THE FUCKLE

Beschreibungen der Gegenwart / Descriptions of the Present

Month: December, 2019

Possession, or, Love, Americanized

by Andrew Choate

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Two concerts by two canonized American musicians took place in Los Angeles within four days of each other. Terry Riley played a solo piano set on Sunday, August 11th, and Anthony Braxton played a duet with Jacqueline Kerrod on Wednesday, August 14th. The ergonomics of these two performances revealed deep contrasts in the way each music was framed by its presenters and how they were received by their audiences.

Riley’s concert was an exclusive affair organized as the closing festivities for a multi-city and multi-venue retrospective of the Dilexi Gallery, a 1960s San Francisco space known for showing Jay DeFeo, Joe Goode, Jess, and many other California artists currently recognized as under-recognized at that time. A co-organizer for the event was dublab, an online radio station popular with the post-college literati. The concert was at Temple Israel of Hollywood and it was free; you simply needed an invitation from someone affiliated either with the Dilexi retrospective, the radio station, the venue, or the event. After it was announced, privately, it was full within a day.

Upon arrival, audience members were directed to a delightful courtyard to mingle. Free drinks were served while luscious ritual music from around the world was sophisticatedly DJed by Gabie Strong at a pleasant volume. A casual forty-five minutes after the listed start time, the music faded out and the doors to the evening’s focal performance were opened.

Once inside, audience members could choose to sit on pillows and blankets laid out in a fifteen meter circle around the piano, or sit in chairs in one of two sections equally dispersed around the pillow circle. Four screens of identical projections by Alex Pelly illuminated four sections of walls within the temple while subtle and agreeable strains from the not-so-subtly-named SFV Acid misted the hushed, anticipatory conversations. Paley’s projections were of the synthetic-biology petri-dish-washout variety. In other words: ambient visuals, nothing to focus on. In fact, their placement on the wall meant that I had to turn my head to really look at them, so I just let them squiggle in my peripheral while I silently waited for the performance to begin. SFV Acid faded out and the audience of a couple hundred people or so sat silently for several minutes before Riley came out and took his place at the piano.

He played cheesy new age cocktail party music, the kind of stuff that is so non-committal that it wouldn’t be out of place in a hotel lobby. Flimsy motifs unfurled and tangled with each other; innocuousness was exemplified, then multiplied exponentially. While his playing was rudimentary and styleless, it was also conflated with what seemed like a desperate attempt to teach himself jazz. So it was background music on one hand, because it didn’t reward sustained attention, but––and this is the sad part––he was playing so many notes that it seemed like he was trying very hard to be inventive and jazz-y. But he was making a music that only superficially engaged with the style of jazz: this was new age noodling, not jazz.

He’s new age at heart so it wasn’t surprising that he found enlightenment in major chords at regular intervals. His patterns had a triteness about them that remained, unfortunately, just above the level of quotidian; if they were simpler, they might have motivation, focus, or rigor. But the variations he added made it seem like he genuinely wanted to be playing some kind of jazz, as if dilettante ragtime is the key to Anthropocene illumination.

When I refer to his playing as “cheesy,” I mean superficially emotional. The music was tragically drab while it soared for convoluted resolutions. Thankfully, there was something illuminating about this concert: the audience’s behavior. Before it began, people were “so ready” and “incredibly psyched” that looks of expectant awe dripped from the eyes of designer-drug wimps and self-anointed tastemaker-elites alike.

After the concert, audience members appeared stunned by beauty: dazed, glassy-eyed, mouths agape attempting to smile in lieu of speech, which seemed drastically out of reach. Everyone nodding knowingly to each other, wide-eyed and catching their breath from the awesomeness just beheld. What I noticed from the strangers and acquaintances I talked to was an all-encompassing sense of wow-ness. But I don’t think they were moved by the music. I think they were materializing what I call philiothority: excessive love and reverence for authority, for the already-canonized. Making friends with authority, accumulating and spreading brotherly love for authority. The proximity to fame which a private, exclusive event like this makes available encourages this kind of blind piety toward cultural authority figures. People want the event to be special because attendance required such a high level of cultural or financial capital.

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Three nights later, venerable saxophonist Anthony Braxton took the stage at The Broad, as the anchor of the programming for “Black Fire Sessions,” a series of events organized in conjunction with the traveling exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983. His duet with Jacqueline Kerrod on harp was one of five performances that took place over the course of the evening, often simultaneously and scattered in various places within the museum. Braxton’s concert was also sold out by the day of the event, but tickets were still available a few days prior, when I bought mine. Even though I’m a huge fan of his music––I decided, unequivocally, that I had to move to Chicago when I was 18, just to be closer to where his music came from, and the potential that he might return and perform––I was on the fence about whether to attend this event for months. For one, I didn’t want to support The Broad; secondly, the idea of their duet occurring “in the lobby” had a bad ring to it, causing me to envision coteries of patrons walking past the performance without giving the music much more than a passing acknowledgement. Ultimately, I decided I had to go, if anything for the sake of my sixteen-year-old self, who would be furious if I passed up such an easy opportunity to see a hero. Fortunately, the performance was significantly better than I had considered possible; unfortunately, the atmosphere was worse than I could have imagined.

I found a place to stand about ten minutes before the concert was scheduled to begin, off to the right of the stage, behind folks that had brought their own chairs. The music started and it was pure Braxtonian intergeological cosmosophist olympiarchery juggernaut crunching. I was glad to be there. His lines were harsh and zaggy, then fluttery and caressing. Then I realized I could barely hear Kerrod even though she was only fifteen meters away from me. Likely because the stage she and Braxton were on was set up directly across from the escalators on the ground floor, which were taking swarms of indifferent patrons directly to the third floor to catch the performances taking place up there. From where I was standing the concert sounded like it was taking place in the middle of a bank lobby, in the middle of the day, with a constant murmur of “portfolio” this and “with taxes” that. Truly: the transactions from the gift shop were barely less audible than what was happening onstage. But it was the conversations taking place among patrons––with no attempt to hush a voice––that were the most jarring and discomfiting.

Even though I could see very well where I was standing, I decided to change location and go into the main area, closer to the escalators, to see if the sound was any better. Braxton’s confoundingly personal logic continued to elevate my senses while the chatter around me never ceased. Artists that sang and danced in Jimetta Rose’s performance upstairs less than ninety minutes beforehand felt comfortable standing less than ten meters from Braxton and Kerrod––in the middle of the audience––talking at full volume. And they were right: it would have been pointless to shush them, because the muttering was coming from all directions.

