ErstLive 009: Antoine Beuger – ‘s’approcher s’éloigner s’absenter’
This world premiere piece, written by German composer (and Wandelweiser founder) Beuger specifically for this festival and these musicians (Ben Owen, Barry Chabala and Dominic Lash) and dedicated to Abbey, opened the first night of the festival, setting a fantastic tone and high standard for the weeks of music to follow.
ErstLive 010: Christian Wolff/Keith Rowe
This set was the first ever full-length duo set from these two longtime masters, bringing Rowe together with one of his early influences, New York School stalwart and John Cage collaborator Christian Wolff. This show coincidentally occurred on September 4, ending after 11 PM, so almost precisely one year before Cage’s 100th birthday.
ErstLive 011: Keith Rowe – ‘September’
This was the much anticipated final set of Keith Rowe’s week in NYC, following five duo sets with various collaborators. It took place on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, and the Manhattan atmosphere was uniquely charged. As he almost always does, Rowe rose to the challenge of the occasion, creating a moving, dense, virtuosic set in the lineage of his 2004 set with Burkhard Beins in Berlin (ErstLive 001) and his 2008 solo set in Tokyo (ErstLive 007). The recording quality is remarkable, both recorded and mastered by Taku Unami for maximum impact, this is truly a special recording.
ErstLive 012: Radu Malfatti/Taku Unami
This was the 10 PM set on 9/11/11, and makes for a perfect pair with the Rowe solo, two very different extremes. Where the Rowe is in your face visceral, the Unami/Malfatti created a gentle atmosphere within the pitch-black room (lit solely by Unami’s visuals), an overarching cumulative feeling in the listener. The too-perfect-to-be-scripted intro and outro frame a set that’s almost not there, a radical recording even by ultraminimal standards.