Hirt - Kürvers - Petzold

Erhard Hirt - dobro, e-guitar, electronics
Klaus Kürvers - double bass
Dietrich Petzold - violin, tenor violin, Clavichord, bowed metal

Paul Lytton – Erhard Hirt

Paul Lytton - percussion & live electronics
Erhard Hirt - electric guitars & dobro

review on:

detailed review on Jean-Michel Van Schouwburgs blogspot

British percussionist Lytton and German guitarist Hirt, first-time studio encounter in 1981.
Hyper-potent free improvised music, no quarter given. Detailed Recording, explosive playing No ocher guitarist like Hirt, on electric and Dobro - a unsung master of texture and timing. Debut release, mastered from original reel-to-reel-tapes. (John Corbett)

Recording PLo/PLy, Plombieres, Belgium, 17/18 April, 1981. Reel-to-reel tape transfer by Ken Christianson. Mastered by
Alex Inglizian, Experimental Sound Studio. Cover image from a contemporaneous stencil used to make posters. Cover design by David Khan-Giordano. Paul Lytton Archives at Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago. CD produced by John Corbett.

Sjöström / Hirt / Wachsmann / Lytton:
Especially For You

Harri Sjöström – soprano / sopranino saxophone
Erhard Hirt  – guitar / computer treatment
Philipp Wachsmann – violin / electronics
Paul Lytton – drums / cymbals /misc. objects

Recorded live on 15th October 2022 at MUG, München by Oliver Künzner
Mix/master by Philipp Wachsmann
Cover painting by Paul Lytton
Special thanks for Hannes Schneider and Offene Ohren e.V
Sleeve design by Emil Karlsen
Produced by Emil Karlsen for Bead Records


download on Bandcamp

Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg (independent) on Especially For you by Harri Sjostrom, Erhard Hirt, Philipp Wachsmann and Paul Lytton

Here is an excellent testimony of an impromptu concert, planned for the second edition of the quartet “Xpact”, recently resurrected around the three survivors of this group from the 80s, the double bassist Hans Schneider, the “electronic” guitarist Erhard Hirt and the percussionist Paul Lytton in homage to its founder, the late Wolfgang Fuchs, an exceptional bass (and double bass) clarinetist and hyper incisive sopranino saxophonist, replaced by saxophonist Stefan Keune. Keune and Schneider had to be absent for health reasons, so it was decided that violinist Phil Wachsmann and soprano and (sopranino) saxophonist Harri Sjöström would do the trick. We were not wrong. Lytton and Wachsmann have often collaborated and recorded as a duo or quartet on several occasions over the decades and Sjöström and Wachsmann were part of the Modern Quintet (with Paul Lovens, Teppo Hauta-Aho and Paul Rutherford) and we find this little world in within the King Übü Örkestrü , also recently revisited in a splendid new album “ROI”.
A long collective improvisation in one piece of 57 minutes digitally separated into 4 sections: For You Part One, For You Part Two, For You Encore & For You Lullaby. Erhard Hirt is credited for both “guitar” and “computer processing” and Phil Wachsmann “violin” and “electronics”. There is therefore an important, subtle and very fine electronic dimension throughout the performance which can blend into near-silence and strange murmurs or burst out over the acoustic sounds of the sax or the violin, the percussionist discreetly waving his sticks, utensils, skins, cymbals and its curious sound objects, with friction, scratching, movements, multi-directional mini-strikes with sounds sense of dynamics and its ability to leave the sound space within the reach of its acolytes. Sharp British-style improvisation with Rhineland style is revealed here in all its splendor. It is in this volatile environment in perpetual metamorphosis that we will find the most radical aspect of the most astonishing convolutions of Harri Sjöström, who was a member of Cecil Taylor’s groups (supporting recordings) and a lyrical duettist with soprano saxophonist Gianni Mimmo. Just hear him converse in almost a duet with the disjointed strikes of Paul Lytton or the windy sonic extrapolations of Erhard Hirt. If you like a Thomas Lehn, you will be able to appreciate Hirt’s oblique and smoking antics. Lytton’s “active” play is reminiscent of a multitude of objects collapsing and ricocheting down the endless staircases of a haunted tower. 
Always hiding his playing well, the violinist Phil Wachsmann has a crazy talent at his fingertips for strange pizzicatos in slow motion, strikes of bow hair which bounce to streak very fine high notes in a flash or suggest melodic fragments coming from an imaginary, slightly smoky Webern score. The collective balance is deliberately mishandled by shifting sound disruptions, the sax maintaining the course by jumping at distended intervals, and the percussionist scattering his playing over the most extreme corners of his kit (“drums”? but also a metal box containing chains, mini-cymbals, rattlesnakes etc.), handling objects on the surface of the skins, the most unpredictable sounds always being welcome. The listener will forget to wonder who plays what in this playful mess, because that’s the goal. The instrumental action of each interpenetrates with that of the three others in an indescribable way creating an infinite network of correspondences, connections and repulsions. The complexity is there with a camouflage trend, by turns noisy, minimalist, electro-acoustic, wild and sophisticated. In this adventure, the individual approach (individualist) and the “style” with its “virtuoso” instrumental exploits are left aside for the collective adventure, the instantaneous imagination, the delirium… There is a plethora of recordings of improvised music these days which nourish a lingua franca that is truly recognisable, logical, readable, recurring… too wise.   With this minimalist, electro-acoustic, wild and sophisticated. In this adventure, the individual approach (individualist) and the “style” with its “virtuoso” instrumental exploits are left aside for the collective adventure, the instantaneous imagination, the delirium… There is a plethora of recordings of improvised music these days which nourish a lingua franca that is truly recognisable, logical, readable, recurring… too wise. . With this Especially For You, we glimpse how and how many old hands in free improvisation manage to escape commonplaces by losing our perception in an inextricable maquis which will tickle our curiosity to the point of putting the work back on the reader.