I refocused on the music. Braxton’s signature Warne Marsh-tranquility-and-spice-meets-a-short-circuiting-microwave sound was assiduously intact. His constellations of harmonics mixed with purposefully breathy sputters and all of me was absorbed into the music, or vice versa, or both, or everything a billion times over. I got lost in the sounds. Then I heard the same sequence of sounds from a minute before, repeating somehow, like an uncanny auditory illusion. I rewoke from my concentration to realize the echo was someone making, posting, and evaluating an Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook story. Oh dear. ‘Compartmentalize and…breathe,’ I told myself. And…listen…jagged…cascades…from the jugular waterfall…spritzed the eardrum. Exhale.

I’m standing five meters from the musicians and the crowd noise is louder than the music. I’m wondering what the point of this presentation is. No one who doesn’t already know Anthony Braxton is going to be engaged. Because they can’t hear him. I continue to swivel around the stage and discover that the area right where the escalator is plopping out patrons actually has less chatter than elsewhere. Not because these folks aren’t talking, but because they immediately have to find somewhere else to go lest they get plopped on by the next batch of escalatorers. Braxton, meanwhile, is moving among alto and soprano and sopranino saxophones, attacking the horns with eyes wide open, in that classic face-bursting bulge he’s always made when emphasizing every aspect of an aggressively or difficultly contorted sound. His eyes challenge the limit of their sockets: deep set, wide open.

I move to the far left of the stage, one hundred and eighty degrees from where I began listening, onto Kerrod’s side. In-between my bouts of anxious consternation with the poorly designed ergonomics of this listening experience, I’ve been discovering that Kerrod is a monster. She has been ravaging her harp, not with maniacal destructiveness, but with a nimble engineering of lighthearted evisceration and manipulation, like the needs of the moment are but a distended cephalopod away. She’s not hurting her instrument; she’s showing how her control over it extends into her not being in control over it, that the relationship between instrument and performer, at this caliber, is symbiotic.

The harp, in her hands, is like a combination of piano, doublebass, guitar, and santoor: opaque percussive thrums, with chords. She’s full of rattling hijinks, with stuff stuck in the strings and swiftly removed, plus punchy jitters of plateauing and plateauing and plateauing and then vertigo-plunging-into-abyssal-ravines. The brunt of the crowd murmur is gone over here. Or maybe it just dwindled because they’ve been playing for forty minutes and everyone has dispersed. I don’t care; I can hear the musicians and I’m up against the stage on the side trying to soak up everything I can, from the newness of discovering this phenomenal harpist (a significantly more distinctive and thrilling collaborator with Braxton than many of his much-heralded former students like Ho Bynum or Halvorson) to the Gemini-divergent paths of Braxton’s palisades around the score.

As it draws to a close, after more than an hour, I’m embarrassed about how tired I am, eventually giving up my good standing spot so I can go lean against the glass wall to the outside. Only my left ear is pointed in the direction of the music; my right ear is facing the flocks of customers huddled by the exits discussing their next rendezvous. Braxton is still standing and blowing his heart and mind out. But this isn’t standing music. It’s sitting-down-and-paying-attention music. It’s also dancing music. (Please someone have an Antony Braxton dance party, so we can all get down to the funky intellectuality: these strands are not divergent!) Seriously: standing still for over an hour listening to this music doesn’t make sense. The music is complex, wild, heart-racing stuff; it’s not the kind of thing you can stand still in front of for a significant duration and apprehend the emotional contours or heady layerings of with any grace. Speaking of grace: the ergonomics of this concert were never considered by the designers of this event. Demographics, yes; ergonomics, no.

A coincidental proximity of dates connected the experiences of these events in my body, but something much more dreary connects them to an emotional center of contemporary culture: philiothority. Newspaper-liberals and cultural aristocrats alike are attracted by exclusivity, fame, and authority, preferably inextricably intertwined in an orgy of ambiguous aura. It might seem counterintuitive to label the literati as lovers of authority, but it shouldn’t be surprising. When you are in a position of power, it behooves you to clap for what else is in power, in culture just as much as in politics. You can tell who is doing well in the world of culture by how loudly they clap for the already-well-recognized.

Even in environments of elite cultural performance – actually, especially here – audiences are complicit with a lack of criticality, which they seem to trade for access to the artist.

In regards to Riley’s performance, it was clear that he could have done anything on stage and everyone would have been mesmerized by the show. Riley’s desperate gasps at artistry were buried by the waves of self-congratulation rippling through the room. Grins of pride for the caché accrued by one’s attendance trumped any need for fervor from the music.

The problems with Braxton’s performance were primarily ergonomic, in that the institution putting on the show had no interest in honoring the music by creating a reasonable listening environment. But an adjacent strand of philiothority was on display here, one particularly native to jazz audiences, for whom the fact of seeing a person play is more important than seeing them play well. These audience members attend jazz shows like they are a checking a famous name off a list in an Excel Spreadsheet of Jazz Legends in the Sky (ESOJALITS). They don’t care that the environment made for the concert is disrespectful to the entire notion of listening; they are too eager to have seen a jazz legend, emphasis on the past tense, to mirror their own outlooks.

Rampant philiothority can be challenged of course, but it requires more effort than many folks want to put into their cultural experiences. Because it requires taking culture more seriously, “as seriously as your life” as Val Wilmer cogently put it. Otherwise we’re left like animals in a cage, accepting whatever nourishment comes our way with glazed-over glee.

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Samtene Renaissance in der goldenen Stadt

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Alternativa Festival hutné hudby,
Festival dichter Musik, Meetfactory
Prag, 26. Oktober und 1. bis. 3 November 2019

Ein wohlwollender Bericht von Philipp Schmickl

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Wer hätte das Recht, mehr über Prag zu schreiben, als was er auf einem Spaziergang sieht? Es gibt zu viele Kenner, zu viele Prag-Gelehrte die auch vom Schreibfach sind. Prag ist eine Fakultät, eine Wissenschaft und fast eine Weltanschauung.

Joseph Roth

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Mesopotamia

Am westlichen Moldauufer erstreckt sich der Prager Stadtteil Smíchov wie ein Richtung Plzeň schwimmendes Seepferdchen nach Süden. In seinem Bäuchlein bündeln sich Straßen- und Schienenverkehr zu einem vibrierenden Strang. Etwas unter dem Bauchnabel der feinen Kreatur, zwischen Autobahn und Schienenreihe, steht, wie im fruchtbaren Zweistromland, das zentrale Bauwerk unserer Geschichte: die MeetFactory. Dabei handelt es sich um ein großes, hellgrünes, äußerlich etwas heruntergekommenes, dreigeschoßiges Industriegebäude, an dessen Fassade zwei rote, schmelzende Autos angenagelt sind – eine Kunstinstallation von David Cerný, einem der Gründer der Meetfactory. Der Name steht sowohl für den Ort als auch für die Organisation. Die ein Stück weiter südlich in einen Tunnel mündende Autobahn verläuft hinter dem Gebäude wie ein kanalisierter Wasserfall; die Eisenbahnschienen, über die Tag und Nacht angerußte Vorortezüge als auch schwere, tief im dunklen Eisenbahnrhythmus träumende, Frachtzüge arglos den Ort des Geschehens passieren, liegen an seiner Vorderfront wie ein gestreifter Teppich, den zu beschreiten verboten ist.

