11.12.13

Crossed the wild mountains separating Greece from Albania. Sky so clear I could pick out goat trails below. Burn with the desire to run them.  Whisked away from Tirana airport in the clear Autumn sun to the town of Berat where poets and musicians are set to set each other on fire with the fuel of the local winemakers. My ears pick up a particular soft r sound rolling gently from the local voices. My tongue picks up the complex beauty of the local olives. Many times in a while, being a musician does have its perks.

In the no man’s land in which we players and writers and speakers and winemakers meet, no one can set down the parameters or measure the depth of our communion. Lovers of wine may have their adjectives galore and critics of music can clutch phrases from the void but the essence will remain out of reach and only to be tasted with more than the sum of our senses in a single moment  when two indescribables meet and collude to usurp time. In moments like these I don’t need to understand words.

05.12.13

A cold wind whips through Dublin but the many swans on the small canal simply face the wind, tread water and rub necks. Close by, the sound of four alto saxophones playing overtones is amplified by an Irish stone chimney and cast heaven-wards, only to be whipped away and blown back to the source.

There are many new works we are working on which I will write more about. Alpha-Theta is a piece for quartet which uses low difference tones to sonically mirror our brain waves as we pass from waking to sleeping state and dive through those wonderful few seconds of “Theta” when the world seems to open up. In between these chords the saxophones play overtone lullabies- simple melodies using the harmonic ladder- naught but numbers dancing in the wind.

This time I’ve included some spiritual songs as well- so that once in a while our feet can still touch the earth before we’re lifted off again by the Fibonacci series. Songs like Steal Away bring us down in a wonderful way and of course, true to our form, the arrangements are for alto-only ensemble.

The houses are low, simple bricked, two storied constructions in this part of Dublin ( with beautiful colored doors) and so the sky is wide open. Out alto range is also a mere two and a bit octaves, yet the open harmonic space above and below our fingered notes is just as boundless ( once we tune in). By spending some days tuning into the overtones, the clouds begin to clear in this space and the sky opens up.

[audio:http://www.1xN.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/stealaway.mp3]
26.11.13

Here is another full concert in HD from which I still carry fond memories. In June of this year I played in the Sendesaal of Bremen with the Albanian singer Eda Zari. We had known each other since our studies in Cologne but this was our first longer duo concert together. The music is a mixture of traditional songs and compositions of Eda, dosage who comes from a musical dynasty in her homeland. Enjoy!

19.11.13

I finally have the full concert ready of our interpretation of the music of Gurdjieff. All filmed and recorded in the insanely perfect acoustic haven of the Sendesaal Bremen during the Plushmusic Festival in June of this year. The pieces chosen from the collections of Gurdjieff are (in their performed order):

-Song of the Aisors
-When Gafar and Zeinab walk in a somnambulistic state
-Tibetan Dance
-Persian Song
-Oriental Song
-Assyrian Woman Mourners
-Reading from a Sacred Book
-Hymn No. 4
-Hymn pour Jour de Noel
-Kurd Melody from Isfahan
(encore)- Kurd Shepard Dance

Enjoy….

11.11.13

This is a summit of musical minds I have always held dearly- dearly because I feel they push each other on deeper into the songs in a most beautiful way. There are many great tracks on Coleman Hawkins encounters Ben Webster but the ballad It never entered my mind is one of my favorites. [audio:http://www.1xN.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/neverenteredmind.mp3]

On another frequency, link buy I was a bit suspicious of these new “energy saving” light bulbs mainly because of the quality of the light they produced. It never entered my mind that the story behind them could be so revealing. At the very least this German film reveals many not so kosher aspects of European policy making but there is much more too it than that…

04.11.13

Redemption on this tour came in the form of two souls who represent what a jazz venue is all about in an ideal world: spirit and love for the music. How strange that this seems to be the exception to the rule.

Jörg, the tour bus driver extraordinaire, realized his life’s dream by refurnishing an old mill an building his own concert space within, only kilometers away form the enigmatic and highly charged Externstein– certainly one of Germany’s more powerful centers of energy. Everything feels good at Jörg’s place- the spirit is right and we musicians can fly high with no one close to clip our wings. Hats off to his “Red Horn District”

Second on the list- Tobius from Reutlingen, who on a regular basis, clears the showroom of his contrabass workshop to make place for chairs and a small stage. Some locals turn up for some wine and jazz, Tobius sits in the corner smiling away to the swing, good vibes abound.

What sets these guys apart from so many of the others? The equation is a simple one my friend. These guys are in it for the love and not the cash. It is as simple as that. Now although our scene is not quite as extreme as the art world I have tasted it is still a cold , hard , bitter fact- one that can give us sound carriers a hard time, fighting against desires and wishes that have nothing whatsoever to do with our purpose in music but rather with making a buck. I would love to clone Joerg and Tobius a thousand fold and send them out into the world, spreading good vibes and sounds where ever they set foot

25.10.13

Within the space of a few days :

Naples- Autumn in full glory
Glistening see leading to Capri
A perfect concert hall and divinely tuned Piano
Post- concert Death of the divine variety  by espresso and mozzarella
400 delighted listeners
A World at peace

Paris- Grey and morbid
Rue St Denis: refuse piled high and retiree prostitutes stalking prey
Overpriced espresso cups filled to the brim and sickeningly sour
A small cellar Jazz Club scented with old carpet and spilt beer
An SM 58 rammed ingloriously down my Sax Bell
Wedges encircle me, cialis price a sound directly out of Hell
The rotten underbelly of Europe

19.10.13

This post is powered by some wickedly strong Naples espresso shortly before midnight. I arrived early from the Roma Termini station which is tittering delicately on the brink to being an apocalyptic theater- it’s seedy passages and neon lighting illuminate shredded channel adds, seedy coffee bars, and vast array of spicy characters. But the purpose of this post is not to state the obvious in another madly over-lit European city, it is to pay homage to a great album. Luckily and tellingly for me it was one of the first ever vinyls I have laid hands on and I will never forget listening to my first 7/8 bar- accidentally of course as the record was scratched on “Creeping up behind You” and the band was skipping. The Brecker Brother’s Debut album is in my books a timeless classic and I’m going to offer my favorite tracks from it right here, right now, baby. Sanborn is on fire and the whole band is tighter than a particularly tight thing. Now this choice may surprise some based on my tastes in saxophone sounds- well, it’s the lackluster copies I could never digest without feeling ill or aggressive- the original itself is a polished diamond deserving of praise and on this record the alto and tenor voices are just that.

[audio:http://www.1xN.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/breckerbros.mp3]

 

16.10.13

Coming out of the blue yonder beyond Olympus, adiposity the challenge of creating a score for a film about Sysiphus has completely obsessed me in the last month. Before I took up this challenge, search Sysiphus for me was an unlucky man who was punished for eternity to roll a boulder up a mountain. Now I see him differently. He is one of the few mortals to have actually held the gods in check and the film reveals this part of Sysiphus. He offers other mortals complete freedom but as it seems to be in the world, most of us could never live with the chains off for good- we would be crushed under the burden of true freedom.  Once a man like he witnesses the bottom of the abyss, the limits of his fellow mortals, and their abiding slavery of the spirit, his fate is all but sealed. My score uses prepared piano and guitar for the most part- with Bruno Müller and Philip Zoubek laying down the textures. I will post in 2014 when the film comes out.

