Peter Rehberg, the Austrian musician and record label director who was a globally respected figure in underground music, died aged 53 of a heart attack.
His death was announced by musician Kassel Jaeger, who wrote on Instagram: “Peter is gone all of a sudden. Just like that … I owe him a lot. Many of us too ”.
Rehberg began releasing music in 1995 under the name Pita. His debut album, Seven Tons for Free, experimented with the potential for electronic sound texture and the use of flaws, and his follow-up, Get Out, advanced his exploration of tone, expanding into noise and ambient music. His work grew in scale and complexity through later albums Get Down, Get Off, and Get In, and he was an early proponent of the laptop as a device for musical performance.
In 2006, he formed the duo KTL with Stephen O’Malley, guitarist for the avant-metal band Sunn O))). They released six albums together, performing epic and often cacophonic ambient music. He also formed Fenn O’Berg, a left-field supergroup with Jim O’Rourke and Christian Fennesz.
Rehberg was also a major curator of underground music with his Mego label. Founded in 1995 by Ramon Bauer, Peter Meininger and Andreas Pieper, its first pitch came from Rehberg himself in a 12 ”split with General Magic. Rehberg joined the team running the label and grew to host key figures in the noise and electronic underground, including Fennesz, Russell Haswell and Florian Hecker.
Mego closed in 2005, but Rehberg rebooted it the following year as Editions Mego, which later released key underground works by Oneohtrix Point Never, Kevin Drumm, Bruce Gilbert, Mark Fell, Oren Ambarchi, Bill Orcutt, Emeralds, and others.
In 2012, Rehberg started an archival project, reissuing the work of the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM), a collective of musicians working from the 1950s, headed by Pierre Schaeffer, who had experimented with the potential of electronics. . Rehberg’s Recollection GRM series featured music by Schaffer, Bernard Parmegiani, Iannis Xenakis, Beatriz Ferreyra, and more.
Other collaborators included Z’ev, Ramon Bauer and Nik Void of the British band Factory Floor, with whom he formed the duo NPVR.
In a 2016 interview he described his broad approach to music: “Music these days sells a lot in its own box … I haven’t always been very interested in that,” and explained his views on tone: “Always I’ve found that if you want to make something noisy, you have to do something that’s harmonic as well. Dissonance and resonance have to coexist, for the other to work, I think. “
Among the artists who paid tribute to Rehberg was Mouse on Mars, who said: “This is totally and utterly absurd. I’m not ready for a world without Peter Rehberg and Editions Mego. “
Ambarchi wrote: “We are all absolutely heartbroken.” Alessandro Cortini said: “Safe Travel Peter Rehberg – You and your incredible contributions to the world of sound will live forever.”
Rehberg is survived by his partner Laura Siegmund, his father and brother, and his daughter Natasha, from a previous relationship.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism