In 2004, after a disagreement with collaborator Eddie Prévost, Keith Rowe left the core AMM trio, whose other member, John Tilbury, remained with Prévost in AMM. Before then, Tilbury and Rowe had been playing together in various lineups for almost forty years. This duo recording, made live on December 17, 2010, at Les Instants Chavirés in Montreuil, was their first meeting since Rowe left AMM, and it is as if there were never a pause. The performance finds them extremely aware of each other’s presence and the placement of every sonic decision is perfectly in touch.
The occasion of this recording—a remembrance of the life of Keith Rowe’s mother—pairs it with their only other duo recording, the magnificent Duos for Doris (2002), which honoured John Tilbury’s mother after her death. That their mothers’ remembrances could occasion the alliance of these two artists is a gift to us as listeners. This is as equally remarkable a recording as the first.
While tension and circumstance may speak well of the context of this performance, it also underlines the draw this music has. Rowe’s tabletop guitar and the serrated sound-makers he employs create a strong and beautiful counterpoint to Tilbury’s diamond-like piano playing. Each of Tilbury’s notes feels deeply considered and the brusk but strangely compelling cloud of textures that Rowe brings forth feels like the purest place for Tilbury’s notes to sound. If circumstances never bring the two together again, at least we have this.