Stefan Keune - Erhard Hirt - Hans Schneider - Paul Lytton
Recorded on Sept. 25th. 2020 at King Georg, Köln

FMR Records 2021, CD601-02
download on Bandcamp

"...This is spectacularly sharp improvising.  It is purely organic, elementally sonic, reveling in crunchy timbre and texture, building on the productive confusion of electronic and acoustic pitches and noises.  I’m reminded why I was riveted to Frogman’s View back in the day – Schneider’s sparkling arco, Hirt’s versatility and quickness, Lytton’s warmth, musicality, and humor.  The richest spoils of this music are found in the band’s interaction.  There, in sudden changes of direction or unexpected protractions, you can hear how, against all odds, all members having grown and changed over the years, XPACT is somehow still XPACT." (John Corbett, Chicago, November 2020)  
 "... There is a certain magic or glue going on here, focused squeaks, rubbed, plucked & bowed strings and subtle electronics all carefully interwoven. I like when things erupt with all the players chattering intensely together, their fractured sounds coming together as one dynamic force. I must admit that I am a big fan of this sort of sound/approach. OUT-standing! (Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtoun Music Gallery)
Rezension auf: spontaneousmusictribune.blogspot.

… Across four tracks, totalling fifty-six minutes, the four improvise freely and deliberately, never rushing things but obviously listening to one another intently; changes of tempo or volume do not come at the behest of a single player but are clearly negotiated between the four and happen organically, sounding natural. A third of a century on from the first Xpact, the above quote from Corbett is as true as ever.  www.allaboutjazz

"The first incarnation of the XPACT quartet happened almost four decades ago in Berlin when three German improvisers from the second generation of free-improvisers – reeds player Wolfgang Fuchs, guitarist Erhard Hirt and double bass player Hans Schneider met British drummer and experimentalist Paul Lytton. This short-lived quartet released only one album, «Frogman’s View» (Uhlklang, 1984), but all four musicians were at that time the core of a more famous band, King Übü Örchestrü.

34 years later, and after Fuchs sadly died in 2016, Hirt, Schneider and Lytton decided to reincarnate XPACT with tenor sax player Stefan Keune, representing the third generation of German free-improvisers, and a close collaborator of Schneider who played with Lytton in Keune’s trio («Loft», Hybrid 3, 1992). XPACT II recorded its debut album at King
Georg in Köln in September 2020. Hirt adds electronics to his guitar, Schneider designed the cover art as he did for the first album of XPACT, and Lytton does what he does best, drumming but in the most unconventional manner and on his own set of devices.

John Corbett, who wrote the liner notes, describes this album as a meeting of old comrades «who fall together like dear friends around a table, estranged for forgotten reasons, reunited to see if there’s spark left». There are plenty of sparks here. «XPACT II» features strong-minded but versatile improvisers, and Keune fits perfectly into the adventurous legacy of XPACT . The four pieces are urgent but radiate a fragile atmosphere, bursting with restless ideas but refuse to adopt any of these ideas. Lytton injects subversive sound and adds a quirky sense of humor and sharp irony with his set of percussive, tabletop objects. The addition of raw electronics by Hirt and Lytton colors these improvised pieces with alien veins. The music flows fast from one event to the other but in a sudden, unpredictable and yet organic manner. And as Corbett concluded: «against all odds, all members having grown and changed over the years, XPACT is somehow still XPACT». (Eyal Hareuveni)

new digital issues:

Floating in Green
Udo Schindler & Erhard Hirt

released April 29, 2021
Udo Schindler, bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, cornet
Erhard Hirt, electric guitar, electronics
Live recording by Udo Schindler on October 30, 2015
Mixed By Wolfgang Obrecht at Tonstudio RichArt, Munich.

Wind. Saiten [Gestalt]

released June 13, 2021
Udo Schindler, bass & contrabass clarinet, soprano saxophone
Erhard Hirt, electric guitar & live-electronics
Christofer Varner, trombone, conch, voice
Liverecordings by Udo Schindler at Pöllatpavillon, Munich on October 31, 2015.
Mixed by Wolfgang Obrecht at Studio RichArt, Munich.


Erhard Hirt - solo at Total Music Meeting 1983

FMP E 907

A solo guitar album with a difference - Hirt conjures an armada of sounds you'd hardly associate with the instrument. Moving between aggressive squalls of distortion and spare meditative passages - and plenty in-between - these pieces coalesce into intriguing compositional shapes.


Florian Walter - alto saxophone, tubax, hechtyphone
Erhard Hirt - dobro, el-guitar, electronics
RossParfitt - drums, percussion, electronics
recorded   live at JOE Festival at Lichtburg, Essen
by Ulf Rabeneck on Jan. 20th. 2018
aha 1901


Paul Hubweber     Trombone  Voice
Erhard Hirt            Dobro  E-Guitar  Electronics
Hans Schneider     Double   Bass

recorded  2018  07  22
Leverkusen „Zettel's Traum“
p 2018
archeulian handaxe: aha1804

A remarkable album of formidable efficiency. The more I listen to it, the more I am conquered. Funny isn’t it? Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg


Walter / Parfitt / Hirt

Recorded February 2017 at Revierton Studio Herne,
cover: Maren Endler

Florian Walter – alto sax, contra bassclarinet
Ross Parfitt –  percussion
Erhard Hirt – guitars, electronic

BERSLTON 117 01 17 – LC 05245

review by ferdinand dupuis-panther on

Erhard Hirt- New York Connection

cover: Erhard_Hirt_New_York_Connection

recordet live at BLACK BOX, cuba - Münster, Feb. 5th. 2016
cover photo: Maike Brautmeier

Mark Whitecage – alto sax, clarinet
Erhard Hirt – guitar, electronic
Joe Fonda –  double bass, flute
Lou Grassi – drums. percussion

Klopotec - IZK CD 049

New York Connection by guitarist Erhard Hirt is a tangential item in the Nu Band discography but should be heard by fans. Hirt has been working in the European free jazz scene since the early ‘80s. While Nu Band is usually a composition-based group, they will occasionally engage in free improvisation. On the night before the Geneva concert (and minus Heberer), they met Hirt in a club in Münster and played a set of vital, edgy free improvisation. Hirt’s guitar and electronics bring new textures to the group and all players respond with spirited playing. They pare down into various group components with particularly inspired passages of Grassi and Fonda in duet with Hirt’s scrabbling electronics, an element rarely heard with either of these players. Whitecage plays fiercely throughout. This is an inspired set with the trio goaded and prodded by Hirt to some of their most fiery playing. read all:



Hirt. Lytle. Tammen: Telve Ways Of Saying Yes In The 18th Century France

Recorded June 2015 at WKCR / Live Constructions. Special thanks to Gabe Ibagon. Mixed and mastered by Michael Lytle.