Andrzej Nowak (Spontaneous Music Tribune) on Especially For You by Harri Sjostrom, Erhard Hirt, Philipp Wachsmann and Paul Lytton.

On stage we find Sjöström’s small saxophone, Hirt’s guitar, Wachsmann’s violin (the last two instruments retrofitted electronically) and Lytton’s drum kit, as usual rich in its own electro-acoustic devices that support his light but very compulsive drumming . The first set lasts a full thirty minutes, and its opening is shrouded in a cloud of filigree acoustics doused in electroacoustic noise. The musicians react not only to each other, but also to the omnipresent silence. The saxophone seems ready to play, while the violin waits, and electronic dust and stylish flying percussion swirl around . The narrative is both gentle and feisty, reminiscent of the good, pioneering years of free improv. The story of the four masters takes on incidental dynamics from time to time, and this usually happens thanks to Lytton’s actions. Hirt and his guitar introduce a lot of ferment here, while Sjöström and Wachsmann rather guard the melodic order, willingly sing and equally willingly groan painfully. A long improvisation has many phases and subsections. Sometimes electronics from almost three sources can show their lion’s claws, sometimes everyone works in a minimalist mode and conducts improvised dialogues in the call & response convention, there are also moments when the narrative plunges into an almost dreamlike darkness. After the twentieth minute, the story takes on a surprisingly post-classical flavor. The musicians almost drown in silence, but the percussion master does not allow much and pulls the quartet to a spectacular elevation. However, the final say belongs to the saxophone and violin.
The second set, almost twenty minutes long, starts quite calmly. A slim saxophone, a hint of analog electronics and prepared guitar phrases. Underneath this sound stream, rustling drumming slips in and once again elevates the narrative to a slight peak. However, the sopranino and violin do not give up and create an impressive lullaby. Lytton does not let up and for a moment the improvisation seems exceptionally noisy. The next phase of the concert is an attempt to combine water and fire – post-baroque chants now flow on the shoulders of percussion brushes working at quite a dynamic range. In the background there lives an emotionally unstable guitar, which again and again provides small counterpoints to the exchange of pleasantries. Emotions run high here, however, and thick silence turns out to be a good comment.
The concert encores last approximately seven minutes in total. The first one is quite lively, initiated collectively. The narrative is even filled with some dancing and focuses on rhythmic games. The guitar phrasing is jazzy, the rest quickly moves into a phase of intriguing preparations. A bit of humor, acoustic grotesque and guitar mute. The second encore, according to the name of the song on the album, is a typical farewell song . Saxophone and violin are again immersed in melodious post-classicism, resonating percussion and gently fermented guitar. Against the distant background, a handful of electroacoustic micro events create an interesting dissonance. After the last sound, there was applause for several dozen seconds. Oh how!

