Christian Wolff / Keith Rowe
Recorded live September 2011 as part of Jon Abbey's Amplify 2011 festival at The Stone in Manhattan. The first ever full-length duo set by the AMM guitarist and New York School stalwart / John Cage collaborator.
Contact marks the first meeting of two pivotal, crucial experimental musicians who for the past decade have traveled parallel paths, intersecting occasionally (duo CDs with Toshi Nakamura; a 230-minute-long quartet with Nakamura and Otomo Yoshihide; the AMPLIFY 2008 festival). Full, unedited sessions with Rowe on guitar and electronics, M on sine waves and contact mic, recorded live and in the studio.
Duos for Doris
More than two hours of music recorded in Nancy, France, at the CCAM studio in January 2003. Understated, intricate beauty and modesty belies the complexity of Duos for Doris, named for Tilbury's mother, who passed away two days prior. Rowe and Tilbury first met in 1965 when both were asked by Cornelius Cardew to perform Treatise for a BBC broadcast. They have enjoyed a fruitful professional relationship ever since, in the Scratch Orchestra, various Music Now and Cardew groupings, performing Christian Wolff and John Cage pieces, and most notably, in AMM since 1981. This is their first performance as a duo, and, according to Stylus, it is “challenging in the richest sense of the word -- full of bracing tension, riddled with sumptuous ambiguity and overflowing with strange and spectacular musical inventiveness…. brimming with rare detail and thought provoking turns...”
A solo set recorded at the AMPLIFY 2008: light festival in Tokyo, Rowe's individual statement strongly contrasting with his duos there, which he later titled “Cultural Templates.” A Spiral Cage concludes, “Clarity of thought permeates this piece, which flows with an internal logic, but still retains that uncatchability that has been a hallmark of Rowe's career.”
Keith Rowe / Toshimaru Nakamura
September 2008 duet by one of the big men of guitar-and-electronics and his long-time partner, the world's foremost practitioner of the no-input-mixing board.
Live at the LU
Rowe and Fennesz are two of the most prominent and influential musicians in experimental music; their commercially released work, despite their joint participation in the 12-person MIMEO collective, rarely intersects, which is why this document of their first duo show together is so revealing. Their sound world is jagged yet bright, stark and jarring, but in the end, somehow still soothing.
M / Nakamura / Otomo / Rowe
This document of the centerpiece show of AMPLIFY 2004: addition (the "four-hour quartet”) contains three individually packaged slimline CDs in a slipcase with original artwork by Keith Rowe, which wraps around the entire box, front, side, and back, as well as liner notes from all four musicians and numerous pictures from Yuko Zama. “The middle section of this concert sports some of the most effectively noisy utterances I've heard from these musicians,” marvels Dusted, “Even out-harshing Rowe's seminal Harsh. Extremities of frequency are both piercing and nauseating, the huge span of space between them never empty and often crowded by what can be described as organized sound. Only in rare instances are individual instruments readily identifiable -- a guitar plucked, the lower frequencies of the sounds transformed into dull echoing thuds before disappearing again into the miasma.”
The third full-length solo recording of his career, following A Dimension of Perfectly Ordinary Reality (1989) and Harsh (1999), a very personal project for Rowe, who struggled with its precise conception over the last few years. This tribute to two of his important influences, Cornelius Cardew and Mark Rothko, after months of thought and attempts to transfer ideas in his head to a concert context, began in early 2007 with daily home-recordings, eventually becoming something that did justice to his feelings. “Unless you know that Rowe is a guitar player, “ponders Dusted, “You wouldn't guess it from this music [which] consists of electronically generated sounds of differing qualities. Even live it is difficult to determine exactly how Rowe generates all the sounds; on disc, it is impossible.”
Rowe / Unami
Legendary guitarist Keith Rowe played four sets in three nights in the AMPLIFY 2008: light festival in Tokyo, marking Rowe's fourth trip to Japan in his 40+-year career and the first time he was able to work closely with so many Tokyo musicians on their home turf. As the only non-Japanese participant in the festival, Rowe move his aesthetic toward his collaborators'. Indeed, A Spiral Cage says, “Unami … seems much more interested in subverting received notions of music and disrupting expectations. Rowe, on the other hand, is questioning his own notions of music and what it is for…. The uncatchability … the transient nature, the unexpected but not arbitrary. This duo pushes all of the boundaries, it is right on the edge, the arbitrariness constantly threatening but it stays together, no matter how tenuous.”