9 May 2012

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Arrived in Vienna late on the night of the 3rd. Roomed a few days at the Furstenhof, the most musician-friendly hotel I’ve ever stayed in, breakfast until noon! Used the weekend to visit some of the incredible museums in town- “Claes Oldenburg: The Sixties,” and also “Pop And The Sixties” (at mumok) [enjoyed the early work of Oldenburg most; found the Pop exhibition to have more material I was interested in: Johns, Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein]; the “My Private Passion” show at the Kunstforum [this was an extraordinary private collection made available to the public: Serra, de Kooning, Twombly, Smith, Giacometti, Gorky, PIcasso, Horn; finally struck by the relationship between de Kooning’s sculptures and his drawings; Smith’s drawings/paintings and his sculptures; the visual connections between Twombly and Basquiat]; and returned to the Batliner collection, “Monet To Picasso,” at the Albertina. An incredible weekend of art, just scratching the surface of what’s available in Vienna.

The weekend was inspiring, and raised questions about developing personal technique(s)- at what point do these cease to be tools of a creative individualist and become mannerisms? Sunday I shifted my suitcase to Christof Kurzmann and Michaela Grill’s place; rehearsals started on Monday morning with Christof’s group, El Infierno Musical (w/Martin Brandlmayr, Eva Reiter, Clayton Thomas). The band had not worked together since December of 2009 (impossible to believe but true), when we performed in Europe and recorded our album, released on Mikroton. The rehearsal on Monday and Tuesday mornings were in preparation for concerts in Huesca, Spain and Belgrade, Serbia on the 15th and 17th. It’s remarkable how much material is remembered after two and a half order canada pharmacy years; and surprising who remembers what about the parts- you would think an individual would only remember their material, but the focus is so strong when working on a project, and the musicians rely on so many cues and references from each other, bits and pieces of memory come from all directions. Caught an evening of uneven performance art at Nada Lokal (an amazing performance space) with Christof on the 8th.

On the 9th he and I traveled with Martin Brandlmayr to play on a double bill with Fred Longerg-Holm’s group, Seval, in Wels. It was a really nice night, meeting musicians from Sweden I didn’t know (Sofia Jernberg, Patric Thorman, Emil Strandberg), and catching up with Fred and David Stackenäs. Their set was an intriguing combination of Pop Music and improvisation, the instrumentation of voice, trumpet, and strings remarkable. The trio with Christof and Martin had only played twice before- at the Nickelsdorf Konfrontationen in 2010, and in Vienna last spring- but there is something unique about the rapport and the material (almost completely improvised, but with specific structural fragments that alter the nature of the material, and some songs). This has motivated us to pursue the trio together more thoroughly, and a tour is planned for early 2013 in Europe. Our set went well, from my standpoint we could have used a real rehearsal (even though the compositional elements are just sketches, there are specifics that need to be realized for the music to work), but the music came across with all of its strange beauty. The group from our Nickelsdorf performance: