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KRAAK on 04/16/2013 at 02:00AM
I don't want to start this piece with a cliché, but Jimi Hendrix was right when he called his power trio The Experience. Because that's what music should be: an experience. There's nothing wrong with rock as entertainment, because that's what rock was invented for in the first place: when working class self expression (called blues) became middle class entertainment, that's when rock 'n roll started, remember? Basically: when men in suits found that there could be money made with music. Enough with the history lesson.
Billy Bao, ladies and gentlemen, is an experience. The date is the 2nd of March 2013. The place: Aalst, the Detroit of Belgium: there's no middle class or upper class in Aalst. Either you're working class or you're jobless. Anyway.
What started out as a good post no wave punk set became an experience when, halfway through the concert, punk became Metal Machine Music: self-controlled guitar noise. All the lights in the room went on again and drummer Alberto L. Martin started disassembling his drum kit by putting the different pieces all over the place. Speakers were put between the audience and Mattin handed over his monitors to the audience, as if he was saying: "Take the music, it's yours now. It’s out of my hands."
Guitar noise became laptop noise. Laptop noise became clicks and cuts. Mattin walked trough the audience, looking around him, wandering, as if he was thinking himself: "What is going on here?" And: "Where are all these strange noises coming from?" Eventually, he unplugged his laptop and put the amp off, and it went silent again. End of the experience. - Joeri Bruyninckx
QUESTION:The Billy Bao concert on Saturday started as a no wave punk set, which was good of course, but it became great when the lights went on again and it changed into a guitar/laptop noise performance. Should a concert be more than 'just a concert' for Billy Bao?
REPLY:A concert can be a situation that exceeds the expectations of a concert to reflect back upon aspects of reality in a different, estranged way.For Cecil Taylor music was a matter of life and death. We agree with him.
QUESTION:During the concert in Aalst, when you handed the monitors and the speakers to people in the audience, that had a theatrical effect, to me. It was like you were saying: "The music is yours now, it's out of my hands". Is this what you were trying to say, or is this my interpretation?
REPLY:During this concert we were trying to work around the concept of acceleration, as Reza Negarestani puts it: "against normativity acceleration should be followed as the catastrophic rearrangement of the limits of the system". Reza thinks acceleration in epistemological terms in order to go from local myopia towards the global through synthetic conceptualization (acceleration functions as the epistemic navigation of the concept space introducing dialectical instability). So we started the concert from a very local place, very close together, acoustic, and then we started to distribute our sounds through amplification, later on the synthetic sound of the computer totally overcame us, while the elements that constituted the concert started to be dispersed as a form of catastrophic rearrangement. As Reza mentions:
"Concepts need to be released out into the open demanding the subject to improvise into contingency".
So we also started to expand in every possible direction. By doing this with were trying to undermine our authority and that of the classic rock idea about power coming from the stage. In this concert the computer took over that power and then people working in the festival took down the erected phallic tower of PA speakers, which were projecting all the sound towards the audience. Once the speakers were down, they now distributed the sound in every possible direction. While after we left the stage we were with the audience pushing for contingency and instability.
QUESTION:At the end of the set, when the guitar noise went over into laptop noise, you could only hear some clicks and cuts. You were walking through the public at that point, looking around you like you were thinking "But where do these noises come from?” and “What are these noises anyway?" That was funny, almost Andy Kaufman like. Is electronic and experimental music being taken too seriously? Did you want to bring some abstract kind of humor into the performance?
REPLY:Following the disintegration of authority and the distribution of catastrophe in every possible direction we were strangers to ourselves. So yes we looked like idiots but the audience did as well, all those faces kind of wondering: what is going on? these guys look lost in their own concert! But most of the audience looked lost too.
QUESTION:Your drummer was wearing a Stooges Funhouse T-shirt. What is the power of a power trio? Wasn’t Billy Bao a trio? When did you discover the power of rock music? Do you see Billy Bao as a rock band? On Buildings from Bilbao, often had to think about Sissy Spacek and Brainboms. Were these bands an influence on Billy Bao?
REPLY:Our influences are more like Tunnel Canary, I Go Die, Galina Ustvolskaya and Al Karpenter.