Michael Lytle - bassclarinet, contra bassclarinet, voice
Erhard Hirt - guitar, electronics
Hans Tammen - buchla

Hipshot Guitars - Vol. 2

track 13 on guitar sampler produces by Mike Cooper.

also on this record: Hans Tammen, Elliott Sharp, Tim castin, Dave Brown, Paolo Angeli, Tom Cartet, Fuji, Tetuzi Akiyama, Chris Forsyth, Phil Bird, Robin Schmidt, Jean Marc Montera

Hipshot Guitars - Vol. 2 on bandcamp
se alsso: Hipshot Guitars - Vol 1


digital reissues:

1994 Gitarre Solo: "Gute und Schlechte Zeiten" (FMP / OWN-90003) CD

Davey Williams
It would be easy to talk about Erhard Hirt’s playing in poetical terms – descriptions of celestial bells, tidal sustains transforming into bone-jarring snippets of “pure sound”, too encompassing to refer to solely as “guitar music”. Easier anyway than trying to describe this hour-long collection of guitar alchemy in terms of other guitarists or influences, which are both apparent an invisible. To be sure, I could say that the clarity and complexity of these pieces is remarkable: few processing-electric guitarists have achieved this kind of tonal variety in such compact form (18 tracks, the longest less than six minutes, most much shorter). I could speculate that, in the areas he works; only Henry Kaiser, Dennis Maxfield and Jim O’Rourke are at his level in the techno-improvising guitar world. More importantly, or more curious to me at least, is a certain unseeable quality that I enjoy very much on Gute und schlechteZeiten, (Good and bad times); the feeling that Hirt plays primarily with his brain. Internal logic of processing equipment and the internal-externalized logic of the musician working closely to create an illusion that he has bypassed the “hands-on-strings” guitar playing for a more cerebral method: mind-direct-to-disc. Ultimately it doesn’t matter if you read that Hirt’s guitar sound like a pipe organ dumped on its digital ear. It wouldn’t matter if I told you he sounds like a dozen other guitarists, either. As Duke Ellington said, “If it sounds good, it is good”, and this CD sound very good.
from: The Improvisor # XI, March 1996

Jens Brand
(…) The new CD with the pragmatic title Guitar Solo and the very personal (as he says) subtitle Gute und Schlechte Zeiten (Good and Bad Times) contains 18 pieces, all of them short, between 1:18 and 5:32 minutes. It was recorded during two recording sessions (one in bad times, the other one in good), December 1991 and May 1993.
Erhard plays 10 pieces on a Hohner-Steinberger guitar together with a guitar synthesizer, 3 pieces on a Steinberger guitar and 5 pieces on a Gibson hollow body electric. He recorded with one piezo-microphone, two direct guitar outs, and a stereo signal from the synthesizer mixed to stereo DAT. This information may seem boring to some, but in fact to me it can answer the question of what idea of sound Erhard’s music reflects on. In contrast to Zwischen den Pausen, which was recorded with three microphones (one to record the recording space, one each for the two guitar-amplifiers), the new release gives almost no imagined space between the recording and your speaker system. The only place for the music to expand is in the listener’s space. What was an intimate and small space imagined in the recording of the former release, became a confrontation to the listener in this one. The music goes directly from the guitar into the ear. Finally, the piezo microphone makes one aware of the guitar body at all times.
Everything you hear is obviously performed live, and not overdubbed. The release is meant to be a pure studio recording, and not as a solo surrogate of what Erhard’s music usually sounds like when he joins or is joined by other musicians. Live and on-stage are different ways to communicate and one consequently has to ask different questions. Erhard takes this seriously and prefers to play with other musicians when he performs. The different ranges in Erhard’s work aren’t caused postmodernistic influences, a split personality or a problem with or disinterest in making decisions. They result from his personal idea of sound meant as music and the situation in which a sound is produced. A social sound idea.
What is the reason to make a solo recording? “To finish something which hasn’t finished playing at that point. As a musician in a collective, one should always be able to declare one’s own ideas at any time and change them into something completely different, in a way which could be described as a transformation of an idea rather than s retraction. As a consequence of these relative processes, certain things do not get finished. You are sharing the situation. A solo can finish, but leads one, finally, towards a kind of loneliness. The execution of a question leads you towards the emptiness. You answer the question and then?”
from: The Improvisor # XI, March 1996

Milo Fine
Though avant garde in appearance, what with their primary ambiant/drone and industrial/noise characteristics, Hirt’s carefully constructed sonic miniatures are, some 80+ years removed from the futurists, and 45 years from musique concrete, to say nothing of 2-1/2 decades from the beginnings of the so-called extended vocabulary for the guitar, familiar, and indeed, quite accessible. As if anticipating a likely observation or criticism, the liners deny that the program presents a series of deliberately separate areas for investigation. But it is difficult to experience the music any other way as varied timbral generalities give way to the specific sonorities of Hans Reichel on “Waage” and a curious mix of Reichel and Derek Bailey on “Slow”. Someone like percussionist Tony Oxley is brilliant whether mining what’s commonly understood to be the mainstream of the avant garde. Authentic in either arena (or in-between), one always hears him. Investigating a less expansive, but theoretically no less infinite turf, Hirt’s compartmentalization results in diffusion, a vague final impression. As with his initial solo document one hears what Hirt can do – and make no mistake, he is adept – but seldom hears Hirt.
from: Cadence Magazine # 7, July 1995

