Thursday, August 10, 2017

Day 22 -- LISTEN UP! The Nordic Delight of 5th trimester Ultra Precise Pot Pissing and More!

Today we had a day off in jolly olde Stockholm. Since idyll hands are the devil's play thing, our very kind and gracious host "invited" us to hear some music at the ultra hip FASCHING club. By "invited" I mean it was suggested we all pay our own goddamn way to behold the goings on.

A text message was sent by not-me to the major domo of the evening, the one and only Mats Gustafsson.  Before you (or I) knew it, we were on the guest list.

The performance that evening was part of Mr. Gustafsson "Listen up" series. Perhaps you have seen this jaunty logo, bespoke for this series

Said logo would also look great on a 14-year-old's skateboard, or as a Halloween decoration, or something against whom a robot might battle, don't you think?

The venue was a "nice" one--matching chairs and tables, a small balcony, a strangely situated stage, dark stained wood...I dunno, it looked nice to me--but then I'm judging it against the fourth world shit holes of New York City where only boolshitting arounding happens. And there again, I only know the worst of the worst of said fourth world shit hole emporiums of boolshittery and, occasionally, savage retardica. Squats on 13th and B (before the stock brokers took it over), ABC No Rio, CBGB's and so forth. I did go to Sweet Basil's once to see Mal Waldron. Piano, drums and two saxophones. Torrents of piss everywhere except in the pot . But that's Americanino boolshitter arounder Mal Waldron for you.

Back to FASCHING, the place was packed!  I managed find a seat in the very furthest corner of the venue. Even there the sound was good.

Eventually, a molecule of unrelenting excitement passed through the large intestine shaped club. The cow-boy booted nucleus of the excitement was Mr. Gustafsson himself, with none other than Mr. Raymond Strid as neutron.  Before I knew it, said nucleus was surrounded by numerous weightless electrons, spinning furiously, held in taut orbit from shell 1 to 8 by his charismatic magnetisim (charismagnetisim?).

I met Mats at VCMI many years back. For those of you who are ignorant of VCMI (dont' worry, your ignorance does not equal stupidity...only mine) all you need to know it was, by-in-large a good thing that only looked like some kind of Nordic money laundering scheme. I also met Mr. Strid at that same VCMI. Mr. Strid actually taught for the week while Mr. Gustafsson made a quick cameo and delivered a "talk". Here are my notes from Mr. Gustafsson's lecture:

"Zen, after zee show vee drink some beers..."

Mr. Strid gave a bit of a lecture at one point as well, wherein he exalted the audio-fidelity of the i-Pod, calling it the "best Walkman [he's] ever owned."

Totally worth zee time and zee money. Tell me again why VCMI went tits up?

Though my interactions with Mr. Strid and Gustafsson left a deep and lasting impression, clearly that was not a two way phenomena. Partially because I don't give a shit about hockey, not one bit, partially because I am an americanino shitter arounder crippled dog who lives in a rubbish house filled with rubbish.

Foolish me, I was hoping that there would be a moment of quiet whereupon musicians (or philosophers) could speak to one another in our special, secret musician (or philosopher) language. Short of that, I was hoping to less ask and more hector Mr. Gustafsson about what the fuck is up with the post-post modern "Zappa" de-and-re construction?

So long as you can suck the butt
Of the contractor who calls you up
Your career could take a thud
Unless you kneel and scarf his pud
And when the dates come rolling in
You can wipe your lips and flash a grin

Questions thought of, but obviously not asked, (because I am an americanino man  out of pot pisser who won't/can't learn from a "girl"), randomly and hypothetically addressed to the memebers of the Nu-Ensemble include:

Mats Olaf Gustafsson--How many times have you seen Frank Zappa live?

Sten Standel--When was the last time you smoked a carton of cigarettes and drank 3 gallons of coffee over the course of a rehearsal?

Raymond Strid--let's talk about gear!

Nate Wooley-- Batman or Boy wonder?

Anders Nyqvist--were you ever made an honorary member of the Hells Angels?