[audio:http://www.1xN.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/sys1.mp3]
15.10.13

Although it’s been a whirlwind of a month, that would hardly qualify as an excuse for not writing. In brief I will simply part with some random thoughts.

During last month’s tour I was thrice informed by dear souls about the blogs of some other musicians. I shall not mention names, but without exception the tone and subject matter was each time something like:

Played last night to standing ovations in Schnitzelhausen, so blessed to see how deeply they dug our music. Then we stayed up till 3am in the local natural wine bar sampling some incredible unfiltered Bordeaux- Pierre from the shop was at the gig and so blown away that he wanted us to try all of his best wines! Then it was back to the hotel for an hour’s rest. After pressing out a fresh ginger juice with my new portable juicer I started my Kung fu and Vinyasa Flow Yoga routine at 400am to give me enough power for the long travel day to Wurstdorf where we have a huge gig in their new Philharmonic tonight in dolby surround ( my sax will really fill the room!). Luckily I sold so many CDs last night that my hand luggage is now below 10kgs! Just feel so blessed to be living this life…

I’d be interested to read a musician’s blog which mainly operates outside the realms of terse first person narrative- I’m sure there’s one out there somewhere. Or are we sound carriers so deeply self -centered that it is impossible for us to step outside ourselves and observe from another perspective? I’m probably just as guilty by degree.

Last week I played a larger concert in a jazz festival with two trios. One of the trios included electronics and prepared piano and I hereby respond to the few fans who bemoaned my band for being “lost in abstraction” and “putting clear melodies over electronics, doomed to fail”.

– Every single note I play I mean and every single set I put together I mean fully. I have the sound in my head yet I know well that by playing an improv set in certain jazz contexts I am risking affecting the buoyant vibe of the hall to some extent. I also know however that there are many listeners out there who feel and appreciate this risk. Carving out melodies or form out of thin air without a previously conceived harmonic base is like walking on a knife edge- you could perhaps slip and cut yourself and the listeners with something banal- or you could invoke something almost divine- or perhaps both at the same time- it is the game and the risk factor that really matters here. I strive for melody, new melody, and I get there by feeling every single note down to the core. I can also get up on stage and play stuff I know well, of course I do that often, sometimes too often for my taste- but this risk element is what defined the second set of that night. As far as being “lost in abstraction”- lost for me would mean losing control of the textures and form, this I certainly never let happen and in fact this never can happen if the poise I have involves having every note inside me before it’s released through the horn into the hall. And as far as the issue of playing melodies over electronics- this is absolutely subjective and not up to me to refute- I might as well say computers do not belong in dance music culture. The beautiful thing about the type of music I choose to play is that there are no rules. If you the listener can joyfully partake in our search, struggle, and gambles, then we can all give ourselves standing ovations deep into the night.

Why is it so dam difficult to write something meaningful about the music we play and improvise? I think it is is because:

– most writers are inevitably bound to use sweeping terms to describe unique phenomena
– we will never be able to leave the confines of subjectivity unless we move outside of the first person, a difficult feat in music journalism but I think if they began to describe their reactions in the third person they may start to understand a little more of themselves and their own conditioning. Could a dab of fiction bring us closer to the truth than it’s opposite? Sehr wohl sage ich.
– the music itself seems very much to operate on a more complex level than the ink on the paper. A two dimensional figure struggles to define 3 dimensional space I fear.

I do not simply take issue with music journalism which certainly isn’t the place to look for high calibre language deployment. Recently I observed the PhilCologne philosophy festival and marveled at the palpable limitations of the written and spoken language which everyone was struggling with to describe the various interpreations of the meaning of life.  If anything can aptly describe  indescribability, then it is another indescribability and nothing else. What do we then have in our measly armory? Poetry, music, dance – everything you can’t fully describe with the tools of mere language. And it seems you have to move outside of yourself with whatever means you have, even if it’s a mere pen.   

03.10.13

Right now we are touring with the new program of Root70 with strings: Riomar. Here is the title track of the album and the liner notes written by New York journalist Ahmet Shabo.

[audio:http://www.1xN.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/riomar.mp3]
14.09.13

In the fleeting moments of quietude I enjoyed in this past month of turmoil and upheaval, I mainly spent sketching new pieces. Some of them have a graphic form like this one, which I dare to post. Before I do, I should probably say don’t worry mum, I’m still alive. Well this one is a trio and each of the figures has three lines intersecting and interwinding. The downward motion is a descent of the given scale, the sideward motion is a change in amplitude or pressure- thus each figure is a frozen miniature of varying timing but of a single breath and made for three voices.

Returning from a small hiatus, I’ll be looking after a series of concerts this week together with Hans Martin from the Loft in Cologne. Here are the sets superimposed onto yours truly running through the north of Serbia:

18.07.13

144 minutes after touching the ground at the Nikola Tesla airport in Beo-grad – the white city– the rough plastic bottle bearing the homemade slivovic is nestled in my tight grip. Less than one minute later the first drops have passed the tonsil gate and are, with their precious essence coded within, surging towards their destination- my blood. The initial balkan punch of the distilled alchemy gives way quickly to the essence of the plum which explodes first on the palate and then slowly from within. Without moving from the spot I count the 3 minutes for my blood vessels to respond, sending telegraphs of delight back to my brain which in turns responds my evoking memories of the Balkans- from pain to ecstasy and back again- years within seconds. Outside smoke plumes twist and dance before blackened facades and cevab eateries. This one sip evokes my 19 years of memories in these lands and the crescendo of emotion doesn’t cease there, my blood and my brain continue to fire gentle shots back and forth whilst my soul casually observes. The plastic bottle is dangerously full and already speaking to me. The cyrillic letters of the street signs become engraved into my corneas as I slowly feel the millimeters between my sandals and the blackened concrete increase. Soon I am floating on the second floor and the lights shining of the meeting of the rivers are blinding. Will my sight be the first sense to fall victim to the first sip of the brew? Melodies are attacking me- will I ever harness them onto paper? Will I ever understand why I wanted to come here in the first place? Or am I but a little moth flying at top speed into the nearby bonfire?

10.07.13

For some strange reason I sometimes hesitate before I offer a drop of the essence- perhaps it is the feeling that beautiful things should be guarded in a world like this, lest the digital wasteland dries them up and turns them to dust. The spectacle is a greedy beast which seems to eat everything up without much discernment. Well, for a moment at least I will over come that feeling.

Here is a piece we will play in Greece this year at my workshop. It comes from Serbia and I choose it as it is a good example of an odd meter form that is stretched in a natural yet impossible-to-notate way. With all the rigid odd meters flying around in jazz it’s important to touch the essence as best we can. It’s called  Puce Puska: [audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/puce.mp3]

04.07.13

Last Saturday we performed the Charlie Parker with Strings scores in the difficult-to-put-into-words barn of Stelzen. The various instruments in the barn (the milk machine organ, viagra 60mg the manure organ, cialis the gongs and hammers) were used to replace some of the voices. The classical part of the ensemble was made up of Gewandhaus musicians from Leipzig.  I mae sure I had some chicken and fell asleep in a Taxi in nearby Reuth shortly before the gig. In more ways than one I was in Kansas in my heart when I played.  In short, here it was a blast, and here is a teaser, ripped from two humble overhead mics in the otherwise acoustic barn. The only tricky bit for me was the first few bars of the “Just Friends” solo- kind of wanted to leave those bars empty, so ineffably beautiful and towering his line was.  East of the Sun: [audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/eastmoon.mp3]

22.06.13

There is something soothing about this voice in this track- I don’t know where on earth this band happens to be but I would like to be there tonight. I can feel a couple of mosquito bites but the rest of the vibe in this lost club is sublime and makes me forget everything. I reach for my horn but my motions have slowed down so much I leave her be and simply settle for a cold drink under the lazy spinning fan and dim hanging light bulb. The lost club band is playing on a tiny stage in the corner and the smoke is whisked away quickly into the night by the sea breeze. I still don’t know where the hell I am and how I got here- better that way as right now I just need to lose myself completely.

[audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/lostclub.mp3]
19.06.13

This is a pic from the performance with Pina in Goseck on Saturday night. We started after midnight and finished at sunrise at 0430. It is always a joy to play with her even if the cold and incessant chatters posed some hurdles- sometimes the universe doesn’t let you have it easy.  Most of the folk were tucked away in their sleeping bags and we managed to lull them to sleep quickly. The nearby sun observatory is a delight.

15.06.13

It was a whirlwind of a musical week-we just shared two days of sublime music making in the Bremen Sendesaal. It was all filmed and recorded and I will have the films up on Plushmusic in the coming months. I’ve written about this room before- it never ceases to amaze me. I know no other place in which I can play quieter and still fill the room. In between the concerts I made an interview with Peter Schulze who wove the wonderful story of the hall.

The week began with our annual Moontower Foundation event and a performance with Pina in the buddha room- and that is how the week will end. Tonight I play with Pina an all-night performance in Goseck, close to one of the oldest solstice circles on the planet.

Pina tunes to 448 herz- it’s a challenge. I either approach her from above or below. Taking the looser path, my mouthpiece position now looks like this:

07.06.13

I happened across an excellent piece which lays out the plight of the Elephants in Africa. Sober reading. It seems to sum up well so many situations on this planet right now: a few scattered heroes fighting a losing battle against massive hoards filled with greed and stupidity in order to salvage what little remaining beauty there is on this orb- only this particular battle seems particularly desperate and acute- worth the read….

 

 

30.05.13

Of late I’ve been finally putting together my notes from the last 8 years of workshops in Greece into a semi-legible form. This year I’ve given a few longer workshops already and the nature of overtone and tuning work is that the experience of it is deepened gradually- the question being what one does with all the new information. For the most part I haven’t been using much secondary literature but rather my own trial and error. I’ve tried to formalize most of the work we have covered in the last 8 years and am also including some composition notes of the saxophone pieces I recently released in the box set. I have to really force myself to sit down and carry out tasks like this, I hope the results are worth it . For those interested in this year’s course, the applications are still open here. I think I should be proud of the fact that I am no longer listed under “jazz” but rather “traditional and folk music”- next year I’ll hopefully be running the modern dance course.

Otherwise I am working on sacred ground, finding new ways to present the classic Charlie Parker with strings recordings. We have the original scores and the original instrumentation at our disposal- but we also have the huge mechanic instrumental armory of the barn at Stelzen- the various organs and machines have been tuned and are ready to go. The concert will take place end of June here.

Usually when Jochen Rückert comes into my legendary ( not always for the right reasons) recording sessions, he doesn’t know what I’ve planned. Seconds after telling him I was making new versions of Parker with strings in the large P4 room in Berlin I snapped this:

And the other little going-on I can mention is the small festival in Bremen in June. for this I am working on a new program of the music of Gurdjieff. Again, it’s been quite a challenge. Thomas de Hartmann did a stellar job of transcribing the memory of the man but I believe the transcriptions themselves are more like clues to/fragments of/hints at a deeper teaching. It is up to us interpreters to unlock them truly. Let’s see if Philip and I can manage without being blinded by the light behind the huge Armenian door, slightly ajar.

22.05.13

This is a beautiful alep by Gopal Shankar Mishra. Time is stretched here- he constructs the raga for the listener o so slowly. The sonic atmosphere of the playing space is also a delight and you can pick up a few quiet conversations at the start. Raga Darbari is on the menu- a night raga. Easy to lose one’s self in, to be swept away gently by the moonlit river of time in which the ripples of our dreams meet each other and merge together,  mirroring the moon.

[audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/darbari.mp3]
13.05.13

More deeply Cologne-esque than yesterday evening you could not find:

Ominously dark clouds roll over the city but the late sun just cuts through. I walk down Eigelstein and the demolition sites and broken houses  are fully illuminated by the deep red. Pimps, drunks, and whores line the street. The scent of urine, filth, honey-like beer brewing fumes, cheap perfume, and doener meat: the true eau de Cologne.  Honest? Yes. Filthy? You betcha.

Past the main station and the conglomeration of the above groups intensifies. Under the tracks through the seedy underpass and so too the scents. The sun and clouds are  still casting the whole scene in divine light.

Minutes later I’m at the Philharmonic Hall and Stockhausen is on the menu. The playing is seamless yet the whole disappoints. The pieces desperately want to be taken seriously, even if the tidy musicians make frog sounds and honk into plastic vuvuzelas. The poise and gesture of the musicians, so desperately attuned to the complex scores, falls far short of the upper echelon of improvisors who can be in the moment and pull more sound from their instruments as they are not spending most of their energy reading and worrying. I gave Karlheinz a chance and took it all in, hoping that at least the gesamtform would be enough to offset the necessary flaccid diligence of the interpretation. But no- he doesn’t offer enough to warrant over 20 minutes of structures that have been fully explored and laid out after 3. Some humor tossed in in the mix could save it; but alas, any humor arising is unintentional. There are still many of his pieces and writings I deeply admire, but listening in 2013, many of his works no longer hold up and last night it was clear to see, just as the low sun illuminated the filth of the station area- not that Karlheinz’s musical world is filthy, but when strict order and compositional rigor are forced to their extreme and amplified by the massive taking-one’s-self-very-very-seriously factor, then the results also smell dubious. I would like to put Karlheinz on stage alone with a piano and a bottle of wine and take in his (as he often claimed) prestigious jazz  chops- then I would probably change my mind.

Now thinking galactic is never far away with Stahlheinz. Walking back through Eigelstein I had the vision  the two seediest little bars that street has to offer: Em Pötzje and Kajüte were suddenly blasted into space as a kind of brutally honest ambassador of earth, offsetting the voyager probes shot off some years ago to balance our books  in space so to speak.

12.05.13

Once in a blue moon, the universe decides to break up the usual monotony of the musician’s backstage and after-show paraphernalia. Usually, aside from the salt sticks, south african wine, dips, carrots, and red bull, we are lucky to see some posters of the rock groups that played before us or some random graffiti on cheap concrete walls. Yesterday was one of the those nights that was very different. The back stage itself was placed in some kind of office building and the long walk to the stage meant passing by rows and rows of drawings which caught my eye. On closer inspection I saw they were original prints of a German artist I have admired since quite some time: Horst Jansen. The guy is a veritable demon with the pen. It was truly mind-blowing to suddenly be in the middle of scores of his original etchings stage-bound in a little town 60kms north of Berlin.

It reminded me later of sitting in a little bar after a concert in Kronberg some years ago. I felt a prickling in the back of my neck but couldn’t figure out why. After my second gin fizz I turned and saw I was beneath  a  William Turner landscape. Surely not an original simply hanging unprotected in a bar? Yes, my friend- stranger things have happened. I promptly changed my seating direction and shared another drink with an artist I deeply admire, still thinking that it must either be a dream or an ibogaine dropped into my gin fizz and delighting in the dislocation.