Eyal Hareuveni (

on Especially For You by Harri Sjostrom, Erhard Hirt, Philipp Wachsmann and Paul Lytton.
Being a free improviser means that you have to exercise unpredictable situations as an existential essence of life. This is how the Especially For You quartet came to life. The original plan was to have a concert of the Quartet XPACT – German guitarist Erhard Hirt, sax player Stefan Keune and double bass player Hans Schneider with British drummer Paul Lytton – for the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Einstein Kultur in Munich, founded by the city of Munich. But Keune and Schneider were indisposed and were replaced, at the last minute by Finnish sax player Harri Sjöström and British violinist Philipp Wachsmann. This live, free-improvised performance at MUG in Munich occurred in October 2022. Lytton did the cover painting for the album documenting this concert.
It was the first time that these four gifted free improvisers played together as a quartet. Sjöström and Wachsmann played in many formats since the 1980’s, most notably in the Quintet Moderne, and Sjöström played with Lytton in the Cecil Taylor Ensemble. Hirt played before with Lytton and Wachsmann in the King Übü Örchestrü, and, obviously, all four musicians are masters of the art of the moment with distinct and highly personal palettes of sounds. Hirt extends his electric guitar with extensive computer treatments and transformations; Wachsmann also adds electronic treatments to his acoustic violin; Lytton employs an array of objects that comprise his unique sound pallet developed over the years and Sjöström has developed unique sonic inventions on the soprano and sopranino saxes.
The recording of this concert highlights the immediate and organic interplay of these experienced improvisers, before an appreciative audience. The music flows naturally and sounds fresh and urgent, and each piece has its own cryptic but poetic inner logic. Repeated listening discovers more and more nuances in the subtle interplay and the clever and endless sonic games of these pioneers of European improvised music. Wachsmann notes that the new quartet, as well as the attentive audience, brought a new thing to the concert, «a new moment ‘in the moment’». And, indeed, the final, playful applause even included a bold listener brandishing his iPhone playing back a short extract from the concert he had only just recorded.

Peter Margasak (independent) on Especially For You by Harri Sjostrom, Erhard Hirt, Philipp Wachsmann and Paul Lytton.

Hirt is a self-taught musician whose attraction to the blues in the 1970s eventually led him to jazz-rock, and eventually improvised music. Around the time the recordings mentioned above were made he formed the group XPACT with Lytton, reedist Wolfgang Fuchs, and bassist Hans Schneider, and he was an early member of the King Übü Orchestrü. He’s never stopped playing, and his work appears on more than two dozen recordings, including many with a guitar-synthesizer set-up he’s now used for many years, including Especially For You, a new recording with an ad hoc lineup of XPACT where and he Lytton were joined by saxophonist Harri Sjöström and violinist Philipp Wachsmann—the latter two were subbing for Schneider and current reedist Stefan Keune, who were unable to make the gig. The album was recorded in Munich in October of 2022, and released a few weeks ago on Wachsmann’s long-running Bead label. While Lytton and Wachsmann continue to use electronics to expand and warp their output, Hirt used a computer to reimagine his guitar sounds, creating something that churns, glides, gargles, and spasms, leaving it difficult to tell where one source ends and where another begins, and how each musician’s contribution impacts the others. The quartet proceeds in potent fits and starts, incorporating plenty of space only to unleash the occasional torrent of jarring noise. You can get a strong sense of these elusive machinations below, with “For You Part Two.”

