Tour Diary or (Diary of a Mad Composer on Tour)
Lovely lovely lovely lovely, lovely. Is that 5 lovelies? One for every week.
Was a really nice trip that i think turned out a success. A leisurely 5 weeks
- with nine performances by the end..plus what should turn out to be a couple
of cds and another piece or 2 plus raw material for the future.
Headed off June 6 for Amsterdam where a gig at Karnatic Lab awaited along with
the main reason for going - recording Trio Scordatura, who i have written (well...)
a few works for. Arrived afternoon of June 7 at Schipol airport where fetched
by Bob Gilmore (who along with Elisabeth Smalt put me up and put up with me
for a week plus). They are also two thirds of Trio Scordatura. Upon arrival
we put into action the plan against jetlag - we got drunk.... And then the weird
things began happening. Apparently i had brought with me some kind of electromagnetic
curse. So That on the evening i arrived Bob's computer went down. To be followed
the next day (tuesday - day of gig) by my computer going kaput" -
that's a quote -. And maybe that drinking thing was not such a good idea as
when we arrived at the space i went ahead and plugged my mixer in with adapter
(but not transformer) and blew the power supply. And this was basically the
second day of a 5 week trip. Oh well.
I had planned for possible misfortunes however and had extra cd players and
such as wellas me trusty clarinet..so that the gig went well. We also began
to develop a ritual for ridding bad electricity that involved head rubbing abd
coconut butter (don't ask) that seemed to work. Anyway computers went in for
repair and new mixers were purchased - i now have a US and also a Euro one..so
not all as bad as could be. We (Trio S including vocalist Alfrun) then spent
most of the next few days recordinga t Robert Bosch's place....and it looks
like the tracks have come out extremely well..yeah. So a good time had in Amsterdam
(my first time there) - Bob and i saw a couple of performances as well..iand
got to see and meet Anne La Berge which was quite nice.
Then it was off to Prague (on the day the Dutch won their first match of the
World Cup). There i was to meet up with Phill Niblock and Katherine Liberovskaya
for a 10 day tour of Prague, Brno, Budapest and Vienna (again a bit leisurely).
Upon arrival i had lovely surprise of being met at airport by Martin Janicek
who was going to perform with Katherine and i at Skolska 28 in Prague. The next
day we all (including Martin scooted off to Brno where we met some old pals
(and new ones) - Josef Cseres and David Subik among them - the presenters. Sets
by Phill and Katherine, myself and Martin, myself and Katherine and then Phill
alone ensued. Attending was Bob Ostertag (who was to play same venue a couple
of days later).
Phill heads off early to Barcelona and we go back to Prague..or do we? Apparently
my electro issues had in fact preceded me and Phill's car had the lights left
on (before my arrival in fact) and the battery had been drained. And it happened
again in Brno. So we spent part of that early afternoon trying to get the car
jumped while in a parking garage..would these issues never cease? (well they
Anyway back to Prgaue where we check out Katherine's installation. We were
planning to use that as jumping of point of our performnace. Very nice sound
and video installation and we decide that we can in fact work with it...which
we do the next day. Very nicely attendde performnace and i get to see some folks
(the petrs - vrba and ferenc) that i had met on previous visit.. After some
more hanging out and wandering the beautiful city of Prague its off to Budapest.
- another first for me. As Phill likes to drive roads he has not when possible
and also likes to show me places he knows i have never seen, we take a drive
throught the countryside of Slovakia. Really beautiful countryside and we dine
- me on haveshgi - in Stara Tura. Finally arrive latish evening in Budapest.
Where we meet our hosts (Janos Sugar, Zoltan and Georg) . we get to stay at
art school visitors residence. As usual some drinking ensues.... We perform
at Labyrinth - a small gallery with great sound....the shape of gallery is almost
tunnel like and allows for some verfy interestin acoustics. Sets come off very
well, Phill is too loud at end for upstairs neighbor, who comes down a shouting.
I sell some cds and that keeps me cool for rest of Budapest stay.
What a nice city...and ..well..the baths. Katherine says oh we must go to the
baths and i agree (though i know i have some weird disagreeable/skeptical look
on my face). But we go toi the Turkish baths..i'm sold 36C water temperature
is perfect by me..worth going back just fort hat alone..man we had fun. Also
had a chance to meet some contacts face to face - Zsolt Sores being first among
Then Vienna. We stay at Martin Zrost's place (and thanks again to him and his
family - i may have been that surprise child" they were not necessarily
expecting). But host us they did and then next evening - after KL and i wandered
around Vienna and ate weiner schnitzel etc- we played at a small peformance/rehearsal/recording
space - collectively run - Garnison 7. A nice evening, we are fed and taken
care of - Martin joins both me and Phill for a piece.
