Erstwhile Records 021 The hands of Caravaggio

MIMEO/John Tilbury

Keith Rowe, guitar, electronics; Kevin Drumm, guitar, analogue synthesizer; Phil Durrant, software granular samplers, treatments; Cor Fuhler, inside piano; Thomas Lehn, analogue synthesizer; Kaffe Matthews, computer, live sampling; Jérôme Noetinger, electroacoustic devices; Gert-Jan Prins, electronics, radio, FM modulations; Peter Rehberg, computer; Marcus Schmickler, computer, digital synthesizer; Rafael Toral, guitar with analogue modular system; Markus Wettstein, amplified metal garbage; John Tilbury, piano.

  1. The hands of Caravaggio (49.24)

Recorded live at Angelica, Festival Internazionale Di Musica, Bologna on 20 May 2001.

Front cover painting (reproduced above) by Keith Rowe.

Press release from Erstwhile: April 2002

MIMEO, the Music In Movement Electronic Orchestra, is a band composed of twelve of Europe's premier electronics improvisers. Due both to logistical and financial constraints, they have only performed together a handful of times since the establishment of the current lineup in 1998.

After the remarkable success of their epic, 24-hour long performance in Vandouevre in May of 2000, the band did not assemble again until almost a year later in Bologna, for the Angelica festival (thanks to festival organizer Massimo Simonini). The concert was a singular one, as MIMEO was joined by the noted pianist John Tilbury, nonpareil Feldman interpreter and longstanding member of AMM. The performance was built around a concerto for piano and electronic orchestra, titled The Hands Of Caravaggio and loosely inspired by the Caravaggio painting The Taking Of Christ, as interpreted by Keith Rowe.

The piece begins with a low test-tone drone from Cor Fuhler, working inside the piano, followed by Tilbury's entrance a few minutes later. Next, Jérôme Noetinger sets off a flare, signaling the introduction of the electronics. The accumulation of electronics gradually reaches critical mass, at times obscuring the piano altogether. But Tilbury is never completely hidden for long; space opens, and the piano emerges. As the piece evolves, the musicians discover a more delicate counterbalance to work within, which ultimately dissipates into silence.

Liner notes for this release can be found on the 021 catalog page on the Erstwhile web site. These include an essay by Michael Graubart on the history of the concerto and The Hands of Caravaggio's place within the tradition, as well as notes from some of the musicians involved, including Rowe and Tilbury. The stylistic range of the music is echoed in the artwork, which intertwines the original Caravaggio, a painting and a graphic score by Rowe, and original work from Erstwhile designer Friederike Paetzold.

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