Ettore Garzia: Un quartetto di veterani al decimo anniversario dell’Einstein Kultur 2022 in "Percorsi Musicali“ (Dec. 30th. 2023)

It is not a simple problem to attribute an artistic explanation to what one wants to represent theoretically as 'fragmentation' or 'segmentation'. When Deleuze and Guattari arrived in philosophy, it was clear that the finite body of the work no longer had any reason to exist, but that attention had to be paid to the vibrations or modulations of it: it is in the search for forces, polarities, empathies or illusions that value is understood.
The processes of musical fragmentation or segmentation are at the basis of Especially For You, a CD for Bead Records that accommodates a concert of pure improvisation that took place in October 2022 in Munich to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Einstein Kultur cultural centre, a concert given by the XPACT Quartet in a reworked version: originally consisting of guitarist Erhard Hirt, saxophonist Stefan Keune, double bassist Hans Schneider and percussionist Paul Lytton, that evening the audience saw a different version due to the unavailability of Keune and Schneider, with the two musicians being replaced at the last minute by Harri Sjöström on soprano and sopranino sax and Philipp Wachsmann on violin and electronics.
In a performance of about an hour, the renewed quartet presented itself to an audience prepared and eager to participate in an experience that only free improvisation can offer: going 'against the grain', towards acoustic constraints and devilish waves of singular and unintelligible sounds, the quartet offered a beautiful proof of how one can reconcile a lot of abstract art on a mental level, taking advantage of sounds that are not normally desired by musicians but that can tell something.
Some information already comes from the cover, which bears a painting by Lytton. The English percussionist, a historical signature of British and world improvisation, is also a very good painter, with his own style and his own logic of intervention, the same one that presides when he plays his percussive set: although I did not find in the internal notes the name given to the painting, I realise that it is in Lytton's orientations, i.e. abstract thickenings that need a lot of observation and detail to impose themselves; the aim is to let the viewer derive their own image from the painting's apparent state of confusion, for by using colouristic techniques in a certain way and begging on the details created, the painting is able at some point to give explanations that lead back to real-world attitudes. In the viscous torpor of the colours and images, we can think about the facets of our character, being cautious or impatient, provoking reflection or leaning in for a warning: it is something that is also conveyed in the music and is also the common heritage of the other three musicians, who work on the rubbing, hissing or simmering of events in a unique way, precise to the situation of the place and the interaction of the moment as in the best tradition of free improvisation.
Especially in the two long parts of For You, the 'greatness' of the coordination and direction of the music is evident, becoming a drive in the best Deleuzian style: destabilising the normality of the parameters is not a method for its own sake but an opportunity to offer other terms of comparison of expression; interconnection is fundamental in this task and this is immediately verified through listening as one perceives a maturity both in terms of the acoustic performance and the perfect relationship between the musicians. The extensive techniques on the instruments determine the result in Especially For You but they are not everything, there is a further sum that the musicians provide in knowing how to 'feel' each other, in keeping the pulse of the situation at all times and capturing the judgement of the audience present.
It is difficult to express in exact words what happens in Especially For You, just as it is difficult to give an immediate opinion on Lytton's paintings... I challenge anyone to do so in a short time; but at the same time my ears sense that we are faced with an area of expression that has yet to be discovered. If Sjöström and Lytton produce themselves in their aesthetic inventions, with semantic combinations of which they know all the predictive value, Hirt and Wachsmann often accentuate their improvisational stance with little electronic treatments, suggesting that it is also on this point that expression is at stake.
The titling of the pieces, which indistinctly addresses a receiving entity, smacks very much of modern poetics: that non-rhetoric is often an observation of deformed zones, of thoughts that can create tension and perspiration at the same time, but it is matter that nonetheless offers itself to the interpretation of the listener. There is no doubt that on that evening in Munich, there was a need for a happy image of the free as well as a strong dose of empathy towards the audience, something that Wachsmann defined it as a new moment 'in the moment', referring to the attention devoted to the performance: one of those present had filmed the quartet's concert with his mobile phone and during the final applause made partial use of it, sending a small extract back into the ether. To tell the truth, I cannot perceive this 'referral' of the final part of the CD, however I trust one fact, namely that that concert succeeded in satisfying a need, bringing together the 'illusions' of those present for an hour. (translation Deepl)