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Der Ankommende steigt vis-à-vis der MeetFactory aus der Straßenbahn, es wurde ihm nahegelegt, nicht den direkten Weg über Zaun und Schienen zu nehmen, sondern die Schleife über die Brücke zu gehen, just ten minutes. Der Weg bergauf zur Brücke ist gesäumt von einer rostigen Leitschiene und wilden Essigbäumen, die grauschimmernd aus den Ritzen des Asphalts sprießen. Nach der Überquerung, auf der anderen Seite, beherrschen noch mehr Brache- und Gstettnpflanzen wie Schlehen, Akazien und Wildrosen mit fallenden, grüngelben Blättern und roten Früchtchen, den Wegesrand. Hinter dem herbstfarbenen Gestrüpp stehen leidende, rostige Waggons und anderes, aufgrund von Depression ausrangiertes, Eisenbahn-Gerät. Elstern werfen ungeduldig Nüsse auf den Asphalt und von Zeit zu Zeit sieht man Fahrschüler, die ganz verunsichert das Zurückschieben lernen. In regelmäßigen Abständen rasen gelbe Rettungswägen mit laut heulender Sirene über die Brücke.

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Vor etwas mehr als zehn Jahren waren die Gemäuer der MeetFactory noch allem halbwegs Wertvollen und Brauchbaren ledig, ein Gerüst aus Mauern im Niemandsland zwischen Bahnhof und Autobahn. Nach einer ersten Renovierung konnten die Betreiber 2007 damit beginnen, ihr Programm, das zeitgenössische Formen von Musik – wobei das mittlerweile primär Rock, Metal und Tanzparties bedeutet1–, Theater, bildende Kunst sowie Residencies umfasst, umzusetzen. Anfangs war der Ort roh und wild, aber über die Jahre hat sich sein Innenleben zu einer Art industrial chique gewandelt. Für die Veranstaltungen gibt es einen großen Saal, der sich wie jedwede Rockbühne anfühlt; demgegenüber befindet sich der kleine Saal, dessen wohltuende, intime Dichte ihr modester Berichterstatter schon beim ersten Betreten wahrnahm. Das Café im hellen und luftigen Foyer und die weitläufige Galerie öffnen täglich um 13 Uhr und sind frei zugänglich. Vereinzelt kommen junge, in den unterschiedlichsten Akzenten Englisch sprechende und mutmaßlich den Residency-Programmen entspringende, Leute vorbei, um sich die Ausstellungen anzusehen bzw. um die Kunstwerke zu erklären. Danach nehmen sie auf den roten Sesseln bzw. an den schwarzen Tischchen Platz und schlürfen den hervorragenden Kaffee, manche komischerweise auch Rotwein. Ist keine Abendveranstaltung auf dem Programm, wird um 20 Uhr wieder zugesperrt.

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Ich verdanke meine Einladung zum Festival und meine Unterbringung in einer Wohnküche im Anbau der MeetFactory Petr Vrba, einem der Hauptkuratoren des Festivals. Ich treffe ihn zwei Tram-Stationen nördlich der MeetFactory am Smíchovské Nádraží, dem südlichen Regionalbahnhof und Nabel des Seepferdchens. Der Himmel ist ein grauer Block unter dem rot-braune Gebäude hervorstehen, Straßenbahnen und Busse dominieren den Vorplatz. Wir gehen ins Bahnhofsbeisel Oaza. Das Lokal hat die Größe eines edlen Kaffeehauses, viel Luft und Licht und wenige, aber große Tische, große Bahnhofsfenster und es liegt ein Gefühl wirklichen Verreisens in der Luft. An der Wand hängen Portraits des ehemaligen Stammgastes Ivan Martin Jirous, der auch als Magor, der Wahnsinnige, bekannt war. Er publizierte zahlreiche Poesie-Bände und war Kunsthistoriker sowie Initiator der dissidenten Underground-Rockgruppe The Plastic People of the Universe. In den 1970er- und 80er-Jahren wanderte er aufgrund seiner Aktivitäten mehrere Male für längere Zeit ins Gefängnis2.

Das Bahnhofsbeisel sei legendär, sagte Petr, das ganze Areal um den Bahnhof werde aber dem-nächst abgerissen. Es gehöre nämlich schon längere Zeit einer Unternehmer-Gruppe, der Sekyra-Group, die langsam, auch politisch, daran arbeite, alle Genehmigungen zu bekommen um das Areal so weit wie möglich zu planieren und hochpreisige Wohnungs- und Shopping-Malls hinzustellen, ähnlich wie an anderen Orten Prags. Angesichts dieser Situation schufen im letzten Jahr Michal Kindernay und Vendula Guhová für das Alternativa eine Installation mit Klängen der Brachen des Stadtteils Smíchov, der Gleise und den Stimmen der Bewohner dieser Gegend, die voraussichtlich in naher Zukunft den Baustellen werden weichen müssen.

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Alternativa

Der 45-jährige Petr Vrba ist Musiker und Kurator. Er hat in den letzten Jahren bei kleineren und größeren Festivals in Czechien mitgearbeitet und sich um das Programm gekümmert. Bevor er 2018 diese Aufgabe beim Alternativa Festival übernommen hat, war er für das vs. Interpretation Festival 2016 kuratorisch verantwortlich3. Es helfe sehr, Teil der Szene zu sein, sagt er, wenn es um die Auswahl der KünstlerInnen und um die Kommunikation gehe. Durch seine vielen Reisen und den direkten Kontakt mit den Leuten, kenne er viel mehr als ein nichtreisender Veranstalter und es werde ihm auch ein grundsätzliches Vertrauen entgegengebracht, selbst wenn er ungewöhnlichere Kombinationen vorschlage. Im Gegensatz zum Vorjahr, wird er in diesem Jahr auch selbst spielen.

