AMM is a British free improvisation group that was founded in London, England, in 1965. The group was initially composed of Keith Rowe on guitar, Lou Gare on saxophone and Eddie Prévost on drums. The three men shared a common interest in exploring music beyond the boundaries of conventional jazz, as part of a larger movement that helped spawn European free jazz and free improvisation. AMM have never been well known to the general public, but have been influential on the field of improvised music. Most of their recordings have been released on Matchless Recordings, which was run by founding member and percussionist Eddie Prévost....
...Eventually, the group settled on a line-up of Prévost, Rowe, Gare, bassist Lawrence Sheaff and pianist/cellist Cornelius Cardew, and, in early 1966, were calling themselves AMM. However, some early performances were billed as the "Cornelius Cardew Quintet", a mistake which both irked and amused the musicians. After a few paying performances, Cardew bought two amplifiers so the other instruments could compete with the volume of Rowe's guitar. In addition to amplifying their instruments, Cardew and Gare would apply contact microphones to various common objects to amplify the sounds made by, for example, rubbing a glass jar or striking a coffee tin.[....] AMM released their first recording, AMMMusic 1966, on Elektra Records UK in 1966. (Read more at Wikipedia.)
Links to Peel
John Peel's Record Collection includes many items that he never played on the air. Among these is the album AMMMusic, mentioned above. He may well have obtained the LP from his manager Clive Selwood, who was also head of the London office of Elektra, but its mixture of conventional instruments and 'found' sounds was hardly radio-friendly music and it was never featured on the DJ's early shows. AMM too were never invited to perform on Radio 1, although (as BBC Genome shows) they did make a number of appearances on Radio 3 programmes devoted to contemporary jazz or classical music. In the long term, however, they proved to be an influential group, with both Joe Boyd and Brian Eno selecting the AMMMusic LP for their Record Boxes compiled from the Peel collection. 
Joe Boyd points out that AMM guitarist Keith Rowe's style was an influence on Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett (the two bands had shared the billing at UFO club in January 1967 - see Boyd's book White Bicycles, p. 155), while Brian Eno stresses that AMM were a major influence on him and the late 1960s art college experimental music scene in general. But they were never interested in commercial success and remained favourites of a small cult audience (according to Eno, the same thirty people came to each of their gigs). Yet with time their radical approach became more widely accepted, and they have been credited as inspiring the likes of Test Dept. and the Jesus And Mary Chain. In contrast to the indifference and hostility with which AMMUsic was received in 1966-7, the US release of a CD reissue of the album in 2003 provoked a rave review, which saw AMM as pioneers of the many free improv, industrial, and noise bands of later eras, some of whom Peel would feature in his playlists. So the presence of the LP in the Peel collection may not be simply the result of a record collector's completism.
Festive Fifty Entries
Other Shows Played
- None known.