Keith Rowe and Christian Fennesz are recognized as two of the most prominent and influential musicians in experimental music. However, despite their joint participation in the 12 person MIMEO collective, their commercially released work has rarely intersected, which is why Live at the LU, a document of their first duo show together, is so revealing.
Rowe's history should be familiar to anyone following this area of music. Having mostly performed within AMM until the late nineties, he's since been involved in a wide range of projects, including a slew of the most prominent Erstwhile releases. He's the cornerstone musician for the label, and is co-curating the upcoming AMPLIFY festival in Cologne and Berlin, AMPLIFY 2004: addition.
Fennesz, known to a wider audience for his studio-constructed records like Endless Summer and the recently released Venice (Touch), is also a superb live laptop improviser, as documented on 2003's Live in Japan CD. As a collaborative musician, he's been involved in projects like FennO'Berg (w/ Jim O'Rourke and Pita) and Wrapped Islands (w/ Polwechsel), and will be touring this summer in a quartet with Rowe, Oren Ambarchi and Toshimaru Nakamura.
Recorded in May in 2002 in Nantes, Live at the LU finds the two musicians revisiting old pathways, further exploring territory they've separately mapped on records such as The Crypt, Harsh, and Hotel Paral.lel. Together they construct a soundworld that is jagged yet bright, stark and jarring, but in the end, somehow still soothing. Rowe's cover painting is deeply symbolic, rife with subtle references, many of which are fleshed out in Friederike Paetzold's brash pop design.