AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: John Tilbury / Keith Rowe / Kjell Bjørgeengen – Sissel [SOFA 563]

The fundamental and inescapable fact of our existence is that we are finite beings conscious of our finitude, and no more so than when someone near to us dies. This is the background to Sissel, a quietly moving performance by pianist John Tilbury, electric guitarist/electronics artist Keith Rowe, and Norwegian video artist Kjell Bjørgeengen, who collaborated with Tilbury and Rowe in the capacity of producer. The single piece that makes up the album was recorded as part of the Moving Sound concert series in Stavanger, Norway, in 2016, shortly after the death of Bjørgeengen’s wife Sissel, to whom the album is dedicated.

Taking as their inspiration the Poussin painting “The Gathering of the Ashes of Phocion by His Widow,” Tilbury and Rowe created a spaciously meditative sound environment that seems to move at the measured pace of reflective thought. The focus of the piece falls on Tilbury’s piano lines, which are less lines than intermittent handfuls of resonant notes sounding and fading away—sonic fragments shoring up the piece amid the ruins of silence, giving it a deeply affecting emotional definition and weight.

It’s possible to hear these sounds vanishing into silence as an allegory for the process of working through loss, a gradual process that approaches, but never really arrives at, absolute closure. There’s always some residue that remains, call it memory or the shadow of nothingness that lies across the image we reflect back to ourselves in moments of lucidity.

Daniel Barbiero


The Squid’s Ear Reviews

From The Squid’s Ear:

Nurse With Wound:
The Surveillance Lounge
(Dirter Promotions)

Oren Ambarchi:
(Black Truffle)

Polwechsel & John Tilbury:

Lawrence English:
A Colour for Autumn

Florian Hecker:
Acid in the Style of David Tudor
(Editions Mego)

Greg Davis:
Mutually Arising

Mary Oliver / Johanna Varner:

Urs Leimgruber & Thomas Lehn:

John Cage:

Lussier / Tetreault / Yoshihide:
Elektrik Toboggan

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Dusted Reviews

From Dusted:

Artist: John Wiese
Album: Circle Snare
Label: No Fun
Review date: Jul. 28, 2009

Artist: Headdress
Album: Lunes
Label: No Quarter
Review date: Jul. 28, 2009

Artist: Ekkehard Ehlers & Paul Wirkus
Album: Ballads
Label: Staubgold
Review date: Jul. 27, 2009

Artist: Polwechsel & John Tilbury
Album: Field
Label: Hatology
Review date: Jul. 24, 2009

Artist: Talibam!
Album: Boogie in the Breeze Blocks
Label: ESP-Disk
Review date: Jul. 24, 2009

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This Weekend at Lampo

From Chicago’s Lampo:

MAY 9 9pm

R/S—the duo—in its first live performance anywhere in the world.
Peter Rehberg (b. 1968, London) co-founded the influential Mego label in 1994, and soon after began recording under the name Pita. His first solo release, “Seven Tons for Free,” came out in 1996, melding noise with techno. Since then he’s continued in this path, both as a solo artist and in groups such as KTL, Rehberg & Bauer, MIMEO and Fenn O’Berg. In 1999 he received the Prix Ars Electronica Distinction Award for Digital Musics alongside Christian Fennesz. Recently, he’s been primarily focused on working with KTL (w/ Stephen O’Malley) as well as dance and performance pieces (w/ Gisele Vienne). He also runs the Editions Mego label in Vienna. Rehberg appeared at Lampo in March 2003, when he performed the U.S. premiere of “Get Off.”

Marcus Schmickler (b. 1968, Cologne) has been involved with numerous projects over the past decade. While rooted in electronic music, Schmickler also has a background in contemporary composition, having studied under prominent Stockhausen collaborator Johannes Fritsch. As a solo artist, Schmickler has created important works such as Wabi Sabi, Sator Rotas and Param, as well as under the name Pluramon. He also has long-standing electroacoustic collaborative projects, most notably with Thomas Lehn, both in duo and in trio with Keith Rowe, and a duo with British pianist John Tilbury. He is based in Cologne.
Schmickler first appeared at Lampo in Sept 2002 in his Chicago debut. Three years later, in Sept 2005, he performed at Lampo with Thomas Lehn. Most recently, he opened the new Lampo space in December 2007, with the U.S. premiere of his computer music work “Altars of Science.”

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