Wednesday, February 14, 2007

AMM & Musica Elettronica Viva (MEV)- Live Electronic Music Improvised ,LP, 1968,UK/ITALY/USA,NWW list!

AMM was initially composed of Keith Rowe on guitar, Lou Gare on saxophone and Eddie Prévost on drums. Rowe and Gare were members of Mike Westbrook's band; Prévost and Gare were also in a hard bop jazz quintet. The three men shared a common interest in exploring music beyond the boundaries of conventional jazz, as part of a larger movement that helped spawn European free jazz and free improvisation.
No AMM performance is ever planned; each is unique and spontaneous. The musicians vowed never to rehearse and never to discuss what they had played. The musicians tend to avoid any conventional melody, harmony or rhythm, and seek out an ensemble sound that often obscures any individual's role. It is often difficult to discern which musical instrument is making which specific sound on an AMM recording, due in part to liberal use of various extended techniques on their instruments.
Members of the group have come and gone over the years, but Rowe and Prévost have been present for most recordings and performances; the latter has been the only constant in the nearly four decades of AMM music.
AMM released their first recording, AMMusic 1966, on Electra Records UK in 1966. It had some initial similarities to free jazz, due in part to Gare's saxophone. One critic has written, however, that the resemblance was rather slight: "the overall sound of the group, even in 1966, was so different, so idiosyncratic, that it's not at all surprising that both new jazz and contemporary classical audiences were baffled, if not horrified." [5] Lawrence Sheaff played with the early AMM; he had been a jazz bassist, but on AMMMusic, he played cello, accordion and other instruments. Percussionist Christopher Hobbs (a student of Cornelius Cardew) also played with AMM in the late 1960s.
The next AMM material to see release were the important The Crypt sessions from June 12, 1968. Further "out" and even less conventional than earlier material, one critic has written of it that "an eerie sensation inevitably accompanies each listen to the raw streams of electric noise channeled on AMM's second album and early masterpiece, The Crypt. To ears informed by the twenty-first century, it's the uncanny feeling of listening to three-and-a-half decades of experimental music history as delivered in a chillingly prescient sort of reverse premonition... It's a little unnerving that the only records that seem to accurately describe the brave new soundworld harnessed on The Crypt came into being well after its creation."
The Crypt sessions have been issued many times, twice in the 1980s as a double LP, and it still available (with extra material, billed as "The Complete Sessions") on a double CD from Matchless Recordings. The Crypt continues to inspire adventurous listeners; in the liner notes to the 1992 double CD, Prévost writes, "Despite being (arguably) the most 'difficult' material on Matchless, The Crypt has been a mainstay for the label. It obviously pays not to underestimate the audience. Its continued success has enabled us to release other works. So we felt committed, obliged almost, to keep it available... this music has proved itself not to be ephemeral." Composer Cornelius Cardew joined AMM in 1966, performing on piano and cello. He worked with AMM intermittently until he abandoned his earlier experimental music in the late 1970s (Cardew died in an unsolved auto accident in 1981). Composer Christian Wolff performed with AMM in 1968. Cardew and Rowe became committed to socialism and to Maoism, and thought that AMM's music should reflect their sociopolitical outlook. Prévost accuses the pair of "cultural bullying", and there was tension in the group, resulting in some AMM performances being made by alternating duos: Rowe and Cardew, Prévost and Gare.
This personal and political tension culminated with a long period (about 1972 to 1976) when AMM was rarely active, and then usually as a Prévost-Gare duo. This was arguably AMM's most jazz-like era, with Gare's sputtering, squawking saxophone (unique but showing the influence of John Gilmore and Albert Ayler) brought to the fore, although Prévost has stated the music was "decidedly non-jazz."
Rowe rejoined in the mid-1970s, and shortly thereafter, Gare departed, leaving a Rowe-Prévost duo for a period.
1980s and 1990s
Pianist John Tilbury — previously an occasional AMM collaborator — joined in about 1980. His shimmering Feldmanesque playing brought a measure of conventionality to AMM (relatively speaking); unlike Rowe or Prévost, Tilbury's instrument was nearly always recognizable in conventional terms. This version of AMM generally explored quieter, more meditative sounds, perhaps having more in common with minimalism -- though they could generate a cacophonous racket when so inclined. Of this period, one critic has noted that "their ability, after more than 35 years as a functioning unit, to avoid routines and ruts while retaining an unmistakable "AMM-ness" is astonishing." [9] Perhaps the most notable shift was in Rowe's approach: his playing grew increasingly subtle, and was often described in painterly terms, as though he were offering a canvas for the other musicians to color.
Later collaborators have included saxophonist Evan Parker, cellist Rohan de Saram, and clarinetist Ian Mitchell. Christian Wolff also returned as a collaborator for a concert at the Conway Hall in London in 2001. Prévost has reported that of all their collaborators, Parker and Wolff best grasped the AMM aesthetic.
The Prévost/Rowe/Tilbury line-up remained stable for two decades. But since about 2000, Rowe's increasing involvement with what has become known as "electroacoustic improvisation" ("eai" for short), especially under the aegis of Jon Abbey's Erstwhile Records, meant that more of his musical activities began to take place outside AMM. Rowe has reported that he felt somewhat limited having been almost exlusively a Matchless Records artist, and that he wanted to explore music outside of AMM. Tension between Rowe and Prévost was exacerbated by the appearance of Prévost's second book of essays, Minute Particulars, which contained some disparaging comments about Rowe, who then left the group. In his review of Prévost's book, Walter Horn notes that while Prévost offers often scathing opinions of many people, Rowe is singled out for multiple barbs, and "one can hardly fail to wonder whether there's something of a personal nature lurking behind the barrage of what are superficially theoretical complaints."
The trio's last performance with Rowe is documented on the 2005 double-CD Apogee. The set is shared with another of the electronic improvisational ensembles that emerged during the 1960s: Musica Elettronica Viva (MEV). The first CD is a studio recording in a joint session in England on April 30th 2004 featuring MEV's Alvin Curran, Richard Teitelbaum and Frederic Rzewski with Prévost-Rowe-Tilbury. This is the first occasion that the two ensembles have performed together, but not the first time they have shared a split release: each outfit filled a side of the LP Live Electronic Music Improvised, released on a US label in 1968 (AMM's side features excerpts from The Crypt sessions; MEV's side is an excerpt from their magnum opus "Spacecraft."). The second CD consists of the performances that each group gave at a festival held in London on May 1, 2004.
Prévost and Tilbury continue to record and perform as AMM. They performed in London during December, 2004, with Sachiko M joining as a guest, at the 2005 LMC Festival of Experimental Music, with David Jackman as a guest, and at a festival of experimental music in Belgium in February 2006. They also released a duo CD as AMM, Norwich, during 2005.

