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Watch The Trees
Ivory And Steel
State Of Sound
“BETWEEN stood and still stands for the simultaneity of things that are really mutually exclusive” (Peter Michael Hamel, 2005)
“Originally we wanted to call the project B.A.C.H.,” Peter Michael Hamel re-calls, when, in 1970, they were looking for the most unusual name possible for a extremely unusual formation. “Naturally we chose in it in part in allusion to the immortal baroque composer of that name, but above all the letters stood for “Between All Chairs.” That’s exactly how we thought of ourselves. But when we discovered that the idiom doesn’t even exist in English, we dropped it.”
What was left was the word “between,” and the four original members of the group finally decided on that as the band’s name. And even this slimmed version says a great deal about the way we saw this project, which was both originary and original: “We always felt our music was something ‘in-between,’ nothing comparable had existed previously,” Hamel is still convinced. “Above all, our sound existed between the categories of serious and popular music. You could never pin us down to a particular category. That still pleases me today!”
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With the first BETWEEN LP in the series Centerpoint in 1971, WERGO marked off the framework by which current music that did not belong to any of the established musical directions would find a place on the record market. If “popular music” and “serious music” are often difficult to separate today, if pop music makes use of avant-garde elements like musique concrète, and vice versa (crossover), such approaches were still breaking new ground in 1970.
Over the ten years of its existence BETWEEN released six albums on WERGO:
• Einstieg (1971)
• And the Waters Opened (1973)
• Hesse between Music (1974)
• Dharana (1974)
• Contemplation (1976–77)
• Silence beyond Time (1979)
Of these Dharana and Hesse Between Music have already been released as CDs on WERGO; the others are being reissued now, with previously unreleased extra tracks, including some from a Bayerischer Rundfunk concert series (“Music between Worlds”) that ran from 1976 to 1979.
The 1970s live electronics began to conquer the world, but for that very reason BETWEEN essentially played “unplugged,” playing chamber music on traditional instruments and in the resulting acoustic framework. At the intersection of acoustic and electronic sound worlds, BETWEEN anticipated a lot of developments, and yet it only seemed to be operating on electronic ground.
By 1980 the group had spent ten years working intensely with the musical past of each individual; the pieces produced were extremely varied; BETWEEN had developed an iridescent combination of classical, avant-garde and pop music and medieval and Far Eastern music as well as popular ethnic music. They had gotten closer to the “dream of the blue flower between the milestones along the path to a future world music.” The members of the group went their own ways, and Eliscu, Campbell, and Stranz are no longer alive. Even today, decades later, when the cultural circles have been permeated as never before, the synthesis they have achieved may still be considered up-to-date.
(Excerpts from the Linernotes)
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