 

07.05.13

My annual workshop in Greece is now online and applications are open on their website here. This year my course is split into two parts: one being the “G-string of Pythagoras”, an ongoing exploration into overtones, tuning, and the building blocks of the known universe as experienced through a moist saxophone reed; and the other a Balkan ensemble which will meet in the afternoons. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before, but the village of Agios Lavrentios is one of the most beautiful I have ever laid eyes upon. It’s worth the travel there to experience the mountain water alone cascading through the village.

This will be the 8th year of the workshop. Each year I deepen my experience of the instrument and my fields of study and happily share my insights for players of all levels. Most of my material is open source in the sense it can be applied to various genres and by players and teachers alike.

01.05.13

I just uploaded a film of our “Love in Numbers” performance in Greece here. This isn’t as easy piece to nail live, especially in a dry space- all the lads really gave it their best though, no one was caught offside, and in the end we won 13 to 8 so we can be happy with that result. Now it’s just about staying focused on the rest of the tournament, taking it one solstice at a time, and trying to avoid the incoming meteors.

During the match preparations we visited some hot springs and waterfalls outside Thessaloniki. From left: Bastian Duncker, Moritz Koether, your Author,and  James Wylie.

 

17.04.13

I’m going to drop some tracks from my current listening projects- what the purgatory.

From a New Zealand perspective, Bali is a surf paradise and not necessarily the home to tight and funky bands. I could harp on about the otherworldly tuning of this band but hey, we’re on the same planet, physically at least. This track is Kembang Kuning- played by some souls who probably know each other since their last birth. At minute it seems that someone in the band had ingested some magical bark or root and begun to invoke the distant island of Jamaica. Tight. Gorgeous.
[audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/kembang.mp3]

It is said that a lion is easier to tame than a Veena. Pandit Gopal Krishan is a multi instrumentalist who soars high on the Veena on this Raga. I speak sometimes in my courses about timbal listening or overtone  a type of listening we we focus more on the overtone space above the notes- well around the 3 minute mark in this track, Patdip, you can clearly hear them sing out, a phenomena increased even by the quality of this old cassette. It is a fulfilling type of listening, especially in musics like this in which the overtones line up between the instruments. It is the witnessing of the dance in the sky high above the tones played by us.
[audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/gopal1.mp3]

This a table duo of Ustad Ahmed Jan Thirakwa and Ustad Amir Hussain Khan playing over a Teental with a nice major/minor Lehra gently flowing beneath them. Right of the bat the men lay out their intentions very clearly, starting the track like nascars on the high bend, already in top gears and revving high.
[audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/teentaal1.mp3]

Devotional music sung by Aslam Khan- Raag Darbari. The dramatic curve in this 30 minute track is milked fully by Aslam and their are some moments close to the end of the track where someone has obviously bumped the on-switch on the flying carpet they were positioned upon tucked away in the mountains of Pakistan.
[audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/khandarbari.mp3]

Sufi devotional music played by a quartet consisting of Sueleyman Erguner, Kusi Erguner, Hasan Esen, and Nezih Uzel. If you start spinning slowly with this wonder with your eyes closed it would be best to use cordless headphones.
[audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/erguner2.mp3]

I find it highly amusing that in this digital wonderland, you actually have to make an effort to keep a site like this looking and functioning the same. This culture of incessant updates needs to be regarded as that what it really is: a tiny flash in the pan- a tale told by idiot signifying nothing really- something to be smiled at politely and then passed by. It’s not that I raise my middle finger to apple or wordpress, but I do feel it twitch insistently sometimes.

11.04.13

Enjoying some sunny days in dear Hellas. The concert in in Athens felt like playing at home, online like a miniature Mount Pilion with many familiar faces. Here, a piece of Graffiti I spotted the other day:

And a tankdrum I discovered at a friends place- a beautiful tool for listening to overtones in the 16-32 range and a highly addicitve instrument.

07.04.13

Finally my box set is officially available and can be safely ordered here on my page as well as the  individual CDs. Full downloads are available here as well as with the regular download sites. Here is the original post with information on all the CDs.

This week we present the work “Love in Numbers” in Thessaloniki and Athens.

 

29.03.13

For German readers who may have missed the radio play and my acting debut, viagra 100mg the download of “On Air” which was broadcast on WDR last Monday is here.

At the moment I am working on new arrangements of the music of Gurdjieff. I was delighted to stumble across an ensemble in Armenia which plays some his melodies on traditional instruments- restoring the original sound of that Gurdjieff surely had in his memory when they set them to paper and for the piano.

In other exciting news I will be performing the original Charlie Parker with strings scores with a full ensemble in June. Now how thrilling is that?

25.03.13

Travelling back from Mallorca to Germany I make sure I use every bit of space in my sax case- this means inserting tomatoes and lemons in the bell. Now why would I do that? Sadly, for all Germany’s technological and economic might (or maybe because of it), their tomatoes and lemons suck massive donkey schlong are far below my personal nutritional and taste standards. In the future and on my Mallorcan trips I’m seriously considering switching to baritone. My Most Luscious Tomato prize winner is currently Serbia with these little gorgeously mutated spanish  red babies close behind:

Tune in tonight to WDR radio or catch the stream of “on Air” here at 2300. It is my acting debut in a new radio play by the one and only Robert Nacken.

21.03.13

Of all the productions I have been involved with over the last years, this one was one of the most demanding. I produced the first 3 Bach Suites played by Claudio Bohorquez, filmed in a chapel on Mallorca. I have been practicing again in these chapel, hence this post. No matter where you are today, it is never easy to find a place which doesn’t suffer from noise pollution of some kind. This chapel is tucked away in a valley and our only problem was a donkey on heat, something the New Zealanders and South Africans in my team could easily deal with. I have fond memories of the time, no matter how high the obstacles were. The full production is here and below I share a movement. I play these suites a lot myself and am extremely picky in the meantime as to the interpretation of cellists. Claudio’s can certainly hold its own.

18.03.13

Filling up the spaces:

In the course of time I’ve noticed that Western music and most of the music that surrounds us in this part of the world is concerned mainly with filling up the empty spaces. The notes of our scales are separated by small steps, we fill up the octaves and leave nothing out. This approach to sound and music carries with it much larger ramifications and insights into our natures. In other parts of the world, musicians have elected to allow for more spaces, leaving out certain notes- there are thus fewer notes in each octave for each scale. This approach to space in sound also tells us a lot about the culture surrounding it. Neither one is necessarily closer to the truth but they are certainly enlightening. On Tuesdays I prefer the former, on weekends the emptiness.

Traveling a lot I am very aware of the spacial awareness of fellow travelers. Well, actually the lack of spacial awareness. Peoples vision is narrow and the ear-range limited. Protection perhaps? Shutting themselves off from too much information? Sensory overload? Either way my saxophone case on my back stops them from bumping into to me from behind and my suitcase wheeled in front takes care of the north. All I need is a doberman on each side and I’ll be safe.  Care to fray my nerves? Simply book the isle seat opposite me and thrust your oversized culete into my shoulder as you bend down to pick up your newspaper. Ah, the joys of modern travel.

