1. A large whisky in Raymond’s Bar, Vienna
The background is black and flowing, un peu comme le nuage de Mazen Kerbaj
Wednesday, December 16, 2015. Raymond’s Bar, Vienna 6; 10 pm
This is not a review. I came here and because none of these small tables was free, I had a seat at the bar and immediately was invited for large whisky (Laphroig, 10 years). It came from a man in a suit, standing to my right, almost opposite me. Between him and me there are two women with their drinks on the counter. His and another woman who could be mine. The whisky amplifies my coffee.
I came to this bar in order to write and to distance myself from my room, my space, in which I was listening to the record over and over again and at the same time I want to come closer, circle around it, come back to the record via the long way round and explore what lies on this way. This bar is on this way, and a movie I recently saw again, Sans Soleil from Chris Marker. In there, Sandor Krasna reports letter-wise from his journey to Japan and in his letters he gives an account of many scenes from Guinea Bissau; Cabo Verde.
I remember very lively – now, here in this bar – the look, the glance of the market woman, straightforward, that lasted a twenty-fourth of a second, the length of a film frame – directly into the camera, into the eyes of the viewer, into my eyes, so that I was transported, for a moment I was there, at the market in Praia (Cabo Verde), around the time I was born. This fraction of a second belongs to my version of Princess Shonagun’s list of things that quicken the heart.
It appeals to me to, like to Sandor Krasna, to report in a report of something, about something else. In writing about the record I want to tell about society. In this society in which we are living and in which the record could grow, the idea of the record, the sounds, the words, the combination of words, the references and citations, intentional or intuitive. Thus I want to report from this world that can create such a record – and the words of its description.
“We are living in a world, in which a huge part of the media is serving to create a narration of Good and Evil. We accept reluctantly or willingly the lies that serve those who exercise power as an argument to legitimize their acts – and in accepting we legitimize the power-exercising and the destructions and poverty they create. ”
2. Hello to another senseless war!
But first, I can say: the record is CATHEDRAL. It is an underwater-record. It is a night-record. It is a red-wine-record. It is a Dancer-In-The-Dark-record, also because the music very often is machine-like. It is a retreat-record, I think, it sounds like it, maybe even a fleeing-record, an escape from the social, the general social, into the self, where only the special and the particular people are allowed and where work is possible (to be accomplished) – this record – that serves itself. Because, outside of this inner place, that you have to create yourself, that you have to occupy, that is not given to you but steadily challenged, it’s more like Severin Heilmann writes in Streifzüge No. 65 :
‘The purpose of work is rarely the work itself, it rather equips one financially to recover from it in his or her free time. Thus one’s free time has not itself as content but one’s maintenance for work. Which inevitably entails that neither in work nor in free time one can devote oneself to playfulness…’
(‘Der Zweck der Arbeit ist aber kaum je die Arbeit selbst, vielmehr bemittelt sie dazu, sich in der Freizeit von ihr zu erholen. So hat dann aber auch die Freizeit nicht sich selbst zum Inhalt, sondern eben die Instandsetzung und Instandhaltung für die Arbeit. Was unweigerlich zur Folge hat, dass weder in der Arbeit noch in der Freizeit sich jemand ernstlich dem Spielerischen widmet…’)
Still in my own place, that is, my flat, as I was actually listening to the record, I thought: Crne Vode. I was let down in a diving bell – glockenspiel – on an iron drone – madness protects as fever does. I was lying on my bed like an unborn floating in his mother’s womb. The ultimate retreat. Retreat from this world which screams Hello to another senseless war!
From my small notebook:
We are living in a world, in which a huge part of the media is serving to create a narration of Good and Evil (most obvious example in the last days: recurring negative reports from Russia and about Vladimir Putin, whom I do not want to defend here, I just want to point out that the narrative has chosen another villain). We depend on this media, there are few alternatives. We know that the news transport lies and that seemingly and former respectable media have chosen or had to choose a side in this (great) game. We accept reluctantly or willingly the lies that serve those who exercise power as an argument to legitimize their acts – and in accepting we legitimize the power-exercising and the destructions and poverty they create.
Where in these power struggles on global and provincial scales, can one situate such a record, such an honest, I think, music-album, that therefore appears as not from this world. How put it in relation with society? And even more important: How does it create this relation itself?
3. The meaningless of life
Here in the bar (Raymond’s) people are arguing about the meaninglessness of life. The increasingly drunk woman, who could be mine, is yelling that having children is a fucking egotistical act that’s only purpose is to fill one’s life with a little meaning. Everything’s falling into pieces, she says. Futility is rioting. Her elders, the man in the suit and his woman, try to soothe her anger. Thy may have got something to loose, I am thinking. But what have you got to loose in the end? Outraged about the many everyday-humiliations we are enduring, her speech is flowing and I am, tacitly agreeing, painting letters on the paper.
