Over the past decade, Swiss-based Günter Müller has collaborated with many of the most prominent Tokyo-based musicians, recording CDs with Otomo Yoshihide, Taku Sugimoto, Sachiko M, Masahiko Okura, and Toshimaru Nakamura. Points and Slashes is the latest of these, a duo collaboration with guitar wizard Tetuzi Akiyama.
It's impossible to pin down Akiyama, a musician of diverse interests and activities, with a brief description. He has been playing electric guitar since he was 13, and formed his first improvising band ten years later, in 1987. In 1994, Akiyama formed the Hikyo String Quartet to play avant-garde classical music. Since 2001, he has released a wide variety of solo guitar projects, filtering the blues through Morton Feldman on the stunningly gorgeous Relator, shaping resonant feedback on Resophonie, and showing off distorted John Lee Hooker-style chops on Don't Forget to Boogie. He has also released collaborative CDs with Martin Ng (Oimacta), Tim Barnes/Masafumi Ezaki (Futuro), Jason Kahn/Utah Kawasaki (Luwa, Ailack), and Utah Kawasaki/Masahiko Okura (Bject, Object 4), and is currently busy with as-yet-undocumented projects with Alan Licht, Oren Ambarchi and Donald Miller.
Müller continues to distance himself from his roots as a more traditional percussionist, currently incorporating such electronic devices as minidiscs (since 1998) and an iPod (since 2002). He's been involved with innumerable projects and other musicians over the past twenty-five years, including long-term musical relationships with Jim O'Rourke, Voice Crack, ErikM, steinbrüchel, Jason Kahn, Tomas Korber and Philip Samartzis. Müller has released more than twenty records on his own For 4 Ears label, as well as others on Grob, Rossbin, Cut, Charhizma, Creative Sources, and List. Points and Slashes is his sixth project for Erstwhile, following The World Turned Upside Down, La Voyelle Liquide, poire_z +, Time Travel, and tint. An integral contributor to the Erstwhile aesthetic, Müller is the only musician to take part in each of the five AMPLIFY festivals.
Müller and Akiyama first played together at the Impermanent.Audio night in the What Is Music? Festival in Sydney, Australia in 2002. They later performed in Auckland, Tokyo and NYC, before recording Points and Slashes in April 2004 in Tokyo. Points and Slashes comprises six distinct pieces, warm and comfortable, yet still challenging the listener at every turn. Friederike Paetzold's strikingly minimal design is inspired by the work of the Italian 'Spatialist' artist Lucio Fontana.