AMM Thread (renamed)

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martin
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Post by martin »

jon abbey wrote:(interestingly, he believes that the ideal number is five, although that obviously hasn't been the case since the very early days)
There must have been at least one (maybe very short-lived) five member edition of AMM in later years. I have a photo here (by Caroline Forbes) with Gare, Rowe, Tilbury, Pr?vost, and de Saram.

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jon abbey
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Post by jon abbey »

mudd wrote:i don't understand what purpose that limitation serves.
I'm not sure either, but I think maybe it's to try to continue to stay separate from the rest of the improvising world, and probably was a more relevant restriction twenty years ago (before quite a bit of the improvising world moved towards AMM's direction).

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Post by kp* »

Richard Pinnell wrote: I also know that the name doesn't matter to me at all, but as far as I'm concerned Norwich, Duos for Doris and At the Roundhouse are all missing one of the two key elements that made all of the other AMM records great. No disrespect to Tilbury in any way, I think Doris and the Such album (Prevost, Tilbury and Iwamoto) are both utterly fantastic, but they are fantastic for different reasons.
One record not yet mentioned in these "not quite" or "quasi" AMM pairings is Tilbury & Prevost Discrete Moments

I might be in the minority here, and i am not arguing that it be considered a bona fide AMM record (whatever that is), but Discrete Moments is a fantastic CD. I don't quite know why folks are so down on it. Norwich is pretty bland, but i found Discrete Moments to be really good.

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jon abbey
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Post by jon abbey »

well, Dan was right, Keith did see this thread, and just sent me a long clarification, some stuff I didn't know here (the three sets of wheels, for instance):

=======================================

Ha! AMM what is? and what is not?, yeah from my perspective it goes something like this: (all open to argument of course!!)

at the beginning we have a group name that we wanted to keep hidden, so we used the acronym AMM, each letter representing the first letter of three words. at the time, some of us were studying the principles of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, in which the concept of analyzing the world in terms of "three" was central. so, for example the art work on the AMMMusic LP has a yellow truck, (yellow the colour of AMM). it has three sets of wheels. the back wheels represent the continuous long sounds, (normally the cello or guitar, though could also be Eddie's stunning snare rolls), they are the wheels that take the weight, the continuo, that holds the thing up, also Lawrence's cello would fit in this category. the center wheels are the propulsion, the driving force, (percussion for example) and the front wheels represent the changes in direction (often Cornelius's keyboard ), harmonic direction. Lou was free to roam, almost like the colour yellow itself. these roles were instantly interchangeable, and every combination was possible.

The first incarnation of AMM from late 1965 up to early 1972 was AMM, pure and simple. when Cor and I left the group in early 1972, Lou and Eddie continued, not wanting to call themselves AMM, simply known by their own names, but as people kept referring to their duo as AMM they gave in and used the title. in 1976 we tried to reform a quartet version of AMM, unsuccessfully. then from 1976 up to inviting John Tilbury to join in 1980, Eddie and I given the choice, normally used our names rather than the AMM title. late in 1979 when we recorded the ECM disc, although Eddie and I had already invited John to join AMM we wanted a recording of the existing duo formulation, and because we knew that a duo could not be a pure form of AMM we referred to as AMM III.

so the principle is quite simple, AMM needs to be three people (or more), if less than three than it should have a number ascribed to it.

AMM 1965 to 1972, has more than three people, therefore no number, (first version of AMM)
Duo of Eddie and Lou, less than three should have been AMMII. (second version of AMM)
Duo of Keith and Eddie, AMMIII. (third version of AMM)
Trio of John, Eddie and Keith, three, therefore no number. (fourth version of AMM)
Duo of John and Eddie (if they insist on using the title) should be AMMV (fifth version of AMM)
but like the earlier duo versions it's not a "pure version of AMM"
of course this does not enter into the world of carbon/oxygen/nitrogen, but that's why the present duo cannot be AMM (from my perspective).

-keith rowe

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Post by mudd »

for reference:

Image

i guess the third set of wheels are either part of a truncated image (it's printed larger on the cd itself) or implicit.

m

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MRS
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Post by MRS »

Wasn't the distributed recording of Fine fucked up? Technically I mean?

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jon abbey
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Post by jon abbey »

MRS wrote:Wasn't the distributed recording of Fine fucked up? Technically I mean?
no, not really. this is another long story I don't feel like going into, so let's leave it at that.

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Post by MRS »

jon abbey wrote:
MRS wrote:Wasn't the distributed recording of Fine fucked up? Technically I mean?
no, not really. this is another long story I don't feel like going into, so let's leave it at that.
Okay then let's toss about the finale of Ryan's Hope.

