12 March 2006

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Feb 25/Stockholm (night two): A performance at the Stockholm New Music Festival under the moniker, “Place Is The Space.” Lineup: Mats Gustafsson, myself (reeds), David Stackenas (guitar), Paal Nilssen-Love (drums), Lasse Marhaug and Henrik Rylander (electronics). Mats organized the music around the idea of having the reeds play a selection of Sun Ra’s themes while leaving the rest of the ensemble to improvise freely, as two lines running in parallel. We had one rehearsal, the day before, and the whole thing worked quite well; was extremely impressed by the way Lasse and Henrik (who I had never heard before) worked together. Their approaches were so distict that the electronics never turned into an empty wall of noise, lots of detail and communication. The performance went quite well, a large audience in a big hall and we ended up with decent sound despite the fact that the acoustics weren’t really suited to the volume and density sometimes projected by the music. Swedish radio recorded the gig, so hopefully there’s a worthwhile tape to listen to. Didn’t really connect to much of the other music I heard that night, maybe because I was pretty exhausted and sick by that point in the tour, but there was a performance by Henrik with Pansonic that was really interesting, though I’m not sure why, with the potential freedom of electonically organized rhythms, so much of it seems to take place in 4/4 time. Something great about Autechre, new sounds AND rhythms.

After getting back to Chicago my main musical work was the mix of the new Vandermark 5 album, “A Discontinuous Line,” on the 6th and 7th of March with Bob Weston at the board, with assistance from Fred Lonberg-Holm and Tim Daisy (many thanks, gentlemen!). The results of the performances and the recording came out very, very well- a great first document of the new lineup. Sequence: “Convertible Version 1,” “Reciprocal,” “La Dernier Cri,” “Some Not All,” “Morricone,” “Convertible Version 2,” and “The Ladder.” About 70 minutes, which for a lot of folks is too long, but with the sequencing and variety the whole thing makes sense (to my ears anyway). After two days straight of dealing with these pieces, having to play them with the quintet at the Bottle after leaving the studio on the 7th which was very tough, things like that DRIVE me to write new material- I’ve got to hear something new. It was our tenth year of Tuesday nights at that club. Looked around, and the only person in that room who was there from the beginning was Kent Kessler. Between sets Mars Williams dropped by to say hello after his own gig that night. “Hey man, you’ve been here for 10 years!” Mars was there at the start, and other than his congratulations it was business as usual, another night, another concert, another try at finding something worthwhile to say.

Ken Vandermark, somewhere in Arizona, 3/12/06

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