Vrbas circa zehn Jahre jüngerer Kuratoren-Kollege Roman Odjinud ist der Betreiber des Raumes Punctum, in dem kontinuierlich Konzerte, Kino, Workshops, usw. veranstaltet werden. Auf der Website findet sich folgende Charakterisierung: “Punctum is a community project residing in Prague’s Žižkov district. A home base for various creative and educational activities. It’s purpose is to connect people from different subcultures and backgrounds in order to create new impulses for collaboration and communication. We work with non-profit organisations, students and other individuals that support the local alternative scene. The output being concerts, workshops, discussions, theatre performances, author’s readings and yoga classes.” Der gutbürgerlich anmutende Stadtteil Žižkov liegt bergan östlich des Zentrums. Die Krásova steigt steil an bis zum Fernsehturm,

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an dem krabbelnde Kleinkinder – ebenfalls ein Kunstwerk von David Cerný – befestigt sind. Das ist den Punks von Punctum jedoch ausgesprochen unwichtig, denn Cerný genießt, vorsichtig formuliert, keinen guten Ruf in den freien Szenen. Bergauf rechter Hand befindet sich das Wohnhaus Nummer 27. Wenn das Eingangstor nicht offen ist, läutet man bei Punctum. Man kommt durch einen Gang in den Innenhof von wo eine Stiege zu einer Terrasse auf Höhe eines Hochparterres führt. Man öffnet ein bis zwei Türen und betritt den Konzertsaal. Dieser macht den Eindruck eines Tanzsaales ohne Spiegel. Der Bretterboden ist in hellgrünem Pastell gestrichen, die hohen Wände sind weiß getüncht und zum Teil schwarz abgehängt. Eine weitere Tür führt in die Bar, die auch als Küche dient, in der bei jeder Veranstaltung für die Mitarbeiter vegan gekocht wird. An der Decke steht gepinselt: Petr Vrbas private Free Jazz Club.

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Das Alternativa wird seit 27 Jahren von der Non-Profit-Organisaton Unijazz, die noch weitere Veranstaltungen und Aktivitäten in ihrem Programm hat, ausgerichtet. Das Festival war vor allem in den Neunzehnneunzigern, den Jahren nach der Sametová revoluce, sehr wichtig weil tatsächlich alternative Musik präsentiert werden konnte4. Nach ein paar Jahren entwickelte sich das Programm des Alternativa laut Vrba und Odjinud aber in Richtung einer “Abarbeitung der Schulden”, was bedeutet, dass viele MusikerInnen eingeladen wurden, die aufgrund der politischen Situation vor der Samtenen Revolution in Czechien nicht spielen konnten, zum Zeitpunkt der Einladung aber musikalisch ihren Zenith schon überschritten hatten. Das Alternativa entwickelte sich langsam zu einem Festival für die älteren Generationen.

Roman Odjinud hat vor einigen Jahren bei Unijazz/Alternativa als Bühnentechniker angefangen und ist nach ein paar anderen Stationen nun Kurator. Grundsätzlich teilt er sich diese Aufgabe zur Hälfte mit Petr Vrba. Als ihre Zusammenarbeit begann, formulierten sie ein paar Punkte, die sich ändern müssten, um das junge Publikum zu bewegen, zum Festival zu kommen und mehr noch: sich mit experimentelleren Formen von Musik auseinanderzusetzen. Die wichtigsten Aspekte ihrer Vision sind folgende:

• Das Festival soll an einem Ort stattfinden. (Bisher war es auf unterschiedlichen Orte in der Stadt über einen längeren Zeitraum verteilt).

• Es muss für junge, lokale MusikerInnen zugänglich sein. (Bisher fand jedes Jahr ein “kleines Alternativa” statt, bei dem lokale Bands in einem Wettbewerb sich um die Teilnahme am “großen Alternativa” maßen. Das wurde abgeschafft.)

• Da es kein großes Publikum für diese Art Musik gibt, soll die gemeinsame Arbeit als “Marathon” wahrgenommen werden, sagt Vrba, der das Music Unlimited Festival in Wels als Vorbild nennt. Das Vertrauen des Publikums in das kuratorische Gefühl der Veranstalter soll langsam gewonnen und gefestigt werden um die jungen Leute auch an (ihnen) Unbekanntes heranzuführen.

• In der Woche vor dem Festival wird ein Abend von lokalen GastkuratorInnen gestaltet, denen die Strukturen des Alternativa zur Verfügung gestellt werden.

• Das Festival bekommt eine eigene Dramaturgie.

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Espacia

Nachdem Ihr Autor drei Tage und Nächte das Lebensgefühl im Prager Mesopotamia ausgekostet hatte, sich mit den Verantwortlichen getroffen und die mit blumiger Hoffnung parfümierten politischen Veränderungen in Prag – dessen Bürgermeister Zdeněk Hřib von der Piratenpartei 2018 sein Amt antrat –, mit pochendem Herzen recherchiert hatte, begann das Festival.

Es folgt nun keine einfache Beschreibung der Konzerte. Sondern ihre Kontextualisierung mit dem Raum, in dem sie stattfanden, kurz, eine Konzertualisierung. Der Raum (Space) konstituiert sich aus der Beziehung der physischen Gegebenheiten (Formen, Farben, Materialien), den anwesenden Menschen sowie der Musik als Emulgator zwischen den drei gleichwertigen Teilen. In den drei Tagen des Festivals erfuhr dieser an sich nüchterne Raum die unterschiedlichsten Verformungen, deren, von den subjektivsten Wahrnehmungen Ihres Berichterstatters gestalteten, Beschreibung, nur durch einen feinen, transparenten, serpentesk wogenden, zartrosa Vorhang beziehungsweise durch blitzende Rauchschwaden hindurch, möglich ist. Zitate aus dem Programmheft in kursiv.

Die erste Band, Scattered Purgatory, transzendierte den großen Saal in einer musikalisch-ritualistischen folk-styled psychedelic drone metal Performance, in der vor den beiden Musikern im Bereich des Publikums eine alte, einmetergroße taiwanesisch-chinesische Marionette