For us the notion of acceleration is also interesting in musical terms: we could consider punk to be the acceleration of rock, and noise to be the acceleration of punk. Basically you take the basic elements of one and push them in a new direction by making a catastrophe out their own conventions, but also by universalizing the potential of this catastrophe. With punk, anybody could play it if they got an instrument, learned a chord, beat a beat and formed a band. With noise you did not even need a band nor chords or beats. Really anybody could make noise without any musical knowledge or training at all.
Hijokaidan started to make noise because they read the reviews of how radical The Sex Pistols were. But this was before hearing them, and once the heard them, they thought it was only rock'n' roll, so they did a version of what they thought the Sex Pistols really were.
Now with Billy Bao we wonder: what could be the acceleration of noise?
QUESTION:Billy Bao just released Buildings from Bilbao. Is a record and a concert a different thing? Should a concert represent a record? Can a record represent a concert? Do you see the music of Billy Bao as songs? How much of the music is made while playing together and how much of it is done afterwards, in the editing? Stanley Kubrick said: “Filming is just filming. The real tension is creating while editing. That’s where film becomes cinema.” Can you say the same about music: “Playing live is just playing live. The real tension is created while editing? That’s where music becomes art?”
REPLY:The editing can take various forms and it can also be done through live playing by breaking apart the flow of where things seems to be going. Perhaps this is the problem with noise and improvisation today: that we can anticipate where the flow of things is going in live situations. So with Billy Bao, by incorporating concepts in concerts we can break our own flow so it no longer feels natural or easy.
People have mentioned how free jazz players were generating their own sense of time as opposed to performing the rigidity of the times explicit in a composition. But today through extreme flexibility everybody is kind of generating his or her own sense of time (through their own playlists, their own working times...). So again this flow of "self-managed" time is supposed to give us the appearance that we have certain sense of agency by deciding what we are doing. But this decision is like choosing something out of a very limited menu where at the end you have to pay a very expensive price: your life.
What is freedom in conditions of unfreedom?
When either we play live or make records it is more important for us to express our unfreedom rather than fake freedom. Records are very specific things and we are interested in taking the word record literally. You drop out there without having any awareness of where it might end up.
A record is there for history. This is a very interesting thing because it implies that you are doing something at one point and then history might judge you in regards of how much you were a victim of your times or to what extent you where trying something against the complacency of our times, something truly antagonistic and anachronistic.
QUESTION:I really liked the Billy Bao record on PAN. Do you see this as the best Billy Bao release too?
REPLY:May 08 was a very compact, closed, toxic record, so after that we needed something equally disturbing but open. Urban Disease is certainly a very experimental record and for us it was very liberating (thanks Brian & Taku!). If we could release Urban Disease we can now release anything.
QUESTION:Is provocation a part of the Billy Bao music? Or is provocation useless because you don’t reach the people that could be provoked anyway?
REPLY:We certainly want to provoke ourselves.
Billy Bao does not like the world the way it is but we want to do something about it. We want to take ourselves into moments of maximal deception where we can feel comfortable about being uncomfortable.
On the way we hope to bring down some established modes of music making.
If by any chance somebody feels provoked by Billy Bao we recommend doing yoga for 20 minutes.
QUESTION:If art is about expression and communication, then what is the music of Billy Bao trying to express and what are you trying to tell?
REPLY:My life is shit, probably yours too.
QUESTION:I would like to publish this interview on the Free Music Archive-blog, because I think the FMA-ideology is very close to the way you think about how music should be distributed. But tell me in your own words: why should music be available for free?
REPLY:Everyone and everything should be free except the market that should finally properly collapse.
tommykraaknet on 06/04/2012 at 07:17PM
tommykraaknet on 05/21/2012 at 06:03PM
It took Ernesto Gonzalez more than three years to record the follow-up for his ‘Vallée de Dith’, but it was definitely worth the waiting! ‘El Telonero’ is a tribute to the art of opening up for other bands. This album was created during a period in which Gonzalez got more comfortable on stage, often setting the vibe for the night. Concentrating on the ultimate tuning-in quality. The loose kraut-inspired jams of his second record are pretty much absent here. The focus is on analog synths and old drum computers, but unlike the whole neo-ambient just-bought-something-analog-and-ran-it-through-my-loopstation-scene this album is a well constructed and elaborated piece of art. Taking his inspirations from old masters such as Mort Garson, Bruce Haack, Angel Rada and Martin Rev, ‘El Telonero’ became a throbbing head spinner that is as much an ambitious third ear experience as an exotic library dream. The whole is heavily fueled by catchy mind melodies.
