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Raudio #04 :: "GespRek 1982-2005"

march 31, 2005.

Gesprekken Cover

In april 1983 Jan Dietvorst, Henk Groenendijk and Peter Mertens issued, in 500 numbered copies, their 'Een Tijdschrift Over Gesprekken' ('A Magazine About Conversations'), with contributions - all were, more or less, related to gesprekken: conversations - by several young Dutch artists, actors and authors. The 'magazine' - cover and 42 pages - had the form and size of a vinyl longplay record. And indeed, it did include such a 'thing'. (Now, this well-designed arty object ... was it a record with a bulky cover? Or was it an art magazine that was sold along with a record?)

One side of the black plastic waffle contained some thirty minutes of ... conversation ... in Dutch ... enacted by young Dutch actors .... On the other side there was music: an extract of about twenty minutes of a live recording of 'Het Gesprek' (the Conversation), a performance that took place on the evening of wednesday november 24th, 1982, in de 'Kleine Zaal', in Paradiso, in Amsterdam.

The performance and recording were done especially for the project. The idea was to have 12 (as in twelve-tone) musicians create a series of musical conversations, them being placed, in threes, along the four sides of the venue. The performance was set up as a 'guided improvisation', led along by five sets of instructions, written by Ronald Heiloo and Peter Mertens. Each musician played either acoustically, or with her or his own amplifier; there was no central amplication (no 'public address'). That wednesday evening's musicians were: Menno Spiro (clarinet), Barbara de Klein (saxophone), Joos Wiersinga and myself (bass), Tim Benjamin and Maarten Ploeg (guitar), Pjotr van Moock and Simone Simons (drums), Maria Schippers (violin), Niek Stafleu (cello), Dennis Duchhart (organ) and Ronald Heiloo (keyboard)

Gesprekken Label

The basic material for Raudio #04 is the 20 minute recording of 'Het Gesprek' as it originally appeared on the album that was part of the 'Een Tijdschrift Over Gesprekken', but cut up by me in some 200 separate 'phrases', which together form an 'index of Het Gesprek'. This 'index', a collection of, short to very short, separate sound files forms the bulk of the stream's playlist. Instead of the original silences (there were, as in most conversations, quite a few of these during the performance of 'Het Gesprek') I added a set of recordings of myself, not doing anything in particular, last month in the Etay loft: so sometimes you might hear me cough ... These act as 'colored silences' and 'breaks', parsing the instrumental 'multilogue' ... Raudio #04, 24/7, will ceaselessly continue to re-order the 'phrases' uttered by the twelve players during their 1982 'musical conversation', and these 'almost silences', thus creating an everlasing and -changing (or does it?) 2005 'sonic babble', without beginning nor end ...

Also : ... the stream for this edition of Raudio comes in three distinct versions. Each version uses the same playlist, but the streams will have a slightly different 'character', due to differences in the values of the parameters for the 'weighted random' settings of the server. If you have bookmarked the 'Raudio' stream in your audio-player, and play Raudio, you will (as of sometime tomorrow), by default, listen to version one. Use the following links to access (.pls files) for the other versions ... And yes! ... you can stream different versions in parallel ... in fact ... that's the idea ...


version one


version two


version three


All it takes are - obviously - a fast internet connection, and three different audio players installed on your computer (or three different computers), so you can launch each of the three streams in a different player. (On my Mac I used iTunes, Audion and RealPlayer (Audion in fact allows you to open multiple windows with different sources; you may stream the 3 using multiple Audion's) ... admittedly, the three of them together is somewhat over the top ... grin ... a duo-stream at times is rather interesting, though, I think ... well, it's an 'experiment' of course, this 'Raudio-triplet' ... It would be great to have your feedback on this, actually ...)

We will present this fourth edition of Raudio on friday evening, April 1st, between 19h and 20h, in Theater de Balie in Amsterdam, as part of Interzone 2: Talk to the Machine! ... If you are in Amsterdam, or feel like going there: all are absolutely invited! [ Theater de Balie, Kleine Gartmanplantsoen, Amsterdam :: 19h-20h :: entrance: free ]

[ added April 5, 2005: We produced a 'special Balie Raudio Podcast' that will give you a short audio impression of the evening. To subscribe to the Raudio Podcasts, get the feed's URI by clicking the green podcast button in the sidebar. Alternatively, you may simply download the mp3-file. ]

Here's a 'translated & re-mixed transcription' of a conversation (nov. 1982) between Peter Mertens, Ronald Heiloo and Tim Benjamin, which was recorded onto cassette; each of the twelve musicians, prior to their performance in Paradiso, was sent/given a copy of this recording, along with a booklet containing the score (the performance instructions) for 'Het Gesprek' ... :

PM - "There are five pieces, each lasting about eight minutes. Each comes with two schemes: one for a development in time, the other a development in space. The musicians will be placed along the four sides of Paradiso's 'Kleine Zaal', and they get instructions towards who they should play and for how long. And which notes ...
... and the first piece, that's the 'silent' or 'getting to know each other' conversation. The idea of being with a group of people that doesn't know one another. So they start in groups to introduce themselves: first the basses, then the drums, the keyboards, then the strings, the horns ... and last the guitars."

