6.26.2008

Interview: Kawabata Makoto

The cosmic troubadour


Acid Mothers Temple, and its variations, is only the better known of the multiple travels of Kawabata Makoto through the world of sound. One of the most iconic figures of the Japanese underground in the last 30 years, he speaks, in a brief conversation with GPInformation, of his work’s body and soul.

Let’s start by your present work. In what are you working these days, both solo and with other projects?
I'm working for recording of Acid Mothers Temple & The Cosmic Inferno's (AMT & TCI) new albums right now. We also will be touring in UK & Ireland from 30th July for two weeks.
I'm working for AMT & TCI's live new DVD and new live album too. These live materials are including our new drummer & vocalist Pikachu, from Afrirampo!! I'm really looking forward to introduce her to all Acid Brothers & Sisters in the world!!

Having such a wide artistic activity, with all these different projects, what do you try to explore when playing solo?
All of my music has come from my cosmos to me. So, I try to be just like a good radio receiver and try to reenact this music truthfully to people. That's all...

Which kind of extra-musical experiences do you feel, while performing both live and on studio? In which way do you consider it to be connected with improvisation?
I always can receive and listen to music from my cosmos both live and studio. I don't consider anything, I just try to be a good radio receiver and try to play this music truthfully in each moment.

When listening (mainly) to your solo work, it is possible to notice aesthetic influences that can placed beyond the psychedelic universe. Which images and sounds would you point out, at this level?
What does mean that psychedelic universe that you mentioned? Anyway, I only care about my cosmos and music from there... But there's no problem that anyone feel and imagine anything from my music... Because this is music!

Is spirituality an important aspect of your work?
My cosmos and dreams...

Do your different collaborations with other artists reflect, in any way, the communal aspect of your life attitude?
I can understand what I have to play in each moment by moment, even if I play with anyone... My cosmos always teaches me what I should play...



After 30 years, is it easy for you to make an evaluation of your career?
Hummm... I'm not interested in any evaluation... Anyway, if I die, I really want that everyone who knows me will forget everything about me then!!...

Once we’re talking of the past, in which way do your early sound works reflect itselves on what you’re developing nowadays?
I think that there was only just one difference... At the time, I had not enough technique on playing instruments and not enough sense to understand music from my cosmos...

It is curious to see how you do produce sound from non-conventional sources, like clothes zippers, as you’ve recently done at the Akaten show in Lisbon. What’s you vision on what can be considered as a musical instrument?
First than all, I have to explain one thing: I'm not an official member of Akaten. Akaten are Ruins drummer Yoshida and AMT & TMP U.F.O.'s bassist Tsuyama. On their last tour, Tsuyama couldn't come (because he got a very serious illness just before the tour), so I played instead of him... But, of course, between Tsuyama and I we had some different ideas for playing even the same instruments, like pet bottle...
When I started my music, in 1978, I didn't have any instruments... So, I had to make instruments by my hands... I don't care about any instruments... I'm only interested in sounds. So, if I hear some sounds that I've never heard before, from my cosmos, then I have to find instruments what can reenact these sounds truthfully... It means that there is the possibility that anything can be an instrument for me.

Nuno Loureiro
(interview + photos)


6.24.2008

EE Tapes re-releases Maeror Tri




EE Tapes will be re-releasing in the near future, on CD format, “Yearning for the secret(s) of nature”, by the legendary Maeror Tri, previously available through a cassette-only edition on Fool’s Paradise. The release comes with artwork by Alan McClelland (eyelyft.com).

The Belgian label is accepting pre-orders now, for only 200 copies will be available for sale.

Photo: R.R.




6.18.2008

“Big Mag”


Publicada em Roterdão enquanto extensão da actividade cultural do clube DSPS/De Player, a “Big Mag”, já no segundo número (e com um terceiro a sair em breve), é uma pequena (grande) pérola.
Editada em Inglês – porque assumidamente virada para o mercado internacional –, esta revista reúne contribuições escritas e visuais de diversos artistas, músicos, escritores ou cinéfilos, entre outros, de várias nacionalidades, que de alguma forma estão ou virão a estar envolvidos na concretização da agenda do clube.
Já no que diz respeito às temáticas abordadas, em causa estão – de forma resumida – várias matérias relacionadas com a sociedade contemporânea, filtradas por uma perspectiva artística marcadamente alternativa. O próprio papel da arte é, aliás, frequentemente questionado (de uma forma mais directa num muito interessante artigo assinado pelo israelita Avi Pitchon).
Mas o mais interessante nesta “Big Mag #2” será, porventura, a própria revista enquanto objecto: está inserida numa magnífica embalagem de dimensões equivalentes às de um LP, sendo acompanhada por três posters (um dos quais da autoria do controverso Stephan Bloth) e por um picture-disc de 12” com música de Idea Fire Company/IFCO e Felix Kubin (que também contribui com um trabalho gráfico).
De aquisição altamente recomendada, mas também rápida, pois trata-se de uma edição limitada a 500 cópias.
Nuno Loureiro
Imagem: D.R.



