Paul Lytton & Erhard Hirt

Borne on a Whim - Duets, 1981


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In 1981, British percussionist Paul Lytton and German guitarist Erhard Hirt met and recorded for a couple of days in Belgium. This explosive, ahead-of-its-time first encounter, which had been planned as a release on the legendary Po Torch label, has remained dormant for over four decades. In that period, Lytton and Hirt teamed up often, joining forces with saxophonist/clarinetist Wolfgang Fuchs and bassist Hans Schneider as the quartet X-Pact, a group that has recently reformed – several years after the untimely death of Fuchs – with Stefan Keune in the saxophone chair. Lytton and Hirt were key participants in the Aachen (Germany) improvised music scene, also key members of King Übü Örchestrü, one of the most radical improvising large ensembles. Lytton's legacy hearkens back to his time in the London jazz scene of the late 1960s, where he played with a who's who of heavies, and he's perhaps best known for his long standing collaboration with saxophonist Evan Parker, in duet settings and their collective trio with bassist Barry Guy. He is one of the great innovators of European improvised music, both as a percussionist and with his unique electronics rig. Hirt's super-resourceful guitar work – here both on electric guitar (with active whammy bar) and acoustic dobro – deserves to be more widely heard. Along with his own solo music, which started with a killer record called Zwischen den Pausen on Uhlklang in 1983, he's worked intensively with musicians such as Axel Dörner, Phil Minton, Thomas Lehn, Phil Wachsmann, and John Butcher. For its debut voyage, Borne on a Whim was lovingly transferred (for the first time) from the original reels by Ken Christianson, preserving every crispy, crackling noise. The cover features a stencil used to make a poster for them back in the period that Lytton and Hirt first began their work together. Borne on a Whim is the first release drawn from the Paul Lytton Archives at Corbett vs. Dempsey.

01. Deder

02. Clip

03. Don't Wait Too Long!

04 175

05. Passing

06. Little Fence

07. The Sensitive Stickler

08. Orbod

Paul Lytton, percussion & live electronics

Erhard Hirt, electric guitars & dobro

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.