Plays . Ekkehard Ehlers
2002. cd . dl
This amazing 76min cd contains Ehlers' complete "Plays" vinyl, originally released on Staubgold and the Dutch Bottrop-Boy label. Staubgold released the mini lps "Plays Albert Ayler", "Plays John Cassavetes" and "Plays Hubert Fichte" while the 7" singles "Plays Robert Johnson" and "Plays Cornelius Cardew" came out on Bottrop-Boy.
"Plays has to be one of the more ambitious undertakings of the past year and Ehlers succeeds on every level. These recordings honor past artists with both emotion and innovation. One can study its overwhelming abstract complexities or simply bask in its passion. Either way, there’s little doubt Plays stands as one of the most unique and welcome tributes in a long time.” (Otis Hart, Dusted)
"The 'Plays' series deals with 'reference' explains Ehlers. 'Everyone is sampling; sampling is the figure of historic devices in digital music. My idea is not to sample, but to refer to historic places and figures.’ For the series Ehlers has assembled an intriguing constellation of figures, from actor/film maker John Cassavetes to German author Hubert Fichte, and only the Cardew pieces contain actual samples. ‚Reference is a basic structure in digital music,’ Ehlers continues. ‚I'm trying to deal with that more abstractly.’ That abstraction is as much macroscopic as microscopic: the back cover of each vinyl record features a photograph of the region the artist of the title came from, filmed by a NASA satellite.“ (Philip Sherburne, The Wire)
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.