King Übü Örchestrü 2021

Stefan Keune (DE) – saxophone, Marc Charig (UK/DE) – trumpet, Axel Dörner (DE) – trumpet, Matthias Muche (DE) – trombonee, Melvyn Poore (UK/DE) – tuba, Phillipp Wachsmann (UK) –violin, Alfred Zimmerlin (CH) – violon cello, Hans Schneider (DE) –  double bass, Erhard Hirt – guitar & electronics Paul Lytton (UK/BE) – percussion & Phill Minton – voice

first set: ROI 3                                   27:05
second set: ROI 4                              35:06

recorded live on September 27th 2021 at Dialograum Kreuzung an St. Helena, Bonn
by Pavel Borodin | thanks to In Situ Art Society
mastered at Soundatelier, Münster |  produced by Trevor Taylor, Erhard Hirt & Stefan Keune
video stills by Emanuel Wittersheim, Sept. 26th. at Pumpenhaus, Münster (someone is missing), cover painting by Paul Lytton

FMR Records 2021, CD653-0822

King Übü Örchestrü 2021 (the year added to the name to distinguish the group’s most recent incarnation) is a large-form improvising orchestra that first gathered in 1984. While the group had a personnel list of 27 members for a 1989 recording, this recent version has only 11, but it retains the group’s interest in constant transformation of sound.
The instrumental emphasis in King Übü2021’s line-up is brass and strings. The brass component consists of cornetist Mark Charig, trumpeter Axel Dörner, trombonist Matthias Muche and tubaist Melvyn Poore. The strings include bassist Hans Schneider, guitarist Erhard Hirt, Violinist Phillipp Wachsmann, and cellist Alfred Zimmerlin, with Hirt and Wachsmann also contributing electronics. The group is completed by percussionist Paul Lytton, sopranino saxophonist Stefan Keune and singer Phil Minton, who also appeared as a guest on their previous recording from 2003.
The group rarely employs its full resources, even in this scale, emphasizing a tradition of close listening and frequently operating at low volume, sometimes playing so sparsely and rapidly that something resembling a line might pass through several musicians, each contributing a couple of notes. True to its chamber orchestra make-up, Übü emphasizes a broad cross-section of pitches, from tuba and trombone at one end to sopranino saxophone, covering a spectrum not matched by a traditional big band.
Its radical character is apparent in the opening moments’ scatter-shot sounds, from squeaks to rumbling tuba, Minton already declaring his unique presence with garbled squawks, sighs and shouts. A continuum of high-pitched metallic rattling from Lytton provides a field for pointillist brass, there’s a momentary duet of Lytton and Minton, then a cheerful chaos of brass and strings, no part continuous, but everything a short blast, a sudden cello somehow surmounting a trumpet, a wave of shifting sounds that escape identification. Is that a trumpet or the vocal wail of Minton, the lapsed trumpeter? Each musician is a master of the unidentifiable intrusion, gone before identification might be rendered. There are also sustained individual moments, like a lyrical high brass solo (likely Charig) then later an extended investigation of strange interior high brass timbres and polyphonic whistling (likely Dörner). At times there are sustained ensemble passages of varied subdued sounds, the collocations too interesting for the kind of scrutiny that leads to identification; instead, one can only manage excited attention. Heard repeatedly, some parts sound utterly different, confusingly fresh. There are occasional rapid outbursts of extreme highs (trumpet, violin, sopranino saxophone, electronics), suggesting that a group of beings operating at a higher frequency are suddenly converging.
The Second Set begins with a wondrous and sustained gong sound that somehow convinces Minton to sound like he has a mouthful of cats (yes, it seems impossible). It would take dozens of listenings and thousands of words to delineate the stream of events and dilations of inference in this music. Suffice to say that its wondrous and the longer second set is even richer in variety than the first, including the subtle electronic contributions of Hirt and Wachsmann and Minton’s on-going evidence that he remains a singular presence in the world of vocal improvisation, willing to imagine and sing what no one has imagined or sung before.
Evading description or encapsulation, this is a wonder-filled event that invites only listening and sharing. Stuart Broomer

