Vienna is quite pleasant, even when you’re skint. The public transport is great; having no enforcement staff is liberating. Most buy tickets and no one mugs you. The usual sounds of a city are pleasantly accompanied by the ever-present ticking of the automatic pedestrian crossing units, whose relays distinctly announce a countdown to the green man’s next appearance. Sometimes s/he can be seen wearing something that looks like a cowboy hat, to me anyway. Get a few of those ticking boxes in close proximity and you have a ready-made time-shifting Cage experience, which I enjoyed immensely. Was gutted I didn’t have my minidisc and stereo mic, but that’s another story. Vienna; efficient, pretty. All very clean and not a hint of antagonism. No pissed-up, hell-bent fucktards roaming the streets in the early hours. I was surprised at just how safe it felt, but then maybe I’m desensitized toward that sort of thing. Coming from England.
The Donau/Tejo project was all about “the musical exchange between the Austrian and Portuguese free improvisation scene”, with a few aberrations from the Czech Republic, Argentina and of course, England. The whole project ran for a week, during which workshops and various performances were made around Wein. Due to an astonishing, and fiery, act of g0d, I was only able to attend the last day.
As I’d missed all the fun, it seemed to me that the previous few days had been utilised producing a strategy that would guide the ensemble during the final performance. Reni wrote out the plan on the blackboard, we sat and digested it for a while, and eventually, off we went. The players were organised into four separate groups so that the sound, though contiguous, would drift around the room, back and forth between each group, as the strategy dictated. The instructed interplay between separate players from each group bore some astonishing results. I was buzzing. Each group covered different areas, some using strung acoustic instruments, some brass/woodwind; I was in the ‘electronics’ group, inevitably.
Me with ever-present beer, Ana Cordeiro Reis mangling with laptop, Leo Betinelli on ‘thundersheets’ & Paulo Chagas with oboe
I didn’t take all my ‘stuff’. Too expensive to cart guitars around the world by plane, it seems. Someone’s gotta do something about that. The plague of all travelling musicians. So instead of live soundscaping, I used Ableton’s Session mode to ad-hoc layer guitar textures, spoken word, analogue synth and shortwave recordings I’d prepared earlier, in true Blue Peter fashion. First time using Ableton’s Session View for live performance since the, so far, one and only Wülfstabber gig, and it worked like a dream. I wish Ableton would pay me to say things like that. Whatever, I was impressed and will use the same approach again.
I think it went well. I enjoyed it immensely! There is recorded evidence of the whole project, track 7 in particular being the performance at Mo.ë, to be found at the following:
Everlasting thanks go to Gloria and Reni, whom organised the whole thing, gave me somewhere to stay and showed me around the city. You lovely people!
Gloria Damijan, Toy Piano
Reni Weichselbaum, Recorders
Paulo Chagas, Oboe
Luis Vicente, Trumpet
Michael Zacherl, Percussion, Electronics
Max Bogner, Guitar, Objects, Electronics
Leo Betinelli, Electronics
Manon Bancsich, Piano, Citar
Christine Schorkhuber, Ringmikrophones
Gabi Teufner, Flute
Bernhard Schoberl, Guitar
Veronika Mayer, Electronics, Akkordeon
Bernhard Schoberl, Guitar
Ana Cordeiro Reis, Electronics
Ade Bordicott, Electronics
Petr Vrba, Trumpet, Electronics
Several unknown players