6.16.2008

Scorch Trio

Ingebrigt Haker Flaten (fotografia: D.R.)



A música nórdica leva varios anos situándose como unha das referencias ineludíbeis dentro do que se pode chamar o novo jazz e, dentro desa escena, brillan con luz propia os nomes de Paal Nilssen-Love e Ingebrigt Haker Flaten. Eles forman a potentísima sección rítmica do grupo Atomic e, ademais, son integrantes de Scorch Trio a canda o guitarrista Raoul Björkenheim.
Pero en que consiste esta sonoridade que ten abducidos a todos os que deciden vivila en directo? Algúns críticos din que esta xeración de músicos cruzou a liberdade compositiva do grande Albert Ayler e a enerxía do non menos grande Jimi Hendrix. A lectura non é para menos, xa que enfrontarse a un directo de Atomic é, entre outras moitas apreciacións, recoñecer algúns dos mellores e mais arriscados instrumentistas do momento, e se ademais engadimos esta afortunada asociación, a presenza do guitarrista Raoul Björkenheim, daquela Scorch Trio é un grupo que xoga "noutra liga".
A súa música vai máis ala do jazz, ou tal vez habería que dicir que grazas a este tipo de músicos o jazz volveu á súa orixe, cara a ese espírito indomable onde os músicos, antes que virtuosos e domadores de instrumentos, son exploradores de ritmos, texturas e sons. Escoitar, e ver, a Raoul Björkenheim, tamén compoñente de Sound & Fury xunto ao finlandés Edward Vesala, é unha das mellores experiencias que todo guitarrista que se prece, independentemente do seu estilo ou dos seus intereses, debería experimentar.
SINSAL Comunicación





6.15.2008

Thollem McDonas em Portugal

Thollem McDonas (fotografia de Benoit Foulon)

O pianista norte-americano Thollem McDonas vai estar esta semana em Portugal, começando por se apresentar ao vivo na Trem Azul, em Lisboa, no próximo dia 17. Tratar-se-á de uma apresentação a solo, na sequência das composições para piano quem tem vindo a gravar para editoras como a Pax Recordings, a Edgetone Records e a Creative Sources.

No dia seguinte, McDonas estará acompanhado por Germaul Barnes no Teatro Do Campo Alegre, no Porto, terminando a sua passagem pelo nosso país a 19, com um regresso a Lisboa, desta feita na Braço de Prata.

Compositor e improvisador de méritos firmados, Thollem McDonas tem como princípio «ler nas entrelinhas e tocar fora delas». Descrito pelo próprio como post-classical circus punk jazz free music, o seu trabalho é de uma complexidade interpretativa sinuosa, por vezes reminiscente de Cecil Taylor.

6.13.2008

@c no Senses 2

Pedro Tudela e Miguel Carvalhais (fotografia: D.R.)

O ciclo de música electrónica e multimédia Senses 2 prossegue no dia 18 de Junho, no Teatro Académico de Gil Vicente (TAGV),com o duo @c, projecto que dispensa apresentações para quem segue a música avançada que se vai produzindo em Portugal.

Pedro Tudela e Miguel Carvalhais colaboram enquanto @c desde 2000, desenvolvendo performances sonoras (como a que apresentarão no TAGV) ou audiovisuais (com a artista austríaca Lia) e múltiplas colaborações. A este nível são de apontar nomes como o grupo de percussão Drumming (lembram-se do espectáculo no foyer do TAGV?) ou Vitor Joaquim, Aki Onda, Gert-Jan Prins, Raymond MacDonald, Stephan Mathieu e Pure, entre outros.

O trabalho este projecto desenvolve-se no cruzamento de três abordagens complementares à música electrónica e à arte sonora: composição procedimental, música concreta e improvisação. Ao longo dos anos, têm desenvolvido composições complexas, com um pé no trabalho em estúdio e o outro no(s) palco(s). Se, por um lado, as suas peças são normalmente construídas sobre bases bem estruturadas, é comum que múltiplas peças sonoras se libertem destas estruturas e que, uma vez integradas, contribuam para o desenvolvimento de elaboradas estratégias de desconstrução.

