7 May 2014

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MTB #3: WORK IN THE MIDWEST

“The single most important visual artist of the 1960s was neither Warhol nor Jasper Johns but Jean-Luc Godard. Not just the most important filmmaker, but the most important visual artist.”

-John Baldessari, from Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness, (Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press: 2014), by Mark Godfrey, Roxana Marcoci, Christopher Williams, and Matthew S. Witkovsky, pg. 48.

4/30/14: Made To Break got back to Chicago from Lexington, Kentucky on the evening of the 29th after dropping Jasper Stadhouders off at the Lexington airport to fly to Hungary to perform at the Mediawave festival as soon as he got off the plane. On the night of the 30th, I played a duo set with Christof Kurzmann at The Hideout which was followed by a trio set he played with Fred Lonberg-Holm and Michael Zerang. The turnout was pretty light, though comprised of mostly musicians which was nice, and John Corbett and the artist, John Sparagana, were there, as well as Kevin Drumm, who I haven’t seen in at least two years- he seemed great and we got to catch up a bit after the show; Kevin’s got a new booking agent coordinating concerts for him overseas (mostly solo performances) and he’s been extremely busy making records as well.

I felt that the duo set with Christof was very successful; it’s extremely unconventional music and therefore hard to gauge when I compare it to my other work. I utilize a different way of improvising, a “pattern music” where I explore spontaneous rhythmic/motif “mechanisms.” I missed one ending- there was a clear and perfect stop but it hit too quickly and I had already made a jump to another pitch and had to hang myself on that. Christof felt awkward about the music afterward, and I told him that I thought that our impressions of our duo performance at Christoph Amann’s studio in Vienna last July had been reversed. I felt that gig was a total failure until I accidentally heard it two days later, when I thought it was part of a track that we were mixing on the Made To Break recordings that were to become Cherchez La Femme. I wondered about the music because, though I really liked it, I didn’t recognize it from one of the MTB pieces- it was actually from the duo performance that I had been so discouraged and confused by a couple of days earlier. This really surprised me and made me realize that what Christof and I are working on in our duo context is quite unique, different enough that I’m finding myself in territory that I don’t have a pre-existing reference for.

5/01/14: I worked on catching up on projects (George Staicu designed the new Side A album, In The Abstract; and the Audio One cds arrived- the new label, Audiographic Records, is now a reality!). Then I went to Jazz Record Mart with Christof after lunch at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Chicago, Tank Noodle, where we met Dave Rempis, Michael Zerang, and Lisi Schweitzer. The evening was spent hanging out more with Christof and discussing music and film, particularly Godard. His insight and knowledge of this filmmaker inspire me to see more of Godard’s later films and search for his soundtracks, despite the fact that many of them are still so hard to come by.

5/02/14: The first rehearsal for Nick Macri playing bass with the full lineup of Made To Break. Nick did an excellent job on the new pieces- we basically ran each composition from the C series (Cherchez La Femme’s material) and the D series (the work prepared for the Barnes Foundation) separately, to make sure he could follow the the nuances every piece. Christof began working with processing software designed for the iPad, which seems to interface more quickly with the other instruments than his regular laptop. Afterward, it was time for more record shopping with Christof, this time at Dusty Groove before the art opening at the Corbett vs. Dempsey gallery for Charline von Heyl’s show, Interventionist Demonstration (Why-A-Duck?). Our primary reason to be there was to hear Joe McPhee in an unannounced solo performance for von Heyl, who is also a friend of Joe’s. He played a gorgeous version of Ornette Coleman’s, Lonely Woman, for her. Before Joe played, Christof and I hung out with with him at a Polish bar around the corner from the gallery. It was great to catch up with Joe and talk shop- he was doing really well, busy with performances, and was again complimentary about the Po Music album for Okka Disk that we created together. Motivated by this, I brought up the idea of doing more duo concerts and Joe was so enthusiastic about the idea that it will definitely become part of my agenda for next year.

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