Plays Hubert Fichte . Ekkehard Ehlers
2002. dl . lp
The third and final part in the acclaimed series of mini albums, dealing with German beat poet Hubert Fichte (following "Plays Albert Ayler" and "Plays John Cassavetes"), and featuring liner notes by Thomas Meinecke.
“’Plays Hubert Fichte’ offers a decidedly abstract impression of the stated subject. The impossibility of directly sourcing the writer Fichte – a self-proclaimed “homosexual half-Jew” whose post-WWII writings exposed Germans to homosexuality as a literary theme – leaves Ehlers’ to rely on atmosphere alone. Beginning with a twitching thread of high tones and ending with a muted guitar ambling in crackly silt, ’Plays Hubert Fichte’ draws only tangential connections between its digital murmurings and their namesake. (…)
In the end, ’Plays’ hinges on the effectiveness of these referencing techniques. Taken without their programmatic backdrop, Ehlers’ collection of electronic miniatures stands as well-executed glitchworks laced with the sort of conspicuous moodiness that rarely surfaces in the laptop pack. (…) Each EP unfolds with the sort of reverence and perceptiveness that directly corresponds to Ehlers’ ambition and affection, and his music appropriately tugs equally at the ears and heart. ‘Plays’ flourishes in its willingness to let Ehlers to indulge in his individual brand of digitally-filtered sentimentality. What’s left is a series of heartfelt tributes, crafted with the technical precision and personal insight of a master portrait painter – fit tributes to the complexities of Ehlers’ well-beloved heroes.” (Joe Panzner, Stylus magazine)
“In 2001, Ekkehard Ehlers released a compositional cycle of abstract tributes to artistic personalities. Ehlers' music never references the works of its namesakes. Instead it draws inspiration from a certain state that (…) the writings of Hubert Fichte create in Ehlers' mind. Although each set has its own character, associating it with the corresponding artist simply doesn't work. (…) Ehlers' music draws on German experimental ambient and minimal techno, but also post-rock melancholy and drone-based improvisation. (…)
The two ‘Ekkehard Ehlers Plays Hubert Fichte’ tracks, with delicate guitar work by Joseph Suchy, also captivate. (…) This album generates its own universe of cultural references but, beyond its conceptual side, it draws the listener into a highly introspective sound world, slow-changing and mesmerizing. It eschews the clichés of clicks and cuts, microsound, or any other trend rooted in experimental electronica at the time, making it definitely one of the strongest, most personal artistic statements of the year. Highly recommended.” (François Couture, All Music Guide)
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.