Plays Albert Ayler . Ekkehard Ehlers
2001. dl . lp
"Plays Albert Ayler" is Ekkehard Ehler's second solo release after his highly acclaimed debut album "Betrieb" on Mille Plateaux, and the first part in a trilogy of vinyl-only mini albums released on Staubgold in 2001.
Albert Ayler's music had a strong influence on Ehlers who already used Ayler samples on his releases with Autopoieses. "When I was 16 I heard Ayler's music for the first time", he says, "and to me it was as if I heard music at all for the first time."
The other two parts deal with John Cassavetes and Hubert Fichte. The trilogy is based upon the theme of digital art versus metacomplex emotion. "Plays Albert Ayler" consists entirely of cello recordings which were digitally cut, modified and re-combined by Ehlers to two long pieces. Features linernotes by Diedrich Diederichsen.
“Drama only begins to describe Ehlers' take on Ayler. One would logically expect a variation on Ayler’s intense, magically demented reed playing. Yet, Ehlers only hints at Ayler’s chaotic blasts, scattering brief flurries throughout the two pieces. Rather than focus on Ayler’s fiery, over-the-top semantics, the overlying theme here is positively chilling – downright Hitchcockian. German cellist Anka Hirsch performs Ehlers' composition, sculpting dark alleys where there should be light. The pace is achingly slow, cautious even. Lacquered glitches drip somewhere in the shadows. Even when rapid-fire staccatos emerge, the cello remains ever-present, casting an ominous tone over the proceedings.” (Otis Hart, Dusted)
In addition to his solo career, Ekkehard Ehlers has recorded under the monikers Auch, Betrieb and Ferdinand Fehlers and as a member of the duo Autopoesies and his band März. In 2001, Ehlers began recording 'Plays', a series of singles to serve as tributes to some of his aesthetic heroes. These releases brought Ehlers notoriety outside of experimental electronic music circles and led to collaborations with the Red Hot Chili Peppers among others.
He followed 'Plays' with the far more abstract 'Politik Braucht Keinen Feind' in 2003, and then with 'A Life Without Fear', which incorporated blues in a typically oblique way, in 2006. Since 2000, he has been working on ballet scores for choreographers William Forsythe and later Christoph Winkler and theatre music for Ulrich Rasche. As a curator Ehlers has been responsible for the 'Lux Aeterna' festival at Berlin's Berghain and 'Audio Poverty' at Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt.