Thursday, July 14, 2011


Clicked on a tweet from Dusted Inc to read a review of a couple new AMM CDs which led me to the whole story about how tabletop guitarist Keith Rowe quit the band in 2004, after Eddie Prevost criticized him and his playing style sharply, not in person, but in a book he wrote. You can tell I'm not following the scene anymore because I just found out about this contretemps. There's quite a bit more enlightenment to be had from the interview, like when Rowe says stuff like this:

AAJ: There is a strand running throughout this interview—the number of times you have referred to visual artists. [Picasso, El Greco, Whistler, Rothko, Degas...]

KR: That is what I am, and that is what I do on the instrument. What I am doing on the instrument is not making music. AMM was a philosophy and the vehicle for the philosophy was music. What I do is painting, and the vehicle for it is sound. There is no painting at the end of this process. I do other kind of painting where there is a painting. In this form of painting there is no painting and it is so heavily disguised that you cannot locate the painting.

The disguise comes from Duchamp. It was extraordinary that he gives the impression that he has stopped working but actually continues producing things. Everyone thinks he has stopped but he is still producing. 

Read the whole interview here. I'm not listening to any Keith Rowe or AMM music while reading this interview, by the way (NP: Johann Sebastian Bach, The French Suites played by Angela Hewitt), just like I don't need to be looking at a Rothko to feel it, right? Wait, nevermind, there's a "related video" embed at the bottom of the page? Of course I'll pause the Bach and check it out:

Amazing point about how his laying the guitar flat was analagous to Jackson Pollock laying the canvas flat. Can't help but think of Derek Bailey soldiering on holding the guitar in the traditional style, which makes his avant garde achievement seem even more impressive. (And, speaking of tweets, and Derek Bailey...)

P.S. I think the above Rowe doc also might have actual footage of Tilbury-era AMM, and there doesn't seem to be any AMM footage at all on YouTube except for this oddity.

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