South African born guitarist, composer & improvisor, André van Rensburg has been a well-known musician in the South African music scene since he was 21. Always trying to redefine the sound and role of the guitar in composed/improvised music his journey has lead him to Asia, where he has been living and performing for the past 5 years. In addition to his past discography, he has to date released 3 remarkable solo albums.
Unfinished Cities is his 2nd solo album.
Recorded in studios and halls from Johannesburg to Japan this release also features world-renowned experimental/virtuoso koto player Chieko Mori (well-known for her work with legendary theater director Robert Wilson and her 2005 release on John Zorn’s Tzadik label) and Yuko Ikoma (member of mama!milk and esquisse) performing on accordion and toy piano.
On his solo guitar tracks, André uses silence as much as his seemingly schizophrenic struggle with the instrument to try and bring as much out of the guitar as possible. Undoubtedly André's best playing to date.
Here is music steeped deep in ritualistic and ancient improvisational techniques, from the troubled soil of Africa to the dark alleys of modern Tokyo.
When he was 6 years old, André van Rensburg strung a guitar string to a plank of wood, attached the other end to his bedroom window bars and yanked the string until it broke. His musical vision has changed little since….
After leaving school he moved to London and Paris for a year, writing his first material. On his return to South Africa he formed the band ‘Supernature’. Supernature recorded 2 albums and was infamous for their intense theatrical live performances, often ending in chaotic noise. André then teamed up with Brendan Jury and Trans.Sky. They later formed the band ‘Ohm’, which recorded 2 albums for the British independent label M.E.L.T.2000. Ohm toured London and Holland to great reviews. The band had a unique blend of rock and middle-eastern melodies, techno beats and ambient guitar work. In 1999 he joined one of South Africa’s most well-known and popular underground industrial groups, Battery 9. This was an industrial band/theatrical live act that included scrap metal percussionists and a painter on stage. He recorded on one album with the group, ‘Sondebok’, released by BMG in 2000.
In 2004 he also released an album with Battery 9’s vocalist Paul Riekert as “Die Menere”, reinventing American country music in an Afrikaans idiom. The album, ‘floukop’ was reviewed as a breakthrough in the local scene. André has also done numerous Sound Installations in art galleries in South Africa and composed extensively for experimental theatre, dance & film.
His 1st solo album ’Concrete' (an extremely varied composed/improvised instrumental album) was released in 2007, breaking away from electronics and performed by his own ensemble.
At the end of 2008 'Scopophilia (7 etudes for solo bondage guitar)' was released as a digital album only. It is his 1st album featuring only solo acoustic guitar on all tracks. Recorded in an analogue studio, these compositions and improvisations dig even deeper into sonic madness and brutal texture.