pulp.noir just finished a week of rehearsals for a couple of shows this fall where we’ll be playing a live remix of Terry Gilliam’s 1985 movie “Brazil”. The first show will take place tomorrow at EWZ Stattkino, where we played our remixed version of “A Clockwork Orange” earlier this year.
Also coming up for pulp.noir is another studio visit and then two more performances of “signal to noise” in December. See www.pulpnoir.ch for dates.
Austrian bass player and multi-instrumentalist Jochen Hampl has released a new two piece album, “Touch Release Move”. I’ve programmed drums for the first track, The Nervous Novice. Give it a listen, it’s funky! And visit the Bandcamp site for full credit listings.
This is the second time this year that I got the chance to work with Jochen, and the first of that work that is being released.
As many before, this is a pay-what-you-want release, which - contrary to popular belief - means “if you want it, pay for it”. ;-) Seriously though, if you dig it as much as a cup of coffee, consider contributing a few bucks to compensate everybody’s efforts - thanks!
Today was my first day as assistant teacher at the Music and Media Arts / Musik und Medienkunst department at HKB (Hochschule der Künste Bern / Berne University of the Arts). I’ll be there 1-2 days per week, teaching one seminar and having personal lessons with students. It goes without saying that I’m really looking forward to working with the department’s great staff and students!
Very exciting news! pulp.noir will be part of the new group exhibition “Gastspiel. Schweizer Gegenwartskunst im Museum Rietberg” at Museum Rietberg, Zurich, which is opening to the public on Friday and will be on display until November. In the audiovisual installation “Beam me up”, pulp.noir’s signature aesthetic meets ancient indian sculptures, turning the exhibits into actual visitors and sending them on a journey through alien worlds.
The exhibition will feature works by Lukas Bärfuss, Olaf Breuning, Stefan Burger, Fischli / Weiss, San Keller, Naomi Leshem, Lutz / Guggisberg, Jso Maeder, Fabian Marti, Yves Netzhammer, Caro Niederer, pulp.noir, Mai-Thu Perret, Porte Rouge, Peter Regli, David Renggli, Pipilotti Rist, Shirana Shahbazi.
This is the Facebook event page for the exhibition, and at the bottom you’ll find a postcard flyer we created to get the word out about “Beam me up”:
I’m continuing this series (see here for Part 1 and Part 2) of photo posts with another treat, something which is also not covered in the documentary movie about the project: a couple of pictures and notes from the Todmorden 513 “studio” recording session, along with an account by one of our supporters who visited us as part of his PledgeCampaign reward. The recording took place on April 20, 2013 at Bunker Auditorium Golden, Colorado. First, click play and treat yourself to some music while you read!
Thomas checking out the acoustics of the room.
The view from the back of the venue.
Scott “Gusty” Christensen, the recording engineer, at work. Scott also provided one of the two mixes features on the CD/DVD package.
The view from my place after we finished setting up the microphones: as during the rehearsals, my job was to follow the score, writing down beginnings and endings of takes and taking notes for discussion with Markus and Thomas. Read a bit more about that over at Todmorden513.com in my TM513 diary entry for that day.
Our team of friends, facilitators and PledgeMusic campaign supporters who got to visit us as part of their pledge rewards and had flown in from such diverse places as Minneapolis MN, Austin TX and Boston MA - not to mention Markus and me travelling there from Germany and Switzerland, respectively.
Cedric Theys, frenchman living in Austin and founder of Mad Ducks Records, and me.
Cedric, who has since gone on to support Markus and the project in numerous ways, was kind enough to share a few memories from the recording session with us. Here’s what he wrote me:
"Golden City CO. An unassuming small American city with a big arch with its name at the entrance. I got there a bit late the day of the recording as I was staying at a friend’s place about an hour away and every day thus far had been extremely exhilarating. Seeing consummate professionals doing what they love to the highest caliber possible with very little financial means to do it: Markus, Thomas, Tobias, Jack and of course the whole chamber orchestra.
The day of the recording was yet another lesson on what can be done by sheer will. And lots of work! The orchestra went straight through recording for a good 3 to 4 hours. Stamina, perfection and feel. Nobody complained and everybody played at their highest. Markus and Tobias were very focused; I could see it in their eyes. Thomas was on stage so I didn’t see him close but I’m sure he was the same. And relaxed! Got to be when conducting such a big group on such a difficult and new piece.
And I got to see the score for the first time: huge but very clear and I actually understood what was going on for each instrument and in general, even though I’ve got no formal training and my music reading skills are very limited.
Helped with clean up afterwards, getting the chairs, mics and cables back in place. We then went to lunch and I left for the airport to get back home after three days in Denver. Took a few days to land back into “reality” after getting a glimpse of what we as humans are capable of accomplishing. If we only tried, the world would be such a different place.”