Jaap Blonk--have you ever spent time in jail?

Julien Desprez--Have you ever lived on a military base where chemical warfare (poison gas and the like) was the primary area of human-on-human research?

Ken Vandermark -- When was the last time you subsisted on "burnt weenie sandwiches" for more than a week?

If they're lucky they'll get famous
For a week or two perhaps
They'll buy some ugly clothes to wear
And hope the business don't collapse
Before some stupid magazine
Decides they're really good..........

Mette Rasmussen--What are your feelings about Johnny "Guitar"Watson?  How about Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown?  How would you compare and/or contrast?

Jamie Saft-- Have you ever broken your leg or neck after being thrown off a stage?

Ingebrigt Haker Flaten -- With how many people other than your spouse or significant other have you enjoyed the majestic glory of intercourse after a performance?

Morgan Agren-- Jesus Christ, dood, haven't you had enough already?

Hedvig Mollestad-- How many years and hundreds of thousands of dollars have you spent fighting a major media conglomerate?

Then there are those questions best suited for the philosophers and not the musicians in the group(s):

Why Frank Zappa now?

How can you tell if your "re-arrangement" of Frank Zappa's music was a "success?" Is it by your feelings immediately after the performance while the audience is still applauding? By volume of audience applause?  By what others tell you?  By what you tell you?

What are you hoping to achieve by deconstructing the music of Frank Zappa that Frank Zappa did not achieve by constructing the music of Frank Zappa?

Who is your target audience? Are they fans of Frank Zappa? Are they fans of the musicians in the ensemble? Are they fans of going out to drink in the fantastic art-glow of such a multi-national petro-chemical dependant all star ensemble of experts, regardless of what they are playing?

If there was any content, let alone "political" content in Frank Zappa's lyrics, does their de-construction strengthen that political content, or does it diffuse said political content? 

And so on and so on and so on and so...Where's Ben Watson when you need him?

Getting back to the musical evening at hand, we were privileged to witness three acts.

The first act was "old white guy butoh." That wasn't their real name, mind you, but a factual reading of the actual reality.

Now maybe some of you are familiar with a drummer known by expert philosophers simply as "Sloppy." Naturally, all of you know who Min Tanaka is. However if you are ignorant as to who Min Tanaka is, worry thee not--you are not dumb.  Only Americaninos who don't know which civilization preceded the Romans are dumb.

Anyhow, "Sloppy" and Min Tanaka have performed together over the years, sometimes in Japan, sometimes in the United States.

"Sloppy" and Min Tanaka's reading of Butoh is arresting. "Old white guy butoh" was curious. To be clear, "curious" is neither a pejorative nor does it signify anything lasting.  Nevertheless, it was a welcome start to what we all hoped would be an engaging evening of music.

The next group, a veritable "super group" of "all stars" and "experts", featured Mr. Gustafsson on about $30,000 worth of saxophones, including a beautiful, two-metal bass saxophone. Truly and honestly a thing of musical and engineering beauty. Though "saxophones are boolshit" I, as saxophonist man boolshitter, would have loved to hear Mr. Gustafsson give a rundown of the pedigree and unique qualities of each horn (not to mention mouthpiece and ligature choices). That kind of thing fascinates me--more proof that I am an americanino out of pot pissing crippled dog man-idiot.

For better or worse, when at a concert, I actually attempt to listen to the music.  (I know, I know, more americanino bool shitting arounding.)  I usually do so with eyes closed. This is for two reasons. Reason one is because closing my eyes makes my listening holes work better. Reason two is because closing my eyes protects me from the affected, horrendous grimaces (or "jazz faces") those musicians more concerned with the visual tend to make as a way of underscoring the "intensity" of that particular musical gesture within the whole.

Verily there is nothing more vulgar than the "jazz face"--except of course for the "Jazz  Shout"--indeed there is nothing in the entire goddamn universe more vulgar and completely fucking bool-shit than a fake ass affected very silly never ever ever convincing "Jazz Shout."  Holy Sweet Mother of Jesus Christ in Heaven will someone please give me a mother fucking break, mother fucking "jazz shout." 


