A first meeting of guitar and electronics artist Keith Rowe with computer and string performer Taku Unami at the Amplify 2008: light festival in Tokyo.
Catalog ID: Erstlive006
Squidco Product Code: 11022
Packaging: Jewel Tray - slim line
Keith Rowe-guitar, electronics
Taku Unami-computer with objects, contraguitar, mandolin
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1. Erstlive 006 37:35
Related Categories of Interest:
Objects and Home-made Instruments
sample the album:
"ErstLive is a 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.
ErstLive 006 is from the duo of Keith Rowe and Taku Unami, and took place on the first night of the AMPLIFY 2008: light festival in Tokyo in September 2008. This was the first set they'd ever played together."-Erstwhile
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• 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 Taku Unami
"Taku Unami was born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1976. He is a composer and improviser working with assorted stringed instruments, including the guitar, mandolin, and contraguitar, laptop and vibrating objects (from which he amplifies the inaudible vibrations). Despite being linked to minimal improvisation his music is hardly classifiable, being able to surprise listeners on every new release, raising unforeseen questions and forging new paths for improvisation. He is part of the group HOSE and has active collaborations with Mattin, Taku Sugimoto and Masahiko Okura. In the past he has worked with Radu Malfatti, Jean-Luc Guionnet, Klaus Filip, Masafumi Ezaki, Burkhard Stangl, Rhodri Davies and Keith Rowe, among others. Unami has also composed for film, including 'Lost My Way' (directed by Takeshi Furusawa) and 'In 1,000,000 years' (directed by Isao Okishima). He has released more than 30 records, both solo and in numerous groups and collaborations. He runs the influential label Hibari Music and co-organizes the Tokyo concert series Chamber Music Concerts with Taku Sugimoto and Masahiko Okura."-Taku Unami Facebook page, Jon Abbey (https://www.facebook.com/Taku.Unami/about/?__xt__=33.%7B%22logging_data%22%3A%7B%22page_id%22%3A%22179276168795059%22%2C%22event_type%22%3A%22clicked_view_page_about%22%7D%7D)
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