Keith Rowe: One Bird Flying Through
AAJ: The future. Five years ago you'd just left AMM. Can you look five years hence?
KR: Obviously no, but I have a kind of sense of wanting to have a kind of performance that is based on the live experience of being. I think too many performances are actually a bit like the live performance of the CD. I would like to get away from that and actually produce music, which is actually deeply dissatisfactory in real time but has a feeling of uniqueness in that space and a feeling of being Art.
There is something about approaching a painting by Auerbach; you see the trace of the process. I think I would like what I do to be the trace of a process. It is just there in that unique moment of looking, in the opportunity to see it, and then it is gone and you can never see it again. Maybe that is so deeply representative of human existence that we are here for a limited amount of time. So the work, the sixty minute solo, becomes the trace in the representation of human life.
You know the story of the Venerable Bede when someone asked him about human existence. He said imagine a banqueting hall; it is winter and it is dark outside; a bird flies in one window, through the banqueting hall and out the other window. This is life. I would like a performance to be like that. So it transcends the question of being Art or not, or technique or brilliance. It is absolutely what it is, a mirror of the whole of our existence. So, this is one bird flying through.
Keith Rowe/Sachiko M, Contact (Erstwhile Records, 2009)
Keith Rowe, Keith Rowe (Erstlive, 2008)
Keith Rowe/Taku Unami, Keith Rowe/Taku Unami (Erstlive, 2008)
Keith Rowe/Seymour Wright, 3D (w.m.o/r, 2008)
(N:Q), November Quebec (Esquilo Records, 2008)
Keith Rowe, The room (ErstSolo, 2007)
Keith Rowe/Toshimaru Nakamura, between (Erstwhile Records, 2006)
MEV/AMM, Apogee (Matchless, 2005)
London Improvisers Orchestra, Responses, reproduction & reality: freedom of the city 2003-4 (Emanem, 2005)
Tomas Korber/Keith Rowe/Gunter Muller, Fibre (For 4 Ears, 2004)
4g(Keith Rowe/Oren Ambarchi/Christian Fennesz/Toshimaru Nakamura), Cloud (Erstwhile Records, 2004)
Keith Rowe/Christian Fennesz, Live at the LU (Erstwhile Records, 2004)
Keith Rowe/Axel Dorner/Franz Hautzinger, A view from the window (Erstwhile Records, 2004)
Keith Rowe/Toshimaru Nakamura/Thomas Lehn/Marcus Schmickler, Keith Rowe/Toshimaru Nakamura/Thomas Lehn/Marcus Schmickler (Erstlive, 2004)
Keith Rowe/Burkhard Beins, Keith Rowe/Burkhard Beins (Erstlive, 2004)
Keith Rowe/Oren Ambarchi/Robbie Avenaim, Honey pie (GROB, 2004)
Keith Rowe/John Tilbury, Duos for Doris (Erstwhile Records, 2003)
Keith Rowe/Thomas Lehn/Marcus Schmickler, Rabbit run (Erstwhile Records, 2003)
Keith Rowe/Cor Fuhler, Rowe/Fuhler (Conundrum, 2003)
MIMEO, Lifting concrete lightly (Serpentine gallery, 2003)
Keith Rowe/Oren Ambarchi, Squire (For 4 Ears, 2002)
Keith Rowe/Michel Doneda/Urs Leimgruber, The difference between a fish (Potlatch, 2002)
Keith Rowe/Oren Ambarchi/Sachiko M/Otomo Yoshihide/Robbie Avenaim, Thumb (GROB, 2002)
Keith Rowe/Oren Ambarchi, Flypaper (Staubgold, 2002)
MIMEO/John Tilbury, The hands of Caravaggio (Erstwhile Records, 2002)
AMM, Fine (Matchless, 2001)
[ Author's Note: Those interested in Rowe's early days should seek out the January 2001 interview, by Dan Warburton for Paris Transatlantic; those interested in further details of Rowe's equipment may prefer the April 2007 interview by Josh Ronsen for monkminkpinkpunk.]