Listen to a selection of tracks by the Argentine guitarist Alan Courtis, featured in The Wire 365.
Born in 1972, Alan Courtis came up in Buenos Aires during Argentina’s military dictatorship – the Dirty War years between 1976–83. Starting out playing guitar (his father used to play gaucho music – Argentine cowboy songs) Courtis later studied composition at the Conservatorio Municipal Manual de Falla. In parallel, Courtis trawled the fringes of the Argentine rock nacional scene, soaking up 1970s acid folk and psychedelic rock. In 1993, along with Christian Dergarabedian and Roberto Conlazo, Courtis formed The Burt Reynolds Ensemble. When Miguel Tomasín joined, they renamed themselves Reynols, going on to perform and record up until they disbanded in 2004. Since then Courtis has kept busy on a series of international tours and collaborations, releasing numerous recordings
Speaking about the influence of folklore on his music, Courtis tells Kek-W in The Wire 365: “It’s about working with the imaginary dimension of folklore. Countries and cultures are collective inventions and, in some ways, we are inventing them all the time. Nowadays, everything is mixed up. Traditions are being constantly redefined. Anything could potentially become the next folklore... When listening to all this music, I realised just how ‘experimental’ music can be. I mean, I’m supposed to be an experimental musician, but in the end it’s quite shocking to notice that ‘experimental’ is not just a genre, label or adjective – it’s a basic quality of music. I think that all powerful music is basically experimental in the sense that it somehow sets its own parameters at some point. And it’s surprising how valid or consistent this idea is for music from all times and places.”
Excerpt of an unreleased piece recorded 12 April 2014 at Gare du Nord, Basel, Switzerland. Performed by Ensemble Phoenix Basel: Christoph Bösch (flute), Nenad Markovic (trumpet), Samuel Wettstein (keyboards), Aleksander Gabrys (double bass) Raphael Camenisch (sax), Maurizio Grandinetti (electric guitar) Daniel Buess (percussion), Thomas Peter (electronics), Christian Frick (sound) + Alan Courtis (composition, electric guitar and electronics)
"Cuero del Agua"
Recorded in Buenos Aires, Argentina 2008, mixed 2009 and mastered by Jaime Genovart in 2013. Upcoming on B-rain Folklore album to be released by Japan's Yogoh Records.
Unreleased excerpt of a piece recorded March 2014 with a Buchla synthesizer and guitar at Sweden's EMS.
Recorded in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1990–1992. Unreleased outtake from 2014's Cassetopia LP released by the Indonesian-Belgian label Ini.Itu.
Composed and performed by L’Autopsie a révélé que la mort était due à l’Autopsie (Nicolas Marmin, Frank de Quengo, Sebastien Borgo and Alan Courtis). It's an excerpt from Tetralogie De La Mortadelle an album forthcoming in September on the Komma Null label.
"Live In Gugong"
Unreleased track recorded at Gugong (Forbiden City), Beijing, January 2014.
Unreleased guitar track. Recorded in Buenos Aires, 2009.
Recorded in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2013 for a forthcoming album to be released by Japan's Neus-318 label.
Alan Courtis & Aaron Moore’s KPPB is released by Earbook; Courtis & Tetuzi Akiyama’s Naranja Songs is released by Public Eyesore; Courtis’s B-rain Folklore will be released by Yogoh later this year; BJ Nilsen/Stilluppsteypa/Courtis’s Golden Circle Afernoon will be released by Editions Mego in September.