Baltan Night at Almost Cinema

Last friday I was in Gent, at the Baltan Laboratories Night of the Almost Cinema festival at the Vooruit. (Oops, ugly sentence in – at – of – at, anyway). I was nervous, having to moderate a talk with Edwin van der Heide, Lucas van der Velden, Bas van Koolwijk, Gert-Jan Prins and Tez, previous to 3 performances. Of course it went fine (as others said), and afterwards I could enjoy the 3 performances, having done my job.

First act: the Synchronator played by its creators Gert-Jan Prins and Bas van Koolwijk. This night was actually a kind of ‘premiere’, as the product, a neat box that adds video sync pulses and color coding to an audio input, was for the first time available, and for sale. (The very first one was bought that night by Edwin van der Heide): I have seen both playing with previous set-ups before, but I do not remember that I’d ever seen them as duo. Seeing them as a duo adds a lot to the performance, as it is not only a discovery, a dialogue and a struggle between performer and instrument, resulting in sound and images. It doubles it, no squares it, by the dialogue and struggle that goes on between Bas van Koolwijk and Gert-Jan Prins. The audience follows that – and also sees how Bas van Koolwijk is more prone to ‘hook’ onto visual developments, whereas Get-jan Prins more often concentrates on what he finds in the sounds. Top.

The immersive audiovisual composition PV686 of Tez I’d seen and heard in a previous form at Sonic Acts. Here the circumstances were much better, with the four speakers in a square, and our ears on the height of the speakers. In that way the auditory illusion of the binaural beats could be enjoyed to its max, and I was happy to be able to quietly sit through the whole piece, also discovering that I found the use of flicker rather mild. (Normally I’m quick to leave when there’s a heavy use of flicker, I can’t stand strobscopes for a long time, but in PV686, it’s just the screen with slowly changing colors that flickers.) It is a rather meditative piece. I did not find the sound loud, yet some in the audience found it loud. It seemed to me that they interpreted the binaural beats as being ‘loud sounds’.

Edwin van de Heide played his LSP in the large nineteenth-century ‘balzaal’. I’ve seen it at least twice before, but never in a circumstance where I could fully concentrate on his performance. I was enthralled and fascinated this time with how he sculpts spaces with the laser and the colors. It’s SF-like, sure, and it’s the 3D-illusion, it’s like travelling into outer space, seeing the dimensions open up – all of that. But it is subtle, it is not at any moment corny, not at any moment a ‘big laser show’ on a techno party, it’s compositionally precise using all of the previous aspects to create an audiovisual experience that is interesting in itself.

Just a shame that the audience was so small. (On the other hand, that presented for those present an opportunity to enjoy it all without any distraction.)

art,en,music,software | October 16, 2009 | 14:57 | Comments Off on Baltan Night at Almost Cinema |

DNK 2: Australian / Swiss noise

The second of hopefully a series of rambling reviews of DNK-events, in which I will not try hard to stick to rules of good journalism, so there might be run-on sentences and you might stumble upon completely unrelated or irrelevant observations. Not to mention the spelling mistakes. Served here FYI.

[Oh, all the things you promise yourself to do. You really need perseverance, a bit of time, some stubborness, and a bit of being blind and deaf to other obligations, to keep those promises. Even quickly writing a few lines takes me more time than I’m willing to admit.]

I missed the second monday-concert of the 2009/2010 DNK-season which featured a solo performance by Kouhei Matsunaga and a reprise of the Avelãs-octet. Alas I also missed the DNK Local Noise! Night at the OCCII, with no less than seven acts, a.o. Brian McKenna, Johann Kauth and of course Andre Avelãs. Luckily I did make it to the jam-packed Australian night with a high profile program of 4 acts. I’ll give you my impressions here, and some reflections.

It started off with some straight-in-your-face hyperactive structured noise made by Australian composer/pianist Anthony Pateras on analogue stuff, and long-bearded Robin Fox on digital stuff. Though it was mostly impossible to discern which sounds exactly were made by whom, there was an element of dialogue, or maybe struggle, that made the flow of shrieks and noises interesting to listen to, apart from the element of constant discovery.

