It is given to very few artists to have created a language entirely their own, but that is what the British band(?) AMM has done over the years, in various line-ups and configurations, with Eddie Prévost on drums as the only unifying element since 1965, and with John Tilbury on piano for the last two decades, here with just the two of them. You may like them or not, but they have made history, and they still do, with lots of young musicians moving into the broad avenue they created.
This CD presents three groups of free improvisers performing on the same night at the Shunt Lounge, an art bar located under London Bridge. It’s a fitting locale for the music heard here, which is both quintessentially English and virtually covert, both in the subtlety of its interactions and in its public presence. Each piece is titled by its performers and its date. The groups all fall within the AMM/Matchless aesthetic, the musicians being familiar from previous Matchless recordings, Eddie Prévost’s on-going improvisational practice and workshops and the Freedom of the City events.
A historic encounter. No other improvising ensemble has explored the philosophy of sound and its techniques more thoroughly than Musica Ellecttronica Viva. By contrast to AMM's substantial archive of recordings, MEV is only sparsely documented, partly because the group's membership and ethos has changed so radically over the decades. The key elements in this configuration are Rzewski's classically aware and thoroughly Europeanized pianism (very different to Tilbury's which ironically draws more from American examples) and Teitelbaum's virtuosic use of synthesizers.