Paradiso / Het Gesprek

RH - "And then there's silence ..."
PM - "Nobody reacts, and we have to wait for one or other to take the initiative ... that'll be ... halfway the second minute ... comes the organist ... there's a short reply by the bass player, then once again the organist ... and that's it: nothing remains to be said. So silent again ... You'll get a scheme showing you who should play in who's direction ... the introductions are not supposed to be directed at anyone in particular, so the playing is directed towards the center of the space ... And then there are some that try to get a conversation going ... the drums give it a try, some others ... there are replies ... people jump in ..."
TB - "So all should be strictly in time ... How do I know ... is there a clock?"
PM - "No ... but we will show slides ... time will be represented by little blocks on the slides ..."
RH - "It's very simple, really ..."
PM - "The drums take the initiative, but after the drums have said something, there's silence ... 30 seconds ... with just a remark made by the organ ... But no-one reacts ... until guitar 6 - that's you - takes the initiate. And then suddenly everybody has something to say ... great topic, apparently ..."
TB - "But then I should have something sensible to say on my guitar ..."
PM - "Yeah ... by the way, you may use no more than three notes: Gis, E and C ... play them as long or as short as you like, in any octave, any order ... but no other than these three ... And that's the same for all ... "
RH - "Loads of freedom to do whatever you feel like ..."
PM - "And then some conversations emerge ... that's in the fifth minute, some short conversations in pairs, with repeats ... all that was happening in the fifth and sixth minute should be repeated in the seventh ... but faster ..."
TB - "But how will I know that the fifth minute has passed? ..."
RH - "It will be shown!"

Paradiso / Het Gesprek

PM - "Well ... it's not perfect ... but when the next block starts, that will be clear ... then the clarinet comes in, not the saxophone ... and the conversation that went on here ... is repeated in this block ... and then it turns out that they are repeating themselves. So they stop talking ... and go their separate ways ... that's the idea ...
And then there's the bar conversation ... without highs or lows, really ..."
RH - "That's like small groups of people sitting at tables, and drinking ... In groups of three, talking among each other ... And in the playing, they do major chords ... Like E, C, G ... at one table ... the other table has G, B, D ... the third one D, A, Fis ... and the fourth one ... A, E, Cis ... major chords ..."
PM - "And each table is into its own conversation without paying attention to what's going on at the the other tables ... At table 4 ... they drink too much ... table 2 is getting somewhat noisy ... at the first table one is getting on to one of the other two, while the third one ... "
RH - "But of course, in the end, they all get drunk ..."

Paradiso / Het Gesprek

PM - "Then here ... this conversation is sort of like a confession ... The bass starts telling a story, then the guitar continues, the drums take over ... each telling their part of the story, each with only one note ... you, on 6 ... that's a B ... It's sort of like a story that makes the round of the room ... passing from player to player ... clockwise ...
Next one is a sort of ... guided discussion ... between a bad side and a good side ... the good side disposes of a harmonic interval, the bad side plays something slightly less harmonic ... the discussion is led by the keyboards ... the piano introduces, the organ replies ... piano again ... organ again ... then the piano, supported by its entire group ... Then the same for the opponents, every now and the interrupted by the others ... And so on ... In the end they just continue to repeat again and again their proper arguments, not showing the slightest understanding for the other side's point of view, without compromise ... But all very polite ... guided discussion ...
And then, of course, there's chaos, a fight! That's another piece ... nobody is listening to any of the others, they insult each other, tease each other ... it starts with a conversation between clarinet and saxophone ... but then others intrude, imitate - that's this group ... there's guitar 12, that'll be Maarten Ploeg, who's continuously challenging the others, putting oil on the fire ... Then before the final escalation, there's a dialogue between the cello and the violin, in a last, failing, attempt at peace ..."
TB - "What do they play? What are the notes? ..."
RH - "Wait ... I wrote them down somewhere ..."
PM - "Each has two notes ... Seconds, for instance ... One has C, Cis ... then there's D, E ... then a third one takes Es ... Fis ... all leading up to complete chaos in the end ... "
TB - "Except for the guitar ... the guitar suddenly stops ..."
PM - "Guitar 12! ... Yes! ... He got what he wanted ... he aimed for chaos, and that's what he got. So he stops ... there's only the cello and the violin that still try to get the others to be reasonable ..."

Paradiso / Het Gesprek

RH - "Well ... and that's it ..."
PM - "Just take some time to read through all of it ... it's important to keep the notes, they determine the spirit of the conversations ... and you should be well aware of who you are playing to, who to react to ... whether you are supposed to go along, or oppose ...
...
... and ... well, this will be sort of obvious from the list of musicians we invited ... what we are aiming for is something that is not supposed to sound in any particular style ... not jazz ... nor contemporary classical ... nor ... anything ... just ... rhetoric ..."

[ Earlier related SB-entry: raudio #03 ; next related SB-entry: ZandOog ]

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tags: raudio, paradiso

# .151.

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