A Keith Rowe Radio Playlist

Source: The Wire.

Keith Rowe’s painting of a yellow lorry, careening across the sleeve of the group’s Elektra debut, is still the first thing many listeners associate with AMM. Put the LP on, though, and the harsh electroacoustic noise that roars from the speaker is an odd fit with the jacket’s wry, cartoonish aesthetic. Pick up the expanded 1989 reissue, and it starts to make more sense. Rowe’s radio, mostly inaudible on the original cut, rises to the surface again and again here, as his found sounds pull the album towards pop art. From the flurries of Arabic dance tunes on “Ailantus Glandulosa” to the shades of Roy Orbison that blow through “In The Realm Of Nothing Whatever”, his transistor dominates the added tracks, reshaping the whole disc. What had sounded nightmarish becomes comic, with snippets of bootlicking talk radio (“The Romans call it gravitas… Mister Heath is well aware of what is going on”) turning AMMMusic into an absurdist soundtrack to the banalities and bullshit of late 60s London.