Chris Blackford
The still under-recognized German guitarist Erhard Hirt (born 1951) came to improv via rock, blues and free jazz. Since the late 70s he's been specializing in improv, co-founding the King Übü Örchestrü in 1984: UK listeners might also have heard him in the as yet unrecorded trio with Phil Minton and John Butcher.
This collection of 18 short improvisations for solo electric guitar and guitar synthesizer provides an ideal introduction to Hirt's unusual sound world. The appropriately titled 'Drone' sets up a static bass drone which is then embellished by a mesh of guitar synthesizer lines. The strangely beautiful, chiming quality of 'Slow Music' with its unpredictable pitch wavering and distortion is reminiscent of Hans Reichel's work; 'Klapp & Flap' uses synthesized percussive effects, and 'Flute' (you guessed it) counterpoints flute sounds with sharply plucked strings. Concise, sometimes embryonic, always bursting with unclassifiable inventiveness.
from: Rubberneck # 12, 1994

Thom Jurek
Fans of Fred Frith's guitar-on-the-table approach, or Jim O’Rourke's most woolly playing, will take an instant liking to Erhard Hirt's unique, apoplectic style of improvisation. From the opening tape and string slippage of "Good Times, Bad Times" to the breakneck freakout bending and mauling of "Drive," Hirt has devoted himself, like Davey Williams, Eugene Chadbourne, Frith, Derek Bailey, and others, to being an improviser first and a musician second — and no, that's not a negative comment. His sonic palette isn't terribly varied but it doesn't need to be; Hirt's stylistic variances are enormous, and his detuned approach to the fretboard allows more than a few microtonal possibilities to emerge from the maelstrom. There's a percussive edge to even the most limpid of pieces (such as "Auge und Ohr"), and his knowledge of how to create the appearance of ghostly arpeggios — when in fact there are only multiple vibrating strings — works to extreme measure on "Klapp and Flap." Hirt's a bit more academic than most players who attempt his brand of free improvisation — being from the second generation improv school and everything — and while he's not devoid of feeling or humor, there is precious little. The aforementioned players like to have a bit of fun with their art, and one would think, based on his titles, that Hirt would too. But it's all so gray and machine-like that it's difficult to hold onto for more than a moment or two; but then, that's a moment or two more than most musicians or improvisers trying to reinvent an instrument are able to accomplish.
from: All Music Guide

Erhard Hirt als Gitarrenexperimentator aus der zweiten Generation der europäischen Freien Improvisation zu bezeichnen, das fließt mir nicht so leicht aus der Feder. Der Begriff Instant Composing scheint mir da schon angebrachter. Denn Hirt ist akribisch, ein Freund detailliert in seinem Klanglabor ausgetüftelter Klänge, die sowohl abrupt hin und her geworfen werden wie sie auch kleine, sich konträr nur langsam verändernde Details aufweisen. Die Teile seiner in Zweijahresabstand aufgenommenen zweiten Soloplatte entwickeln sich dabei facettenreich vor dem Hintergrund einer hörbar intimen Kenntnis der Errungenschaften dieser Richtung. Henry Kaiser, Derek Bailey, Davey Williams, ja sogar gelegentlich Robert Fripp liegen am Weg, der zu Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten geführt haben mag, dazu die Gitarrenprojekte in Münster mit Eugene Chadbourne, Jean-Marc Montera und anderen, deren Organisator Hirt war und ist. Direkt zitiert werden sie nicht, aber liebevoll gestreift, aus eigener Position kommentiert, durchaus ironisiert. Hirt verschwendet keinen Ton, folgerichtig erschließt jedes Stück eine eigene, teils hermetische Ideenwelt, ein elektrisches Kammerensemble, das, sich selbst genügend, alle Rollen auf sechs Saiten unterbringt.
aus: Jazzthetik # 4, April 1994

Ute Büchter-Römer
Mit einem plötzlichen Gitarren-Crash beginnt das erste Stück „Noch ein Husten für Karl Valentin“, etwas unmotivierte Klänge wie ein ständiges Husten eben, das die Gitarre ja offensichtlich problemlos nachäffen kann. Die einzelnen Stücke der CD zeigen, was mit der elektrischen Gitarre alles anzustellen ist, lang angehaltene dunkle Klänge, über die sich hellere schieben, dunkle Passagen gequietschter Zwischentöne, langsame und harte metallene Sounds und schnelle, abgerissene Passagen, laut, mit und ohne Spannung, in sich wandelnde Töne, sozusagen „Austritte aus der wohltemperierten Stimmung“, Maschinenimitationen und Assoziationen an unterschiedliche musikalische Realität werden von Erhard Hirt hier miteinander verbunden. Sicher eine Fülle der Phantasieanregung und Dokumentation für Gitarristen.
aus: Jazz Podium # 12, Dezember 1995

Till Kniola
Die 1994 erschienene Solo CD von Erhard Hirt spiegelt das Klangspektrum, welches Hirt mittels Gitarre erzeugen kann, eindrucksvoll wider. Das Stück Gute undschlechte Zeiten (in 18 Parts) wurde größtenteils in real-time eingespielt und reicht von virtuosen detailverliebten Passagen bis hin zu pausenreichen Teppichen und dronigen Momenten. Am erstaunlichsten für mich waren jedoch die Verfremdungs-Effekte: es gibt Parts, wie die schönen Karmesse und Drive, in denen die Gitarre (mittels Gitarrensynthi) wie ein kleines Kammerorchester klingt; metallische, schepprige Töne verdichten sich zu Klängen, die einem Bogenzirpsen einer Violine erschreckend ähnlich sind. Drone klingt so wie es heißt und gefällt mir auch sehr gut: hier wird in eine Fläche hinein behutsam klimpriges Geräusch, feinste Figuren projiziert. Ebenso wird auf Feedback verfahren, einem Track welcher sein Basisgeräusch aus klarem, mittel- bis hochfrequentigem Feedback bezieht und dann auf der Oberfläche handgreiflich ausgestaltet wird. Insgesamt ist diese Platte wie ein Reisebericht durch die Stationen der Gitarren-Improvisation, der voller Überraschungen steckt. Im Booklet gibt’s dazu einen dicken Text, der uns das Schaffen von Erhard Hirt näherzubringen versucht.
aus: Auf Abwegen # 24, Winter 1998/99

