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Schizophonic Cabarets @ Les Voûtes, Paris [i]

july 21, 2009.

I vividly remember how almost six years ago, on the evening of friday september 12th, 2003, I scurried along the Seine, up and down the Quai Panhard et Levassor. I was looking for a place called "Les Voûtes", where - as I had learned from a message on some mailing list or other - there was to take place an event organized by a small independent Paris-based record label called Vert Pituite.
I passed a lot of boats of divers make and size, it got later and later, but I did see nothing that looked like "voûtes". I almost gave up. Almost. But I didn't. Though I do not recall what in the end then made me cross the road and walk a bit up the rue Neuve Tolbiac, where at last I came upon a xeroxed piece of paper scotched onto a fence that pointed me in the direction of the entrance.
I could still enjoy most of that 'belle soirée'.

I liked that evening and concert a lot, and it was the reason that a few days later I wrote to Olivier Brisson (who together with his then companion Erell Latimier was the driving force behind the series of 'la belle soirées' at the Voûtes). I sent him a copy of my 'Chronique Sonore', the series of minutely assembled sonic narratives that draw on my dictaphone diaries stretching over several decades, and which bridge the long gap that separates my sound work from the 1980s from what I am doing now.

The 'Chronique Sonore' meanwhile became something of an - even by myself - forgotten schizophonic masterpiece. If you are not familiar with it, you can still look up all the details of the recordings at the Sound Chronicles webpages, and listen to it as a 24/7 Raudio stream (see one of the links down in the side bar) or - the nicest way, really - by means of the small dedicated monophonic flash-streamer that early 2003 I made for it (click here to pop it up, and then click the upper right of the three little silver balls to start playing). Some of the tracks found their way onto several compilations, but the full collection has never yet been published. Except, that is, for the handful of copies of a CD that I had made at the then mp3.com ...

hars CS mp3 com
hars CS mp3.com
hars mp3 com

As you can see, and no doubt will agree, in hindsight this is quite a fancy object; even more intriguing now than it was at the time of its making, given the fact that just a little later web bubble darling mp3.com's audacious adventure in global distribution of independent net-music, which included micro-payments for all music-makers involved, ended in shut-down and a tragic, full wipe of all files and data ...

In all, twenty-one (21) copies of "Sound Chronicles" were made. Ten (10) of these were stolen from my mail-box by a schizoph_r_onic and very aggressive neighbor, who was then living in the downstairs apartment. (Some of you will remember her schizophonic appearance in some of the earlier Diktat concerts.)
Nine (9) copies I must have given or sent away early on, shortly after I received them.
Of the two (2) remaining, one (1) is the one (1) you see in the pictures above.
What is left then is one (1) other one (1), never used, never opened, still shrinkwrapped as it was the day I received it by mail all the way from San Diego.
(With this last remaining copy of the "Chronique Sonore" mp3.com CD, which is a document - for more than one (1) reason - and highly unique, I might be willing to part would someone care to make a reasonable offer ...)

It is not excluded that I sent one of the nine (9) mp3.com CDs to Olivier; but it might also just have been a CDr-copy. I can't remember, but maybe he does. Fact though is that soon afterwards we met for a coffee somewhere in Belleville.

I must have attended most of the la belle soirées that followed, descriptions of several of which found some spot or other in the SoundBlog.

As part the series' ninth edition, on sunday december 14th 2003, I shared a la belle soirée bill with Will Guthrie, who just had come flying in from Australia, and the duo Alexandre Bellenger and Arnaud Rivière. Though, as I do remember, that evening public attendance of the la belle soirées was at an all time low, it was a belle evening indeed. A special occasion for me, as then and there aux Voûtes was - not counting a couple of placards earlier that year - my first ever public Parisian performance.

I baptized my schizophonic table-cabaret of that evening XiK, or, in full: Xmas in Kentucky. Like earlier 'live chronicles', it was largely 'scored', and during the performance I followed a 'graphic representation', sort of a choreography containing instructions as to which tapes entered where and how, and what types of manipulation they would be submitted to. At the times I was highly intrigued by the puzzle of how to actually perform composed 'Chronique Sonore' type of pieces live, and not so much interested in freely improvising with the tapes and dictaphones. I thought I'd actually built up sort of a repertoire ...

In the end none of that did come about, and the "Chronique Sonore" itself ended up somewhere near the bottom of a steadily growing pile of other acts and actions. Or maybe it did, but in a way that I then was not able to imagine

Like all good things, also the "la belle soirées" did not last. But it was a pleasure to see how after several years of near silence quite suddenly & phoenix-like Vert Pituite did rise from the ashes. With Reprends-moi fort the labelle made a surprising come-back.

As Google's machine-translation of Olivier's (french) MySpace blog-entry dated october 14 2007 aptly put it: "FORT resume ME! The beautiful green Pituite resumed service". It did so - literally - with a twist, as the idea of the Reprends-moi fort events is that of détournement, of the re-make, of the - personal and idiosyncratic - cover of the 'classics' that influenced the participants in their music-making. Citing once more the output of Google's linguistic software: "because we like it, because you love it". And, in the original french, because "le détournement et la récupération personnelle en disent parfois plus long que la dite 'création'..."

I actually do agree, and the new Vert Pituite's concept proved to be a viable one.

As a matter of fact, before I found myself drifting off, reminiscing about the not so remote past, I had set out to enlighten you on the latest Vert Pituite event: a day long of Schizophonic Cabaret aux Voûtes, with and dedicated to the French Catalan musician Pascal Comelade. Personally I missed most of what over the years became of Pascal, but I do remember him very well from his work in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and his extensive use of toy instruments.

This particular Schizophonic Cabaret aux Voûtes, honoring Comelade, took place a mere couple of weeks ago, on saturday july 4th. And a great afternoon and evening it turned out to be.

I will tell you all about that in a next post ...

- pt ii : Les Favoris Favorites, Comelade
... and Faust

[ Here is a list of the la belle soirées mentioned and described in the SoundBlog:
|| silence (lbs #7, sept. 12th 2003)
|| pituite souvenir (lbs #8, oct (?) 2003)
|| xmas in kentucky (lbs #9, dec. 14th 2003)
|| twos [niblock || palestine] (lbs #10, jan. 16th 2004)
|| face the music (the great vibrator) (lbs #14, june 16th 2004) ]

tags: Vert Pituite labelle, Sound Chronicles, Chronique Sonore, Paris

# .321.

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General Acoustics

july 20, 2009.

Last saturday, july 18th, Rébus phoned and asked me and C. to come over and see the La G. space on the avenue Parmentier. La G., the 'Parisienne de distribution de l'électricité' is a fine early 20th century industrial building (a former electric power distribution center), halfway between République and Père Lachaise. In the picture you see La G.'s facade as it was captured by the cameras of Google's Streetview.

La G., avenue Parmentier

The building is totally empty now, and slowly being prepared for use, as off coming september, by a faction of artists that used to work in the old La Générale in Belleville, foremost those that work with theatre and film.

Rébus proposed that we go around and test the space's acoustics, which gave rise to an impromptu rendering of ookoi's "Winterland Aria", quite remarkably captured by Rébus in this uTube :


[ added july 21st, 2009 : Curious fait divers: yesterday youTube gave nothing but Schoenberg, Berg and Webern stuff in its list of 'related videos'. Today it's the Sex Pistols ... :-) ... ]

tags: Paris, ookoi, Winterland

# .320.

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