Keith Rowe / Burkhard Beins (lossless)
Lossless AIFF (16bit/44.1kHz)
Live improvisation by Keith Rowe and Burkhard Beins. Recorded on May 13, 2004 at Club der Polnischen Versager, Berlin, Germany as part of AMPLIFY 2004: addition.
For CD format, go to this page.
1. Untitled (28:18)
(released November 1, 2004)
Keith Rowe: guitar, electronics
Burkhard Beins: percussion
recorded on 13 May 2004 by Christoph Amann at Club der Polnischen Versager, Berlin as part of AMPLIFY 2004: addition
ErstLive is a new series of releases from Erstwhile Records, documenting notable live sets associated with the label. The discs are designed to simulate a concert experience, each in the same template design using two colors chosen by the musicians involved, with a photo of the concert on the back cover. Each will be in an edition of 800 CDs and not reprinted. The initial releases will be chosen from the AMPLIFY 2004 festival which took place in Cologne and Berlin in May 2004.
ErstLive 001 is from the duo of Keith Rowe and Burkhard Beins, and took place during the first night of outside shows in the Berlin half of AMPLIFY 2004: addition in May 2004. This was their first set as a duo since the sessions which resulted in "Grain" on Zarek 3 1/2 years earlier.
Signal To Noise, Jason Bivins
The prolific Erstwhile label has been at the forefront of electroacoustic improvisation - or simply eai - for several years running. Live recordings have been a staple of Jon Abbey's brainchild since the beginning - as is often the case with improv music, which lives for those coalescences of intense moments - but recently the label has been documenting live music more intensely. Abbey has curated several festivals under the AMPLIFY moniker, one resulting in a box set and one yielding the first four releases of the Erstlive imprint. The Erstlives are semi-regular releases documenting concert recordings, released in a slimline case with a distinctive and consistent graphic style. These festivals like to mix things up, bringing together new configurations of players from the fast-moving scenes feeding into this music or throwing monkey wrenches into relatively settled lineups. On these first four recordings, we get to listen to both approaches, and the results are fantastic.
Each of these releases is a document of the May 2004 AMPLIFY: addition festival in Köln and Berlin, with co-curator Keith Rowe (guitar and electronics) featured on the first two releases. Rowe's duo with percussionist Burkhard Beins is their first release - and I believe their first performance as a duo - since 2001's wonderful duo Grain (on Zarek). As intense as was the predecessor, this 27-minute set is a genuine powerhouse, with Rowe contributing some of his densest, most harsh playing in years. Largely eschewing the laser-like intensity of his more recent pared down approach (heard on subtle entrancing records like Duos for Doris, Flypaper, and Weather Sky), Rowe blazes forth as if propelled by Beins' huge scrapings and reverberations. Together the two construct a huge slab of noise that is as detailed as it is forceful. At times the music sounds like a metal beast disemboweling itself; elsewhere it gives the impression of being a kind of mediated singularity, where a thousand thousand TV and radio broadcasts are imploding at a single point. Beginning with a fairly high level of activity, the piece encompasses jarring high tones, muffled voices (often radio captures selected by Rowe, ranging from Canadian radio broadcasts about Iraq to Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man"), and massive metallic swirls generated by Beins. There is an inexorable quality to the development of this improvisation, one which - given the musicians' preoccupations with global politics - seems to capture some of our moment's dark inevitability, its relentless hostility. Though the power and menace of this music - Rowe's buzzsawing and Beins' slashing or thudding - grips you immediately, the density and layers yield up multiple details on subsequent listens. A raw, compelling, passionate document.