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Foto: Anna Baštýřová

den Boden und den sie in traditionellem Gewande führenden Spieler, durch besessene Bewegungen mit weißer Farbe überzog – was sehr hypnotisch auf alle Beteiligten wirkte. Am Ende dieser von einem taoistischen Ritual zur Erlösung unschuldiger Seelen inspirierten Aufführung, begann es auf der Bühne zu brennen – ein Tuch hatte sich beim Höllenfeuer angesteckt. Daraufhin beschäftigte sich Peter Orins im kleinen Saal während eines konzentrierten, langsamen Schlagzeugsolos mit der Lüftung und Öffnung des Raumes nach oben hin und schuf Platz zum Selberdenken in den Luft-löchern zwischen den Sounds innerhalb der weitphrasierten Musik. Anschließend kam JD Zazie (Elektronik, Turntables), die im großen Saal den Space wie ein bunt bemaltes Akkordeon in die Breite zog und in ihm einen hell-dunkel vibrierenden Horizont im Halbkreis wie einen weiteren Eisenträger einzog. Pause. Nach der Pause erfolgte eine totale Verlangsamung des Raumes durch die polnische Band Księżyc, deren Sängerinnen, ähnlich dem Bateleur (I) im Tarot, hinter mit Glas-kugeln, Spiegeln und alchymistischen Artefakten schwer beladenen Tischen saßen. Das Ensemble spielte ein zweistündiges mittelalterliches Wahrsagekonzert dessen Sprache Ihrem polyglotten und immer der Wahrheit verpflichteten Reporter gleichsam bekannt und völlig unverständlich war. Die Vollendung des Abends und gleichzeitig die ästhetische Verdunkelung des Raumes besorgte die junge czechische Band Lebanon: Barrels, napalm. Standard ambient noise surface sheet metal voice satanic ass bleach. Bombs. In cases of acute fatigue, apply disco. Es war laut und schön anzuhören, aber zu durchgeplant um wirklich mitreißend zu wirken.

Am zweiten Tag gegen Mittag wurde im freundlichen Foyer gerade der helle Zementboden gewischt als sich die Mitglieder der Band Butcher’s Cleaver wie sieben frischgeduschte Golems zur zweiten Probe einfanden: Joke Lanz, Turntables; Pasi Mäkelä, Gitarre und Gesang; Peter Orins, Schlagzeug; Philipp Quehenberger, Synthesizer; Jasper Stadhouders, Gitarre und E-Bass; Petr Vrba, Trompete und Electronics; und Christian Weber, E-Bass. Da draußen der Asphalt vom nächtlichen Regen noch nass war, zogen sie eine schwarze Spur von der Stahl-Glas-Eingangstür durch das Café zum großen Saal, wo sie am dritten Tage des Festivals das Abschlusskonzert geben würden. Die Putzfrau, auf ihren Mopp gestützt, sah ihnen gelassen und nachsichtig, ja, fast wohlwollend, dabei zu.

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Der Nachmittag war trübe, die Bahnschienen wenig befahren, die Autobahn ein alle Frequenzen abdeckendes Rauschen auf der anderen Seite, die Frequenz der Rettungswagen blieb konstant. Abends fand das erste Konzert mit Philipp Quehenberger, Jasper Stadhouders und Tomáš Procházka (Gitarre) im kleinen Saal statt. Es ist nicht immer einfach, wenn eine Band zum ersten Mal gemeinsam auf einer Bühne steht und improvisiert. In den Raum wurde eine dunkle Wasseroberfläche eingeleitet, unter die Quehenberger und Procházka abtauchen wollten um deren psychedelische Tiefen zu erforschen, während Stadhouders sie aber jedes Mal wieder aus ihren Träumen klingelte und an die Oberfläche holte. Ihr Autor wäre gerne so tief als möglich mit den beiden Tauchern, die nie aufhörten, nach unten zu ziehen, abgesunken – ich hing mich gleichsam mit all meiner Konzentration an die Tasten und Saiten! – um ganz im Raum zu verschwinden. Das zweite Konzert im kleinen Saal spielten Christian Weber (Kontrabass, dieses Mal) und Joke Lanz, die, im Gegensatz zur ersten Formation, schon sehr lange miteinander spielen. Sie kreierten locker, gelöst, mit Humor eine Durchlässigkeit im Space und ermöglichten ein Überwinden der Haut oder: das Eindringen der Atmosphäre des Raumes in die Körper der Anwesenden. Das Publikum verschmolz lächelnd mit den Holzbrettern auf denen sie saßen, mit den schwarzen Vorhängen, an denen sie lehnten und mit dem czechischen Bier und Slivovice in ihren Leibern.

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Foto: Anna Baštýřová

Vor Weber/Lanz trat Rashad Becker im großen Saal auf, der, so wie Valerio Tricoli (letztes Konzert, auch im großen Saal), Solo-Elektronik im weitesten Sinne spielte. Beide demonstrierten Können und die Schönheit elektronischer/elektro-akustischer Klänge, sie bewiesen mit ihrer Musik die Existenz des Raumes, dass wir alle wirklich hier sind. Sie zogen mit weißer Tusche (chinesischer Tinte) die Konturen des Raumes nach, die Scheiben und Lampen erschienen poliert, Wände und Pfeiler frisch in schwarzer Farbe gestrichen, das Licht rein und die Dunkelheit mit der flachen Hand verschiebbar. Das vorletzte Konzert, auch im großen Saal, spielte die KRK large group: George Cremasci, Kontrabass; Matthew Ostrowski, Elektronik; Renata Raková, Klarinette; Michaela Turcerová, Saxophon; und Burkhard Beins, Perkussion. Sie dehnten den Space fatamorganisch klar in die Ferne und es entstand eine Aufbruchsstimmung wie beim Hören eines Alban Berg Streichquartetts aus kleinen Boxen, an einem grauen Mittag in einer kahlen Küche, starkes Bier aus einem Weinglas trinkend.

Am dritten Festivaltage machte Ihr schlendernder Reporter eine Reise in die Touristenstadt und suchte altbekannte Straßen, Türme, Hügel und Bäume auf. Eine Nostalgie wollte sich nicht einstellen, jedoch überkam mich angesichts des Tourismus ein Weltschmerz, der durch nichts zu lindern war. Mit leichtem Schwindel hielt ich mich an eine Gestalt in der Menschenmenge, die mir in höchstem Maße bekannt vorkam, jedoch war sie nicht zu erreichen, ohne dass ich meinen Schritt beschleunigte. Hastend folgte ich ihr über den Staroměstské náměstí und kam durch eine enge Gasse in eine verlassenere Gegend der alten Stadt wo ich meinen Schritt wieder verlangsamte. Ich hatte die bizarre und doch so vertraute Gestalt verloren. Die Straße war leer. Und in dieser Leere, in diesem Loch in der allgemeinen Geschäftigkeit, fand meine Erinnerung Platz: Es war der Golem, der echte. Und als ich aufblickte, sah ich ihn am Dach eines Gebäudes auf der gegenüberliegenden Straßenseite kurz stehenbleiben, bevor er sich endgültig mit einem knappen Wink verabschiedete und verschwand.

