Because the founding father of Editions Mego, the file label that he ran from 2006 till his demise final yr on the age of 53, Peter Rehberg mapped hitherto unknown dimensions in digital music. A reincarnation of Mego, an underground Viennese label that had existed on the border between rave, pc music, and the avant-garde, Editions Mego was proudly unpredictable, allergic to something as reductive as a stylistic signature. Fennesz’s sentimental suggestions fugues, Emeralds’ psychedelic synth churn, Hecker’s mind-bending text-sound items, and Tujiko Noriko’s kaleidoscopic pop all match comfortably beneath eMego’s infinitely extensible umbrella, together with scores of different types, approaches, and emotional registers. Rehberg might be simply as catholic in his collaborations: There was the ambient doom of KTL, with Sunn O)))’s Stephen O’Malley; the gut-rumbling noise of his duo with Ramon Bauer; the free-spirited play of Fenn O’Berg, an improvising trio with Fennesz and Jim O’Rourke. (Allow us to not overlook the conceptual hijinks of his Fridge Trax undertaking alongside the duo Basic Magic, sourcing technoid pulses from the hum of the titular kitchen equipment.)
However on his personal, normally recording underneath the identify Pita, Rehberg displayed a decided sense of focus. Take heed to any of his solo albums, from 1996’s Seven Tons for Free up by way of 2019’s Get On, and also you’ll acknowledge a constant set of sounds and concepts throughout the a long time. Piercing digital suggestions sputters in incidental rhythmic formations; gravelly tones vibrate like thwacked door springs; layers of fuzz fuse into intimidating beehive drones. On the floor, his work might fluctuate, at instances fairly drastically, from observe to trace, however on the coronary heart of it was a willpower to reconcile opposing sensations: harsh blasts and soothing breezes, struck steel and weightless mud motes.
Rehberg harbored a contrarian, countercultural streak—he proudly described the unique Mego as “punk-rock disco”—but he was simply at house in institutional contexts; within the final decade of his life he devoted a major quantity of effort to preserving the legacy of the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM), the Parisian analysis heart for experimental digital music that electro-acoustic pioneer Pierre Schaeffer based in 1958. In 2012, Editions Mego partnered with GRM on a brand new sub-label, Recollection GRM, supposed as a house for archival work from electronic-music titans like Schaeffer, Bernard Parmegiani, and Iannis Xenakis. In 2020, they launched Portraits GRM, devoted to modern commissions from artists like Jim O’Rourke, Lucy Railton, and Kali Malone. (Following Rehberg’s demise, Félicia Atkinson and Bartholome Sanson’s Rennes-based Shelter Press has taken each labels underneath its wing.) Marking Rehberg’s first look on his personal Portraits GRM label, at GRM collects two of Rehberg’s performances on the Groupe de Recherches Musicales, each of which operate as scale fashions of his singular sound world.