Os @c passaram recentemente por festivais como o Ars Electronica (Áustria), Offf (Portugal), EMAF (Alemanha), Atlantic Waves (Reino Unido), NAME (França) ou Pixelache (Finlânia) e actuaram em salas como a Casa da Música (Portugal), Netwerk (Bélgica), ICA (Reino Unido) ou La Casa Encendida (Espanha).

No que concerne à sua produção sonora, têm trabalhos editados em múltiplos formatos, em editoras como a Crónica, Feld, Grain of Sound, Filmarchiv Austria, Room40, ZKM ou Sirr, entre outras.



6.11.2008

Interview: Alexander Robotnik




Your musical career started in the early 1980s, when electronic music in Italy was in its infancy. What do you remember of that time about the music scene?
Alexander Robotnick: I was lucky to have lived in Florence in that period. My town was almost the only one in Italy that immediately acknowledged the new things coming from the UK and USA, in the early 1980s. The music, theater, art and design scene was really avant-garde. You know, it's rare for an artist to be born in a cultural desert. [It just happens to] genius men. ;) I took part in a large group of people [whose artistic vision was] really projected into the future, no matter that most of them are forgotten now. This happened because Florence, despite its avant-garde movement, was provincial. Sometimes in such situations miracles happen.

As far as I remember, dance music in Italy was something that wasn't respected and it was considered only as a commercial thing. Now, thanks to the [new] international interest in Italian electronic music of the 1980s, things have changed. Can you tell me how did you live through this process?
In Florence we didn't consider Italo-disco an avant-garde movement. For my taste those people where just stuck in the 1970s. Yes, of course I was a fan of disco music in the 1970s, expecially the funky side, like Chic! Or [Giorgio] Moroder too. But in the 1980s I was more [inclined toward] Joy Division. Moreover, honestly, at that time I listened to only a few things Italo, just the commercial ones, really terrible. I discovered tracks like [Charlie's] "Spacer Woman" just a few years ago.

I don't know if this is true but I think that a good part of your work is based on irony. You know, titles like "Celle Vache de Ma Mère" or "Ciucci Kola" are difficult to be taken as serious stuff. Can you tell me how do you usually see your work and how did you create these particular songs?
Music is not just a job for me, it's also a kind of psychotherapy.... Sometimes I've enough freedom in my head and attitude for joking to produce such things. But not always. It's just a side of my character.

You reached a certain success on foreign countries. How was your music perceived over there? What were the main differences [with respect to] Italy?
Sometimes it's hard to understand it. Like the issue of Avida for Crème Organization. It's sung in Italian.... Anyway this question doesn't concern just me. Italo-disco too is perceived differently abroad than in Italy. People abroad appreciate more the originality of the sound, more than in Italy, whereas we are inclined to appreciate more the sound from abroad, with the only exceptions concerning the Italian song.

On the mid-1980s the Alexander Robotnick Project was put on hold. Can you tell us how and why did that happen?
Giampiero, the head of Materiali Sonori, pushed me to make some disco music, because we were both broke. «We can make easy money with disco music», he said to me. «Just put a bass drum in four/four and you sell 10.000 copies!» So I worked on a disco track with my cheap electronic equipment. The track was "Problèmes d'Amour". Anyway, I was disappointed by the results of "Problèmes". We sold just 10.000 copies, so it was the minimum figure, as I said above. And I started to be involved in different things. But some years later I understood that the track had an impressive influence on dance music and it was a cult track for some DJs. In the end it's better like this. It's not bad to have a song that is still relevant for the scene.

Can you tell us something about your experience with the Giovanotti Mondani Meccanici crew? It was something based more on multimedia stuff, wasn't it?
Basically I was the musician of the group. I made soundtracks and ambient music for videos and installations. GMM was a real multimedia group. It was started by the founders Andrea Zingoni and Antonio Glessy as a comic for Frigidaire, which was an alternative Italian magazine back then. After Loretta Mugnai and I were included, it expanded also to video, music, art and fashion. That last one killed the project.