As if this was not enough (in volume and intensity), the Swiss saxophonist Antoine Chessex, started with presenting a true wall of noise, a hurricane blowing at the audience, generated by a massive distortion and heavy amplification of breathing into his tenorsax and sampled loops of it. I’ve hear Chessex before at DNK, and at the previous concert he started playing acoustically, and made a very captivating use of space and the contrast between amplified and non-amplified sounds. His approach starts where Brötzmann (and others) ended, he gives a new meaning to the tenor as an enormous “fog horn” sounding in from the sea. Chessex takes the most extreme elements of the “Machine Gun-tenor-approach”, and works wth them in a compositional way. (Also working with the space of sound). Standing waves (?) almost made the whole room vibrate and he sometimes blew almost inaudible on top of that. Reminiscent of Merzbow at its best. He ended with suddenly turning off all amplification and effects, and playing acoustically in the curtains. Then end. Again very impressive.

(Coming to think of it, it came close to what the grindcore band God was doing. I’ve heard them at Paradiso early nineties, the complete audience left, apart about 10 people, and at some point M., a friend of mine, held his ear in front of Tim Hodginkson’s sax and could not hear the sax-sound, although Hodginkson was blowing at the top of his lungs. But with God it was as if it was a case of badly balanced sound, here it was clear that it all sounded as intended).

The third set was a solo by Robin Fox, using laser. For me it was the second laser-performance in 4 days, and though there is always an initial sense of wonder on seeing the 3D-illusion, this set disappointed a bit. Or I should say that seeing Robin Fox, made clear how subtle, and complex LSP of Edwin van der Heide is, how much larger his repertoire and idiom is. Fox ony used one laser beam and no color. His mapping of sound to laser was rather dull in comparasion to Edwin van der Heide. It would have been fine for ten or fifteen minutes max, but the longer he played, the more it became apparant that the translation to laser of his improvised noise also took away the interestingness of the sound. On the other hand: the audience seemed to love it. Oh, and of course the fire alarm went off during the performance.

The night ended with the duo that I was most curious to hear: Pateras on piano with Max Kohane on drums. PIVIXKI is an ultra high energy piano-drums duo, spitting out ADHD metal-licks and condensed freejazz motives. Naked City in its hardcore-phase, only possibly more intense. There’s not one second rest, and after ten minutes of playing both are sweating ‘like hell’. The only negative thing I could say about it was that it was programmed as the last act: I was already too tired to enjoy it fully, intensely.

DNK,en,music | October 16, 2009 | 14:22 | Comments Off on DNK 2: Australian / Swiss noise |

132 / 1015 / 1.20

Einde van de middag. Zonnig herfstweer en een koude noordenwind. Laagstaande zon op bomen met verkleurende bladeren. Raar rondje met stukjes Bijlmer, Gaasperplas en Gaasperzoom.

Marcusstraat – Weespertrekvaart – Diemen – Bijlmer – Gaasperpark – Gaasperzoom – Gein – Abcoude – Ouderkerk – Amstel – Marcusstraat


cycling,nl | October 15, 2009 | 20:56 | Comments Off on 132 / 1015 / 1.20 |

131 / 1013 / 1.10

Kort ritje aan het einde van de middag, na werk. Zonnig herfstweer, aanmerkelijk kouder.

Marcusstraat – Ringdijk – Diemerpark – kanaal – Driemond – Gaasp – Penbos – Diemen – De Meer – Betondorp – snelweg – Marcusstraat


cycling,nl | October 15, 2009 | 20:31 | Comments Off on 131 / 1013 / 1.10 |

130 / 1011 / 3.20

Zondagmiddag. Wat regen, dan wolken en veel zon en aan het einde weer een bui. Herfstweer. Flinke zuidwestenwind. Ik liet de windrichting de route bepalen. 14.50 – 18.20.

Marcusstraat – Amstel – Amsterdamse Bos – Takkade – Aalsmeer – Vuurlijn – De Kwakel – Blokland – Noordeinde – Zevenhoven – Noordse Dorp – Woerdense Verlaat – Geerkade – Portengense Zuwe – Boterwal – Oukoop – Loenersloot – Baambrugge – kanaal – Diemerpark – Ringdijk – Marcusstraat


cycling,nl | October 11, 2009 | 21:24 | Comments Off on 130 / 1011 / 3.20 |

129 / 1008 / 1.47

Thuis schrijven en werken in de zon, dan aan het einde van de middag als de concentratie afneemt een ritje maken. Prachtig herfstweer, laagstaande zon = mooi licht. (47 km).

