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Gert-jan Prins


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Even though he has been active on the Dutch improvised music scene since the mid-'80s, Gert-Jan Prins got noticed in avant-garde circles only in the late '90s through his involvement in MIMEO (Music in Movement Electronic Orchestra) and the release of his solo album, Live, on the influential German label Grob.
Like Lionel Marchetti and Xavier Charles, he owes his reputation as a live improviser more than anything else to his unusual gear. Prins has developed an electronic setup that includes radios and televisions. He transforms signals; modulates FM airwaves; and extracts clicks, cuts, and noise out of airborne transmissions to create harsh but spacious textures.
Prins is a trained percussionist. His first serious group was Gorgonzola Legs, an industrial-free jazz outfit that released one CD, Piscatorial Debris, in 1988. Four years later, he founded with saxophonist Luc Houtkamp the record label X-OR. The two performed extensively as a duo (documented on Houtkamp's The Duo Recordings) and in various groupings that have included such important names of the European free improv scene as Johannes Bauer, Misha Mengelberg, and Fred Van Hove. Many albums featuring Prins came out on X-OR during the 1990s, but relations between the owners deteriorated and in 2001 he officially left the label.
Meanwhile, Prins was slowly establishing himself as a creative force in and around Amsterdam. His first solo album, Noise Capture (1998), went largely unnoticed, but an invitation to join the trans-European ensemble MIMEO gave his career a boost and allowed him to develop his art further. In the course of the next three years, he radicalized his approach to music. The critical acclaim of MIMEO's Electric Chair + Table for Grob in 2000 led to his second solo album being released by this highly regarded label. The first CD from his duo with pianist Cor Fuhler, The Flirts, was released the following year on the American label Erstwhile. Another semi-regular project is the trio E-RAX with Peter Van Bergen and Thomas Lehn. Experimental electronica star Christian Fennesz replaced the later for a concert at the Total Music Meeting in 2000, a session released as Dawn two years later. ~ François Couture, Rovi


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