A Long Introduction to a Short Story on Radio On

Last year, inspired by radiophonic music, I started to use a microphone during some of my performances. The collaboration with Haarmann in our duo De Drones was the biggest reason for this. Live in Paris, a recording from a live set at Madame Claude in Berlin, might give you an impression.

March, 2009 I participated in Sonor, a festival for radiophonic listening. I experienced two days of radio in the making. It influenced my view on how to built up my live sets. This decision must have been in the making ever since an evening in Paris, some years ago. I played with two other dictaphonists and a double bass player: a quartet was born. Diktat has been and still is dear to me. With them a wild cut up of sounds, a whirlwind of voices, gave access to a primordial world. Entering it, a novelist’s mouth could only fall wide open with amazement. Imagine the characters of all the books in a library come alive. Imagine the street- and nature scenes become audible: imagine the librarian doing his job in peace. You get close to the sound of Diktat.

A third collaboration started in an old factory turned storage place for artists. In a kind of “the Führer’s bunker meets the last days of Rome”- situation, I lived my first year in Berlin. Adrian Shephard and I discovered a fascination for idiosyncratic radio. We produced 24 hours. Some of those hours found access to local FM stations.

When a faction of the collection of artists united in a mutiny against the captain of the place, and rightfully kicked the madman out, I decided it was time to move. Adrian and I lost sight of each other. This year (2009) we discovered we were neighbors. The collaboration continued.

We changed our style a bit, left out the music more and more, and concentrated on building layers and layers of different absurdities. Some of them got transmitted by RadioX in Frankfurt. Verena Kuni, radio maker in Hessen, then asked for our help. Could we produce a radiophonic work within a week? We could. And here I discovered for a second time the joys of making up a story amidst sounds.

Radio On went on. A program on Past, Present and Future of Staalplaat got inserted in the radiophonic creation day. Interviews with filmmaker Craig Davis and blogger/musician Momus are stored on line, more will come.

But.

Adrian and I turned also to performing live sets. We got joined by Barnaby Tree and his cello. (And by Andy Graydon on another occasion) Should I say it added a dramatic touch to our presentations? Fact is that Barnaby’s cello acts as an extra voice, while Adrian designs the sonic setting in the best BBC radiophonic workshop tradition.

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These days things seem to come together. The real experiment for me will be if I can come up with a story. It will come to me hopefully on the evening of the tenth of July. If it doesn’t the audience have to make up the story by themselves. Adrian and Barnaby will be there, but also two violin players, recruted by Barnaby: Daniella Grim and Nick Reddel.

10 July – The Tempelhof Mystery by Radio On and Barnaby Tree Trio Live at Sowieso, Weisestrasse 24, Berlin Neukölln, U8 Leinestrasse. Starts 21.00

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