Preferring to live in the Theatre of Questions rather than the Theatre of Answers: Keith Rowe

Celebrating his 80th birthday and more than 60 years as a professional musician, British tabletop guitarist Keith Rowe elucidates some of his philosophy in a wide-ranging interview with The Brooklyn Rail’s Todd B. Gruel. Although one of the founding members of two ensembles dedicated to electro-acoustic improvisation, the UK’s AMM in the mid-1960s, and the international MIMEO in the late 1990s, Rowe follows his own path. This individuality also encompasses his visual art as a painter and affiliation and disengagement in various philosophical and political groups over the decades. Rowe’s discontinuous relationship with AMM, whose most constant members have been pianist John Tilbury and percussionist Eddie Prévost, and his similar history with the much larger all-electronic MIMEO, which has included Phil Durrant, Rafael Toral and Thomas Lehn, is part of this tendency. While encouraging the groups’ departure from melody, harmony, and rhythm, Rowe says he’s also interested in projecting sounds that are daring and playing  “anything disruptive”. Furthermore as his music evolves, he’s continuously working on stripping away all redundant material from his improvisations as well in his performance setup.