Imagine lying on the ground deep in the woods at night listening to the sounds of the environment. Everything seems relatively quiet. Then there’s a bang, as if a starting shot was fired. And suddenly you hear all the sounds of the forest as if through a monstrous amplifier: wild boars stir up the ground, owls hoot, a deer roars, the anthill hums busily, there’s a rustling in the undergrowth, the wind sweeps through the trees, drops of water fall from the leaves, the wood crunches ominously, a departing thunderstorm booms from the distance and a little further away you think you hear a mad walker ranting to himself. It’s as if a text by the expressionist poet Georg Trakl had been brought to life. However, that’s exactly how the beginning of the King Übü Örchestrü concert in Bonn sounds. The Übü was founded around 1983, a 10-piece ensemble that imagined itself as a chamber music counterpart to the large wind-orientated free jazz formations such as the Globe Unity Orchestra or the ICP Orchestra. It was intended to be organized on a grassroots level. Until 2003, the ensemble existed in changing lineups. Now Erhard Hirt, guitarist and founding member, has reunited the original band after almost 20 years. The only new members are Stefan Keune on saxophone and Matthias Muche on trombone. But even though they have known each other well, it wasn’t sure if the old magic could be recreated. For Übü is about the presence of the orchestra as a whole (or at least large parts of it), it’s less about solo excursions. The project is characterized by broad sound surfaces that are shifted back and forth in a very variable way. In the 2021 relaunch, however, the silence that was characteristic of the early recordings is no longer as central as back then; now things can be sometimes very wild and loud. Another basis of the Örchestrü’s approach is free interaction, where freedom means leaving something behind, namely the familiar world. For Übü, freedom means going ahead, to where you don’t know who you are, to where there is something you don’t know, as the French philosopher Anne Dufourmantelle puts it in her text “The Risk of Freedom“. For this, one must be ready for the right moment, for the intensity of the moment in which one becomes alive with neck and crop. Therefore, it’s not the formal unity of the two sets, not the product, that is crucial, but the process of interacting with each other, of free, non-hierarchical communication. Like an ecosystem, the group benefits from each other, responding to what they hear, providing complementary sounds and textures within the evolving, dynamic improvisations. Nothing is added that is not necessary. Gently, the eleven musicians weave the smallest particles of sound and noise into fragile webs of sound that repeatedly ball up into more violent clusters of sound. This sound is Übü’s secret. Most musicians subtly expand the sonic spectrum of their instruments beyond the conventional way of playing, e.g. Axel Dörner with his circular breathing produces a series of unusual gurgling, sucking and hissing sounds. Phil Wachsmann uses additional electronics, Erhard Hirt alienates his instrument not only with unconventional plucking and striking techniques but also with the help of a connected laptop, Paul Lytton works on a cornucopia of acoustic sound generating equipment. The result could be described as sonic pointillism, where each artist represents a different timbre, the results being undoubtedly archetypal of the group (and indeed of the specific configuration of the musicians playing). Without a doubt, the magic still exists. And at the very end, just before the warm applause, it’s also back: the silence in the Dialograum Kreuzung at St. Helena in Bonn. (Martin Schray,
The large improvising ensemble King Übü Örchestrü first saw the light of day when they recorded their debut album, Music Is Music Is (Uhlklang, 1985) in Akademie der Künste, Berlin, in December 1984. It was a sign of the times that their trumpeter Mark Charig was prevented from going to Berlin for the recording. But, with players such as drummer Paul Lytton, trombonist Radu Malfatti, cellist Alfred Zimmerlin and violinist Phillipp Wachsmann in the line-up, the music was exceptional. Two further studio-recorded albums and two live ones were released but the ensemble recorded nothing from 2003 onwards.

Now comes a reformed version of King Übü Örchestrü, a suffix "2021" indicating that. The new version includes familiar names such as Charig, Lytton, Wachsmann, Zimmerlin, trumpeter Axel Dorner, guitarist Erhard Hirt, tuba Melvin Poore and double bassist Hans Schneider; new recruits are sopranino saxophonist Stefan Keune, who also plays in the quartet Xpact with Hirt, Schneider and Lytton, replacing the late Wolfgang Fuchs, and Matthias Muche on trombone, replacing Malfatti. Here, the ensemble is joined by vocalist Phil Minton who had previously guested with the ensemble in 2003.

