july 29, 2011.
After another two days, mid June, of intense editing work with Sam in his studio in Ghent, we managed to almost get all the material for the second of four 10 minute (Topographic [Table) Topographique) pieces lined up on disk for mix-down, actually using near to 100 Pro Tools tracks. Two more pieces to go before mixing, so we will probably need at least another full week of work to get the album ready.
From Ghent I railed back to Amsterdam, to catch a night train to Berlin.
I had been rushing here and there and back again, zigzagging between France, Belgium and the Netherlands for several weeks already, and was pretty exhausted. So what a couple of months ago still seemed to be a great - because very cheap - deal (night training to-and-fro Berlin), at that moment felt like I were about to start solo climbing some Mount Everest. On the other hand, I think the (tongue-in-cheek) picture I got to shoot on the platform in Amsterdam, was worth it: the train to Moscow makes a halt in Duivendrecht.
I arrived at Berlin Hauptbahnhof at 4h28 in the morning of June 16th, and caught a bus to Neukölln a little after. I arrived in the Weserstraße to the majestic sound of a choir of Berlin birds singing their feathery hearts out, had to wake up Rinus for him to let me in, and then crashed for a couple of hours of badly needed sleep.
All of Diktat was expected in Berlin that Friday.
Rinus was there, of course, as Berlin is (or was?) his base. Also Rébus was in town already. He had arrived on Thursday, by plane from Paris-Orly. Still missing were Jean Bordé and his double bass. But they would arrive later that morning, as Jean was supposed to be on the night train from Paris, due for arrival at Hauptbahnhof at about 10h, some five and a half hours after my arrival by night train from Amsterdam.
The pictures above were shot early afternoon that Friday, in Rinus' kitchen. Rébus by then had joined us in the Weserstraße, and we went over the map of Berlin, discussing suitable spots for the unplugged outdoor interventions that we wanted to do over the weekend.
We had not yet seen Jean arrive, though. I tried a few times to catch him on his cell phone. That, however, was continuously on voicemail. I blamed it on a flat battery. Oh well... He would get there, sooner or later.
But then it was getting later, and still he did not. We began to worry. First a bit. Then a bit more. What if ... Jean might have been sleeping when the train arrived at Hauptbahnhof. It was my experience that you had to pay attention, for nobody would step in and shake you up, were you sleeping at your stop. So he might just, and together with his double bass be on his way to Warsaw or Moscow at this very moment. With a dead cell phone ...
Nothing much we could do, but as time continued to pass without the least sign of our bass player, we seriously wondered whether that evening in the Lychener Straße it would be Diktat performing. Or would it be just the three of us, without a double bass?
It was a warm, bright, sunshiny day in Berlin. In the afternoon we walked around here and there, and then took the subway up from Neukölln to Prenzlauer Berg, for that evening's concert.
You probably can imagine our relief when, arriving at Ausland, we found Jean's double bass, safely stalled in a corner. So Jean had arrived in Berlin. But what had happened? Why hadn't we heard from him? Why had he not come to join us in Neukölln?
We bumped into the man himself some thirty minutes later, on the Danziger Straße.
He told us what had happened. All had been my fault. A little bit.
Jean had arrived, according to plan, but thinking I would be at Hauptbahnhof, waiting for him. I had sent him an email the other day, saying that I did not fancy waiting five or more hours at the station. I wrote I'd take a bus over to Rinus' place, and then phone him when he arrived around 10h. And that's what I did. But then Jean had not read my mail. Moreover, the roaming option of his cell phone was not enabled. So he could not call, neither be called. Last but not least, Jean had not brough any info whatever on where to go and how to get there.
"The only thing I remembered," he told us, "was that tonight we would perform at Ausland. But then I had no idea where this Ausland was. So for a while I went around the station with my bass, and asked people: 'Where ist Ausland?' ..." He eventually managed to find Ausland, by entering a Tourist Office, and asking them to Google 'Diktat Ausland Berlin' :-) ...
Well, well, all's well that ends well. And the four of us ended up together over at Ausland, setting up for Diktat's first Berlin performance.
Here, for you pleasure and awe, the first of a 'Diktat IN-side Berlin' recording triptych. This 'live in Berlin' track was extracted from Rébus' recording of our performance at Ausland. By putting his digirec near to Jean, he actually blew up the bass part to almost cartoonesque proportions, which, given that particular day's worries about Jean's whereabouts, is sort of appropriate ... Monumental. Wagnerian. Berlin. Play it loud!
Below there are three of us shortly after the concert, on the subway back to Neukölln. From the right to the left, there's Jean, Rinus, me. Rébus was with us as well, even though you cannot see hem. He took the picture.
And the evening and the morning were the first day.
[ next: 'Komm raussi!'___Diktat in Berlin [ii] ]
tags: Diktat, Berlin
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