12.03.13

In a lovely little wooden bar in NeuKoeln (Alter Loewe Rein Richardstr 31)  we will perform some Fibonacci fragments and more tonight in the alto quartet set-up. The little flyer is attached below.

Each day I stroll over the Warschauerstr bridge and maven at an old saxist who plays non stop no matter the weather, see the same 6 or 7 notes of a c major scale on a very soft reed. I have mixed reactions to the man but I admire his sticking power. When Berlin was gifted with 3 days of spring last week before the Winter returned, viagra 40mg he transformed himself by donning a suit. He was a new man but the reed was the same one.

04.03.13

The saxophone being one of the most flexible stylistic vehicles, I sometimes play outside of my usual form. Last week I enjoyed another concert with my African friends and for this I employ the tenor, slap on any reed that happens to be there,  don’t shy away from long periods of pentatonic, use a more agressive articulation- my embouchure and entire approach morphs to meet the music, but most importantly, I actually mean it. I put myself fully in the mindset of this music and no matter how naive or uncultured I may sound to someone who knows me in other forms, I am fully integrated in the flow of this music.

A fair parallel would be the mixed martial art forms of which I am a keen student of. Wrestling, kick boxing, grappling, Jujitsu, boxing, and other forms are mixed into one contest. Brutal to behold for some but nevertheless highly technical. The fighters have to not only be extremely flexible with their forms they have to often make huge adjustments according to the skills of their opponents. One of my personal favorites as far as styles go is Anderson Silva who takes his time to feel out is opponent before moving in for the kill.  On stage I have no opponents other than my wild mind but I need a similar mindset of ever readiness and flexibility. On top of that, when I play afrobeat sax I have to mean it otherwise I might as well pack up and go. As I see it, it is no longer enough to possess a mastery of only one form.

When the form reaches a certain level it can break through it’s own previously imposed limitations and mix actively with other forms. It need not lose it’s essence in the process. In the field of sound work the essence is the intention- this need not be put into words but rather felt out for one’s self after a long period of self analysis and experimentation.

22.02.13

My dearest pair of shoes I call my James’s Souls named after Mr Joyce. Many years ago after a concert in Trieste I went on a small pilgrimage to the site of one of his houses. Below where the artist as a young man once lived I found a shoe shop-the very one that I found James’s Souls at. Many winter have taken their toll on the soles. They have been repaired on many an occasion and have enjoyed over the passing seasons one of my favorite long time rituals: rubbing whiskey or cognac into them whenever they and a drink are within the same periphery as I float down my own stream of consciousness.

20.02.13

For information on the 13CD box set 13 Views of the Heart’s Cargo click here. Posts continue below.

Subjectively speaking, depending from which perspective you happen to be perceiving from, certain musics will be unbearable, strange, or thoroughly foreign. However, the power of music lies in the ability to transfer the information contained in proportional relationships by vibrating the air and the ear and bypassing our waking mind, reminded us of our true nature- no matter how our surface conditioning responds in the moment. It is for this reason that it doesn’t matter if it’s a folk guitarist, a heavy metal band, or a string quartet and it doesn’t matter how we immediately respond to the sounds- their respective 5ths and 3rds will always invoke the 2/3 and the 4/5 ratios in the way we intrinsically know so well, especially if they are “in tune”. With age I increasingly  hear the tuning of the music rather than the outer forms. The tuning contains the vital information.

I don’t ask much of my listener other than they simply take in the sounds without overly analyzing (unless they really want to). This is the way I listen to music I love. I have purposely avoided studying in detail Gagaku music of Japan. Why? Because I prefer to listen to it and love it without knowing exactly what is going on. Their are some mountains I prefer to admire from afar and not to climb or conquer.

[audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/Gagaku/gag1.mp3]
09.02.13

For information on the 13CD box set 13 Views of the Heart’s Cargo click here. Posts continue below.

Should you happen to be in Dublin today we play this evening in the beautiful St Audoen’s Church. Joining me are three wonderful Irish saxophonists: Sam Comerford, Carolyn Goodwin & Seán Mac Erlaine. Fibonacci sixths and srutis are on the menu tonight to warm the Irish winter.
You may have noticed I began a new category entitled recipes. Well, the other one I am beginning I call unsung heroes. I would like to begin this with a sax player who is perhaps not so well known outside of Australia. Graeme Lyall is a beautiful alto player and has been mainly active as a teacher and arranger over the last years. I did a bit of a Tristano on this live recording, splicing together all of the alto solos- no disrespect to the rhythm section intended. What else can I say? Sit back and enjoy Graeme cut loose on some of his favorite tunes, it’s out there, up there, he’s on fire on this session:

[audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/graem.mp3]
07.02.13

Hayden’s Fibonacci Spilt Pea Soup

2 cups split peas rinsed
5 cups cold water
5 cups chicken broth
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk with leaves, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to groove a little
sprinle dinkle winkle of parsley, thyme, thymelessness, marjoram and cayenne pepper

In a large pot add peas with 5 cups of cold water whilst humming your favorite melody. Bring the water to a boil whilst singing an overtone, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours as you play all the melodies you can remember on your respective instrument, until the split peas are tender and you have possibly run out of tunes.
Add chicken broth, carrot, celery, onion, garlic, sugar, lemon juice, bay leaf and all spices while you continue to hum tunes from your childhood. Bring to a boil listening only to the sound of the water, reduce heat and simmer for another 1/2 hour as you strum away on the closest guitar or simply breathe and inhale the wonderful fumes from your alchemy.
Remove the bay leaf. Cool slightly. Puree in a blender paying special attention to the overtones created by your blender.
Serves 5, 8 or 13, or 21 depending on the size and genus of your guests.

29.01.13

Regarding the release of the Box Set 13 Views of the Heart’s Cargo, the official release has been shifted to March 1. This is because the first edition is sold out and we are reprinting and also because the digital release on all those beautiful iwhatever sites will take place then. In the coming weeks will link to some of the German radio features on the box.

I write “official” but it is all very modest and handmade and the boys are only available via mail-order. The activities of the Moontower Foundation which helped produce this set and in which I am personally involved will still be a mystery to many. The foundation has no ambitions as yet to have an internet presence but there will be a hardcover book produced this year which covers its history and the activities to date. Naturally the figure of Rebecca Horn is central in the picture but we are striving to have a strong musical component as well for which I am responsible.

I’ve been asked a lot about my teaching base this year. I will give my yearly masterclass in Greece in August but otherwise I am mainly stationed in Berlin and am giving private lessons here. I also endeavor to begin a weekly sax class here working on the group structures developed in Greece. Also, in Feb. I will be giving a talk on the Fibonacci work behind Love in Numbers which will be open to all, I’ll post the date and place here.  When I miss the dark brooding cathedral of Cologne I simply hop in a train so my Dutch saxists can still catch me there.

29.01.13

For information on the 13CD box set 13 Views of the Heart’s Cargo click here. Posts continue below

There are many facets of Jochen Rückert’s latest electronic album that I cherish but one stands out and that is is transformation of a piece of music used in my favorite New Zealand short film The Lounge Bar. For those who don’t know it and would appreciate a small dose of kiwi humour it is a classic and here it is. Apologies if I have posted this earlier. After 600 posts I lose track somewhat.

Mr Rückert transforms the melody in wondrous ways in his track Tranny Surprise: [audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/trannysurprise.mp3]

25.01.13

For information on the 13CD box set 13 Views of the Heart’s Cargo click here. Posts continue below

Everything is in flux, in a state of constant upheaval, even that which appears to be immune to change. In my books, we cannot even step once into the “same” river, let alone twice.

