Ekkehard Ehlers plays Cornelius Cardew (2002)

Cornelius Cardew main page on UbuWeb Sound

  1. Side A
  2. Side B

7" vinyl

Over the last year and a half German composer Ekkehard Ehlers recorded a series of EPs and singles with the same theme. Ehlers would compose two tracks that referenced the work of an artist he admired and release the results under the title Plays. The first clue that these tracks are not proper covers or derived primarily from samples comes from the fact that one release in the Plays series references a filmmaker (Ekkehard Ehlers Plays John Cassavetes) while another pays homage to a writer (Ekkehard Ehlers Plays Hubert Fichte). Only Matthew Herbert could figure out a way to work samples of a book into his tracks; Ehlers interprets.

This release collects all the tracks from the Plays series onto a single CD. It's a varied set-- some tracks are nothing but ambient laptop murmurs, others build on dense drones, and a couple contain beautiful string arrangements that would do the Penguin Café Orchestra proud. The music is accessible without the concept, but still, the first instinct upon hearing it is naturally to try and decipher the relationships between the tracks and the referenced artist. In a similar style but superior is the first track of Plays Cornelius Cardew, with the warm organ chords Microstoria sometimes indulges in.