17 May 2012

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Meet Mats Gustafsson in Vienna at the Substance record store on Monday the 14th to hang out and talk business with Konstantin Drobil, who runs the excellent Trost label as well as a great shop. Afterward I head with Mats to his apartment for a nice dinner and a chance to catch up before the tour with Sonore begins later in the week. Know that he’s a MAJOR record collector, but am treated to some extraordinarily rare material- Sun Ra’s first Saturn release (a 45 by the Arkestra from the 1950s), and Bunk Johnson whistling in the style of Buddy Bolden (a legendary recording I’ve only read about but never heard). Also subjected to a Material cut with Archie Shepp and Whitney Houston that is so bad it’s actually the best satire of 80s Pop that I’ve ever listened to.

Tuesday morning El Infierno Musical traveled to Huesca, Spain; a long trip that combines flying to Barcelona with a 3 hour ride by car. Soundcheck is interminable and tedious- every time it seems that things are coming together the soundman changes something at the board and we need to start the process of getting sounds all over again. Things finally come together after hours of repetitious work and we celebrate with an incredible meal. But we celebrate too soon- once the concert starts it’s clear that the levels have been reset yet again. The balance on stage between instruments is atrocious, Clayton Thomas can’t even hear himself, there’s no way to develop a strong sense of groove between parts. The band does the best it can, and with excellent musicians like Christof Kurzmann, Martin Brandlmayr, Eva Reiter, and Clayton, much is possible, if not the impossible. Wednesday I return to Vienna with most of the band, again with an early departure; try to catch up on a bit of sleep in the afternoon and work the rest of the day on logistics for future tours and projects.

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