bent the definition of the term 'genre' producing woozy ambient to indie rock, experimental jazz and beyond. Here is their guide to the latest release.

The basic tracks where recorded between 1975-1982 in Wimbledon in South London. Because of the way most of the tracks were recorded, and their short duration, we decided to merge the tracks so the end result is a continuous flow. We then did overdubs at some of the transition points to enhance the continuity.

Odd Spiral

This was one of our very early recordings, around 1976. We lived in South London and were in our early 20’s, and very influenced by all the incredible four piece bands that followed in the Beatles enormous footsteps. In our own way we worked on the four piece format of bass, drums, guitar and keyboard.

The initial track was Mark’s guitar put through a sequencer, (Korg System 100). This created the rhythm and the chords, with me synthesising and phrasing his notes with my keyboard. There was a wonderful spontaneity to it because the two of us played it as a single take. It was followed by one overdub recording of percussion and a guitar.

Green Blob

The inspiration behind the title and the music comes from sci-fi movies from the 50’s.

With so many of these films, the acting is really over the top and the whole production is trying just a bit too hard to be weird and wonderful. There is adventure, romance, excitement and adversity, but we all know the hero will be victorious!

I would love to hear it as a sound track to the 1951 sci-fi movie ‘Flight to Mars’.

Mobile Phone

The first mobile phones came available in 1973. It was obvious from the outset that this was going to radically change not only how we communicate, but it would also bring a new level of remoteness within social situations, where the phone can act as an escape and excuse not to talk and interact. This short bit of music is quite easy listening and innocuous, it could even be used on an advert for a mobile phone company, reflecting (what was then) a modern cool urban lifestyle.

The Goodies

This track is playful and fun, recorded during a happy time. Something in the guitars licks and the upbeat vibe reminded us of the theme tune to the 70’s comedy show ‘The Goodies’. Theres a lot going on in this track! Layers and rhythms are overlapped (quite a complex musical composition compared to what we usually did). It’s all a bit frenetic but (like in the Goodies TV show) we all know what’s going on and it’s all going to be ok in the end, and if it isn’t… then it isn’t the end yet!

Homage to Matta

The surreal landscapes of Roberto Matta’s paintings create another world, which reflects the inner world, the subconscious, the astral, and the twisted meanderings of the mind. We wanted to create an audio version of the atmospheres he created with his paintings.

An ideal setting to hear this track would be the Tate Modern, if they held a retrospective exhibition of Roberto Matta’s paintings. It could be used as a soundtrack to an audio commentary over headphones.


This was a later recording using a vocoder, being triggered by percussion and a sequencer. As much as I love electronic music, there is often a desire to impose some randomness over the precision and order.

When we were boys, ‘Sparky’s Magic Piano’ would play on the radio. This was one of the first commercial uses of vocoders and a great inspiration for us. We have not used vocoders so much with voices, but love the affect they can have on instruments.

Tick Tock

A sequence triggered by percussion played on a metal watering can, with Mark’s multitrack clarinets. Recorded after Mark returned from tracking in Nepal, where he suffered from severe dysentery. The title comes from the ticking of the rhythm track, but also has a reference to how moods can change. One day you’re up, the next you’re down. This was a down day!


Last year I went to Luxembourg and saw a video installation by Aura Rosenberg, called ‘The Angel of History’ in which she encapsulates the whole of human history within a ten minute film. Epic and miniature simultaneously!

She kindly gave me permission to use these photos I took of her film in the attached trailer. Although the music is simply a jam on one chord, it has an epic quality about it, with a slow raw and aspiring climax, reflecting a similar pattern to how world history appears to be moving.

Back on Track

During these years we both listened to the Russian composer Prokofiev, particularly his ballets Romeo and Juliet, and Cinderella. He was a master at creating visual scenes with his orchestrations.We also went to the Russian orthodox church in Kensington and listened to the wonderful Russian choirs. This track was born out of this influence.

Ruby Past Lives

Mark had a habit of calling any tracks that sounded dreamy and etherial ‘Ruby’. Then when he met a new girlfriend, who was very etherial, he nicknamed her ‘Ruby Past Lives’. This track became the one of the many tracks named after her. Over the twelve years they were together, Ruby sang with us on three beautiful albums, one with funny songs, one with spiritual songs, and one with love songs.

Sadly, Ruby passed away about a decade ago. Ideally, we would listen to this song in her presence.


I’ve got nothing to say about this track other than I like it, but I’m not so keen on the title.

Robots Dancing

Our uncle Ivor who plays the sax on this track, was a big inspiration to us. We would go to many jazz gigs with him during our teens, which particularly influenced Mark’s love of improvisation.

Ideal situation: Friends of mine have created the 4d holographic experience Holojam where people wear visors and can interactively create in 4d with each other. They all look like robots moving in strange ways. If they were animated by this track, I would imagine they would look like robots dancing.


This track conjures up a futuristic landscape, a brave new world, full of hope and optimism for a positive future. The title with its similarity to Babylonia, the Ancient kingdom in Mesopotamia, is somewhat misleading, but it seemed a good title at the time!


When things are flowing and you can’t do anything wrong, you don’t even worry if you play a few wrong notes… life is good!

Near the end of this track, quite low in the mix, Mark chants “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo”.     The 13th-century Buddhist monk Nichiren awakened to this law, or principle. The chant is an act of faith in the Mystic Law and in the magnitude of life’s inherent possibilities. At the time we recorded this Mark was practicing this chant at a Buddhist Centre in Putney.

Ideal to listen to on one of those moments when life is going well, you’re feeling great and you want to celebrate!

Fun, The Final Frontier

This is our ode to space, the final frontier and beyond!

Des from the ‘Save the World Club’ created a collection of funny car stickers… ‘Fun, The Final Frontier’ was one of them.

An ideal setting to hear this track would be in the bar on the USS Enterprise, hanging out with both captains, James T Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard, Guinan, Spock, Q and the Borg drone Seven of Nine.


The first movie we ever saw at the Rialto in Raynes Park was the 1958 version of ‘The Vikings’ with Kirk Douglas.

In the film huge trumpets would be played to honour to the arrivals of the viking warriors returning home.They played a magical melody which inspired the idea of creating this fanfare. 

They used the same melody to accompany the funeral scene where the vikings shoot flaming arrows into the ship which holds the deceased body of Kirk (not Captain Kirk) and we witness the flaming funeral pyre disappearing out to sea.

A fanfare is usually used to introduce something or someone important, but in this case,  it is used to signify an ending. Because of the nature of a fanfare, it can simultaneously represent an end and a new beginning…

Find their BandCamp HERE and the label HERE.