(February 16th 2020) I finished the, quite wonderful, mix of (Topographic [Table) Topographique], in the spring of 2012, with the Piano Fabriek's sound engineer Sam Vanryssel, in Sam's home studio in Ghent, Belgium. Sort of a scandal cq. mystery that, though, the album has never seen the light of day. Have to admit that I have not been overly insisting, but I did try to interest the odd label and person here and there. But actually never ever even got a reply to my propositions. Maybe it's the contorted story and link to Daniel Spoerri's work that put them off? Or is it the modelling /referencing of the pieces to Yes's Tales from Topographic Ocean? Who knows. Currently thinking about how later this year I can once again use the sound material that we recorded back in 2011 in the Brussel Pianofabriek's studio (which is the topic of the blogpost below), to compose a second, highly abstract, companion album, again formatted (4 pieces, of equaivalet duration) like the Yes double LP...

(Topographic [Table) Topographique]

april 19, 2011.

5 min read 🤓

If I were a city, I think I would be Brussels: a curious threesome in union divided, that already for decades I keep coming back to. Brussels feels like me. It feels like a home to me. It is also the place where last year Maurice JJ and myself re-constructed the small kitchen table that is the protagonist in Daniel Spoerri's Topographie Anecdotée du Hasard.

topografische tafel

The first two weeks of April, the Kunstenwerkplaats of the Flemish Cultural Center De Pianofabriek, in the Brussels neighborhood of Saint-Gillis, provided us with the material conditions and technical support necessary to record the sound material for A Topographic Table, the title of the long-playing album which is one of two, maybe three, still remaining parts of the full Re:table project that await realization.

Brussels blessed us with wonderful spring weather, bordering on early summer. Whenever we emerged from De Pianofabriek's Zolder-studio (which, contrary to what the name might suggest, is situated in the building's cellar), a golden sun shone down on us, perfect for shorter and longer city strolls and wanderings. (Which then, btw, resulted in my picking up no less then 7 trashed audio tapes - including one reel-to-reel - from the streets, during this two week stay in Brussels. But that, of course, is part of a different story.)


When I arrived at Zolder and opened my A Table! workbook, the first thing I saw was a reminder to be ambitious; and on the second day of recording, the Daily_Oblique urged us to be extravagant. These two weeks of unceasing recording were marked by just that: ambition and sonic extravagancy. In the end, there will be four pieces. Each will have a duration of about ten minutes, and each piece will correspond to one of the four regions of Spoerri's kitchen table, as delineated in the picture above.

There is an awful lot more that could be said; about the many layers; about the what and how of the recordings. But I prefer to - maybe - leave that until the album has found its final form. Which should be just before this year's summer's start.

The picture book may help you to imagine...

zolder zolder zolder
zolder zolder
zolder zolder zolder
zolder zolder
zolder zolder
zolder zolder
bombing trumpet
zolder zolder
rick and jj table wrap

Many thanks are due. First of all to the Pianofabriek, for making this possible. To the Pianofabriek's capable and very helpful technicians, Sam Vanryssel and Kenny, who did their utmost to perfectly capture also the softest, the loudest and the weirdest sounds we insisted on producing down there. To the three inventive musicians that joined our sessions, willing to play written parts and to improvise, alone, with Maurice JJ, or along to previously recorded parts, complying with, at times, curious instructions. And without having the slightest idea of how all of this will end up sounding in the end: Jacques Foschia on clarinets, Rick Staelens on alto saxophone and Bart Maris on trumpet. Last but not least, the Fanfare Rambi Bambo agreed to perform an improvised impromptu 'tutti' on the theme of the Fourth Section (Southeast, Ritual), at the end of their concert at the bistro l'Archipel, in the rue du Marché aux Poulets, on Monday evening April 11th.

It'll be all put together over the coming weeks. For the final mix-down three days are planned during the first two weeks of June. That'll be in Ghent. Also Belgium.

SoundBlog entries related to our 2010 reconstruction of Daniel Spoerri's Carcassone table:

(june 06, 2013) - A Carcassonne Yodel in Blue [Kunsttour 2013]
(december 24, 2011) - Touching Base
(april 19, 2011) - (Topographic [Table) Topographique]
(september 26, 2010) - Bonjour Schiphorst! Farewell Blue Vase! [and then i joined the avantgarde {iii}]
(august 10, 2010) - Shake your booty (on the workfloor) [and then i joined the avantgarde {ii}]
(july 18, 2010) - From (h)ear to avantgarde
(june 10, 2010) - A kitchen table and a game of cards [KT2010, ii]
(june 04, 2010) - Table archaeology: unearthing the picture trap
(may 18, 2010) - Instant coffee and (b)[re](a)d wine (the Spoerri re:Table in Extrapool, Nijmegen)
(may 13, 2010) - attention! oeuvre d atable
(july 08, 2009) - Cover thyself ( * ) Petit tour de table, grande bouffe [iii]

Radio Panik

While in Brussels, the fine people of Radio Panik's monthly emission (which goes by the equally fine name) of Ouïra bien qui ouïra le dernier invited us to their Saint-Josse-ten-Noode studio on Sunday April 10th. There, from 19h until 20h, we talked with Ouïra's charming hostess Chloé Despax, autour d'A Table!; a little about what each of us is doing; and a little more about how it is that we do the things we do together. In between we did three short live-things. Which turned out not too bad, actually. If you're in Brussels, you can re-listen to this sixth edition of Ouïra bien qui ouïra le dernier on Radio Panik, again from 19h until 20h, on Sunday April 24th. Otherwise, listen any other time, on the Ouïra bien qui ouïra-blog.

radio panik

Thank you, Jean-Paul and thank you, Chloé.
It was fun.

tags: A Table!, Spoerri, Brussels

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