Category Archives: Field Recording

Rodelius

 

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It’s been a busy period for me, and this was one of those nights where I did not want to be out on a mid weeknight, but for Hans Joachim Rodelius to drag himself at the age of 82 all the way from Germany to perform for us here in SF made me recalibrate my mood and tough it out in order to enjoy the experience of witnessing this very rare performance by the only living founding member of Cluster/Kluster/Qluster and Harmonia and vanguard of the German avant garde underground music scene.

I had the chance to see Moebius a few years back (2012) and missed it for whatever reason and have been kicking myself because he has since passed away. I didn’t want to miss another opportunity to experience a living master of the craft.

His set at The Chapel SF opened with a bit of electronic work and he was joined by Tim Story also on electronics. This went on for awhile with Hans at one point transitioning to piano for some light melodic pieces, sketches almost, beautiful melodies, light and moody, playful yet melancholy at times. This first video captures some of that.

At one point he did a special dedication to Holger Czukay of Can, who recently passed away and Tim Story also dedicated this one to Dieter Moebius.

Tim departed the stage after the dedication to leave Hans to indulge in some more electronic work which was some of my favorite stuff of the evening. Abstract dynamic and dreamlike sounds culled from various sources created a lovely sound collage.

Nobody seemed to be sure what he was hearing but after his set he asked who in the crowd was playing with him as he seemed to hear some sort of Flutes or horn coming from somewhere in the building….maybe a ghost? Maybe a ghost in the machine?

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He ended the set with a bit of a lull-a-bye on piano, stood up and took some pics of the crowd with his smart phone and then offered anyone who wanted to hug him to hang around afterwards. I went and picked up a record from his merch table and had a few moments with him, the record was already signed from the initial run but I had him sign it again. I asked if he ever figured out who was responsible for the sounds he heard to which he replied in that soft German accent ‘Was it you?’ hahaha! He told me to ‘spread love’ and he smelled like wine and we hugged and it was a wonderful experience.

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Full Tones @ BAMPFA: Gabie Strong and Robert Lowe

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I found myself at The Berkeley Museum once again, where I had recently experienced another experimental electronic woman artist Suzanne Ciani. My wife and I attended this most recent performance with anticipation and a sense of pride, as my wife has been friends with Gabie since high school, and here she is performing at BAMPFA! If that isn’t enough to get excited about, also on the bill was Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe.

Full Tones was part of a series of concerts held on the Full Moon curated by Land and Sea who operate out of Oakland Ca.

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Gabie has been deeply involved in the experimental music underground for many years. She has been operating the radio show Crystalline Morphologies on KCHUNG 1630 AM radio out of Chinatown in LA. There are show archives that go back to 2011.

She has performed in and curated many events over the years, often developing site specific experiments.

She has also recently added an independent record label (also called Crystalline Morphologies) to her list of accomplishments and her 2 solo releases on vinyl and cassette are excellent slabs of experimental drone/noise and field recording.

Her set was a wonderful wash of guitar drone with a bit of contact mic experimentation deeper into the set that really brought an interesting performance element into the experience.


We had been planning on going to this event for a few weeks before I looked it up online and saw that Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe was also performing! I’d been following him for some time and have enormous respect for him being one of the few people of color operating at that level in electronic music. With cutting edge modular technology and an intellectual as well as soulful approach to the medium, he brings a much needed flavor to that scene. He incorporates his voice in wonderful ways as well as other acoustic elements fed into the modular for an otherworldly effect almost church-like. While I’m at it, I really recommend the stuff he did with experimental electronic legend Ariel Kalma. It was an honor to meet Robert and I do hope our paths cross again!

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Alphastare @ Luggage Store SF

 

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I believe this was the 4th time I’ve performed at The Luggage Store Gallery at the 3rd different space they have operated out of in the last few years. The current space is in the same building as the old but one immediate positive is that there are a few less stairs to climb as it’s located on the floor beneath the old one. By far my favorite location was the street level space they had across Market St. where the Financial District dovetails with The Tenderloin, there is footage from that in an older post . That space was on a corner and had huge windows, so as you were performing there was still that sense of the hustle of city life going on all around you, cars, busses, vintage SF cable cars…briefcases and pantsuits, street people peering into the windows, a real sense of being submerged in a major city…

This space seemed a bit smaller than the one upstairs but had a nice layout and plenty of local art hanging, creating a vibrant atmosphere.

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Tonight I had Rose Cherami with me operating visuals. This added immensely to the set and I look forward to working with this artist more in the future.  Rose also hosts a night at The Honey Hive Gallery where I recently performed also with his contribution on visuals.

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Alphastare @ The Honey Hive SF

Luggage Store Pics 

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For my first number I had to perform surgery on my SQ-1 which decided to die about 30 seconds into my set as I forgot to put in fresh batteries. The SQ was syncing all of my other gear aside from my ipad which had a drone texture playing from the Animoog synth. I had not brought extra batteries but realised I had borrowed a tape player from a friend (event host Matt Davignon). I flipped over the SQ-1 and realized the battery compartment cover is secured with phillips head screws! Hahaha! luckily I had my trusty knife on me and whipped that out like a back alley hood and went to work swapping out the batteries. If it weren’t for the Animoog Drone and the fact that I randomly borrowed that tape player and had something to remove the plate with, the beginning of my set would have been really rough. I took it as it came and soldiered on and had a great set.

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The first half consisted of some work on The Mother 32 synced up with 2 Volcas (Sample and Bass) as well as the aforementioned Animoog for drones and texture.  Then I switched the focus to a 4 track cassette I had prepared with 4 tracks of loops, which I live mixed and layered other various samples over from another source.

I had to watch it back to appreciate the visual element and I knew it would add a lot to the experience, Rose did a great job and I hope to keep this as a regular element in my sets anytime possible!

Kataryna Kopelevich also performed, you can find her work HERE


Slide show pics by Monica Berini