And then next day we all separate..always a sad moment - ist nice to tour with
P and K..they bare off to Italy and then Portugal and i am back to the Netherlands..Nijmegen...for
a residency with an old firiend Adam Bohman. Wonderful English improvisor on
prepared violin and string objects. What a sound. I've known Adam for about
25 years - from the cassette days - and have not seen him in about 8 years apparently,
so this is great. We are going to be at Extrapool and i finally get to meet
Frans de Waard - Korm Plastics, Vital Weekly, Kappotte Muziek among other things
- someone else i"ve known for many years but have actually never met. Frans
invited us to the residency. Where we got to work in the studio (and record
a cd as part of Extrapool's Brom Bron series) as well as do a couple of gigs
-Rotterdam and Nijmegen. And the drinking begins (er continues) - a land of
beer - and belgian beer at reasonable prices...yum...The first night i arrive
it has turned hot and ist a saturday night - bars close at 4am and who knew
- the Dutch are loud all night - not much sleep.
Adam and i actually work really hard - everyday in the studio - which is actually
nice and cool being in the basement. Adam with his table of objects and contact
mics and string things pushes me really hard - i only with my breaking down
sieve-like clarinet. First 2 days we just play/improvise and after a while -
with my lack of any clarinet technique - am reduced to singing/vocalizing through
the clarinet. The 9 or 10 imrovs that we manage the first couple of days we
then assemble (as each one really only has about 5 decent minutes per take)
into what will turn out to be the cd..And Extrapool is a cool place - 20 years
as a collective who print art books in their own style...so really a great space
and place (thanks Yolanda, Joyce and JonDirk). The gigs come off ok and adam
and i finish up what should be a pretty interesting cd. The Dutch win a couple
of more World Cup matches whaile we are there (including getting into the semi-finals
our last night there...so between the heat, my paranoia about missing the early
train and the celebrating...well no sleep that night). Rene van Peer and Timo
and Mark of Onde show up. Also Holger of Vuz/Bastet label bringst he 3 cdrs
of If, Bwana releases he is re-issuing - so also a new release event!!!
After no sleep i shoot off to the Nijmegen train station to begin my all day
journey to Italy. First to amsterdam, then frankfort airport (not a bad one
overall- free coffee and newspapers..decent food) - then on to venice and then
train to udine then to cividale then picked up at 11 at night fort the ride
to Topolo. I meet the movers and shakers of the fest - Moreno and Donatella
- and Antonella and Cosimo and and and..too many to name but thank you all.
Topolo - a small (30 people!) mountain village on the Slovenian border, that,
thanks to folks from the area, transforms for 2 weeks every July into a festival/residency.
And a beautiful place. Actually reminds me of home..very good to end up my travels
here. I have a place to myself (but can't get used to leaving doors unlocked
and open - NY paranoia). The first day (sunday) turns out to be a town festival
- not religious - just a festival so all day there is drinking and food - i
meet some locals - fabio and Italo - now good friends (despite us not being
able to actually speak the same language). I get to work on a piece for pre-recorded
material - drawn from the area - and some musicians from festival - michele,
bass, Veronika, flute, Marta, harp, Sandro, trumpet and Antonio sax. We work
on piece - ist a bit of a struggle - i dont usually work that quickly preferring
to poke and prod at it and we do not have time form e to give them samples of
the work to listen to. But it comes off in the end ok. It's really amazing during
this entire trek to have all this time and freedom to actually work on music..kind
of another first form me. Everyone there is working on something - or presenting
something.There are films and music and...,Michele presents a live piece and
installation for bass and prerecorded sounds - an audio diary - which is great
- and Marta (the harpist) does an invisible performance - for one person at
a time - she behind a curtain - really amazing and meditational/soothing - couldn't
actually get up almost afterwards.
(We also get into the subject of guest/host - ghosting in the end - where it
was encouraged to not eat alone by accept what is given and look for meals with
others - something that is great but on occasion - yes i confess i ate alone
a couple of time - seems difficult to do for me...
i sometimes felt a bit like the vampire child in Let the Right One In - i had
to be asked in....but this is probably me)
On the last night i am recruited into the Topolo Minimalist Orchestra - Alexander
Balanescu who was to attend and perform had family medical issues and could
not come - so the Orchestra - who love to play In C - well we did so - to accompany
second half of World Cup final. I was an honored guest artist at this event
- they love the Styrenes recording we did of In C...so it was really great to
play with this large ensemble.
And of course from the first the drinking had ensued..finding my lack of Italian
getting less troublesome the more wine we drank. Totally great place - embraced
by the locals Great ending to a great and productive trip and i have probably
typed way to long so
Thanks to all
And let the drinking begin (again)