1983 Gitarre Solo: "Zwischen den Pausen" (FMP / UK 2) LP download

Erhard Hirt – acoustic, eelctric ´ & prepared guitar

Davey Williams
Milo Fine
Bert Noglik

Davey Williams
Here’s another golden oldie from the improvised past, Hirt’s first solo LP (from 1982), only recently coming into our hands. Hirt leads off with “Traditional Intro”, referring musically and otherwise, evidently, to Derek Bailey of say, the “Lot 74” era. Beyond this track the areas of guitar playing begin that are most characteristic of Hirt’s playing today: lab/table slide techniques and on-line boxes used to good effect. More suspended and deliberate than he sounded this year at the Münster Jazz Festival Guitar Project, Hirt moves through pieces that ramble from oud-sounding “unrhythmed” areas to proto-Elliott Sharp crashes and dins, though his LP predates all but the earliest of Sharp’s releases. In the ensuing years, Hirt has come into his, working with Fuchs and other heavyweights in the King Übü Örchestrü, organizing guitar projects; and his next release will be a must-hear indeed. As for “Zwischen den Pausen” (Between the Pauses), it’s a highly-personalized, readily listenable first release from one of the most important of today’s West German guitarists.
from: The Improvisor # VIII, 1988

Milo Fine
(…) Zwischen den Pausen shows vet another string man capable of making the guitar sing in a “contemporary” manner, but adding nothing particularly interesting or distinctive to the genre. Fellow reviewer Kevin Whitehead’s words to the effect of “new vocabulary guitar noodling” come to mind, though it must be noted that Hirt is quite adept.
from: Cadence Magazine # 1, January 1984

Bert Noglik
Sparsamkeit und Opulenz – Erhard Hirt setzt das eine gegen das andere, fügt Passagen mit unterschiedlicher Charakteristik zu einem Spektrum eigenwilliger Gitarrenstücke zusammen. Improvisationen, nur scheinbar lässig hingehauene Impressionen mit unterschiedlicher Stimmungs- und Verlaufskurve, mit bohrendem, ja bedrängendem Duktus, verbünden sich in seinem Spiel mit verhaltenen, nachdenklichen und nachklingenden Wendungen. Hirt geht mit seinen Klangmaterialen blockhaft und roh, ebenso aber auch filigran und sensibel um. Manchmal arbeitet er, von einem rhythmischen oder klanglichen Grundeinfall ausgehend, den Charakter eines Stückes durch Wiederholungen und Modifikationen heraus; oft lässt er aber auch simultan mehrere Klangebenen entstehen. Auf diese Weise gewinnt sein Spiel an Vielschichtigkeit, mitunter gewissermaßen an orchestralen Dimensionen.
Wenn man sich in diese Musik einhört, kann man eine bemerkenswerte Spielkonzentration entdecken. Was auf dieser Platte zu hören ist, hat wohl kaum etwas mit Zufallsprodukten zu tun. Viel eher handelt es sich um selbstentwickelte Pass-Stücke, die der Klangbastler Erhard Hirt mit spielerischem Elan und auch mit Bedacht zu einer manchmal eigenwillig spröden, manchmal eigenwillig schönen Musik zusammensetzt. Man mag ihn einen Eklektizisten nennen; ich finde, er ist ein anregender, phantasievoller Gitarrist.
Auch in der improvisierten Musik gibt es ja mittlerweile so etwas wie eine „Gitarrenexplosion“. Und in diesem Zusammenhang werden dann hie und da alle Gitarren-Neutöner unter den Namen Derek Bailey subsumiert. Dies ist aber genauso töricht, wie jeden Bassklarinettisten mit Eric Dolphy in Verbindung zu bringen und jeden frei improvisierenden Sopransaxophonisten an Evan Parker zu messen. Andererseits besteht natürlich kein Zweifel daran, dass Bailey dem klangerforschenden Umgang mit der Gitarre (und keineswegs nur mit der Gitarre) neue Wege gewiesen hat. Ein Satz von Joachim-Ernst Berendt, gemünzt auf Charlie Christian, gilt in anderem Kontext auch für Derek Bailey. Man brauchte nur die Namen auszuwechseln: „Fast scheint es, als ob es zwei Instrumente sind, die Gitarre, die man vor Christian, und die, die man nach ihm spielte“. – Erhard Hirt spielt in gewisser Weise nach bestimmten Neuerungen von Derek Bailey, aber er spielt zugleich als sein Zeitgenosse, und er setzt seine eigenen Erfahrungen – die seiner Generation und seine individuellen Erfahrungen – in eine spezifisch geprägte Spieltechnik und Spielweise um. Als Resultat entstehen eigene Sounds, eigenwillige Strukturen von kontrastreicher Dynamik. Hirts Umgang mit elektronischer Klangmodifikation erweist sich – kombiniert mit solchen Möglichkeiten wie Schlagen der Saiten mit Stäben oder mit der Handkante, Streichen mit dem Bogen usw., - als ein Mittel zur Erweiterung seines Ausdrucks. Dass seine vergleichsweise bescheidenen Gerätschaften zuweilen so verblüffend wirken, liegt daran, dass er sie nur gezielt, musikalisch, nicht technologisch orientiert, einsetzt und auch mit dem akustischen Klang auf individuell geprägte Weise umgehen kann.
aus: Jazz Podium # 3, März 1984