But now to my essay, my attempt to find out how the record puts itself in relation to the world. One thing is other music. The record crosses a lot of genres, without staying in one, of course. I found passages, very precise seconds, that sound like an intersection – a mongrel – with other records, second-intersections. Like a gate that opens up all of a sudden and that you can enter, like Chihiro’s parents, and with them Chihiro herself (Film by Hayao Miyazaki). Gates keep on opening – the music opens the doors of perception – which gives an idea of a large universe with a starry dome and experience and dream and reality that, on the record, flows into Maja‘s universe, the inner retreat with the many colored light bulbs inside the diving bell in the Crne Vode.
4. Because of you
Thursday, December 17, 2015. Café Europa, Vienna 7; 6.30 pm
On the way to Piaristengasse to Gomberg Swinger Club with Franz Hautzinger, trumpet; Maria Petrova, drums; and Matija Schellander, bass.
The situation yesterday in Raymond’s Bar turned into an impasse. The woman next to the man in the suit, who actually was not his woman, came over to me and tried to talk me into closing my notebook and come over to them. But I continued my writing. Very soon after that, the nice waitress placed another large Laphroig, 10 years, in front of my face. I continued writing. The woman who could have been mine, gave me some looks and continued talking in a raised voice about how much better you get to know people in sexual situations. While you draw silently impromptu maps on my hungry skin / I undress my distance says Maja in a lullaby to an unborn child, a love song. Or in Hello, I can’t find my head she says: and then I – imagine myself – how I – lovingly – but yet – convincingly – scream at you / WHY? WHY? WHY?
That may be two sides of one YOU or are they different YOUs? – Here I am continuing my attempt to find out how the record positions itself facing the world. – Maja is speaking to us or to somebody and I think, these YOUs (and WEs) are the openings of the diving bell – la diving belle – the bull-eyes, through which she can look out and speak out into the black waters of the world. But to whom is she talking? Are they CERTAIN people that she is talking to? This stays a secret, but I can use her words for my certain people. Is she talking to role-models, accusing them. Is it the general social? La putain société. The circumstances, the black ocean in which we are drifting?
*We built this desert and we named it home. Because of you. I become less for you, just (you) turn me down. Down I fall, Because of you. Inconsonant with your authority.
5. Over and done
On my detours towards this text about the record I met Béla Tarr in the titanik bar and heard the nameless singer singing Kész az egész (Over and done).
Outside it was raining, inside it was triste, but not hopeless, ‘It’s good that utopia exists,’ she was singing. Also here in Vienna it was raining throughout the dark day. Now, in the evening, the rain ceased and I could walk through the streets from down by the Vienna river up to Neubau and then further to Josefstadt. In my room, when I was still listening to the record, nothing is finished until you see it, I was thinking of this nameless singer from the titanik bar, but slightly shifted into a David Lynch movie. I thought: beauty singing in strange surroundings.
The strange surroundings on the record are the sounds, strange as the world. I thought: a woman in trouble – like the woman in the bar, Raymond’s, not titanik, well, both – drowning in her sounds. Through the leaks in the diving belle, black water is dripping onto the colorful bulbs of the Lisbon light-garland, which are emitting sparks, the light goes down, carefully, I am broken. A woman in trouble. In trouble but not in danger. Maja knows her diving bell, I think, because it is never a new one, a different one, like a LSD-trip is always the same trip, I was told by a friend, you just tune in, you just get on board again, the ticket is only the size of millimeters. Like a dream is always the same dream – you just fall back into sleep. Like the music:
It’s almost like the analogy of: If you are standing next to a river and the river is raging, and then at one moment your’re standing there and the next moment you jump into the river. Well, your’re going to have to use everything you know and every bit that you have ever experienced to try to deal with being in this river. And you don’t know where things are coming from, they’re coming from all sorts of directions, and then you don’t know where you are going to go. So you find the flow and then you jump out of the river, your’re standing by the shore again, the river is still doing its thing, it’s still there, there is still the flow, you still have experienced it, you can still experience it again. So it doesn’t really ever end.
Michael Zerang – theoral no. 7
6. The own sound
I want to say: they are places, the music and the dreams. They are parallel worlds, in which we (can) throw ourselves. Can we be in more than one of these worlds at the same time? Is there a place, a spot, a thought, a sound etc. where those different parallel worlds intersect, where they agree? Music, dream, perception, maybe also the dreams and the music of the certain people. In the diving bell perhaps, with the Lisbon light-garlands, nestled on one’s own sound, the own sound.
I mean: the diving bell is the record, well: the record is an image of the diving bell, a possible portrayal, the audibilization of the intersecting streams in Maja’s diving bell, a summary, an interpretation of life up to now, a manifestation and confirmation of the identity of the musician, who is not nameless, Maja. The diving bell is the place in which I am imagining that dreams, music, sound, different perceptions can meet, where a sound can express a good or a bad dream (bed dream), or a perception, a memory, where sounds trigger dreams, create memories, articulate muted truths or replace the forgotten with the self-invented.
Power relations are changeable.
*lyrics in Let Them Grow