maandag 15 december 2008

het Kabinet

Dutch - English dictionary:
Kabinet: cabinet (government), office, bureau (piece of furniture), gallery/collection.

With the more usual instruments (piano, saxophone, violin, drums, etc etc etc) there are lots of unwritten rules/habits/assumptions you are  semi-aware of, but there are even more at a subconsious level. E.g. when a trumpet plays with a double bass, there is a history, influencing what you play, things you (and the audience) have learned because this situation has happened before, records that have set in your mind, etc
Now, if you combine a keyolin, lute, timpani, glasharmonica, harmonium, radio, doublebass-clarinet, electronics, singing saw and a strohviol, there are none of these historic and often burdoning relationships.....

With this in mind I set up a group for the Doek festival 5 1/2. With musicians that are used to playing in the more traditional setting, but with a very open mind, playing unusual instruments that have no history in this perticular combination.
When MIMEO started there was a similar exploratory feeling. Technical developments of live electronics and the way we used them, was very new. So the world was open and full of surprise and wonder.

Another aspect is my sympathy for the unusual, and often failed attempts to create something new. It is my believe history is a road taken by chance. If you made/discovered some things that accidentally fit on that road, you are the Nobel prise winner, the cult figure, and what not. If you made something not on that path, you will just disapear in the annals of history, but you are absolutely of no less value IMO.

The result with "het Kabinet" is for sure not the best record ever made, but nevertheless, it is intriging and often funny. Warning: a  resistance for some noodling is a requirement... But in the Netherlands, that has been cultivated  a bit already, in a different way then other parts of Europe, wich is yet another level/layer/friction.

Anyway, NOW AVAILLABLE!!!! the Kabinet.......
25 made, and I doubt I will ever sell them.
(For sale at concerts only, sorry about that)

Cor Fuhler - keyolin, Hohner guitaret, Niglo 1, roll-up piano, Aleks Kolkowski - strohviol, singing saw, Jacques Palinckx - lute, resonator guitar, Gert-Jan Prins - timpani, radio, electronics, Peter van Bergen - doublebass-clarinet, Michael Vatcher - glasharmonica, 2 meter bass drum, percussion, Frank van Bommel -  harmonium, metalophones.

maandag 17 november 2008

Colours and Conditioning

Some 20 years ago I went to a concert by an electric guitar player (think it was Emily Remmler, not sure). The sound of the guitar was terrible to my ears and I couldn't get over that. There might have been great melodic and harmonic ideas, but I couldn't bring myself to try and listen to those. A bit silly perhaps, like not being able to listen to a storyteller just because you don't like his/her voice.

I've always had an obsession for pure sound. Never automatically accepting a device build by others, but experiment and alter things to make it better/more personal and build up a relationship. But the problem with good sounds is also that it is hard to use them in a more narrative way. If a sound is too dominant, too beautifull, it leads away from the storyline. And this can easily become a very weak point...

I was in a museum yesterday, and there was a man demonstrating how they used to make the oilpaint in Rembrandt's time. The table with everything on it (grinded up stones and minerals of various colours put in little pots, smelly linseed oil, a grinding surface to blend the oil with the stone powder, the overall air of alchemy and mystery) was imo the most beautifull and interesting thing in the whole museum.... It's kind of what I have been attempting to do the last few years. To create an similar effect by focussing on pure sound. Listening for days to a new sound, to build up a complex relationship (you know, love-hate etc) with that specific new sound. But sticking to just sound for its intrinsic meaning and overall effect on other elements.