1984 XPACT "frogman's view" (FMP / UK 5) LP download

withWOLFGANG FUCHS (*1949 – † 2016) - Sporaninosax , Bassklarinette /  HANS SCHNEIDER- Kontrabass / PAUL LYTTON - Percussion, Live Electronics

Kenneth Ansell
Primarily Paul Lytton and – to a lesser extent – Wolfgang Fuchs are improvisors whose work is known in the UK, through live appears and recordings, but this release gives an insight, or glimpse, into that of Erhard Hirt and Hans Schneider too.
It does so over two substantial tracks (one covering the whole of the first side) and three brief snippets all under two-and-a-half minutes in length. These short tracks open the second side. The first swells tidally, the second is all fluttering detail which almost appears to build into the third track. The latter turns a more robust, inflammable music on a similar axis, although the tracks were recorded a day apart with just one of them as part of a live concert.
The longer selections give more opportunity to appreciate the inner dynamics and interaction within the group. They leave no doubt that this is emphatically a quartet music; material is introduced and bounced between the participants, picked up or discarded, as the music edges forward with a sure sense of (corporate) direction in which ideas intersect and interact.
In”…We Start Now” a direction takes form in the midst of a groping, low-key staccato introduction, coalescing around sour, high-pitched drones and agitated interjections. The track indicates, too, a delightfully curdled sense of melody as it leads eventually to Hirt’s fragmentary pizzicato guitar play piercing Schneider’s arco bass dance and Fuchs tender-toned bass clarinet. The progression of moods which follow each other through “Der Blick des Tauchers” includes delicacy and sustain which bubbles into a quagmire of rich turmoil and detail; the group pulls back and establishes a brooding sense of foreboding which in its turn fractures in a welter of scattershot activity encompassing shards of bright, stinging guitar, popping and barking saxophone and catalystic bass and drums.
This is an album of confident, assured music-making; one which introduces new names to this listener, at least, and re-affirms once more that improvised music is in a very healthy state.
from: The Wire # 23, January 1986

1985 KING ÜBÜ ORCHESTRÜ "music is music is ..." (FMP / UK 6) LP download


Richard Cook
….nine free-men, the savage children of Globe Unity, in two sides of spontaneous moments. This is a particularly clear example of the organic music, a biological lay-out: one side of fragments, where members take turns to drop out, and another with the slow motion rise and fall of one great piece. There are no solo passages, hardly anywhere where even one player steps slightly out, just a texture of continuous viscous flux. But that sound is never muddied, the intention almost piecemeal in its movement and the results hum with interest. Plus the mix of players – surreptitious romantics like Phil Wachsmann and Radu Malfatti, gremlins like Guido Mazzon – ensures plenty of needle.
from: The Wire # 24, February 1986

Milo Fine
In many ways this music is reminiscent of various Fred Van Hove, Evan Parker and Derek Bailey Company  aggregations (more than a few of the featured players here have collaborated with them in the past). However, the roots of the Örchestrü could perhaps be traced back to the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, the Music Improvisation Company and AMM. It exists where, for some, the line between Jazz-based improvised music and so-called non-idiomatic improvised music is crossed. Rather than stressing “melodic” lines and conventional harmonies, the musicians use their instruments and technical knowledge to produce what could be described as “pure” sounds. They blend, oppose and dialogue with a sophistication that encompasses approaches from basic call/response to some hefty contrapuntal sensitivity. Overall, the music here moves with an underlying tension and energy albeit without any driving percussion (veteran Lytton mainly works somewhat underneath the activity, though he comes forward for some “cooking” from time to time, particularly on the LPs one blow-out climax during the last section of the side-long “So”). The shifting soundscapes featuring what might be called the “modern improvisers` vocabulary” are all of a piece, yet the “Short Pieces – Someone’s Missing” (referring to absent Übü member Mark Charig) have what for even the uninitiated listener would have to be heard as distinct identities. (“All of a piece” doesn’t mean it all sounds the same.) The only derivative sounds come from a bit of Möslang’s soprano work on “So” that moves directly into an Evan Parker bag. Hirt, though not derivative per se, has shown himself in the past to be an indistinct “modern” sounds guitarist. However, he seems to work more effectively in this large group situation where his sounds become part of an overall sound rather than standing on their own. And, interestingly enough, the music of the quartet Xpact, as documented on the last Uhlklang release (featuring Hirt along with fellow Örchestrü members Lytton/Schneider/Fuchs) was more modern vocabulary than substance – the very antithesis of this exemplary document.
from: Cadence Magazine # 3, March 1986

