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"Blood and Bottom" (RaudiOGaGa)

april 07, 2009.

[ podcast :: rpc 41 ... s ]

ookoiIn the picture below you see the 'global score' of ookoi's 'Soundtrack for Icarus', our contribution to the soundtrack of Dick Tuinder's upcoming feature film 'Winterland' (for more details on Winterland, check one of the previous SB-entries).
The 'global score' fixes the overall structure of the composition, which is divided into 22 paragraphs. It uses 16 'voices' (or instruments). 'Soundtrack for Icarus' may be performed live by any ensemble comprising between 2 and 16 musicians, over which the 16 voices/instruments are distributed.

The piece is of course firmly rooted in ookoi's philosophy, and adheres to our strong belief in the consequences of the principle of jam karet - that time is elastic ... : prior to a performance the musicians should assign each of the 22 paragraphs its proper duration, between 1 second and 1 minute. Thus the shortest possible version of 'Soundtrack for Icarus' will last 22 seconds, the longest one will take 22 minutes to perform. ( * )

raudio gaga / winterland

ookoi - 'Soundtrack for Icarus' (2009)

As you probably will have noticed, the global score of 'Soundtrack for Icarus' actually is a "book organ" (called a draaiorgelboek in Dutch): and it indeed can be played on a mechanical organ.

That is not by accident ... I mean, ce n'est pas pour rien ...

The hand-operated dutch street organ is an example of a mechanical contraption that allows for live jam karet music performances (even though that's clearly not the way in which it normally is used); it was for quite some time already that on and off £PcM and myself have been thinking about ways to put the instrument to use, not in the least also because of its so typical dutch-ness. Then, during last year's Maastricht Kunsttour, in the Eiffel building £PcM had a go at Natascha Waeyen's MoNUment, and there demonstrated that indeed, without a shadow of a doubt there's organ grinder's blood running through his veins ...
During the last century the street organ became an integral part of Dutch popular culture, which apparently is mainly due to the typical Dutch phenomenon of 'Street Organ Rental Companies' ( ** ) which made the acquisition and technical care of these relatively cumbersome and delicate machines their business.
There is a very active street organ community in the Netherlands (see, for example, the results of a 'draaiorgel' search in YouTube), and abundantly decorated mechanical street organs of various sizes, puffing popular tunes, still are a very common sight - especially when the weather is fine.

All of this explains our fascination with the majestic machines that remain popular in the low countries, even though already long time ago their original function has been replaced by other 'music reproduction' technologies. It also explains why especially a large number of Dutch contemporary composers in the last century wrote original works for street organs; not so long ago I even saw a couple of Dutch hip-hoppers rapping along to a street organ beat ... :-) ...

ookoi Winterland

The ookoi at work in their Amsterdam studio, during the early composition sessions for 'Soundtrack for Icarus' (december 2008)

The book organ that provides the global score for ookoi's 'Soundtrack for Icarus' by itself - as a street organ piece - goes by the name of RaudiOGaGa. That is, because it actually is a rendering of SallyOGaga, which is the title of a track that we edited from recordings made during our first Winterland session, mid-december of last year in Amsterdam. £PcM took that audio-track, and rendered it as a MIDI file, which of course at heart is nothing but a modern day version of a book organ ... ( *** ) Our MIDI-file then was craftfully trans-mutated into a book organ for us by Jan Kees de Ruijter.

On sunday february 1st, we took the cute little Heesbeen street organ - kindly provided by the Nationaal Museum Speelklok tot Pierement (Utrecht, the Netherlands) - out into one of those typical Dutch landscapes, somewhere between Amsterdam and Utrecht. There, as a salut to the motherland and a jubilant celebration of our roots, we did the "RaudiOGaga (Blood and Bottom)" one-shot-Field Noise Movie clip that you are invited to watch in its HD-version (recommended), simply by clicking the picture below.

blood and bottom

The ookoi on location 54.533615,87.978516, shooting "RaudiOGaGa (Blood and Bottom)", on sunday february 1st, 2009

RaudiOGaGa was shot in the aftermath of RAUDIO-directs-ookoi_@_E@rport, the live streaming audio & video extravaganza that we did in the Theaterzaal of the Amsterdam Conservatory in Amsterdam the day before, on January 31st, 2009; as part of E@rport Amsterdam, an ambitious multi-musics project initiated by the young Dutch composer Paul Oomen. During the second part of Paul's post-fusion symphony (a chain of musical meetings between a large number of Amsterdam musicians and ensembles in the Conservatory's Haitink zaal), Raudio set up amplifiers, instruments, tables, screens and its live audio streaming and receiving equipment underground, in the Theaterzaal, where we engaged in a five hour long multimedia mix of visions and sounds, played live, down there by and with us, or somewhere else up, down, on or out on the planet and streamed into the Conservatory via the internet. Also the sound of the parallel post-fusion symphony going on above our heads on-and-off was entered into the ookoi-mix machine, as it was continuously transmitted down to us by Paul via a simple Skype chat-connection.