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Der dritte Abend in der Meetfactory begann mit Paregorik, einem jungen czechischen Noise-Elektroniker, der den Raum mit transparentem elektronischem Druck anfüllte, dass sich das zusam-menrückende Publikum wie (in Klammer) fühlte, als eine Aufzählung von Namen, getrennt nur durch Beistriche, zwischen zwei konkav sich buchtenden Linien. Das Trio Ruinu bestehend aus Jan Klamm, Gitarre, Patrik Pelikán, Saxophon und Ondřej Parus, Schlagzeug, erhielten diesen Druck aufrecht, jedoch öffneten sich zwischen den Instrumenten Ventile, durch die der Druck wie Luft aus einem Ballon, laut quietschend ausströmen konnte. Im noch zittrigen Raum, der sich langsam auf seine rechtwinkelige Urform zurückzog, begann das Solo von Thomas Ankersmit, dessen extensive sonic study of electronic music (…) Serge Modular feedback and random sine wave generators, a contact mic and tape speed variation inkorporiert und der im Raum Dimensionen fand, die weit durch die schwarzen Wände hindurch reichten, jedoch nur innerhalb dieser wahrnehmbar waren. Ihr Autor saß genau vor dem Musiker und wurde Zeuge eines bis dahin ihm unbekannten Phänomens. Die Höhen der Musik produzierten in den Ohren selbst ein Feedback und gleichzeitig aber war das tiefe Murmeln zweier Leute aus dem Publikum hörbar: Als käme eine Stimme von innen und eine von außen. Das ganze Set hatte eine klassische Schönheit, die man zu schaffen imstande sein muss um nicht vom Kitsch erschlagen zu werden. Dann kam der Abschluss mit Butcher’s Cleaver, des Fleischers Hackebeil: Kombinace rituálního redukcionismu s orgiastickou hravostí, rušivých pschedelických groovů s provokující komunikací, ponerého pomalého tempa s frenetickými útoky nebo armosférických zvukowých ploch s nepředvídatelným hlukem. Es hat sehr viel Spaß gemacht, nach drei nachmittäglichen Proben hatte die Band einen wirklich guten Sound, ein paar Tricks und etwas Disziplin – der Raum hat mitgelacht und ja wirklich: jistí si můžeme být pouze absencí ticha.

1Michal Brenner, der musikalische Leiter der Meetfactory, erzählte im Interview von den vielen Beschwerden, die aufgrund des Konzertes der norwegischen Black Metal Band Mayhem – die in den 1990er Jahren mit Brandstiftung in Kirchen, Satanismus und Neo-Nazismus assoziiert wurde –, eingegangen seien. Das Konzert werde aber trotzdem stattfinden, fügte er hinzu.

4Liste aller Festivalprogramme: http://alternativa-festival.cz/about-the-festival; Stand: 20. November 2019

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Mehr Fotos von Anna Baštýřová:

https://www.fullmoonzine.cz/galerie/festival-alternativa-2019-2-11-2019-meetfactory-praha0?fbclid=IwAR3ZwsEi6VY54AQTRFFHp0M9wiW0iTpbGpfvHbBqw-UuuvhYXm0JfTG4Irg

https://www.facebook.com/pg/andulinna/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2494746567306591
https://www.facebook.com/pg/andulinna/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2495482607232987
https://www.facebook.com/pg/andulinna/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2510014622446452
https://www.facebook.com/pg/andulinna/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2516702025111045

Velvet Renaissance in the Golden City

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Alternativa Festival hutné hudby,
Festival of dense music, MeetFactory, Prague
October 26 and November 1-3, 2019
A benevolent account
by Philipp Schmickl

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Wer hätte das Recht, mehr über Prag zu schreiben, als was er auf einem Spaziergang sieht? Es gibt zu viele Kenner, zu viele Prag-Gelehrte die auch vom Schreibfach sind. Prag ist eine Fakultät, eine Wissenschaft und fast eine Weltanschauung.

Joseph Roth

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Mesopotamia
At the Western banks of the Vltava river the district of Smíchov stretches towards the South like a sea horse swimming in the direction of Plzeň. In its belly the road traffic and the rail traffic meet and form one vibrating rope. A bit under the navel of the fine creature, right between the motorway and the rail tracks, like in the fertile land between Euphrates and Tigris, the main building of our account is located: the MeetFactory. It is a huge light-green three-storey-railway-mansion, that looks a little shabby from the outside and has two melting red cars hanging from its facade – an installation by David Cerný, one of the founders of the MeetFactory (the name stands for the place as well as for the organization). The motorway, which flows into a tunnel a little south of the MeetFactory, sounds like a canalized waterfall; the rails, which by day and night lead the way for sooty suburban trains as well as for heavy freight trains dreaming deeply in the railway-rhythm, lie to the forefront of the building like a striped carpet one is not allowed to walk on.

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The arriving traveller gets off the tram vis-à-vis the MeetFactory. He was advised not to take the shortcut a.k.a. direct route over the fence and the rails but to follow the loop over the bridge, just ten minutes. Going uphill, changing slowly, the way is fringed with a rusty crash barrier and wild staghorn sumac trees growing out of the cracks in the bitumen that are absorbing one’s look with a greyish shimmer. After crossing the bridge, on the other side of the tracks, more brownfield plants like blackthorns, acacias, wild roses with falling yellow-green leaves and red fruits are governing the side of the path. Rusty, suffering wagons and other machines – discharged due to their depression – are peeking through the autumn-colored brushwood. Magpies are impatiently throwing walnuts on the asphalt and from time to time a shaky student driver practices how to go backwards with the car. The sound of sirens is always around, emitted by yellow ambulances continuously racing over the bridge.

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A little more than ten years ago the walls of the MeetFactory were empty and bare of everything valuable or useful. It was a structure of cement in a no man’s land between motorway and rail tracks. After the first renovations the organizers started implementing their program of contemporary theatre, fine arts (including residencies) and music. The music, meanwhile, is mostly rock, metal and dance parties. At the beginning, the place was wild and raw but over the years its interior changed to a sort of industrial chique. The events take place in the main hall, which feels like any other rock stage. To its opposite there is the theatre hall, a smaller space. Its comforting and intimate density convinced your modest reporter immediately upon entering. The café in the bright and lofty foyer and the spacious gallery open at 1 pm and are freely accessible. Now and then young people come by, presumably from the residency programs; they converse in the art-pidgin-English that is so colorful in accents, they see the exhibitions, explain works of art of the exhibition and have a seat on the red chairs at the black tables in order to have one of the delicious coffees, and some, how bizarre, have red wine. If there is no concert or theatre piece in the evening, the place closes at 8 pm.