And still, I have been surprised recently to observe the ripples of transformation in my local “Call Shop” in Cologne. These delightful institutions are usually foreign-run dens which offer internet, cheap phone calls, random mobile devices, and dubious money transfers. They are digital/virtual silk road trading points where Turkish, African, Afghani, and Gypsy patrons yell and whisper their respective business over Skype and fibre optic cable. The nearby refugee asylum certainly serves to spice up this particular sanctum.

The wood of the calling cabins is Japanese paper thin and conversations can be easily picked up 2 cabins down the row. The blend of tongues is a veritable tower of Babel made all the more beautiful by the spiraling plumes of smoke as in this wee haven, smoking is encouraged.

Usually I prance in here with my usb stick and print out music notes on maimed trees at 10 cents a page.

Like any point of international trade,  the senses are treated to a unique blend of the exotic- the preferred perfumes of Congo and Pakistan being universes apart. My local Call shop has been run for the last years by Kurdish males ostensibly specializing in used mobile phones. This was until recently when their wives and daughters seemed to have taken over business leaving the boys to deal cards in the Turkish joint round the corner. A smiling woman sporting a head scarf now greets my entry.

Now, the entire front of the room has had it’s mobile devices removed, replaced by rows of exotic perfumes. It is now half perfumery, half call-shop, with the former expanding daily. The mixture of smoke and perfume is now almost overwhelming. Customers are invariably treated to a free sample on their wrists or necks.

In this blurred shot we see the beginning of the change, the point of time at which the first row of perfumes were presented on the glass counter. Much to my fascination, they have since then expanded like a colony of fibonacci rabbits.

I’ll dub this a tiny unintentionally-poetic-interference-ripple in the great river of time, when two expanding circles meet and produce the most beautiful and unique patterns imaginable. Such be our lot, bridging the temporal with the eternal, actively subject and object, right on the cusp of the ripple in places you might least expect it.

16.01.13

For information on the 13CD box set 13 Views of the Heart’s Cargo click here. Posts continue below.

Sitting in my kitchen in Cologne, assembling my box sets. Takes me about 3 hours to make ten of them. Outside piles of snow. Old Weather Report records spinning, crackling, hissing, spitting. Mysterious traveller– I like the B side- chilled out. About to break in a new pack of virginal reeds and make Penman’s split pea soup for the first time. Now how exciting is that?
I’ll allow myself once in a blue moon to write something like this, caving into to Facebook-like requests to “say what’s on your mind”- assuming someone wants to know.  I like it best when my mind is as blank and white as the snow piles outside my window. I like to imagine these lines blanco. Thinking ceases.  That’s what I love about sititng down for hours sticking stickers and making tiny calligraphies- it empties my mind.

12.01.13

I’ve always thought that the true mavericks to be the ones that stretch the forms from the inside- instead of blasting them away altogether with a bazooka these types would rather work from within to forge new territory, just when you thought it wasn’t possible any longer. As I was down with a flu last week I had a bit of time to sift through some older tracks and something I always head back to is the collected recordings of Lester Young and Nat King Cole. In this number there is plenty going on to write about, a beautiful playful track- jazz cubs frolicking in the industrial desert.

I’ve found a new Baby: [audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/ivefoundabay.mp3]

28.12.12

Well, order it seems that the world is still around so on we go….

From the coming January I move back to the German capital which could of course slightly influence the tone of some of these posts;a colder prose perhaps, rx hardened and iced over? Who knows… This year I had the pleasure to teach there at the jazz school “JIB”, a school gifted with many a fine sax student. At the end of our days together we shared a concert together which combined many of my non-notated structures and a solo set with my sruti box, here are the results.

Berlin Solo Set: [audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/berlinsolo.mp3]
Berlin Sax Ensemble: [audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/berlinensemble.mp3]

And this is closest Sclavis and Gabarek ever got to my saxophone. Jan and Loius, see you in the next life!

21.12.12

For information on the 13CD box set 13 Views of the Heart’s Cargo click here. Posts continue below.

Many say that the world is supposed to somehow end today, 21 Dec. 2012. Well just in case it does I decided to quickly notate the most important things I have learned through music in my life. Before I do, I’ll just quickly reminisce back to the end of 1999: there I remember many speaking of the same sudden end, only I was in a VW Van driving into the dunes of Namibia. The van got stuck a few hours before midnight and under the wild stars I had the same feeling: this thing ain’t finished yet.

– swim with the current of sound, use the pure intervals
– put your life into your sound, put everything into your sound
– breathe, empty yourself, and channel forces greater than you

This is the part of my saxophone I’ve touched the most in my life- my left thumb touches her to octavise my notes. When I first saw her I thought she look like a falling tear and  27 years later, she still looks like a tear to me. A tear that is party salty like the sea but without sadness- just a tear in all it’s purity and aliveness.

20.12.12

For information on the 13CD box set 13 Views of the Heart’s Cargo click here. Posts continue below.

In today’s post I reveal one of my other faces and do my humble best to rip the sad guts out of a rather unfortunate genre without wasting too much time- a genre particularly popular in Germany. I’ve noticed that you, Readers, like it when I swap the pen for the sword and go into the offense. I don’t do it much but seeing as it is the festive season, why don’t we pull out our shotguns and take aim at the sad yet popular conglomeration of sonic refuse termed “meditation music”.

Let me say off the bat that I find most genre classification in music odious and base, reduced to the lowest common denominator, idiot-proofed- like so much of our modern world. Well for me, great music is all-inclusive as far as genres go. It is jazzworldclssicalfolksingersongwriterethnicpop you name it. It leaves nothing out. Well except maybe speed folk. But the specific genre of “meditation music” – well this one is particularly unfortunate in pretty much all respects.

Right of  the bat we  quickly encounter didgeree-don’ts , gongs, overtone chanting, crystal bowls und und und. Now, all of these instruments can be played beautifully but usually in this genre they are soaked in excessive reverb, packaged in rainbow colours, played amateurishly  by enlightened Germans with bright scarves around their necks, glazed over eyes, and wheat flakes stuck between their teeth.

I already fired at a previous post at the current use of didgeree-don’ts in Germany. Like with these other instruments, they are used as an effect. They are taken out of their original context and used as decoration for spoilt europeans who have the cash to blow. They are supposed to induce states of contemplation- instead they make me want to go out and throw hand grenades in public. Why? Gary Larson depicted Charlie Parker in hell with “meditation music” playing in the background. What is it in this music that is so wrong, so odious? Could it be the blend of well-meaning morons fiddling around with sacred instruments and making money out of it?

Well, they certainly 1 ) take themselves very seriously  2)subvert native instruments from around the globe, play them in the most amateurish way and pretend then to be masters on them  3) actually make money out of this  4) pretend to be able to induce “higher states”….

Now, some would argue: well but so many people like this music and actually benefit from it. Well, it’s also hard to argue with someone who says: if you don’t like it here in the United States, then leave.

Well, I for one had had enough so I , in the words of the immortal Burnt Friedman, had to fuck back.