Steve Lake
With all due respect to Alfred Jarry, the “King Übü Örchestrü” is an exceptionally irritating and fussy name. How are non-Germans ever going to remember where to place the four umlauts? The lengths to which free improvisers go to ensure their niche in obscurity continue to frustrate me. ANYWAY, to move quickly from that theme (a perennial hobbyhorse of mine) I should state at once that there is exceptional music to be found on this LP. Not to mince words: this is the most sustained, concentrated and successful large ensemble improvisation yet captured on record. Though I admire, for example, Sun Ra’s Arkestra and Globe Unity those bands are conglomerations of soloists; we go to hear John Gilmore or Evan Parker do what they do inside a sort of improvised concerto, style juxtaposed against a radical backdrop patterned by the dovetailing of other styles. This is demonstrably true even when the music is totally so-called free. Check Globe Unity’s “Improvisations” LP. But with “Music Is Music Is “ I lost my compulsion to spot-the-player for long stretches of time because the music that the Örchestrü was making collectively was more gripping than their individual trademarks, their sonic calling cards. It is a tangled web they weave, these men. Baffling, unexpected things happen along the way. In part, they’re to do with the various electronic devices that are among the resources of Wachsmann and Lytton and Zimmerlin.
A strange leakage of sounds goes on. Early in the first side a trumpet mysterious looks onto a holding pattern, echoes and echoes and finally subsides into nothingness. I imagine this must be the delay system that Wachsmann uses, picking up Mazzon’s playing. Whatever the Örchestrü move with this new and surprising sound as though it were the most natural in the world but the listener is likely to brought quickly to attention; one’s hearing is kept on its toes, so to speak. There are many moments no less unique. If, at the beginning of side two the music begins to beg down in nerve pulse rhythms and reflexes that seem like knee-jerk unthinking responses to the business of being “liberated” from a metronomic grounding, something more than compensation transpires in a long slow section of uncommon beauty. Sound colors bleed through the spectrum like a rainbow - brass into strings - gentle eruptions of electronic sound (possibly Hirt striking the body of his electric guitar?), feathery sighs and throated splutters from Malfatti… but again you can’t (or don’t want to) isolate the sources.
The transition from the “rainbow” section to denser activity is so subtle as to be imperceptible but we know when we have arrived there.
The closing sequence is a perfect enigma, little sounds dragging each other off to the distant corners of the mix and, ultimately, to silence (“there is no such thing etc” - J. Cage). John Stevens always told me that mystery was music’s most vital component and there is much mystery here. The King Übü crowd have the self confidence to let their music be unemphatic without it ever seeming tentative (in contrast to much improvisation which feels like groping towards an unreachable goal). The textures, forever in flux, very rarely settle for par-for-the-course tonal blendings; there is freshness in their collective creativity.
I also like the production and the clarity of the detail in the sound, but the last time I said that about a Jost Gebers recording I was promptly put in my place with “Huh! Even a blind chicken occasionally finds corn!” - this from a leading German improviser.
Credit the musicians, then, with this achievement. Wolfgang Fuchs appears to be leading his free orchestra (sorry, Örchestrü) into an undemarcated zone and I am keen to hear more.
from: Jazz Forum # 100 ( Poland), 3/1986

Peter Göckel
Bei dem King Übü Örchestrü handelt es sich um eine Großformation im Bereich moderner, freier Musik, die ihren Weg abseits der neueren europäischen Konzertmusik sucht. Die Initiative zur Entstehung dieses Großensembles freier Musik kam von Berliner Musikern wie Wolfgang Fuchs, Norbert Möslang, Erhard Hirt und Hans Schneider aus dem Dunstkreis der FMP, die sich trotz kaum vorhandener Spielmöglichkeiten und finanzieller Engpässe nicht entmutigen ließen. Hinzu stießen weitere namhaft Free Jazz-Musiker aus ganz Europa. Grundgedanke dieser Formation ist einmal die Befreiung der Instrumente von ihren traditionellen Rollen und zum anderen die Gleichberechtigung der Musiker und die daraus resultierenden, völlig freien Entfaltungsmöglichkeiten. Obwohl die Musik einem unvorbereiteten Hörer verschlossen bleibt, ist der Gesamtklang stets transparent (jede Stimme ist sofort auszumachen), was sich beim mehrmaligen Hören trotz der Dichte und Sparsamkeit in ihrer Vielfältigkeit offenbart. Das überwiegend von Statik geprägte rhythmische Bild erhält, wenn die Musik in Bewegung gerät, drängenden Charakter. Repetition, Imitation und Variation dienen zur Erzeugung dieser „Klangflächen“. Alle Stücke sind als Teil eines Ganzen zu sehen, ohne Anfang und ohne Ende, auch wenn scheinbare Brüche auftreten, regeneriert sich der Fluss der Musik immer wieder aus sich selber heraus. Besteht die A-Seite der Platte aus sogenannten „short pieces“, die nicht vom ganzen Orchester ausgeführt werden, so wird die B-Seite vom gesamten Orchester gestaltet, wobei sich die emotionale Bandbreite der Formation mit „zarten“, extrem ruhigen, fast meditativen, aber auch heftig erregten, fast brutalen Klängen entfalten kann. Wer mit dieser Musik umzugehen versteht, dem werden sich bei wiederholtem Anhören immer wieder neue, interessante Aspekte ergeben.
aus: Jazz Podium # 4, April 1986

Patrik Landolt
Was passiert, wenn zehn Musiker aus sechs Ländern auf der Bühne stehen und ohne „leader“, ohne Stars und Statisten, ohne Lightshow und Schnickschnack und selbstverständlich ohne hierarchische Strukturen musizieren.
Na, was denn? Gibt’s so was denn im Zeitalter der Superfestivals, von Live-Aid und Montreux mit ihren Heerscharen von schwafelnden Medienleuten, die den westlichen Kulturimperialismus portieren und das Ende der Alternativen proklamieren?
Da ist die leise Musik des „King Übü Örchestrü“, die an den emanzipativen Idealen der musikalischen Avantgarde der 60er Jahre festhält, eine Provokation, wie seinerzeit die Actions von Alfred Jary, dem Surrealisten, der um die Jahrhundertwende mit seinen Stücke Ubu Roi und Ubu enchainé das französische Bürgertum erschreckte.
Was tatsächlich passiert, demonstriert die erste Platte des „King Übü Örchestrü“, die diese Tage erschienen ist und hoffentlich in den Schallplattenläden erhältlich ist: eine spannende Hörmusik, die durch das weite Spektrum aktuellster Klangmöglichkeiten führt; eine leise, vorsichtig gespielte Musik. Die Musiker wissen, wenn zehn Leute ins Gespräch kommen wollen, braucht es vor allem die Fähigkeit zum Zuhören und sich in den Hintergrund stellen zu können. So gibt es auf der Platte auch Dialoge oder Solopassagen, Trios, kurze Intermezzi, Gelächter und dann die für die europäische improvisierte Musik typischen Klangflächen, die sich zu Kurven wölben, Intensitätsbögen spannen, Höhepunkte erzeugen.
Die Musik des King Übü Örchestrü ist der Noise Music näher, als die musikalischen Action Paintings der New Yorker Noise-Musiker um David Moss und John Zorn. Auf ihren Abenteuerfahrten durch Geräusch- und Klangwelten erreichen sie ein Abstraktionsniveau, wo Melodik und Harmonik aufgehoben sind. Die Gitarre klingt schon lange nicht mehr wie eine Gitarre und wie klingt denn ein Saxophon? Instrumentspezifische Charakteristika sind in der avancierten Musik nicht mehr zu erkennen. Phil Wachsmanns Geige, Alfred Zimmerlins Cello und Erhard Hirts Gitarre sind mit elektronischen Hilfsmitteln erweitert, der Schlagzeuger Paul Lytton entfaltet klangliche Vielfalt, Norbert Möslang spielt das Saxophon auch perkussiv und die Trompeten und Posaunen von Mark CharigGuido Mazzon und Radu Malfatti lassen sich mit zahlreichen Tellern und Scheiben dämpfen. Im Unterschied zum allzu verhaltenen Konzert des „Örchestrü“ in der Roten Fabrik vom letzten Herbst wirkt der musikalische Ablauf auf der Platte zwingender, die musikalische Kommunikation lustvoller und direkter.
aus: WOZ/Die Wochenzeitung (Schweiz), 31. Juli 1985