tommykraaknet on 05/21/2012 at 05:57PM
Connecting his many worlds, ideas and influences into highly personal live performances and recordings, Floris Vanhoof keeps on amazing people here and abroad. After his vinyl debut on Ultra Eczema, this is his second outing on wax. Cycles of Confusion unites two different aspects of Vanhoof’s work. Side A is a live piece recorded to four tracks and mixed in his home studio. It shows Vanhoof’s Riley inspired side, focussing on consciousness outside the mind as evoked by modular synth sounds. Side B is a very unique composition based on various field recordings, ranging from a classical orchestra tuning their instruments to the sound of an old pinball game. A true masterpiece of this young artist.
tommykraaknet on 05/21/2012 at 05:55PM
tommykraaknet on 05/21/2012 at 05:52PM
tommykraaknet on 02/18/2012 at 02:00AM
This is the fourteenth edition of KRAAKfestival. Please join us for a mind melting trip through the dark nooks and crannies of modern music. This year we explore the deconstruction of punk music, insightful approaches in the domains of musique concrète and sound poetry, exotic marimba lumina compositions, deep and authentic song writing, performance art, audio visual synaestheticism and retardo wave pop. The blessed Cinema Nova people took over the film program, and it's also the last day of the expos by Vincent Meesen, Lidwien van de Ven and Mohamed El baz. Open your senses and hang loose!
Line-up: Alvarius B / Amen Dunes / Angels in America / Darksmith of California / Paul Dutton / Peter Fengler / Girlseeker / Sally Golding / Hieroglyphic Being / Keijo & The Rambling Boys / Lukas Ligeti / Roscoe Mitchell / Räjäyttäjät / Rodger Stella / Joris Van de Moortel / Wild Classical Music Ensemble
Darksmith of California plays March 1 at Günther, Antwerp.
Räjäyttäjät plays March 2 at Kinky Star, Ghent.
Roscoe Mitchell & Sheldon Siegel plays March 4 at Archiduc, Brussels.
tommykraaknet on 01/16/2012 at 12:33PM
tommykraaknet on 11/19/2011 at 11:48AM
When we first heard the seductive sounds of Meghan Remy’s U.S. Girls in 08, we immediately fell in love with both the music and the persona. For her third full length “U.S. Girls on Kraak”, this astonishing muse of modern pop music extends her old lo-fi aesthetics into what is her most melodic and radio friendly output so far. Remy’s vocal abilities get a major stress on this record, clearly laying bare her sixties girl band and nineties R’nB influences, without losing touch with her early roughness en experimentalism. In barely thirty minutes Remy moves from the hit parade flavoured ‘Island Song’, over her sublime cover of Brandy & Monica’s ‘The Boy Is Mine’, to an actual classic country song. This is all intertwined with her usual talent for shortsong-writing and raw esoteric scapes. “U.S. Girls on KRAAK” is probably Remy’s most accesible work to date, and a highlight in her oeuvre that might mark the end of her ‘early years’.
tommykraaknet on 11/19/2011 at 06:37AM
After his exploration of the kosmische territory, Köhn reprogrammed his his brain to dive into another early synth passion of his: minimalism. Drawing inspiration from great masters such as Philip Glass, Steve Reich and Terry Riley, De Blonde recorded four late night ‘variations on a theme’. These are pure transcendental improvisations, meditations on minimal patterns and shifting arpeggios. Random Patterns lays bare and celebrates Köhn’s limitations a s a keyboard player, exploiting the deep core of instant composition. All four tracks show a dynamic relationship between observation, evaluation, action, reaction, acceptance and attempt, provoking sudden moments of musical insight or even feelings of genuine inner tranquility. Random Patterns is a wonderful piece of synth music that is completely disconnected from recent revivalists and painstakingly focussed on the personal bond between man and his instrument.