donderdag 23 april 2009

Old stuff

Have been listening to various old recordings from the past. To see if there is something amongst it worthwhile after all these years.

--- Me
--- Misha Mengelberg 
--- Michiel Scheen 
 I organised once a trio in the Eusebius church in Arnhem. A church with a 9 (!) second delay. There was a grand organ, a choir organ, a Hammond organ and a harmonium. We swapped seats all the time. Recorded "98. Some very, very (!) weird stuff...

---trio Fuhler - Bennink - de Joode
--- + Thomas Lehn
Funny!, space jazz and beyond.... made me smile a mile
(from 2001 I think)

--- me - piano
--- Toshimaru Nakamura - no unput mixer
--- Oren Ambarchi - guitar & electronics
I organised this trio for the Doekfestival in 2004. 
The piano sounds (too) loud all the time, but that's also because Toshi and Oren played very little. Still sounds good as a whole though. Makes me wonder about density, it's very differently persieved form a jungle perspective or a desert perspective. Both very valid.

--- me - piano, string instrumetns, synth stuff
--- Steve Heather - big drum, percussion, super 8 film
Not really a recording but an installation we did in 2005. The idea came from Steve: 2 main instruments (grand piano and very large bass drumm) with a circel of smaller instruments around it, being played by 2 rotating machines. Around the piano mostly string instruments and around the bass drumm mostly percussion stuff. Additionaly we both had all kinds of machines to play the objects of our choise + the additional super 8 films and analogue electronics.
Our good friend Dick Lucas recorded 20 + minutes of this installation and it still sounded very good to my ears.

--- me - piano, EMS putney, keyolin, cracklebox
--- Jim O'Rourke - computer, organ, EMS Synthi A
A concert we did in 2000, live at the Empty Bottle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music in Chicago. Well..., mmm,  it survives in my opinion. Very 2000.... but it was a good year... I could hear things comming up....

Who knows...

Now off to the woods of Limburg for a holliday.
Back in over a week or so


More often than not, I wake up at night (by my kids or something else) and can't get back to sleep for something like 3 hours or so. Mostly I come up with solutions about pieces that I'm writing or things I don't know yet how to build. But sometimes I make nursery rhymes. Mostly I forget them straight away, but this time I could still cite it when my oldest boy came waking me up: 

There was a boy called Ling
he had a ring
and dreams about a king
who flies on a wing
to a country called Ming
where all the people sing
just about the spring:

Spring, spring, spring
I'm sitting on a swing
and having a fling
with a girl called Jing

Spring, spring, spring
she's a lovely thing
then broke the string
and gone was Jing

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing

maandag 13 april 2009

AFG + Music boxes

So, the recording I was refering to 2 posts ago, is out now: ConundromCd9!  Me, Dale Gorfinkel and Robbie Avenaim  (called AFG).  The disc is called Plains. On every cdr there is a different postage stamp with a plane on it (above picture is the one I keep myself with a stamp from Afganistan from '84, but they're all unique and from countries like Poland, Cuba, CCCP, Mongolia etc etc).
It was an interesting combination (2 vibraphones and 2 pianos), and I think we did some very interesting stuff in a beautifull place called the Old Darlington School in Sydney on Feb 7 and 8 in 2006, recorded by the great and wonderfull Jim Denley. We all think we can do much better now, but I think you allways have that feeling. "Plains" is great as it is and worthy of presenting I think.
We're planning to do some more work in 2010 in Oz, recording as well as performing.

Been working on playing the piano with Music boxes (with the terrible original song cut out obviously). I'm not a fan of cyclic music when it is 100% cyclic, so with 2 or more boxes (I made 6 by now) it plays the (prepared) strings in a cyclic way but changing all the time and never the same. Something like rain... And a great percussive addition to the sustained sounds I can generate through electromagnetism.
I also will write a piece for 2 pianos (duo Post & Mulder will perform it in November) for these boxes and the 2 players. Should be fun: dense but also light.

woensdag 1 april 2009

Off to the Antarctic as Mr Pinnell's assistant to do some sound research on the effects of ice on birdcalls. Man, this came just out of the blue. Soooo psyched about this.
So, won't be seeing you all for a while.

