Hailing from Vienna, Austria, the electro-acoustic free improv group Efzeg appeared in 1999, just as the avant-garde scene there was taking a most interesting turn. Together with Dachte Musik and Polwechsel it proposed a new approach to live improv based on silence and the blurring of identities in favor of an organic but highly abstract group sound. The group's manifesto states that "Efzeg does not guarantee that its music will be a source of ‘intense pleasure' to listeners." Maybe not, but it sure tickles your brain cells (or torture, depending on your relationship with experimental music). Right from the start, Efzeg has been at the cutting-edge of the European avant-garde music.
Formed by Viennese saxophonist Boris Hauf, Efzeg takes its name from an album he released in 1998 on Extraplatte. But that trio (with Franz Hautzinger and Bertl Mütter) has very little to do in terms of style with the quartet he put together in 1999. He recruited guitarists Martin Siewert (with whom he played in Pull My Daisy) and Burkhard Stangl of the minimalist new music group Polwechsel. Turntablist Dieb 13 (Dieter Kovacic) completed the formation that made its debut in October 1999, recording the music for its first album Grain, released in February 2000 on Durian, the label of Polwechsel's Werner Dafeldecker. Video artist Billy "Gnu" Roisz joined the group and live performances began to take place around Austria. In June 2001, a concert in Vienna saw the group expand for the occasion to include guests Dafeldecker, Martin Zrost, John Norman, and Joe Williamson. Performances at the Batofar in Paris and the Podewil in Berlin boosted interest in the group. All members are busy with different projects (that often include other musicians from the group), but a second album, Boogie, finally came out in July 2002 on the German label Grob. Its release was followed by a European tour.