22 September 2006

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Artist statement

“A few days ago, I was present at a discussion about the theater […] There was some question, I believe, of determining the future orientation of the theater and, in other terms, its destiny.

No one determined anything, and at no time was there any question of the true destiny of the theater, i.e., of what, by definition and essence, the theater is destined to represent, nor of the means at its disposal for realizing this destiny. On the contrary the theater seemed to me a sort of frozen world, its artists cramped among gestures that will never be good for anything again, brittle intonations which are already falling to pieces, music reduced to a kind of arithmetic whose figures are beginning to fade, some sort of luminous explosions, themselves congealed and responding to vague traces of movement- and around all this an extraordinary fluttering of men in black suits who quarrel over the receipts, at the threshold of a white-hot box office. As if the theatrical mechanism were henceforth reduced to all that surrounds it; and because it is reduced to what surrounds it and because the theater is reduced to everything that is not the theater, its atmosphere stinks in the nostrils of people of taste.”


from “The Theater And Its Double,” (Grove Press: 1958), by Antonin Artaud, pg. 45.

-FREE FALL

The TERRITORY BAND-6 work finished on Thursday the 24th of August, the European musicians flew home on Friday, and work on the new FREE FALL recording began on Saturday. We started rehearsing in my basement a few hours after Håvard arrived by plane from Oslo, each of us with new compositions for the trio. Another rehearsal on Sunday, quickly pulling the sounds together: the sessions felt like a cakewalk compared to the Territory Band rehearsals!

On Monday the three of us set up for recording at the Claudia Cassidy Theater in the Chicago Cultural Center, with Jason Ward engineering. The new material coalesced surprisingly fast, our tour in May strengthened the group interplay and clearly gave all of us some good ideas about what to write next for the ensemble. Despite the accelerated schedule (two days rehearsal before starting to record- much less preparation time than I’d prefer, but it’s all we had to work with) the first day went exceedingly well. We tackled one composition at a time- reviewing written passages, discussing form and improvisational strategies, hitting record- steadily moving through the set using this methodology. The next day, on the 29th, FREE FALL played and recorded a free concert in Claudia Cassidy at noon. Since the gig was so early I wasn’t sure what the turn out would be but we had a fantastic crowd. The performance proved to be tricky at times, one piece after another with no time for review, and Ingebrigt and Håvard got a bit lost during their car ride to the CCC (you can put Ingo in a car with the directions but that doesn’t seem to necessarily mean that he’ll understand the difference between left and right…) so things were pretty rushed before the gig started. Despite these issues we got to some good music during the concert, and when it was finished the trio re-recorded the pieces we weren’t completely happy with. This meant by the end of Tuesday we had at least two strong versions of every composition. In addition to this we recorded three pairs of duo improvisations. Håvard suggested the idea as a way to segue between the written pieces and as a tie to the way the group works in performance, integrating open improvisations with improvisation based on composed material. A fine stretch of work for the band, though I was struck by the fact that it was only our second chance to play in the United States even though FREE FALL has been together for years.

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