And so it was, with eyes closed, I listened to Mr. Gustafsson play the horns (plural) and, quite often, I couldn't tell which one he was using. Though Mr. Guffasston switched from horn to horn, rarely did he exploit the horn in question's  unique qualities. Did Mr. Gustafsson ever grunt out a fff low Bb? How about a mf (mother fucking) D below middle C? Not that I recall.

Visual pizzaz aside, was there a musical / functional / strategic / aesthetic difference between the Bass and the Baritone? Or the Bass and the other smaller horn for that matter? The obviously excellent musical reason and the subtle differences between each horn played in the same range was (surprise surprise) lost on this shitter arounder know nothing out of pot pisser crippled dog man who can't be taught anything from a "girl." Everyone else in the audience seemed to be gobbling it up like applekaka soaked in glogg.

Part of the Gustafsson situation featured recitation in a number of languages. Fortunately for me I don't speak any languages--and so I could with great ease listen to the "words" from a tonal vantage, not knowing what any of them "meant", least of all the ones in English. 

Our host, however, speaks all the languages, and so understood every word in every language dutifully read from a dramatically large sheet of paper. For all I know, he was simultaneously translating them in to Finnish, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, English, Etruscian and who knows what else. He mentioned the reading being his least favourite aspect of the performance. 

Understanding what people say is a burdeon.  Understanding what the majority of what white people on earth are saying at any given moment must be a crippling burdeon

Finally, the show for which "we" have all been waiting began.  A "rock" group!  Two ladies and a man who dresses like a lady!  WOW!  Is that zany or what?  Like, he's a man, and he's wearing woman's clothes!  HOLD UP, am I on upside-down world or something?

The guitar player in the group was 13 months pregnant.  This added an, uh, unexpected (?) element to the performance--namely the constant fear that madame’s water was going to break at any moment, leaving a mess far more sinister and difficult to clean than any amount of out of pot piddle I could ever hope to spray with my little crippled americanino man-horn.

Hopefully madame has, by now, enjoyed a successful and painless child birth.  Further, we all hope that the newborn's head isn't mishapen from madame's guitar bumping against the womb as she carefully hopped from one foot to another through out the show.

Speaking of carefully hopping from one foot to another, so moving and movement-inspiring was the Hedvig Mollestad trio's performance that a certain goalie was seen also carefully hopping from one foot to another, (a drink was in hand after all) staring blankly into white space, grooving to the in-the-pot-piss sounds of what felt like a never ending geyser of precise, metric, groove, diatonic in-the-pot piss.

Mind you, pissing in the pot is of double importance in Norway.  One speck of boolshitting arounding errant crippled dog piddle not sprayed directly into the tonal, metric, diatonic well proportioned toilet hole could easily freeze and make slippery conditions in the toilet paper room.  A woman in her 5th trimester could easily slip on that frozen man-pee!  And then what?  Appear on stage at Listen Up with an ugly bruise showing through his or her fish-nets? 

Heaven forbid.

The music was sort of like Black Sabbath mixed with Band of Gypsies mixed with Laurence Welk mixed with a Lamaze class mixed with Clonipin mixed with dinner at a nursing home mixed with matching outfits mixed with super high-end gear mixed with a super high-end standard of living mixed with super high self esteem mixed with that aspect of Nordic Culture that is NOT about Cracked Cop Skulls or licking shit.

Aaaand after that, things get blurry.  We obviously went home.  Maybe the philosopher men stayed up to talk important and clearly not boolshit talk about their important feelings on really important topics?  Perhaps they spun a 12" vinyl (ooooh ahhhh) of Ceremonial African Pygmy music as played by a bronze age tribe in the Andes recorded on a fucking cassette deck?  Who knows, maybe they listened to a cassette copy of the vinyl?  I can assure you they didn't listen to any Joe Maneri. 

I went to bed, because I am an old crippled dog with a "plaza".

Ignore me. 

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