Taking up arms, I took on the name Master Fu. Master Fu is a regular Tai Chi teacher who also plays Chinese instruments. On his debut CD “Master Fu’s Relaxation Excercies” he guides the student through the beginnings of the form but he soon starts to lose his control. By the end of the disc he has recoiled into a sea of profanities and the Tai Chi form has become a distant memory. He speaks backwards and in riddles. He swears without restraint. He gets downright dirty. The dude loses it.  But he keeps playing all the while

This is my sonic grenade lobbed at the mediation scene and general Esoterica (including 99%) of Tai Chi schools in Germany who take themselves seriously. Again, it is all self made. I did the cover, played the chinese things and created Master Fu’s wonderful personality. For you audio freaks, the only vocal filter is my hand cusped over the Sure 58 which by track9 is soaked in Pils beer.

Everytime I happened to be close to CDs included in the meditation genre or at a pristine Tai Chi school I would make sure to accidentally leave some Master Fus in their midst. Ops.

 

 

Finding Correct Practice Space: [audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/mf2.mp3]

19.12.12

Barefoot running and overtone singing have one thing in common- they are highly addictive. Barefoot running and my saxophone method also have one thing in common- they factor in the whole body. It was over 15 years ago when I wrote my paper on “Playing the saxophone with the Foot”, still hidden away on the saxo page above- now, switching the tables I am running my feet with my saxophone mind, running with the wind so it feels.

Yesterday I did some trail testing. I ran the 35km Tamontana Trail in Mallorca’s north starting behind the Lluc Monastery heading down to the sea to test out 2 different  “barefoot” soles. It’s a beautiful wild trail that cuts through forest, winds up to some good altitudes, and is completely deserted in winter. All I encountered were some goats and sheep- a bit distracting but nowhere near as pretty as our sheep in New Zealand so I could stay on track if you know what I mean.

For the first half I used the Vibrams- funny orange things that make your feet look and feel a bit like those of frog’s. They are good when the going gets tougher, good for river crossings and steep downhills. They give you some grip but you still feel every sharp rock acutely. This means you tend to prance rather than stomp- a good thing in my books- a better way to make contact with the ground. This style of running quickly builds calf and thigh muscles and reduces stress on the knees. It feels fine and it is fully addictive. 2 years ago I would never have dreamed of running long distances and actually loving it.

At km 20 when the terrain evened out somewhat I switched to the Luna traditional sandals, based on the Mexcian indigenous designs. These are probably the most minimal sandal and the closest you can get to running barefoot. The lacing takes some practice but once they’re on they feel great.  In general I would go for them- makes me feel like a Mexican shaman running for his life across the dry plains.

The late afternoon’s orange light reflecting of the massive tramontana cliff faces takes your breath away. Eagles soar above in the deepest blue. Again for a fleeting moment, the world is at peace.

Catch me if you can:

14.12.12

13 VIEWS OF THE HEART’S CARGO

This 13 CD box set is the summation of everything important I have recorded as an leader/initiator so far in my life. It documents important musical occurrences and collaborations dating back to 2002. Here in this post, I give a short introduction to each CD and offer a sample track. Below, there is also a portrait film shot by Plushmusic inside the old Berlin Radio buildings where much of the material was recorded. Inside the box set, there is a 76 page booklet detailing the works.

The official release date is January 27, 2013 but the first boxes can already ordered now by sending a mail to hayden@softspeakers.com. Total price is €150/- with free shipping worldwide, payable with paypal.

From the release date in Jan. 2013, individual CDs will be available with the exception of the Lula Pena and John Taylor disc.

All of the boxes are made by hand in a strictly limited edition and I’ve created the calligraphy myself meaning each box is different.

Finishing this was one of the biggest marathons I’ve ever undertaken. Above all I am indebted to all 23 wonderful musicians who appear in this box set.

MT1- Love in Numbers

The main work on this disc is Love in Numbers which explores the sound of the Fibonacci row in the overtone series. This has been one of my main obsessions over the last few years and it has proved to be a new and unexplored area of study. On other pieces I am joined by the fantastic Carnatic vocalist, Mahesh Vinayakram. The piece Lucas River uses the Lucas series and the “Verdi” tuning of C128hz- the beginning of another sound voyage for me.

Soorya (feat. Mahesh Vinayakram): 

[audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/soorya2.mp3]


MT2- The Rabbit’s Dream of the Inner Mongolia

This is a duo recording with the Chinese instrumentalist and singer, Fengxia Xu. Fengxia plays mainly Guzeng on this recording and the variety of sounds she draws from the instrument is truly amazing. We recorded the session in Bremen at the Sendesaal and in Berlin at P4 studios; sound engineer Pedja Avramovic has gifted our improvisations with a beautifully clear sound. I wrote a poem to accompany the music and describe the journey of the rabbit.

My Companion is the Wind:

[audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/companion1.mp3]


MT3- Nearness Live

This trio recording was made at Loft in Cologne with additional tracks recorded at Systems Two in Brooklyn. The trio format has been one of my favorites in jazz, the one that gives us all the most freedom. The forms we improvise over on this session belong to my favorites in the jazz canon.  Jochen and Matt are in top form on this record and it still remains Matt’s favorite and referential bass sound.

How the Ghost of You Clings:

[audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/ghostofyou.mp3]


MT4- Lula Pena and Hayden Chisholm Live in Berlin

I had waited for a long time to finally play with the Portuguese Fado singer, Lula Pena. It took years of searching and waiting for our first musical meeting to take place. This was our second concert and the one in which everything came together as we envisaged. Recorded in Berlin in the midst of the bitter winter of 2010/11, it is a beautiful document of our evolving musical dialogue.

Live in Berlin 4:

[audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/liveberlin4.mp3]


MT5- Hayden plays Haydn

This recording was made after I was commissioned by the Brühl Festival in 2012 to present a program of Haydn’s music, newly arranged. The challenge was a huge one. I selected pieces from Haydn’s massive Oevre and, together with pianist Simon Nabatov, used them as springboards for improvisation. Each work uses a very different technique of transformation from the original to something completely new. In the liner notes I composed a long letter to Haydn, explaining my aspirations with his music. Knowing how many months of hard work went into this project, I am particularly happy with this recording.

Recollection:

[audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/recollection.mp3]


MT6- Mute Density- Luzern Jazz Orchestra featuring Hayden Chisholm

In 2011 I was commissioned to write a Big Band work for the Luzern Jazz Orchestra. This was a fantastic opportunity to transplant my microtonal work I had explored with Saxophone ensembles into a Big Band format. The Luzern Big Band members are young, talented, and open for experimental techniques and notations. The work was recorded live at the premiere in Luzern and was broadcast by the SWR Radio. This CD is the official release of the work.

Mute Cluster:

[audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/mutecluster.mp3]


MT7- Fragmented Teaching

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita…

In 2010 I went into the studio with Jochen Rückert and Simon Nabatov to record an album of new songs featuring Simon on Rhodes stage piano. The songs had been evolving over the previous years and I felt ready to cut some sides with them. All the tracks are very personal documents, like miniature sound diaries from the last few years of my life – some call it Saturn return – a period in which everything was in upheaval.

Barely a Moon:

[audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/barelyamoon.mp3]


MT8- Dharma Cowboy

To be filed under Psychedelic Spoken-Word Country.  From the Liner notes: ” The Dharma cowboy is a lonely guy sitting on a dry plain somewhere with a guitar and a half empty bottle of rum.  He’s not from around here, in fact he’s not from anywhere. He dreams and speaks quietly. He doesn’t rhyme. He speaks in riddles. One day, he was no longer to be found – just his old broken guitar, a single rusty spur, and an empty rum bottle remained.”

