During Martin Kuchen's residency at the Vor Anker in Vienna, Austria, he invited AMM legend Keith Rowe to record live and in the studio using electronics, guitar, saxophones, radio and iPod, which were reworked by Toshimaru Nakamura into these two intriguing pieces.
Rowe, Keith / Martin Kuchen
Label: Mikroton Recordings
Released in: Russia
"Keith Rowe was invited to a residency that Martin Küchen, through support from the Swedish Arts Council, was granted a few weeks in the autumn of 2013 at the Vor Anker artist residency, Vienna, Austria.
The artist Johannes Heuer and his wife Sandra Baer had invited Martin Küchen for this residency. The artist studio is located in the old Anker bread factory complex in Vienna.
During these weeks work included recordings and concerts with Keith Rowe, both at Anker Brot Fabrik and at the Amann studio in Vienna. This CD is recorded live at Christoph Amann's studio in October; concerts with Matija Schellander, a visit to Radu Malfatti, recordings at a nuclear power plant and in an old water tower and recordings made to the exhibition work of Johannes Heuer."-Mikroton
"The first one of these three releases on Russia's Mikroton is already recorded in 2013 in the Amann Studios in Vienna - a legendary place when it comes to recording improvised music, I should think. On the 15th of October 2013 the eminence grise of the table top guitar Keith Rowe (electronics, guitar) met up with Martin Küchen, also known for his work in the field of improvised music, who brought along his alto- and baritone saxophone, radio and iPod. However long they played, we don't know, since it was edited and mastered by Toshimaru Nakamura. This is quite some interesting work. In 'The Bakery 1', the longer of the two pieces, it all seems to revolve around using none of their normal instruments but all about electronics. We hear the radio waves, and drone like electronics, yet all of this retains the idea of being improvised music. In the other piece, 'The Bakery 2', the saxophones are to be recognized in the early part of the piece, but here too electronics from Rowe, a radio and whatever can be found on Küchen's iPod, seem to take the leading part. It makes all of this quite a different work and one that has quite few obscured sounds, but which slowly unveil upon playing."-Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly
• Show Bio for Keith Rowe
"tabletop guitarist and painter. Rowe is a founding member of both the influential AMM in the mid-1960s (though in 2004 he quit that group for the second time) and M.I.M.E.O. Having trained as a visual artist, Rowe's paintings have been featured on most of his own albums. After years of obscurity, Rowe has achieved a level of relative notoriety, and since the late 1990s has kept up a busy recording and touring schedule. He is seen as a godfather of EAI (electroacoustic improvisation), with many of his recent recordings having been released by Erstwhile Records.
Rowe began his career playing jazz in the early 1960s-notably with Mike Westbrook and Lou Gare. His early influences were guitarists like Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christian and Barney Kessel. Eventually, however, Rowe grew tired of what he considered the form's limitations. Rowe began experimenting, slowly and gradually. An important step was a New Year's resolution to stop tuning his guitar-much to Westbrook's displeasure. Rowe gradually expanded into free jazz and free improvisation, eventually abandoning conventional guitar technique.
This change in his approach to guitar, Rowe reports, was partly inspired by a teacher in one of his painting courses who told him, "Rowe, you cannot paint a Caravaggio. Only Caravaggio can paint Caravaggio." Rowe reports that after considering this idea from a musical perspective, "trying to play guitar like Jim Hall seemed quite wrong." For several years Rowe contemplated how to reinvent his approach to the guitar, again finding inspiration in visual art, namely, American painter Jackson Pollock, who abandoned traditional painting methods to forge his own style. "How could I abandon the technique? Lay the guitar flat!"
Rowe developed various prepared guitar techniques: placing the guitar flat on a table and manipulating the strings, body and pick-ups in unorthodox ways to produce sounds described as dark, brooding, compelling, expansive and alien. He has been known to employ objects such as a library card, rubber eraser, springs, hand-held electric fans, alligator clips, and common office supplies in playing the guitar. A January 1997 feature in Guitar Player magazine described a Rowe performance as "resemble a surgeon operating on a patient." Rowe sometimes incorporates live radio broadcasts into his performances, including shortwave radio and number stations (the guitar's pick-ups will also pick up radio signals, and broadcast them through the amplifier).
AMM percussionist Eddie Prévost reports that Rowe has "an uncanny touch on the wireless switch", able to find radio broadcasts which seem to blend ideally with, or offer startling commentary on, the music. (Prévost, 18). On AMMMusic, towards the end of the cacophonous "Ailantus Glandolusa", a speaker announces via radio that "We cannot preserve the normal music." Prevost writes that during an AMM performance in Istanbul, Rowe located and integrated a radio broadcast of "the pious intonation of a male Turkish voice. AMM of course, had absolutely no idea what the material was. Later, it was complimented upon the judicious way that verses from The Koran had been introduced into the performance, and the respectful way they had been treated!" In reviewing World Turned Upside Down, critic Dan Hill writes, "Rowe has tuned his shortwave radio to some dramatically exotic gameshow and human voices spatter the mix, though at such low volume, they're unintelligible and abstracted. Rowe never overplays this device, a clear temptation with such a seductive technology - the awesome possibility of sonically reaching out across a world of voices requires experienced hands to avoid simple but ultimately short-term pleasure. This he does masterfully, mixing in random operatics and chance encounters with talkshow hosts to anchor the sound in humanity, amidst the abstraction." "
Some accounts report that Rowe's guitar technique was an influence on Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett: "Taking his cues from experimental guitarist Keith Rowe of AMM, Barrett strived to push his music farther and farther out into the zone of complete abstraction."
Rowe has worked together with numerous composers and musicians, including Cornelius Cardew, Christian Wolff, Howard Skempton, Jeffrey Morgan, John Tilbury, Evan Parker, Taku Sugimoto, Otomo Yoshihide, Sachiko M, Oren Ambarchi, Christian Fennesz, Burkhard Beins, Kurt Liedwart, Toshimaru Nakamura, David Sylvian and Peter Rehberg.-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Rowe)
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• Show Bio for Martin Kuchen
"Born 1966; saxophones. Martin Küchen has been active on the Swedish free improvised/free jazz scene since the mid-1990s. He has composed for larger groups, participated in dance projects, performed with different poets and created the music for experimental films. He now collaborates with improvisors all over Europe and USA/Canada. His current collaborations include:
Angles - a new trio with Ingebrigt Håker- Flaten, doublebass, Kjell Nordeson, drums and Martin Küchen, saxophones. Exploding Customer - a free jazz quartet with Tomas Hallonsten trumpet, Benjamin Quigley double bass and Kjell Nordeson drums, which plays mainly original compositions. Sound of Mucus - a trio with the stringchordist Herman Müntzing and Andreas Axelsson, percussion. Unsolicited Music Ensemble - a trio with Tony Wren, double bass and Raymond Strid, percussion. a duo with guitarist David Stackenås. UNSK: Birgit Ulher, Martin Küchen, lise-Lott Norelius and Raymond Strid. Looper - a trio with Greek cello player Nikos Veliotis and Norwegian percussionist Ingar Zach."-European Free Improv Site (http://www.efi.group.shef.ac.uk/musician/mkuchen.html)
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Label: Mikroton Recordings
Catalog ID: 46
Squidco Product Code: 21973
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded live at Christoph Amann's studio in October 2015. Edited and mastered by Toshimaru Nakamura.
Keith Rowe-electronics, guitar
Martin Kuchen-alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, radio, iPod
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1. The Bakery 1 21:32
2. The Bakery 2 14:03