And huhh, happy birhtday sister in law!

donderdag 26 maart 2009

Been listening to some recordings I made with Robbie Avenaim and Dale Gorfinkel. Made me realize again how vivid the Australian scene is and how much I miss it.

We recorded at the Old Darlington School in Sydney, one afternoon in 2006 I think. I played on 2 grand pianos and Dale and Robbie on 2 vibraphones (and Robbie on some percussion as well). They worked a lot with machines on their vibraphones, and that also inspired me at the time to explore a similar territory. And odd combination it was maybe but for EAI very good. Does anybody know of vibraphone players that work in the field of EAI? Well they have a cd out on 2 of them on Splitrec.

Anyway, listening after a few years I still sounded great. Maybe it'll become ConundromCd number 9.
Here's a pic from that day:

maandag 9 maart 2009


I thought it might be a good idea to make a bit of a clear list of the ConundromCd's sofar.
So here we go:

This was "released" in '98.
It was a trio with me and Han Bennink and Wilbert de Joode in Utrecht. Nobody showed up but we played a set anyway (for the people working there). It was recorded quite badly because I forgot my datmachine and we used a simple cassettedeck instead. The recording levels where way off so the whole thing is rather distorted. 
This one is OOP.

DJ Cor Blimey and his pigeon: "10 songs in 62 minutes and 23 seconds".
1999, being sick of all this fuss about 2000 coming up I wanted to release it in the last millenium. 500 made, so plenty cds (not cdrs) left still.
The concept was a combination of 3 things for every song: one of my keyboards, a sample from some easy listening tune and a spoken word LP. It was kind of a joke towards all this DJ crapp stuff I heared all the time. It's also about numbers and there is a complicated code all through the cd.....
I'm still happy with track 4 being a long unedited keyolin solo (I only just build it then) on top of some indian music samples..

Here the "real" cdr series start. Me on EMS Synthi AKS, just analogue electronics.

A duo with me on acoustic piano and Keith Rowe on guitar/electronics.

Solo on acoustic piano, focussing on the keys this time.
A kind of study in speed and sleep.
Brian Olewnick wrote a nice write up of this one and number 3 at Bagatellen + some reactions from me which you can read here.

TCOD (the Condition of dreaming)
A solo but dubbed in recording on keyolin, prepared cymbalom and transistor organ.
I made this in the same perdiod as above, so it's part of the same study. And I added a study in springreverbs: 2 Springs attatched to the bridge of the keyolin, the internal springreverb of the organ (a Dakota, with the most beatifull springreverb I have ever come across) and the cymbalom going trough an external spring reverb box.

 A live concert with me on piano (+ some primitive amplifiaction and preparations with various speakers inside the piano), Axel Dörner - slide trumpet and Clare Cooper - harp.
For me this was a study in changing roles, either you are the lightperson in a theatre show or the actor/actress.

Het Kabinet
A kind of  freakshow, 7 insruments that do not have a history together at all. An experiment.
I wrote something here.

Solo on piano, trying to combine the feedback piano with various vibrating machines etc, all within a acoustic domain.
I wrote somehting here.
Our good friend Richard Pinnell wrote something here, and our good friend Brian Olewnick wrote something here.

They can be obtained at my concerts (if I didn't forget them, so if you're interested, please email me beforehand to make sure) or at Erstdist.

Going to France in a couple of days, looking forward to seeing a few nice concerts and museums in Paris!

dinsdag 3 maart 2009

Västerås, Brest and Paris

Do not have much time to report anything. Plenty thoughts after some great musuems in Barcelona. But to busy with work, (and that's good!) Tomorrow of to Sweden for the great Perspectives festival.  And next week to France (Brest and Paris), so not sure when I will post.....
Looking forward to seeing Taku, Sachiko, Mats, Otomo etc

donderdag 19 februari 2009

EMS external reverb + Barcelona

Working on an external reverb for the EMS Synthi AKS. I'm making a switch so I can choose between the normal internal one and another "something". I have several spring reverbs but for this I'm going to make a plate reverb from a tamtam cymbal. Just have to find the right multi toned tamtam.