Musica Elettronica Viva (MEV) is a live acoustic/electronic improvisational group formed in Rome in 1966 by Alvin Curran, Richard Teitelbaum, Frederic Rzewski, Allan Bryant, Carol Plantamura, Ivan Vandor, and Jon Phetteplace.
They were early experimenters with the use of synthesizers to transform sounds: a 1967 concert in Berlin included a performance of John Cage's Solo for Voice 2 with Plantamura's voice transformed through a Moog synthesizer. They also used such "non-musical" objects as amplified panes of glass and olive oil cans, and their performances achieved notoriety in Italy for their ability to generate riots.
Their recordings include Spacecraft, recorded in Cologne in 1967 by Bryant, Curran, Rzewski, Teitelbaum and Vandor Unified Patchwork Theory, recorded in Zurich in 1990 by Curran, Rzewski, Teitelbaum, Steve Lacy and Garrett List -- both of the above rereleased in 2001 on the CD, "Spacecraft/Unified Patchwork Theory" (Alga Marghen, Plana-M 15NMN.038)
Friday, recorded in London in 1969 by Curran, Rzewski, Teitelbaum, Franco Cataldi and Gunther Carius "The Sound Pool," recorded 1969, reissued 1998 (Spalax CD14969) Active to this day, 2005 saw the release of an MEV double CD, Apogee, shared with another of the electronic improvisational ensembles that emerged during the 1960s: AMM. The first CD is a studio recording in a joint session in England on April 30, 2004 featuring MEV's Curran, Teitelbaum and Rzewski with the three members of AMM. This is the first occasion that the two ensembles have performed together, but not the first time they have shared a split release - each outfit filled a side of the LP Live Electronic Music Improvised, released on a US label in 1968. The second CD consists of the performances that each group gave at a festival held in London on May 1, 2004.
While in Rome during the sixties, the MEV studio was on the ground floor of a building in Via Pietro Peretti, in the Trastevere neighborhood. Around the corner with Via de' Genovesi, lived Alan Bryant on the first floor. Three blocks away, in Via della Luce 55, fourth and last floor, lived Frederic Rzewski, and at No. 66, lived Richard Teitelbaum on the third floor. Carol Plantamura lived on the corner of Via della Luce and Via Giulio Cesare Santini. Alvin Curran lived 2 km away, in Via dell'Orso, near Piazza Navona.
All from Wikipedia
get this gem here


Lucky said...

mutantsounds - you're wonderful! and providing this is simply heartbreaking!

if you go on with this speed, i'm sure you're through with EVERY great record that mankind produced in, well maybe in 2090, maybe 2089 ;)

cheers, and a big thankyou, as always!

Anonymous said...

Since I found your blog I'm a happier person - so much amazing material that I'd heard of but never heard and so many new discoveries. Red Noise the other day was awesome, and this I've been waiting to hear for years. I have one request; 'Reprint' by Clare Thomas and Susan Vesey which I think only came out on Snatch tapes (cassette) and which (like EVERYTHING here) I never saw!
Keep up the fanstatic work!

musicgnome said...

MEV = Incredible. Simply incredible.

Thundard said...

Thank you for all your treasures!

jacki-oh said...

What a classic. Apropos Cardew, there was a theory he had been victim of political murder... and check out his e-book "Stockhausen (RIP)serves Imperialism" at

Ochyming said...

This is a CLASSIC release!

THANKS allot!

penga said...

I was just searching for google hits and found this site.
I have all the master tapes for the Alternate Media electronic music catalogue which include a lot of your wants (8 artises) + many more that may interest you.
Unfortunately I do not have many digitised yet.
I also posted an article on Wikipedia about B.E.M.N. (Birmingham Experimental Music Network)but don't know if it still exists

HytekFred said...

Your blog is truly excellent. Not only do you have some of the most obscure gems I've ever seen, you even have some that I have NOT seen or heard of until plumbing the vaults and following threads. Thank you so much for this. You're doing a fine service for music lovers. Greatly appreciated.

HytekFred said...

Thanks again for this one. I was looking for "AMM at the Roundhouse" and "AMM - The Crypt: 12th June 1968, The Complete Session". Similarities to early Pink Floyd efforts are remarkable at times, not too strange though as Floyd backed them up mid '60s.