Recorded live on September 27th 2021 at Dialograum Kreuzung an St. Helena, Bonn, the album comprises two extended tracks, clocking in at 27:05 and 35:06. As ever, all the ensemble's music was freely improvised. The interactions between the ensemble members are testament to the time that they have known one another and played together. No one plays a solo in the jazz sense of the word, drowning out others and hogging the limelight. Instead, everyone seems to be listening to the others all of the time and contributing when there is an appropriate space for them. There are occasional crescendos but these arise naturally as a result of players reactions and do not sound pre-planned. In similar fashion, there are also quiet patches during which the quietest sound is audible. This is not an ensemble in which members feel they must play as much as possible to justify their existence; rather it is one in which the members have developed the same instincts and complement each other perfectly. An object lesson in free improvisation. More, soon, please. (John Eyles, March 19, 2023, Bad Alchemy)

KING ÜBÜ ÖRCHESTRÜ 2021 Roi (FMR Records, FMRCD653-0822): Ha, einer der zwei Compilationbeiträge des Örchestrü findet sich 1992 auf der BA XIX. Das alpenländisch+britische Jarry-vari, mit „Music is Music is ...“ (1985 auf Uhlklang) als C'est moi!, hatte da schon neun Jahre Bestand. Als kleinlaute und bruitophilere Variante zu freisinnigen Blaskapellen wie der Globe Unity waren sie bis 2003 aktiv. Um keinen Deut weniger übüesk präsentierten sich, von Erhart Hirt nach 18 Jahren wieder zusammengerufen, die größerenteils kahlköpfigen und weißhäuptigen Royals zu zehnt am 27.9.2021 im Dialograum Kreuzung an St. Helena, Bonn: Mark Charig am Kornett, Philipp Wachsmann an Violine & Electronics (beide Jg. 1944), Paul Lytton (*1947) an Percussion (und mit abstrakt-expressionistischer Coverkunst), Hirt an Gitarre & Laptop, Melvin Poore an Tuba, Hans Schneider am Kontrabass (alle Jg. 1951), Alfred Zimmerlin (*1955) an Cello, Axel Dörner (*1964) an Trompete, Stefan Keune (*1965) am Sopraninosaxophon, Matthias Muche (*1972) an Posaune. Mit noch Phil Minton (*1940) als Stubenältestem und Sahnehäubchen. In polyzephaler Anarchie stellen sich alle schwarmintelligent und kommunikativ in den Dienst der Sache, die nicht mehr und nicht weniger als das spielerische Anfertigen eines pointillistischen Klangbildes – in zwei Ausführungen – anstrebt. In einem zirpenden, raschelnden, schmauchenden Stöbern in Klangmulm, tönend und dröhnend mit twangendem, pressendem, strichelndem, pfeifendem, kollerndem Vielerlei zwischen Hör- und Bodenschwelle. Mit benuckelten Mundstücken und mysteriösem Mundwerk, mikroperkussiven Machenschaften, verhuschten Kürzeln plinkender Saiten, verstopfter Röhren und gespitzter Lippen. Mit Minton als krächzendem Kobold inmitten eines Zirkels von tröpfelnden und windigen Naturgeistern, die einmal tumultarisch aufmucken, aber dann weiter pfiffig ihre Klangschätzchen bebrüten und bedörnern. Der zweite Set tutet blecherner, kratzt saitiger, gickst, gackst, schmatzt und plörrt aber letztlich doch ähnlich minimiert. Minton zwitschert als Vögelchen, es unkt, quarrt, schnüffelt, krabbelt im Biotop, das dann bis auf ein paar Luftblasen ganz zum Erliegen kommt, die Tuba laicht, Wachsmann fiedelt Picoletto. Als Teil einer allgemeinen klingenden Vitalität, der Minton ein zaunkönigliches Krönchen aufsetzt. Ein zweiter Minutenschlaf stillt das bis auf Atemzüge, bis ganz zuletzt die klangbröselige Beinahestille nochmal in einem Tumültchen crescendiert. Ich vermute, wir sind hier näher bei Morgenstern als bei Goethes morbiden Wipfeln. [BA 119 rbd]


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
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

with WOLFGANG 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



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