Erstwhile Records 030 Duos for Doris

Keith Rowe/John Tilbury

Keith Rowe, guitar, electronics; John Tilbury, piano.

    CD 1
  1. Cathnor (70.14)
    CD 2
  1. Olaf (45.32)
  2. Oxleay (17.29)

Recorded at Studio CCAM, Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy on 7 January 2003.

Front cover painting (reproduced above) by Keith Rowe; design by Friederike Paetzold.

Press release from Erstwhile: May 2003

Keith Rowe and John Tilbury most likely need no introduction to anyone reading this. Since 1981, they have performed together within the legendary improvising ensemble AMM, as well as in numerous other contexts, both improvised and composed. Duos for Doris marks their first meeting ever as a duo.

Rowe co-founded AMM in 1966 with Eddie Prévost and Lou Gare, but has widened his focus in recent years to include many new and challenging contexts. These include his telepathic rapport with Toshimaru Nakamura (documented on Weather Sky, as well as a second studio recording to be released on Erstwhile in 2004), steering the ambitious MIMEO electronic orchestra, an ongoing series of works with Oren Ambarchi, and a trio with Thomas Lehn and Marcus Schmickler (documented on the kaleidoscopic Rabbit Run). He has also continued his ongoing solo explorations, most recently releasing a superb 3" disc on sound 323.

Tilbury is one of the preeminent contemporary classical pianists, releasing impeccable recordings of Skempton, Wolff, Cage, and most notably a four disc box set of the complete Morton Feldman solo piano ouevre, capped by the gorgeous For Bunita Marcus. As an improviser, besides his more than two decades in AMM, he has also released projects with Sachiko M, Werner Dafeldecker, Franz Hautzinger, and with MIMEO, the epic Hands of Caravaggio.

Tilbury and Rowe first met each other in 1965 when both were asked by Cornelius Cardew to perform Treatise for a BBC broadcast. They have enjoyed a fruitful professional relationship ever since, in the Scratch Orchestra, various Music Now and Cardew groupings, performing Christian Wolff and John Cage pieces, and most notably, in AMM since 1981. They met in Nancy, France at the CCAM studio in January 2003 (on the same stage where AMM had recorded Fine in 2001) in order to record for the first time as a duo, with melancholy in the air due to the passing of John's 95 year old mother, Doris, two days earlier. Her loss, along with the perilous world geopolitical situation, hung as almost tangible events in the air, deeply affecting the atmosphere during the recording. The more than two hours of music presented here (selected from the three hours they recorded) is close to perfect in its conception and its arc from beginning to end, remarkable for totally improvised music. The understated, intricate beauty and modesty of the work belies its complexity. The cover painting is by Rowe, inspired by L.S. Lowry, a well-known British landscape artist and a favorite painter of Doris'.

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