Michael Thiem
„All pieces are improvised…“ – das international besetzte King Übü Örchestrü um den in Berlin lebenden Sopraninosaxofonisten und Bassklarinettisten Wolfgang Fuchs verzichtet auf schriftliche Notenfixierungen, sondern lässt all seine Musik im spontanen Zusammenspiel entstehen. Unkonventionelle Klänge sind genauso wichtig: Die Musiker betreiben Materialerforschung und verfremden weidlich ihre Instrumente. Klingen die Fummeleien auf der A-Seite noch englisch-experimentell, so entsteht auf der anderen Seite ein weit gespanntes Stück improvisierter neuer Musik.
aus: Zitty (Berlin), Januar 1986

Tonträger / records:

2009 Axel Dörner & Erhard Hirt – BLACK BOX

Axel Dörner - trumpet / Erhard Hirt – guitar

Black Box 1 – 23:06
Black Box 2 – 19:17
Total Time –– 42:25

Recorded live on 7/30/2007 at BLACK BOX, cuba Münster, Germany, released 2009.

acheulian handaxe records: aha 0803

Axel Dörner and Erhard Hirt met first at a network radio concept, curated by Jens Brand for WDR puclic radio Cologne in September 2006. A special music project during the Münster Sculptur-Projects 2007 gave the chance for the duo concert you can hear on this CD. Both musicians created a unique musical language far beyond the tradition of their instruments using extended playing techniques and electronics treatments.

Black Box download

buy on iTunes or

Wow! An excellent session of radical improvisation featuring Axel Dörner, the most extreme trumpeter I know (his microsonic techniques are unparalled) and guitarist Erhard Hirt who relies a lot on electronics and/or preparations (I’m not sure). Black Box consists in two 20-minute improvisation, both dynamically rich but a little Spartan in the delivery. Engaging, confusing, perplexing, but sure-footed and the result of a clearly-defined artistic process. Great abstract art.”

"Houlà! Une excellente session d’improvisation radicale entre Axel Dörner, le trompettiste le plus extrême que je connaisse (ses techniques microsoniques sont inégalées) et le guitariste Erhard Hirt, qui s’appuie beaucoup sur les électroniques et/ou les préparations (je ne suis pas sûr). Black Box consiste en deux improvisations d’une vingtaine de minutes, toutes deux riches en dynamiques mais un peu spartiates sur la livraison. Engageant, confondant, perplexant, mais résolu et très clair au niveau de l’approche artistique. Du grand art abstrait." (François Couture / Monsieur Délire)

One of the fascinating vagaries within minimalist improvisation is how often the line is blurred between electro and acoustic. Through sampling and processing, and through the modification of instruments and playing techniques, new worlds between (or within) what we have come to think of as instrumental voices often emerge. Axel Dörner is truly multi-lingual on the trumpet, and is more than fluent in musical abstraction. He is equally adept at jazz improvisation (having worked with George Lewis and Butch Morris), Euro improv (Alexander von Schlippenbach, Barry Guy) and sound art (Keith Rowe, Andrea Neumann).
He is joined on this session by electric guitarist Erhard Hirt, with whom he played in the King Ubu Orchestra. Hirt's varied career also includes work with Phil Minton, Lol Coxhill, John Butcher and many others. Over the course of 42 minutes, the pair creates varied and richly textured settings, sometimes nearing silence but more often shifting and layering structures of sound; sometimes sounding fully computer-generated, other times more like an aeolian harp and a pump organ left outside in a windstorm. What might be most unusual here, given the field of electro-acoustic improvisation, is how quickly and how often they change course. The two tracks could just as easily have been edited into eight "songs," which of course would serve no purpose other than masking how quickly they think on their feet.
(Kurt Gottschalk / Signal To Noise #58 / 2010)


Two extensive tracks recorded in 2007, using heavily manipulated/altered trumpet and guitar. An intelligent proposal in which the balance between real and modified timbres is practically perfect, also thanks to quieter segments - infrequently appearing amidst ceaseless ingenious spurts - that help the psyche to agree to the most alien sounds even better. The general mood is one of rather polite edginess, dictated by the almost total absence of familiarity in relation to the instrumentation’s concrete appearance. Dörner privileges subdued rumble, controlled power and a smart management of hiss-and-puff traits permeated of oral humidity; Hirt is into the utter modification of the axe’s tone, generating strangely resounding walls of harmonically transgendered chordal abortions, placing his statements in the right spots with incredible perspicacity. Yet he’s not opposing the use of the strings as a percussive device, halfway through a small bell and an African instrument. The resulting music is pleasingly polluting and gently upsetting: subliminal at times, straight to the point elsewhere, but still difficult to appraise unless you really concentrate on it. Overall, a stimulating release. (Massimo Richi, July 2010)


Erhard Hirt – Dobro & Live-Elektronik / Olaf Pyras – Klangstelen
recorded Nov. 21. & 22. 2005 at Klosterkirche Lippoldsberg
Klangstelen by Karl Josef Dierkes

