“In art, making demands on people means believing in them.”
– Helmut Lachenmann
from his liner notes to “Das Madchen mit den Schwefelholzern,” (ECM New Series 1858/59, 2004), pg. 26.†
-Part 1: The Free Music Ensemble tours Europe without sleep.
“VHAT ARE YOU DOING!?”
It was clear that I had made some mistakes. The first was assuming that because Paal Nilssen-Love had been allowed to use one of the venue’s computers it would then be okay for me to look for a pair of scissors in one of the office desks. The second was assuming that the German festival where FME was performing would have a nice, friendly relationship with the staff that worked at the concert hall where the gigs were taking place. Or, at least that said staff would have been told that they could possibly discover musicians in their office who might be looking to borrow a pair of scissors to cut a loose thread from one of their shirts.
“HEAR ME! WHY DO YOU SEARCH MY DESK?!”
Paal wisely kept his eyes focused on the computer screen in front of him, he didn’t want to get hit in the face by the spit that was flying through the air along with the invective being sprayed in my direction from across the room.
“I’m sorry, I was looking for..”
“NO! YOU LOOK FOR NOTHING! THAT IS MY DESK! DO I SEARCH YOUR DESK?! HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT?!”
“Hey, calm down.”
“ME CALM DOWN?!! YOU CALM DOWN!!”
“I’m not the one yelling.”
That did it. The office guy’s face went purple. “G-G-GET OUT RIGHT NOW!!”
And so began the Free Music Ensemble European tour, October 7th, 2006, in Mainz. At least the reception to our music was positive.
If you look at a map of Europe and the itinerary of our trip..
1. Mainz, Germany, 10/7
2. Krakow, Poland, 10/9
3. Jena, Germany, 10/10
4. Poznan, Poland, 10/11
5. Warsaw, Poland, 10/12
6. Florence, Italy, 10/13
7. Nickelsdorf, Austria, 10/14
8. Enschede, Holland, 10/16
..you will notice some disconcerting distances between most of the cities where we played, as well as an interesting back and forth pattern that dances across the continent. Welcome to the Catch-22 of contemporary touring.
© 2019 Ken Vandermark – musician & composer | Disclaimer