On my Central European tour last May I crisscrossed some countries of the former Warsaw Pact. Looking at Belarus from a slow train and see tiny villages with their wooden houses and unpaved roads brought to mind Tsjechov’s short stories. Minsk’s supposedly totalitarian architecture wasn’t so culture shocking. The totalitarian architecture in my native town Heerlen is more brutal.
During those weeks I visited places I had heard and read about in the books of Isaac Bashevis Singer: Vilna, Warsaw, Lublin. And you know what. The world described by Singer has disappeared. Most striking example is Krakow. Michal, my host in Warsaw, told me about his curiosity. He had wondered what would happen to that city, now that it had entered the bargain flights league. Kebab, pizza and pubs is the answer.
My concerts went well. A decisive change happened when, in Warsaw, I spent two days with Janina McCormack and Faezeh Araee of the blisspop group Elbis Rever. We improvised with my tapes and cassette players, when, out of the blue, Faezeh started to read poems and a book in Farsi. The brave girl read for hours while she walked from living room to kitchen and back again and thus created a natural fade in- fade out. The recordings were remixed by Janina and played during the Radio Zero radiofonic festival in Lisbon last summer, ‘Tabestan’ its title. A cassette and mini-(cassette) travelled along with me. From that day on Faezeh’s voice appeared at every performance.
At the end of the tour I had to tell some stories. In Graz I revealed the history of Jean Bordé, my fellow Diktateur’s double bass, how it was brought to Viëtnam in the nineteenthirties by a double bass orchestra formed by midgets, who were on tour with a group of female contortionists. In Budapest I made six blue garden gnomes explain how listening to field recordings can affect every day life practices.
When I arrived in Linz a few days prior to above mentioned appointments I had a story on my mind and Faezeh’s voice in my suitcase. The series I performed at in Linz were set up by Wolfgang Dorninger, an ex-dribbler of the local Linzer AK, who had to interupt a life full of fast rushes at a too young age. This series ‘Titel im Kopf, Klang im Körper” exists exclusively for us and juxtaposes our approaches of the use of home and outdoor recordings.
The second episode was hosted by Akustikon, a unique museum dedicated to sound. It had to close its doors a short while later. The local government apparently decided that there is enough to be heard in Linz.
On this release Faezeh’s voice is prominently heard, so is mine and so are the clicketiclacketi sounds of cassettes being picked up and placed in cassette players or back on the table.
‘Du weisst nicht wo Du sein wirdst’ is released by Julian Bonequi on Audition Records. The art work is by Aniana Heras. I don’t know if the man on the picture is me after a digital make up session, or an avatar.