But first I'm having a well deserved break. Going to Barcelona for a week with the family, Jippie!!!!!!
Back on the 28th

donderdag 12 februari 2009

Multiple personality order

I just released ConundromCd 8 last week, a live recording of a piano solo concert (thanks to mr Pinnell for the pic). It was recorded Januari 22, so just a couple of weeks ago. Thanks to Hannes Löschel for inviting me to Vienna and making this possible.

When I started (more than 10 years ago by now) a trio with Han Bennink on drums and Wilbert de Joode on double bass, my aim was to not only work on "instant composing" but also on "instant arranging". Being one person I can immediately play what I just played on various instruments: piano, keyolin, melodica, electric organ, celesta. The thing is, it's not just a transformation in sound/colour, but many more things.
The sound of the piano starts from gravity, the melodica from air, the keyolin from a bow, the organ from a volume pedal. Playing them all at the same time gives a very complex problem, using different parts of the brain and body, projection etc.  Also the drums and double bass change in sound if I change instruments. This was the thing I wanted to explore within a Jazz context and it resulted in 2 cds: Bellagram (1998) and Tinderbox (2002).

It took me quite a bit of time to come to terms with a DX7 synth in my student time. I remember a moment a shouted to myself, "the sound comes from the speaker!! accept it!!". from then I felt more at home with it and it became fun, which resulted in i.g. "Border, live in Zürich" (1995) by Palinckx.

One thing I learned from playing the keyolin is a totally different way of blending in with other instruments, I almost had to start from scratch again. That was a great thing to do, it puts everything in another perspective. And learning it's all in the bowing.....

Dealing with all these "special effects, extented techniques, different instruments" and making them not "special effects, extended techniques, different instruments" but just part of the music by building a long term relationship with them, is why I was quite happy with the outcome of above mentioned "Wenen". All these elements I mentioned come together in the piano, the percussion (the keyed notes etc), the electronics (I send radio sounds, noise and stations to the string by electromagnetism), the acoustic feedback resulting in ultrahigh sinewaves, the fysical versus the automised parts and how to project all this.

Had a great week, nice concert with Evan Parker and Michael Vatcher, and seeing Keith Rowe and Oren Ambarchi the day after.
It was great to see Evan and Keith having these enormously strong relationships with their instruments. A really strong foundation.

Oh, and I did my first concert on guitar last tuesday.... (they called me just beforhand that the hammers were gone out of the local piano, so I had to decide quickly what to bring)

It never stops.

woensdag 4 februari 2009

the super soccerteam

How many people can make a soccerteam with just brothers?
Well my dad could. He was one of 15 kids, 3 girls, 12 boys, and mind you, no twins, no halfbrothers/sisters (well, you never know).
So the team even had one brother to spare (or maybe he was the coach?)

Looking forward to this Saturday (me and Evan Parker and Michael Vatcher in Groningen).

Going to see Oren Ambarchi and Keith Rowe at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam the day after. Pleasantly surprised they play there!

I hear it was warm in Adelaide, with koalas coming in for some cooling down:

vrijdag 30 januari 2009

Vienna, skating and telecasters

(Me and Darius, my youngest son)

Had a nice solo concert in Vienna last week. And played with Burkhard Stangl and Paul Skrepek for the first time. Nice!Been working a lot on the piano lately. My latest set-up:

The organiser and pianist Hannes Löschel gave me a cd: Ereb-Afrik, a Stangl composition for 2  pianos (1 player), where Hannes plays the piano and Josef Novotny does the sound projection.
Very recommendable! great piece, great playing.

One thing I noticed about pick-ups on an electric guitar: its either 2 or 3  single coils, (Fender tele and strat), 1, 2 (or even 3) humbuckers (Gibson), humbucker-single-humbucker (popularized by Ibanez), but where-ever I looked, never a single coil-humbucker-single coil... So guess what I did......
I added a humbucker pick-up to my telecaster electric guitar inbetween the 2 single coils. I still have to add the 5-way switch and the switch for parallel/single etc for the humbucker.
I had quite a few guitar pick ups lying around because of experiments with the piano, but because I had build my own ebow/ pick-up kinda devices, they're just asking to be used...

I'ts been cold but unfortunately not cold enough to scate on the big lakes in Holland, as it was a few weeks back: (Lucian, my oldest son)