The 1990s saw you working mostly on ethnic stuff. How did this kind of switch from electronic to ethnic music happen?
Since the 1970s I started to collect Arabian and African cassettes. I always loved world music and I still love it, especially Indian. Anyway nowadays I don't believe so much in the cultural mix anymore, but in that period I did, a lot. I had bloody [good] fun with Masala and The Third Planet. We experienced a kind of "new wave" of world music. And let me say that I was thrilled to be playing live with them! But maybe it was too early.... After a while we were flooded by "chill out" music using exotic samples, and then September 11th spelled the end.
Listening to your latest album, which I hope won't be your last (as the title is "My La(te)st album"), I noticed so many influences from the new wave of electro dance music. Influences that weren't present on "Oh no... Robotnick!" Can you tell us what has been the process that brought you to this new sound?
DJing, obviously. You have to be informed about new dance music, when you are DJing. Every time I find a good record in a shop I'm happy because I've a new tool for my performance. This also affects my way of composing and producing. Anyway, When I work alone as Robotnick, I'm inclined to mix different sides of myself with different periods of my music. I can mix samples taken from my old 4-track cassettes with digitally processed sounds and analog synths. "New" sound? I basically used the same synths I had in the early 1980s...

Besides the collaboration with Lapo for Italcimenti, do you have any new collaboration in line or would you like to collaborate with someone in particular? Do you think you'll release something else under the Italcimenti moniker?
Lapo is a friend so periodically we get involved in some new project. I'm going to release some tracks we made last year, but I'm afraid it's a more techno project. I'm working right now on the remixes from the album. I asked for a remix exchange with some friends. Basically I want to play more of my music during my DJ sets.

Between the last two albums you released two collections of old tunes. How did you do the track selection? Do you have other old songs to use for new compilations? What do they sound like?
I recently made a double CD dedicated to Italo-disco. I just pressed 100 and gave them as present to people. The original idea was to release it through a label, but having just calculated the licensing cost...there's no way. So you can download my DJ-Sets, if you like...
Will you ever reissue your first MLP and singles? I saw Materiali Sonori printing a CD with several versions of "Problemes d'Amour"...
[That song] is just out both on vinyl and CD. The vinyl is released by Clone and includes 4 versions. The CD is made by Materiali Sonori and includes almost all versions of "Problèmes." It's a crazy CD. All tracks are "Problèmes d'Amour"...it's a real trip. It can be useful to some DJs who can choose their version, I think.

What's next for Alexander Robotnick?
Maybe to move from the countryside. It's so hard to live without DSL nowadays. I also want to better organize my studio and the layout. I'm overwhelmed by thousands of cassettes, DATs, tapes, instruments, CDs, CD-Rs, DVDs, instruments, computers.... Oh, my God, a life of music is heavy, also physically...

Interview by Maurizio Pustianaz
Photos: R.R.

Published under kind permission of Chain D.L.K.

6.04.2008

Ruggero Maggi

Ruggero Maggi (fotografia: D.R.)



Ruggero Maggi, artista plástico e director do Milan Art Center, continua bastante activo no cenário cultural italiano.
Recentemente, Maggi participou no projecto “Puzzle4Peace”, instalado no denominado Puzzle Point – que ocupou a via Orseolo, naquela cidade do Norte –, com o trabalho “A bocca aperta”, através do qual pretendia comunicar a própria ideia de paz por via da escultura. “A bocca aperta” consiste num crocodilo executado com diferentes materiais e aplicado a duas das peças do grande puzzle geral.

A acompanhar esta obra, estava a “música de impacto zero” do projecto “Attaco Solare – Solar Sound System”, alimentado por painéis fotovoltaicos que permitiam receber energia solar de três espectros de luz diferentes. «Um exercício de estilo para um puzzle que respeita o Homem e o ambiente que o circunda».


"Puzzle4Peace" (fotografia: Riccardo Schito)



Entretanto, Ruggero Maggi foi também um dos 30 artistas, de várias nacionalidades, que participaram na exposição colectiva “La farfalla e la formica”, patente na Galeria Il Chiostro Arte Contemporanea, em Saronno. Uma interpretação sui generis da famosa fábula “A cigarra e a formiga”, de La Fontaine, materializado num percurso irónico e pouco usual de duas formas distintas de encarar a vida – de um lado a ligeireza, o hedonismo e a fragilidade; do outro, a eficiência e a produtividade, mas também a ostentação e a ambição. Nada com que não nos confrontemos no dia-a-dia.
Maggi apresentou o vídeo “P@sso a P@sso”, com o qual pretendia fazer compreender quantas declinações – iconográfica, formal e contextual – o tema pode ter.
Nuno Loureiro



"Puzzle4Peace" (fotografias: D.R.)