My favourite AMM (clearly trio oriented):

-- Allentown

-- Newfoundland

-- Rick & Jennifer (you really can't beat the Texas flea market ad, it comes close to the Jersey beach ad during the Rowe/Fennesz gig in Manhattan "you'll get sand in your shorts")

-- Laminal, disc 2

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Post by mudd »

at some point i had in my hands a dat of the performance they gave while in houston, presumably the unmastered version of rick & jennifer. i left it in the office of the radio station and it walked. likely back where it belongs, but i haven't seen it since.

anyway, that one is my favorite. after that, things get nebulous.

i would like to point out about fine that there was a dancer participating in the performance, and a fine one too.

m

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Post by Jacques Oger »

Richard Pinnell wrote:
Dan Warburton wrote:Send me a link or an eight-track cartridge or something, Richard. Never bothered to figure out soulseek.
Here you go:

http://cathnor.com/Miscellany/Introduct ... es_Fox.mp3" onclick= "window.open(this.href);return false;

http://cathnor.com/Miscellany/Eddie_Pre ... _Broadcast" onclick= "window.open(this.href);return false; _Radioactivity.mp3

http://cathnor.com/Miscellany/DJ_Sign_Off_(Charles_Fox" onclick= "window.open(this.href);return false;).mp3


(the wax cylinder version will follow on the back of a carrier pigeon) :D
Thanks a lot Richard,

this piece would have been something good for a blindfold test ! I would have never guessed it could be them!
an ode to free jazz rock :-)
Great music indeed!
http://www.potlatch.fr" onclick= "window.open(this.href);return false;

visa tapani
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Post by visa tapani »

Reading different people listing their favorite AMM releases pretty much confirms my suspicion that the decision what to buy will be nearly arbitrary in the end anyway. Only Newfoundland and the second disc from Laminal get pretty unanimous recommendations. Well, I don't think I can go terribly wrong with any of them, so maybe I'll just collect all the recommendations given here and decide upon them with some dadaistic method...

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Post by Chaney »

My highly selective method was to buy one copy of each AMM title offered by ErstDist.

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Alastair
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Post by Alastair »

mudd wrote:for reference:


i guess the third set of wheels are either part of a truncated image (it's printed larger on the cd itself) or implicit.

m
Keith spoke about this at the Erstquake 2 Q&A. As I recall, the middle wheel, the "driving" one, was the steering wheel within the cab of the truck. You can't see it in the picture but you know it's there.

Of course, they could also be the gears and so on under the bonnet (American: hood).

user_5095

Post by user_5095 »

Chaney wrote:My highly selective method was to buy one copy of each AMM title offered by ErstDist.
can't go wrong with that, surely :wink:

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Post by will »

Pip wrote:
mudd wrote:for reference:


i guess the third set of wheels are either part of a truncated image (it's printed larger on the cd itself) or implicit.

m
Keith spoke about this at the Erstquake 2 Q&A. As I recall, the middle wheel, the "driving" one, was the steering wheel within the cab of the truck. You can't see it in the picture but you know it's there.

Of course, they could also be the gears and so on under the bonnet (American: hood).
I was happier not knowing that there was some sort of symbolic weight to the image on the cover, I liked the idea of the AMMobile zooming around, delivering improvisation. I think my favorite album of theirs is From a Strange Place, and not just for the album cover.

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Post by jkudler »

fearandpanic wrote: it's interesting that Rowe's return to the avant garde from "the Maoist years" (in 1976, I believe)
can anyone point me to any reading on this topic? i have always been very curious about this (keith's leaving and then eventual return).

richard, thanks for those links!

-jesse

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Re: AMM Thread (renamed)

Post by Tanner »

Dredging this one up again.

I think I heard my first AMM album about 15 years ago. It was From a Strange Place on PSF (one of the few not on Matchless, along with the weird one on ECM, and probably another I'm too lazy to look up). Anyway, I immediately became fascinated with it. I'd play it often. I remember I played it for my parents (I was 18, and figured I'd play for them something so they didn't think I only listened to bands screaming about killing cops). We all sat and listened to it as evening fell. I think my Mom said it sounded like eavesdropping on an entire apartment building on a particularly humid and stagnant day. My parents ruled. I still love that album.

Since then I've paced myself on their output, buying an album every couple of years or so. I didn't want to overdo it too much. I wanted something to look forward to. The only requisite for my buying an AMM album was that Keith Rowe was involved, as I felt from the first that he was integral to the group, that without the third leg, the stool would collapse. I still feel that way, although I've been curious to hear some of the recent work.

I picked up The Nameless Uncarved Block recently (thanks Jon), and it's one of the few of the full group AMM albums that I haven't connected with. Maybe it's Lou Gare? I can't fully tell. His playing does seem out of place, and somewhat unbending to the aesthetic. It could be the production -- often I feel as if something is out of focus, off. Something about it feels airless and laden without any of the usual expanse. A lot of things happen, but it feels overbearing and unproductive. Rowe scrabbles away, Prevost beats his snare into submission, Tilbury cascades, Gare bleats. It leaves nothing behind. I dunno. I rarely get disappointed by records. I'm not sure that's even the word.

