By Jaime Lees
By Roy Kasten
By Melinda Cooper
By Jeremy Essig
By Roy Kasten
By Daniel Hill
By Chris Kornelis
By Gina Tron
Big deal to you, though, right? As is the case with most innovators, Rowe's work is much less well known than that of artists he's inspired, and therefore you may need a little nudge: tabletop guitar, experimental improv, avant aesthetes -- these are definite warning signs to anyone in need of a beat or a melody.
To that end, we present a list of people with whom Rowe has collaborated: Syd Barrett, madman of Pink Floyd, who referred to Rowe as "his teacher" (although, perhaps tellingly, Barrett soon thereafter went insane); German minimalist techno producer Marcus Schmickler (a.k.a. Pluramon); Jim O'Rourke, producer/composer extraordinaire (he produced Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot) and bassist for Sonic Youth; Christian Fennesz, whose 2001 recording Endless Summer is one of the most profound ambient-noise compositions of the new century; Lee "Scratch" Perry, the Jamaican king of dub who worked with Rowe in the early '80s; Brit saxophonist Evan Parker, whose blurts and chirp on the horn expanded the language of the instrument; and, of course, Eddie Prévost and Lou Gare, who formed AMM in 1965 and have intermittently regrouped and recorded over the past 35 years.
Rowe will perform here in St. Louis with equally out-there musician Toshimaru Nakamura, one of the leading improvisational voices of Japan. Take heed, though: The pair's music, at least on their collaboration Weather Sky, is pretty rough on the patience if you're looking to groove or get all funky. Much of Weather Sky consists of single high-pitched tinnitusesque tones, the kind of sound you hear after a show, not during one. Other Rowe works are less annoying and more expansive, especially his work with M.I.M.E.O. (Music in Movement Electronic Orchestra), which features Schmickler, Fennesz and a half-dozen others in collaboration -- the sound is overwhelming.
Opening are a quintet of St. Louis improvisors: Darin Gray and Chris Smentkowski will perform as a duo, and Eric Hall, Ben Hanna and Tobi Parks will work as a trio.