And, finally, here’s the arch that Cedric mentioned: Golden, CO - Where the Western Contemporary Classical Music lives.*
*You can’t see it at that image size but below the arch it says “Where the West lives” - not an opportunity for goofing around that I can pass up!
Thanks as always for stopping by. I may or may not write a fourth post in the series if I can gather enough useful material. If you want to keep up with new blog entries I suggest you subscribe to the RSS feed by clicking here - that way you’ll get each new post delivered straight to your feed reader.
“The official release of Markus Reuter’s Todmorden 513 more than a year after it’s premiere and recording brings back many memories”, says Thomas. “As Tobias points out, the weather in Colorado that week was unusual, and horrendous. Many of our musicians had already had a rough commute the previous week for a different program when the weather was so bad we had to cancel a rehearsal and reschedule. It should have been Spring, but it wasn’t!”
What is standing out in particular, especially in hindsight? “I still marvel at the community that was built around TM513. While social media and crowd fundraising are new techniques in today’s world, the support that Markus and the Colorado Chamber Orchestra received for TM513 is the same old fashioned “patronage” that all artists have had throughout history. The advantage of social media is the global campaign we ran to support this project. And what a great group of people, a group of people with like minds and interests! Our work has just begun, as we search to find performances for TM513 around the world, and to expose this incredible music to new ears.”
“Rumor has it I shall be traveling to Berlin this year to spend time with Markus on new music as we all work to establish Markus as a composer of importance. I hope you enjoy the recording and Jack Casadone’s fantastic documentary of Todmorden 513, and if you don’t own the CD/DVD or haven’t heard/seen it, HURRY UP! :)”
The following are a few more pictures of our daily study of the score. The first shows an example of an annotation Thomas might make during a rehearsal - reassigning voices to different registers (octaves) or even instruments to facilitate a better flow of the music.
Two bars of the Vibes part. When listening to the piece you’ll notice that the rhythm of this figure, repeated twice here, stays the same throghout while the actual pitches change in accordance with the chord progression.
And finally, a complete page of the score.
As announced a couple of days ago, here’s the first of a couple of photo posts from the week leading up to the performance and recording of Todmorden 513 in April 2013 (Edit: Part 2 and Part 3 are now online as well). The piece has been released as a beautiful CD/DVD package on Monday (available here), including a 5.1 surround mix and Jack’s film, “Breaking 513”. The two stereo mixes are separately available for download here - why don’t you have a listen while you continue reading? Just push play.
The #tm513 week provided us with some interesting weather diversity. Here’s how things looked on the morning of the first rehearsal…
The first and second of three nights of rehearsals took place at Chaparral High School in Parker, CO. Some of the players had already come in contact with the piece during a reading rehearsal in January 2013, others saw the scores the first time. Thomas dove right in, stopping here and there to explain things or to have Markus address the orchestra.
Here’s the view from where I stood. I had a copy of the score with which to read along and take notes, to be discussed the next day (Here’s video of us doing just that the next day in “Breaking 513”, Jack Casadone’s documentary).
…and this was the weather on the way home.
Jaanus, having just arrived, approves.
Jack’s trying to find a good angle - no easy feat in a room with around 50 people!
The great Nikki Tsuchiya playing the organ part. Lots of very long notes changing at unpredictable times make the organ part a particularly hard piece of work.
Markus spent a lot of time going around the orchestra, answering questions and giving suggestions.
Waiting (and posing) in the parking lot after the second rehearsal.
Wait what - this is a high school parking lot? #huge #wow #mindblown, as they say on The Internet.
Final rehearsal at King Center Concert Hall in Denver, where the performance was to take place the next day.
If you’d like to read more about the rehearsals, check out the production diary at www.todmorden513.com - just scroll back through the posts to April 2013.
In April 2013 I had the opportunity to travel to Denver, Colorado for a week to help with the rehearsals, performance and recording of Markus Reuter’s orchestral piece “Todmorden 513” - a big work we’d been working on over the last couple of years. I’ve previously written here about working on the project and about the week in Denver, and on the website www.todmorden513.com we chronicled the project so far pretty extensively. New York-based filmmaker Jack Casadone, having already shot footage of the first rehearsals in January last year, accompanied us during that week. The result of his work is the 70 minute documentary feature “Breaking 513”. Not only is the film available in HD on the CD/DVD release of the composition that will be out tomorrow, it is also available for free streaming. Watch it on Vimeo at www.breaking513.com or embedded here:directly from the artist. You’ll get two mixes of the piece, one by its recording engineer Scott Christensen and one by ambient musician Robert Rich.
I will be posting more previously unseen pictures from the week in Denver over the coming days.