Down we Fall:

[audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/downwefall.mp3]


MT9- The Life of Hands in Love

This CD contains material from three different small group sessions dating back to 2002. The multi-instrumentalist John Schröder is featured on guitar and drums, as well as the unmistakable trumpet sound world of Franz Hautzinger.

The Fool’s Lament:

[audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/foolslament.mp3]


MT10- BREVE- Live at Plush

In 2007 and 2008 we performed with the trio BREVE at the Music at Plush Festival in Dorset. Since meeting John several years ago whilst studying in Cologne I had always planned for us to play together and finally this was our chance. The CD combines the best of both concerts, which we originally released as a concert film on Plushmusic.

So it goes:

[audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/soitgoes.mp3]


MT11- The Well-Tempered Sruti Box

Over  the last few years I developed a solo program using the sruti box and my saxophone. In a sense, this program blends the Indian music’s idea of Raga centered in one root with the flexibility in transposition championed in the West. The piece gradually migrates through all the keys, giving the listener plenty of time to feel the qualities of each tonality.  On this recording, there is also a live version recorded at the Sendesaal in Bremen, one of my favorite acoustic spaces worldwide.

The Well-Tempered Sruti Box Live in Bremen excerpt:

[audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/bremenexcerpt.mp3]


MT12- Auto-Poetica- Works for Saxophone

Since 1996 I have given a yearly saxophone master class on the mountain of Pilion in Greece. From the workshops a series of structures emerged for saxophone ensemble, which I finally recorded in 2011. This disc is the first recording of the works “Inside C”, a study in the first 50 overtones for saxophone, and “Density Movements”, which incorporates many of the ensemble structures I had developed in the six years of master classes.

Density Movements Excerpt:

[audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/densityexcerpt.mp3]

MT13- My Blood flows from Scotland to Armenia

This is the first time I have approached the music closest to my blood, that of Scotland.  The first half of the CD features my arrangements of traditional Scottish melodies. The second half features a duo with Pina Betina Rücker whose incredible musicality brings the crystal sound bowls to life.

The Barns o’ Beneuches:

[audio:http://www.1xn.org/softspeakers/audio/MIXED/barns.mp3]


04.12.12

What on earth could possibly bring me to don my war kilt and play one of my favorite all time love songs? Something must have happened in the aether. Up to now I’ve only ever played it behind closed doors. Now. this now extends forever more.

Listen to my favourite Love theme

26.11.12

Jochen just put his pearler of a new book online here. To whet appetites of any potential downloaders, viagra 100mg I post the forward I wrote for him as a teaser…

Foreword by Hayden Chisholm

Since Jochen Rueckert published his first volume of travel notes and photos in 2006, the general situation facing the traveling musician has by no means become rosier. Security checks have become more rigorous and groin-bound, mileage benefits have been trimmed, and backstage culinary options slashed. On top of all these, Rueckert has been ticking off dozens more cities on his world touring map, amassing ammunition aplenty for a new volume of notes from the road. And what about the man himself? Enduring such hardships surely leaves a mark on anyone. It is now up to us, the readers, to ascertain just how this has influenced Rueckert the man and Rueckert the astute observer. Has he mellowed over time? Has his heart warmed somewhat to the armies of ineptitude he faces on his travels? Or has his language been soaked in sarcasm and irony in order to retreat from facing the monster of jazz touring head on? Is he still standing tall and hitting just as hard with his pen as with his sugar maple drum stick? The front cover gives us the first clue.

Rueckert’s hand is over his mouth as he looks out at the unseen atrocities through another sealed hotel window. We will never know exactly what kind of trepidations it is he is perceiving, or if he is but recalling all he had witnessed on the tour thus far, but the scene evokes the voice of Conrad’s Marlow hearing the dying Kutz whisper “The horror! The horror!”. Our protagonist has journeyed to the end of river Styx and glimpsed the black depths of the soul. The rosy wallpaper only serves to amplify the inner prison of Rueckert, now claustrophobically surrounded by Scylla and Charybdis in the form of cheap single hotel beds. By simply observing the photo of these beds, one can feel one’s back begin to ache. Rueckert may be better off staying where he is. In short, the scene is set for yet another nightmare.

The work begins with a series of Rueckert’s hotel shots. His own description reads “pictures taken first shot self-timer only, one per room, 2011-2012”. This gives us not only an insight as to the techniques used but also as to the creator himself. Here is a man who lays down for himself and, as the book makes amply clear, others around him, clear limits of expression. In the cell-like confines of the mainly 3-star hotel rooms Rueckert has photographed, this limiting has forced him to search for new perspectives. In Bocholt, he shoots from the ground up, in Lausanne he shoots through a ventilation fan and creates a beautiful unique print. Over the course of these touring years and with his own almost neurotic routines of documentation, he has been able to squeeze every last drop of juice out of the hotel room’s photographic single-shooter potential.

The murky view from the window in Vaasa could honestly be anywhere on the planet now. Some four-storied buildings, three-lanes roads, traffic, light drizzle. Some may call it a tranquil city scene. Others might tend to regard it as the perfect representation of the modern enslavement of man. There is no one on the streets. The public man has fallen and been banished to his air-conditioned private nightmare. It could just as well be an apocalyptic wasteland and it is through this dismal backdrop that Rueckert will soon have to carry his cymbal bag and his exhausted body to his next jazz gig in front of a meagre grey crowd. By this stage we are feeling real empathy with our protagonist.

We could evoke the deeper symbolism of the round angelic light in Pezanes, or the empty white wine bottle in Guimares, but Rueckert’s facial expression in the “2012 Montreal” work gives us the deepest insight into the inner workings of the touring drummer. Like in the title photo, he is looking beyond the frame at some object in the room, but he could just as well be staring into the empty void. It is the gaze of one who has been to the depths of the abyss and only just returned. He may still swing and speak and write- but he has seen something which has marked his soul. What could that possibly be?

As a writer, Rueckert addresses himself in the third person. This allows him a certain distance in describing his own reactions to events and sets up a dialogue with himself. But in a strange inversion it also opens the door to his inner workings for anonymous readers to pass through. Though he still uses punctuation (just!), we feel we are privy to a stream of consciousness frozen on the page in the third person form. Getting to know the protagonist intimately through this thought stream means we are almost able to predict his reactions to coming events and we are bound with deep empathy to his actions and reactions.
The accompanying photos only emphasises anonymous communion and when he writes, “having slept about 10 hours total, 8 of them in a bed, over the last 4 days, your girlfriend gets really deep into a discussion over you being in a bad mood often” it almost feels like our own girlfriend is reacting this way to our inescapable drowsiness.

At the end of the volume, In Hoboken, Dumbo, our drummer wakes after what could be a bad dream.“Only then do you realise your suit jacket, pants, shirt and tie have dollar bills, post-it notes, candy bars and 50 cent bags of snacks made from corn and potatoes stapled to it, as well as your very resemblance to a walking human Christmas tree if all decoration would have had to be bought at the local bodega.”
He had numbed the previous tour nightmare by smoking residuals of the marijuana plant- somewhat out of character. Still, we are left unsure as to he really did wake from the dream or if this ongoing tribulation will continue ad infinitum, if the swinging Sisyphus will keep lugging his cymbal case up and down hotel floors for ever and a day. The reader in us wants him to.