Marcusstraat – Amstel – Ouderkerk – Ronde Hoep West – Veldweg – Waverveen – Botshol – Ronde Hoep (klein stukje Winkel v.v.) – Ouderkerk – Amstel – Marcusstraat


cycling,nl | October 8, 2009 | 20:25 | Comments Off on 129 / 1008 / 1.47 |

128 / 1006 / 2.20

Dinsdagmiddag, tot Deventer met de trein, vanaf daar met de fiets naar Almelo om mijn ouders te bezoeken. Bewolkt en mild, een regenzone die tergend langzaam in noordelijke richting trok, en mij pas bereikte toen ik in Almelo was. 15 graden. Ik vind dat fijn fietsweer. Herfst. Het eerste stuk van de route is geen aanrader (als je mooi wilt rijden dan liever over Schalkhaar en later wat in zuidelijke richting), maar over de Borkeld = mooi, en de Burgemeester Knottebeltlaan rondom Rijssen is een racebaan door het bos.

Deventer – Colmschate – Bathem – t Loo – Borkeld – Rijssenseberg – Ypelo – kanaal – Almelo



cycling,nl | October 8, 2009 | 14:06 | Comments Off on 128 / 1006 / 2.20 |

De Paladijnen @ Perdu

Ah, and next week friday 16th, I will interview Han van der Vegt about his performance of De Paladijnen, at Perdu, Amsterdam:

Start copypaste:

De Paladijnen
Han van der Vegt en Sasker Scheerder
interview: Arie Altena

Aanvang: 20.30
Zaal open: 20.00

Na een niet nader omschreven Apocalyps, waarvan sporen in het landschap overal getuigen, is de mensheid onderverdeeld in twee groepen: de berijders van zogenaamde monsters, de erfgenamen van de huidige terreinwagens, die met nanotechniek volledig zelfvoorzienend zijn geworden, en schimmen, mensen die in de open lucht leven en zich langzamerhand aanpassen aan de nieuwe leefomstandigheden.

In Han van der Vegts epische sciencefictiongedicht De Paladijnen – geschreven in dactylische hexameters, de aloude heroïsche versvoet – volgen we de bemanning van een van de monsters. Ze verheerlijken een verleden waaraan ze geen herinnering hebben en een traditie die zelfs mondeling nauwelijks wordt overgedragen. Die traditie vertoont opmerkelijke parallellen met de graallegende. Zo zijn de oorspronkelijke bestuurders van de monsters (hun levens zijn inmiddels stilgelegd) paladijnen van een doodzieke koning. Zo zijn de monsters op zoek naar een graal. Hun navigatiesysteem, dat waarschijnlijk nog van voor de Apocalyps dateert, wijst hen zo goed en zo kwaad als dat gaat de weg.

Samen met geluidskunstenaar Sasker Scheerder heeft Han van der Vegt een voorstelling gemaakt in beeld, geluid en voordracht, waarin dit middeleeuwse sciencefictionepos tot leven komt. Samen brengen ze De Paladijnen vanavond integraal. Na de voorstelling schuiven Van Der Vegt en Scheerder aan bij Arie Altena voor een gesprek.

End copypaste.

art,en,free publicity,nl,ubiscribe,writing | October 8, 2009 | 13:05 | Comments Off on De Paladijnen @ Perdu |


Ah, and on saturday I’ll have to leave Gent early enough to be back in Amsterdam, because I’ll be performing with Oorbeek at the Cyclic!-event: bikes & art. I will be playing QuicktimePro and banjo (no I’m not joking), and wear my 1975/1976 Gitane-Campagnolo shirt:

art,cycling,en,music | October 8, 2009 | 12:07 | Comments Off on Cyclic! |

Almost Cinema

Tomorrow I’ll be in Gent. I will moderate a talk with Edwin van der Heide, TeZ, Lucas van der Velden (telcosystems), Bas van Koolwijk and Gert-Jan Prins as part of the Almost Cinema-program:

art,en,free publicity,music | October 8, 2009 | 12:04 | Comments Off on Almost Cinema |
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. | Arie Altena