Among the live contributors that saturday in the Theaterzaal, there were notably also two promising future young artists/musicians. I write 'future' here, because for the time being they still frequent one of Amsterdam's high schools, the Barlaeus Gymnasium. Aris and Niels were scouted by £PcM at one of the Barlaeus's music evenings, where in a performance entitled 'Demonstratie van Demonstraties' the duo - as he saw it - artfully massacred a set of electronic keyboards. Reason enough for Raudio to invite young Aris and Niels to join the ookoi in the Conservatory Theaterzaal on the occasion of E@rport. Aris accepted our invite, and asked whether there would be a beamer. "Ik schrijf poezie en verhalen door middel van knippen en plakken uit boeken die ik bij het afval vind, en dat zou ik graag regel voor regel projecteren," he wrote. he also hoped that we understood that they would not present another 'Demonstratie van Demonstraties' ...

Benjamin en ookoi Aris en Niels

Tim Benjamin (l.) with ookoi (r.)

Aris and Niels performing @ E@rport

"We gaan waarschijnlijk iets heel anders doen," Aris told us, "maar wel binnen het genre avantgardesoundscapenoisedronepostrockfreejazz ..." Now that was indeed a pretty accurate description of what Aris & Niels eventually presented that saturday afternoon. And as you'll surely understand, we were delighted to have them be part of this ...

witteveen
witteveen
witteveen

Early on in the afternoon we were joined by Tim Benjamin on electric bass. When moreover Ronald Heiloo came walking into the Theaterzaal, sat down at the piano and started playing, we had almost the full original line-up of The Young Lions, not only present, but even playing ... This had not been thus intended, but it did make for some interesting moments ... Rob Scholte, though, that day could not make it to the Conservatory in time, as on the friday-evening before he had the opening of a show of his in Cologne.
Also the opening of the joint show of work by Benjamin, Kaagman and Scholte, in gallery Witteveen on the Keizersgracht in Amsterdam on saturday march 28th saw almost all of us together again in the same space. Almost ... but not quite, as this time there was no Ronald Heiloo ... We'll keep trying, though ... :-)

Adrian Shepard and Rinus van Alebeek streamed in from somewhere (the Loophole?) in Berlin, with a 30 minute edition of their Radio On. It gave rise to a wonderfully contingent duet between £PcM's clarinet and the penetrating sound caused by the electromagnetic interference of Rinus' cell phone, which during much of the first part of Radio On's emission drowned most of the other sounds streaming over from Berlin. Then in the second half Rinus taught us valuable facts about the Beatles' 1964 visit to Amsterdam, without Ringo, and the tragic Werdegang of one of the few true Dutch masters of pop, Wally Tax, who can not be re-membered often enough...

ookoi Winterland

The ookoi perform 'Soundtrack for Icarus' @ E@rport Amsterdam

Parks Raudio The multitude of sounds and musics from the RAUDIO-directs-ookoi_@_E@rport event in the Theaterzaal of the Amsterdam Conservatory on saturday january 31st, 2009, come together in the 15th edition of Raudio's mainstream. [If you have Quicktime installed, you should be able to play the currently streaming version in a small pop-up window by clicking the E@rport logo. Otherwise, you may click here for the pls-file ...]

During much of the afternoon the Conservatory's Theaterzaal became a part of 'Winterland' ... With the ookoi we performed the 'Soundtrack for Icarus' twice, both times accompanied by the projection of a preliminary edit of the corresponding part of Dick Tuinder's 'Winterland'.
The event's musical high point, arguably, came in its final hour, with two renditions of our 'Winterland Aria', with a text by the ooko based on Dick Tuinder's script. ( **** ) The 'Winterland Aria' was sung by Cécile Zylberajch, and accompanied by the ookoi. The second of the two versions that we recorded @ E@rport is available, complete and unabridged, as our 41st Raudio Podcast, for your sdownload and/or streaming pleasure ...

ookoi Winterland

Cécile Zylberajch performing the 'Winterland Aria' @ E@rport Amsterdam

notes __ ::
(*) afk The composition and recording of ookoi's 'Soundtrack for Icarus' as a part of the soundtrack for Dick Tuinder's Winterland, was made possible with financial support of the AFK (Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst).
If you would like to try and perform 'Soundtrack for Icarus', please contact us to learn about the conditions, and obtain the detailed score and performance instructions. [ ^ ]
(**) 'Draaiorgelverhuurbedrijven'. Cf. "Draaiorgelfamilie en museum slaan handen ineen" (in Dutch) ... [ ^ ]
(***) For similar observations, see also Mind: the Gap (Hommage to Nam June Paik), about Daily's 'City Scapes'. [ ^ ]
(****)

WINTERLAND ARIA
[ text/music by ookoi & C. Zylberajch, ©2009 ]

Where is Winterland?

It does not begin where you
start to see things differently
It begins when things themselves
start judging your presence
in a different way

Where is Winterland?

Is if far? Is it near?
Where is Winterland?
It's not far, nor is it near
It is more like a time, not a place,
that you're going

Where is Winterland?

It's when you find a perfect Jesus
just before the lights get dimmed
and are then left all to yourselves there
with a million years ahead

Things eventually will even out in another universe
More like a time, not a place, that you are going

Where is Winterland?

It's where you find a perfect Jesus
just before the lights are dimmed
and are then left all to yourselves there
with a million miles ahead

Where is Winterland?
...
Where is Winterland?

[ ^ ]

tags: ookoi, Winterland, Earport, Amsterdam

# .301.

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