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(Credit: Forced Exposure)

Peter Rehberg, underground musician and founder Mego label, dies aged 53

Peter Rehberg, the underground musician who founded the hugely influential record label Editions Mego, has passed away at the age of 53.

A hugely respected figure of underground and alternative music, Rehberg’s death was confirmed by musician Kassel Jaeger, who took to social media to announce the news, “Peter is gone, suddenly,” he wrote. “Just like that … I owe him so much. So do many of us.”

Rehberg’s cause of death has now been confirmed to a spokesman, who told The Guardian that he had suffered a heart attack.

Rehberg, who was born in London but raised in Hertfordshire, relocated to his father’s native Austria in his youth and it was here that he honed his skills as a musician. Having started out life in the music industry by releasing material under the moniker of ‘Pita’, Rehberg experimented with a number of different textures, pushing the boundaries of melding multiple genres throughout his many collaborations.

Having worked closely with Sunn O))) guitarist Stephen O’Malley for the majority of his music career, releasing a number of obscure and deeply creative records, Rehberg relentlessly pushed the art of collaboration and teamed up with the likes of Gisèle Vienne, Ramon Bauer, Nik Void, Mika Vainio, Charlemagne Palestine, Oren Ambarchi and countless others.

While still creating new music, Rehberg ploughed his efforts into the record label Mego, an independent outfit that tirelessly sought to innovate. Lauded almost unanimously throughout the music industry, Mego and Rehberg solidified themselves as one of the most respected labels around. In fact, such was their reputation, the great Jim O’Rourke once described the label’s work as defining “a brand new punk computer music”.

Discussing his style, Rehberg once stated: “I have always found that if you want to make something noisy, you have to make something that is harmonic as well. Dissonance and resonance have to co-exist, for the other to work, I think.”

Continuing in the statement and tribute following his death, musician Jaeger added: “He hated goodbyes, effusions. Out of reserve. Out of sensitivity. He was one of the most kind, loyal and reliable people I have ever known. I feel privileged to have known him, to have collaborated with him and to have been his friend.

“I owe him so much. So do many of us. I like this photo taken last year by Kali Malone, in Berlin, where Peter was spending more and more time. He is peaceful, happy. Soothed. The last time I listened to him playing live, was in Paris, February 2020, in a small venue, with an average sound system. His concert was great, though. I was really impressed. Each time, more and more impressed.”

“Over the years, his music has become denser. It was still radical and bold, but it was also deeper, more ambivalent, more moving too. It revealed unfathomable depths. We sometimes forget how talented a musician Peter Rehberg was, because of so much energy he devoted to the music of others. But he was an amazing musician.”

See the full statement, below.

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