Martin Siewert and Martin Brandlmayr are two of the most active musicians in the ever-evolving Viennese music scene, in both improvised and composed settings. They have been performing together in various groupings since the summer of 2000, but Too Beautiful to Burn marks their initial meetings as a duo.
Siewert has been quite prolific recently, in projects such as Efzeg (Grob, Durian), SSSD (Grob), and the seminal all-star collaborative orange CD on Charhizma, along with Werner Dafeldecker, Christof Kurzmann, Christian Fennesz, Kevin Drumm and Jim O'Rourke. Brandlmayr is best known for his riveting percussion work as the linchpin in the superb trio Radian, who have released records on Rhiz, Mego and Thrill Jockey. Radian performs meticulous compositions with a remarkably fluidly and relaxed approach, forever poised on the edge of the groove. Both Siewert and Brandlmayr are also members of the improvising trio Trapist (along with bassist Joe Williamson), who have released a superb record on hatOLOGY, with their next coming out on Thrill Jockey in early 2004.
Too Beautiful to Burn was recorded by Christoph Amann in his studio in Vienna (his fourth Erstwhile project, following Schnee, Wrapped Islands, and eh) in January 2003. Both musicians display relentless ingenuity, combining melodic guitar figures and cascades of impeccably bowed cymbals with a wide range of other acoustic and electronic elements, crafting a record that is at once resolutely abstract yet precisely musical. Erstwhile designer Friederike Paetzold has shaped photographer Corinna Reicher's images of the aftermath of the March 2003 fire which consumed Brighton's historic West Pier, creating a elegiac testament which perfectly matches the music as well as the current state of the world.