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I owe my invitation to the festival and my accommodation in an apartment in the building annexed to the MeetFactory to Petr Vrba, one of the main curators of the festival. Two days before the festival we agreed upon meeting two tram stations north of the MeetFactory at the Smíchovské Nádraží, the southern regional train station and navel of the sea horse. The sky is a grey block under which reddish-brown buildings loom like gigantic meteorites, trams and buses prevail in the street. Petr proposed to get together in the train station pub Oaza, so I am waiting there. It has the generosity of a noble coffee house, a lot of space and light, few but large tables, wide industrial windows and a veritable feeling of journeying to the wide world, or at least to another country in its air. On the walls there are portraits of Ivan Martin Jirous, also known as Magor, the maniac. This former regular customer of Oaza published numerous volumes of poetry, he was an art historian and mastermind of the dissident rock group The Plastic People of the Universe. Because of his activities in the 1970s and 80s he went to prison for longer periods several times1.

The pub is legendary, Petr says, but the whole area around the train station is soon going to be torn down. It is the property of the Sekyra-Group, a developer-group, that is working steadily, also bureaucratically, on collecting all approvals and permissions to demolish the plot of land in order to plant high-price apartment buildings and shopping malls there, like they already did in other parts of Prague. Given this situation, last year, Michal Kindernay and Vedula Guhová made an installation with the sounds of the brownfields, the rails and voices of the residents of Smíchov, that may soon have to abandon the neighborhood.

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Alternativa
The 45-year-old Petr Vrba is a musician, organizer and curator2. Over the last years he has worked for bigger and smaller festivals in Czech republic and organized concert series where he was responsible for the program. Before he became part of the Alternativa festival, he curated the vs. Interpretation festival in 20163. It helps a lot to be part of the scene, he says, when it comes to selecting musicians and/or bands for the program as well as for the communication. In consequence of his travels and direct contact with the world of musicians and improvisers, he knows much more than many sedentary/non-traveling organizers and he can count on with most musicians’ basic trust in what he proposes, even if it seems a little bit unusual sometimes. Unlike the year before, Petr Vrba himself is going to perform this year on stage.

His colleague Roman Odjinud, around ten years younger, runs the (off)space Punctum where they continuously organize concerts, cinema, workshops, etc. On their website they characterize the venue as follows: “Punctum is a community project residing in Prague’s Žižkov district. A home base for various creative and educational activities. Its purpose is to connect people from different subcultures and backgrounds in order to create new impulses for collaboration and communication. We work with non-profit organisations, students and other individuals that support the local alternative scene. The output being concerts, workshops, discussions, theatre performances, author’s readings and yoga classes.” The district of Žižkov ascends east of the centre and appears to be well-bourgeois and, as a matter of fact, is very beautiful. Changing uphill, going slowly, the Krásova leads to the television tower

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to which crawling babies are affixed, another art installation by David Cerný. To the punks from Punctum this is an incredibly unimportant fact. Cerný‘s reputation in the free scene is, to put it very carefully, not good. Keep on moving up the hill now, to the right hand there is the residential building Krásova number 27. If the front gate is closed, you ring at Punctum. You pass a corridor and arrive in the backyard where a staircase leads to a terrace at the level of a mezzanine. Passing one or two doors one enters the concert space which gives the impression of a rehearsal room for dancers without a mirror. The wooden boards on the floor are brushed in light green pastel and the high white walls are partly covered with black curtains. Another door leads to the kitchen/bar where they cook vegan food for the staff. On the ceiling someone painted: Petr Vrbas private free jazz club.

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For 27 years the Alternativa has been organized as one of several events by the non-profit-organization Unijazz. The festival was very important in the 1990s, in the years after the Sametová revoluce, because the music that could be presented then was really alternative4. After some years, according to Vrba and Odjinud from their audience-point-of-view, the course of the program lead towards a “paying-the-debts-attitude”, which means that many of the invited musicians, who had not been allowed to play in the Czech republic because of the political situation before the Velvet revolution, already had already passed their zenith and were musically not that interesting anymore. The Alternativa was developing towards being a festival for the older generation.

Roman Odjinud started working for Unijazz/Alternativa some years ago as a stagehand. After various other occupations he is now part of the curator team, together with Vrba. When they started working together two years ago, they formulated several objectives in order to bring a young audience to the festival and even more, to motivate them to taste more experimental forms of music. The most important aspects of their visions are:

The festival should take place in only one venue. (Hitherto it was spread over several places in the city over a longer period of time).

It must be accessible for young local musicians. (Until 2018, a “small Alternativa” took place where local groups were competing for a place on the stage of the main festival. This was abolished.)

As there is no big audience for this kind of music, the work for the festival (which, by the way, is not paid well at all) has to be seen as a marathon and not as a sprint, says Vrba, who mentions the Music Unlimited Festival in Wels explicitly as an example. The goal is to establish trust in the curatorial sense of the organizers among the younger music fans in order to introduce them to music that is little known or even unknown to them.

On the weekend that precedes the festival, local guest-curators are invited to positively take advantage of the structures of the Alternativa in order to widen the musical spectrum of the festival.

The festival gets a certain dramaturgy.

2These “artist-organizers”, to coin a term, are keeping alive experimental and improvised music, be it in Prague, Vienna, Mexico City, Sydney, Beirut and other parts of the world in between festivals.

4A list of all festival programs: http://alternativa-festival.cz/about-the-festival

 

 

Espacia

During the three days that preceded the festival, your author was enjoying the life and ambience in the Mesopotamia of Prague, met the persons responsible for the festival and the MeetFactory and, with his heart beating for joy, researched the political transformations that – scented with a flowery hope – are taking place in Prague: In 2018 Zdeněk Hřib from the pirate party took office in the town hall. Then the festival began.

What follows is not a simple description of the concerts but their contextualization with the space where they took place, in short: a concertualization. The space is constituted by the relation between the physical circumstances (shapes, colors, sizes, materials) and the people present as well as by the music that serves as an emulsifier between the three equivalent parts. Over the course of three days, the per se sober space underwent a series of (actually physically impossible) deformations that can only be described through the most subjective perceptions of your correspondent which traverse strobo-flashing clouds and fine, rose-transparent, serpentesquely moving curtains. Citations from the program in italics.