I'm curious as to what you think the failures are then in their discography. Or more interestingly what creates a good AMM record (as failure is probably as integral to their sound as success)?

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Re: AMM Thread (renamed)

Post by J.F. »

I'd say failure is integral to most or all free improv, while it's left to the musicians to verbally make a philosophy out of it or not. Anyway...

Recently I listened to a load of free improv from random playing lists. Some tracks I recognised immediately, with others it was a bit of a blindfold test situation - it took a while until I figured out what I was listening to, or failed completely until reading the track name.

I remember one guitar/drum duet. Uh. Sounds like two people dabbling in free improv, the rhythmic clumsiness in the metrically free playing suggests a rock background, okay. Urgh, it's getting worse and worse. Actually by far the weakest track I listened to on that day. Checking out the track name revealed:
Amm III, one "powerplay" track from "It had been an ordinary day...". Wow...
That's what I think basically about that whole LP. This reminds me: If somebody wants to buy it, send me a p.m.; LP should be in VG-condition (mild surface noises - I'll check in detail!), fair price, low shipping costs.

On the other hand I was surprised how much I enjoyed some of the stuff of their 1966-debut in my random playlists. Very very refreshing amidst 1966-Schoof, -Hampel, -S.M.E., etc.! Now actually among my favorites in that era.

I remember I once asked what attracts people to AMM's 1988 BBC-recording (I find really weak as well), asking for actual musical details they like, their personal criterions exemplarily applied to what actually comes out of the speakers. That attempt went nowhere (even got me trouble with the mod-department).
So: I still dislike the BBC-1988 recording, but refrain from discussing what people might like about it.
.
.

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jon abbey
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Re: AMM Thread (renamed)

Post by jon abbey »

I can't say I listen to AMM much anymore, in the wake of all that they have spawned from other musicians, but AMM at their best are (were) a triangle in precarious balance. while the sixties stuff was obviously crucial and groundbreaking at the time, I have always preferred the 'classic' trio on record: Prevost/Rowe/Tilbury. this trio were incredible at almost immediately suspending time for the listener, a feeling generally only broken by Eddie's occasional nods to his jazz roots.

dunno, there are some brief thoughts. my preferences for AMM recordings are earlier in this thread, I saw them play about 10 sets towards the end of their run and most were nothing too special. the one in Boston at Autumn Uprising 2000 was a major exception to this, riveting music. I remember specifically Tilbury getting up mid-set, leaving his piano behind, and spending a solid chunk of time dragging something he had found against one of the side walls of the stage. somehow this fit just as well as his earlier gorgeous piano playing had and the spell of timelessness they had cast at the beginning of the set continued.

it's probably hard to understand from this vantage point of history, but AMM practiced oblique methods of interaction in free improv when the rest of the free improv world were developing much more direct and obvious methods. the world has now largely followed in their footsteps (they are seemingly cited at least once in every issue of the WIre), but that wasn't the case for decades after they started.

also, they're briefly reuniting to play a set for their 50th anniversary in a few months at Huddersfield, I believe. I would obviously attend if it was driving distance, but I can't say I'm too optimistic about the outcome.

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Re: AMM Thread (renamed)

Post by Tanner »

J.F. wrote:I'd say failure is integral to most or all free improv, while it's left to the musicians to verbally make a philosophy out of it or not. Anyway...
Yeah, I agree. I've always felt that way, even when trying to explain free jazz to my friends who didn't even like jazz, much less free music of any kind (I do remember people digging AMM fwiw). I can't say I have much interest in philosophizing music at all though.

Also, for clarification, I'm not saying I always find AMM some sort of ambrosial group. I got rid of that same AMM album you mentioned J.F. almost immediately. Boring, obvious stuff. I'm still in someways trying to recapture the feeling I had from that PSF album, which I think a lot of people feel is a lesser AMM work anyway. But I think almost everything the core trio did had more than their share of moments I just can't find other places, no matter how many musicians they influenced (and I do definitely hear their influence almost everywhere in free improv now). I think it is that timelessness (that Jon mentioned) that they could invoke at their best that was so compelling.
jon abbey wrote:

it's probably hard to understand from this vantage point of history, but AMM practiced oblique methods of interaction in free improv when the rest of the free improv world were developing much more direct and obvious methods. the world has now largely followed in their footsteps (they are seemingly cited at least once in every issue of the WIre), but that wasn't the case for decades after they started.
I think there's definite truth to this. I noticed it initially even if I didn't have the vocabulary to explain it at the time; I largely listened to AMM after more traditonal jazz, free jazz, and free improv in that roughly linear trajectory, albeit radically accelerated as I found out later. The Peguin Guide to Jazz was incredibly helpful in this respect, weirdly enough. Listening to Nakamura/M's Do for the first time not long after hearing that first AMM album was another revelatory experience, where that obliqueness to their interaction made complete sense, and was really exciting and alienating at the same time.