We are more conditioned than we often realize. If we hear something long enough it becomes a standard without us realizing it. Mostly this is a natural thing and just fine, but sometimes not.
It is strange that we don't hear the squeeks anymore when you move your hand from chord to chord  on an acoustic guitar. We just hear the song, the chords and notes. Imagine if a piano had a squeeky sustain pedal. You would notice the squeeks right away and probably find them distracting and annoying. But the amount of squeeks is (for the sake of argument) the same with both instruments! A matter of being conditioned....
For me it gets problematic when I hear 80-ties pop music with a DX7 with just factory presets. They are used so often that we accept them as the standard. Having played the DX7 for many years myself and just using sound I made (or altered) myself I get very annoyed listening to that era of music. Which is not so much a judgement of that music but admitting to a personal problem I have with it.
Same problem I have/had with the use in EAI of electronics with the standard small Behringer mixer. For me there is not enough thought (love if you will) for sound. We tend not to see alternatives anymore. Like going to a paintshop and buying a standard colour, and using it without even thinking of the possibility of mixing your own. The choices we make is what defines us...
Luckily the computer and its programming has now come a long way and musicians have become more aware of sound and projection "an sich".
Of course there are great musicians doing amazing things with crappy tools, because of their narrative quality and strong personality. Putting sound in a context is their forte and focus. Being a bit older helps too and is a perhaps a nessecity?
I find it a very comforting thought that Sun Ra did his greatest stuff when he passed the 60 mark, and he's not the only one.........

zaterdag 20 september 2008

the Onyfad

Parallel to what is fairly normal in liturature or film, namely splitting up a story in scenes/episodes, leading to a coda where it all comes together, I tried to do the same thing with a composition for MAE:
-double bass 
-electric guitar
-myself on electronics

First I made the coda, isolated certain elements out of it and made specific compositions for those. Then I split up those pieces and mixed them all up (but the order remains chronological).
The story is about the Onyfad, a partly mythical, partly historical being.

From Wikipedia: Onyfad was a species of giant monkey that lived mainly in the southern tip of South America, the Antarctic and Tasmania, Australia. untill roughtly 5,000 years ago..........

To be performed at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam Oktober 30

dinsdag 22 juli 2008


Finally got around to realize an idea I had for the keyolin. A system to lock any of the keyboard keys. So as to have an open string as well, or just to let a note go while I have my righthand free to either play on a melodica or change the pattern on an electronic tabla or whatever.
It's great, it opens up a lot of new options

This week recording two pieces on the piano. One for a Melbourne exibition and one for the internet  soundmuseum. I'm going to use my new set up in the piano for this. Sending audio to electromagnitic devices inside the piano. Hope it goes well.....

zaterdag 21 juni 2008


June 21st, Midsummer's day

Tomorrow off to Canada with the Corkestra

We added a gig in Toronto:
Will play the Fender Rhodes in that gig, it's been a while %-P
at the Horseshoe Tavern (a doulbe bill with Vandermark) on June 26th


I have listened to a gig I did 2 years ago with a group called "het Kabinet" ("the Government", as in all the ministers, state secretaries and president)

Cor Fuhler - keyolin, guitaret, Niglo 1 , roll-up piano
Aleks Kolkowski - strohviol, singing saw
Frank van Bommel - harmonium, metalophones
Jacques Palinckx - lute, resonator guitar
Gert- Jan Prins - timpani, radio
Peter van Bergen - doublebassclarinet
Michael Vatcher - glasharmonica, 2 meter bassdrum

and I really liked it! despite of many reservations I had after the concert, I smiled al the way through listening to it

So I think I will make this ConundromCd 7, mixing and mastering after I get back from Canada


I managed to make a number of copies of ConundromCd 6
CRAX (with Dörner, Cooper, Fuhler)

So, the Lucky people in Canada could be the first ;-)

donderdag 19 juni 2008

CRAX - Corkestra Canada

Out soon:
ConundromCd 6: CRAX
Axel Dörner - slide trumpet
Clare Cooper  - harp
Cor Fuhler - piano & (electronic) preparations

Corkestra on tour in Canada

June 23 Ottawa Jazz Festival concert
24 Ottawa Jazz Festival workshop
25/26 Toronto recording sessions
27 Calgary
28/29 Vancouver
30 Montreal

Cor Fuhler, Cor Fuhler, Cor Fuhler, Cor Fuhler, Cor Fuhler, Cor Fuhler, Cor Fuhler, Cor Fuhler, Cor Fuhler, Cor Fuhler, Cor Fuhler, Cor Fuhler