The first band, Scattered Purgatory, transcended the main hall with a musical-ritualistic folk-styled psychedelic drone metal performance. In front of the stage, between the musicians and the audience, a one-meter-taiwanese-chinese marionette

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Foto: Anna Baštýřová

– like a possessed staccato-shaman – painted the floor and its puppeteer, who was dressed in “traditional” clothes, in white. This generated an hypnotic force that seized the audience for the entire duration of the performance. At the end of this Taoist ritual of redeeming innocent souls, a small fire broke out on stage: a tissue was torched by a flare from hell. After that, in the theatre hall, Peter Orins was endeavoring to air and open the space upwardly. His slow and concentrated drum solo created space for thinking in the air pockets between the sounds within the widely phrased music. Afterwards came JD Zazie (electronics and turntables), who expanded the space of the main hall like a colorfully painted accordion (inside) and installed another iron girder along the half-circle of a horizon vibrating brightly and darkly. Pause. After the break, the space was slowed down completely by Polish band Księżyc. Two women – the singers of the group –, very much alike the Bateleur (I) of the Tarot de Marseille, were standing behind tables burdened with glass bowls, mirrors and alchemistic artifacts. The ensemble played a two-hour medieval soothsaying-concert that was at the same time familiar to your polyglot reporter forever committed to the truth, as well as completely incomprehensible. The night culminated in an ethereal obscuration of the theatre hall that was played by the young Czech band Lebanon: Barrels, napalm. Standard ambient noise surface sheet metal voice satanic ass bleach. Bombs. In cases of acute fatigue, apply disco. It was loud and fun but too prepared to really carry away the audience. So we stayed for another beer.

On the second day, around midday, the seven members of the band Butcher’s Cleaver arrived for the second rehearsal like seven freshly showered golems: Joke Lanz, turntables; Pasi Mäkelä, guitar and voice; Peter Orins, drums; Philipp Quehenberger, synthesizer; Jasper Stadhouders, guitar and electric bass; Petr Vrba, trumpet and electronics; and Christian Weber, electric bass. The bright floor was being swept and, as the bitumen outside was still wet from the rain the night before, the golems left a black watery line on the shiny cement that lead from the entry through the café to the main hall, where they were to play the last concert on the third night. The cleaning lady was indulgently leaning on her mop, watching the mob with nonchalance. The afternoon was gloomy, almost no trains were passing by, the motorway was silently murmuring on the other side, covering all frequencies; the frequency of the ambulances also remained constant.

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In the evening, the first concert took place in the theatre hall: Philipp Quehenberger, Jasper Stadhouders and Tomáš Procházka (guitar). Sometimes it is not easy when musicians meet and improvise for first time on stage. They filled the space with the surface of dark waters. Quehenberger and Procházka wanted to dive and disappear in order to investigate the psychedelic depths but every time they went underwater, Stadhouders rang his alarm and woke them from dreaming and brought them back to the surface. Your author would have appreciated to descend with the two divers who never ceased to pull downward – I hung myself with all my concentration on the keys and strings in order to disappear completely in the space. The second concert in the theatre hall was performed by Christian Weber (double bass, this time) and Joke Lanz, who, au contraire to the first group, have had a long-lasting collaboration. They created a detached and easygoing performance with a lot of humor so that the space became a permeable site where the atmosphere of the room could trespass the skins and flow into the bodies of the audience members. The listeners coalesced with the wooden planks they were sitting on, with the black curtains they were leaning on, with the Czech beer and slivovica they were carrying in their gestalt.

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Foto: Anna Baštýřová

Before the Weber-Lanz-concert, Rashad Becker performed in the main hall, like Valerio Tricoli (who played the last concert of the evening): solo electronics in the widest sense. Both demonstrated their mastery and the beauty of electronic and electro-acoustic sound; through their music they proved the existence of the space, the room, that we all are really here. They penciled over the contours of the hall with white Chinese ink, the glass and the lamps seemed polished, walls and pillars newly painted in black, the light was clear and the darkness could be shifted with the palm of the hand. The penultimate concert was performed by the KRK large group: George Cremasci, double bass; Matthew Ostrowski, electronics; Renata Raková, clarinet; Michaela Turcerová, saxophone; and Burkhard Beins, percussion. They stretched the space fata-morganically clear towards the distant which induced an atmosphere of departure like listening to an Alban Berg string quartet from small speakers on a grey midday in an empty kitchen, drinking strong beer out of a wine glass.

On the third day, your strolling correspondent made a trip to the tourist town and visited streets, towers, hills and trees he knew from the past. Nostalgia did not arise, but in the face of the masses of tourists I was overwhelmed by a weltschmerz that was fatal. Dizzy dizzy(ly) I followed the shape of a person that seemed highly familiar, however, I could not reach her without accelerating my pace. I chased the shape traversing the Staroměstské náměstí and hastened into a narrow and almost deserted alley where I finally slowed down. I had lost the bizarre and and well-known gestalt. The street was empty. And in this emptiness, in this hole in the general hubbub, my memory found space: it was the Golem, the genuine Golem. And as I looked up, I saw him on the roof of a building on the other side of the street, he stopped for a second, waved imperceptibly and disappeared.

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The third evening in the MeetFactory started with Paregorik, a young Czech noise-electronic musician who filled the space with transparent electronic pressure that moved the audience closer and closer together until they felt like (in parenthesis), a list of names, separated by commas in between two lines that are bending concavely. The trio Ruinu, consisting of Jan Klamm, guitar, Patrik Pelikán, saxophone, and Ondřej Parus, drums, kept up the pressure, but in inbetween the instruments valves opened up through which the pressure could escape with loud squeaks like air leaving a balloon. After this, it took a while for the space to shrink back to its urform. It was still a little shaky when Thomas Ankersmit started his extensive sonic study of electronic music [which] incorporates Serge Modular feedback and random sine wave generators, a contact mic and tape speed variation. He found dimensions in the space that reached far out through the black walls of the main hall, but were only perceptible within the room. Your author sat right in front of the musician and became a witness of a hitherto ignored phenomenon. The highs of the music produced a feedback inside the ears whereas at the same time the deep murmuring of two people in the back of the space was audible: it was like listening to one voice coming from the inside and one voice coming from the outside of the body. The whole set possessed a classic beauty that one has to master in order not to be struck dead by kitsch. Then came the conclusion of the festival with the band Butcher’s Cleaver: Kombinace rituálního redukcionismu s orgiastickou hravostí, rušivých pschedelických groovů s provokující komunikací, ponerého pomalého tempa s frenetickými útoky nebo armosférických zvukowých ploch s nepředvídatelným hlukem. It was big fun. After three rehearsals the band had a really good sound, a few tricks and some discipline. The space was laughing and really: jistí si můžeme být pouze absencí ticha.

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More fotos from Anna Baštýřová:

https://www.fullmoonzine.cz/galerie/festival-alternativa-2019-2-11-2019-meetfactory-praha0?fbclid=IwAR3ZwsEi6VY54AQTRFFHp0M9wiW0iTpbGpfvHbBqw-UuuvhYXm0JfTG4Irg

https://www.facebook.com/pg/andulinna/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2494746567306591
https://www.facebook.com/pg/andulinna/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2495482607232987
https://www.facebook.com/pg/andulinna/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2510014622446452
https://www.facebook.com/pg/andulinna/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2516702025111045