Jede der sieben Expedition beginnt an einem eigenen Ort. Aufbruch. Beginn. Bewegung. Tief stehende Bassfrequenzen, gedämpfte Dobroklänge, einige klare Tonspalten, durch die ein helleres Licht auf das Entstehende fällt. Sieben Perspektiven. Je länger man sich in diesem Räumen aufhält, desto konkreter werden die Assoziationen... (Covertext: Joachim Weis)

Reviews NUR/NICHT/NUR 108 02 22


< Review

with CLAUS VAN BEBBER - records / ERHARD HIRT - live electronics & guitar
recorded live Seidl at Villa by Hannes Schneider 19.9.2007
cover: Dieter Schlensog

NUR/NICHT/NUR 108 04 09

Beide CDRs enthalten Liveaufnahmen des Duos von Erhard Hirt (Gitarre und Elektronik) und Claus van Bebber (Turntables), welche die beiden Herrschaften in unterschiedlicher Verfassung zeigen. Seidl, aufgemacht als “record without a cover” bringt Erhard Hirts Handschrift auch im übertragenden Sinn groß raus: es dominieren hier nämlich die staksenden, klar klirrenden Momente fast schon solistischer Aktion auf seiner häßlichen schwarzen Gitarre mit dem abgeschnittenen Ende. van Bebber scheint hier den smarten Zeremonienmeister mit hintergründigen Knistereien und dekonstruierten klassischen Momenten zu geben. Auf der CDR Bad & Tal, die zwei Ausschnitte von Konzerten in Wiesbaden und Wuppertal enthält, ist der Sound eher wie aus einem Guß und es bleibt ununterscheidbar (für mich), welcher Akteur womöglich welche Lagen beigesteuert hat. Alles ist pulsierende Fläche und brutzelnde Textur.
(Zipo /aufabwegen)


1. BAD 37:36 (Rec. dec. 8 2004 at ARTist / Kunsthaus Wiesbaden)
2. TAL 29:20 (rec. dec. 9 2004 at Galerie Epikur Wuppertal)

CLAUS VAN BEBBER - records / ERHARD HIRT - live electronics & guita

published by Wachsender Prozess, Hamburg / T. Beck:

2005 TEFITON - LP (Anthro 01 / aufabwegen)


LP with CLAUS VAN BEBBER - records / ERHARD HIRT - live electronics & guitar
recorded live at NNN Studio / Kleve by Dieter Schlensog 3.2004
guest: Ulrich Krieger - saxophone
TEFITON features over 40 minutes of thickly layered and at places elegantly slick noise textures generated from electronics, feedback and turntable. TEFITON features Ulrich Krieger (Zeitkratzer, Sonic Youth collaborator) on saxophone on one track. The overall sound shifts between almost classical improv and abrasive moments more known from the field of noise music. A fresh and challenging release! (

Claus van Bebber plays the noises and other sounds beneath the music of his records. Or you hear the effects of very simple but meaningful elements like backward or fast’n’ slow turns. And it is wonderful combined with Erhard Hirt’s guitar treatments: the instrument as pure origin for sharp and droning sounds. Both are playing really together creating fresh noises from different colours and to the end increasingly with a floating character in bruit. (

2005 Ensemble Toc Edit: Büchner/Bachmann ...als jage der wahsinn...  (ambitus 96881)

Karin Kettling - narrator
Jochen Fölster - narrator
Christine Weghoff - keyboard & sampling
Olaf Pyras - percussion
Joachim Gückel - trombone
Erhard Hirt - guitar & synthesizer

lyriks: Ingeborg Bachmann / Georg Büchner
script: Christine Weghgoff
composition: Toc Edit
recorded: live for DLF at Nov. 1. 2004 by Friedrich Thein

exerpt 9:46

2000 Erhard Hirt 25.5.1996  (NUR/NICHT/NUR)


recorded live at LMC-Festival London '96 (Mini - CD 21 min.)

1999 TRINIDAD Hirt-Theurer-Lehn / live recording (happy few records 8)

with MARTIN THEURER- piano / THOMAS LEHN - Analog Synthesizer
recorded live at "cuba" / Münster 6.6.'99

Sagua la Grande


1999 U Boot Party, Septett / live recording (happy few records 5)



1999 LINGUAFONIE - Workshopensemble 1997 (Goethe-Institut, Rom)


1998 Solo CD "acoustics"  (NUR/NICHT/NUR)


download on iTunes


1998 Martin Theurer-Thomas Lehn - Erhard Hirt (happy few records 3)

Duos and Trios with MARTIN THEURER- piano / THOMAS LEHN - Analog Synthesizer
recorded live in Witten 26.4.'98

1997 Trio CD: Minton-Butcher-Hirt : "Two Concerts (FMP/OWN 9006)


recorded at Festival Musique Action Vandeuvre lès Nancy 25.6. '95
and at Free Music Festival Antwerpen 5.8.'95

1994 Transparent Messenger CD  (Hermit Foundation, Plasy CZ)

1994 Solo CD: "Gute und Schlechte Zeiten" (FMP/OWN 9003)


Noch ein Husten für Carl Vallentin

1993 HUMANNOISE-CONGRESS '92 (hybrid CD 4)

with Helmut Bieler - Wendt, Claudia Ulla Binder, Uwe Buhrdorf, Paul Hubweber, Dirk Marwedel, Jim Meneses, Jean - Marc Montera, Uwe Oberg, Ulrich Phillipp, Wolfgang Schliemann, Maud Sauer

1985 KING ÜBÜ ORCHESTRÜ "music is music is ..." (FMP / UK 6) LP


 download on Bandcamp

1984 XPACT "frogman's view" (FMP / UK 5) LP

with WOLFGANG FUCHS (*1949 – † 2016) - Sporaninosax , Bassklarinette /  HANS SCHNEIDER- Kontrabass / PAUL LYTTON - Percussion, Live Electronics


download on Bandcamp

1983 Gitarre Solo: "Zwischen den Pausen" (FMP / UK 2) LP

download on Bandcamp

Telecaster Desaster