Thursday, 24 July 2008

Daring to pick up where I left off – the novel has remained untouched for almost a week. A week then since Cara and I sat in the kitchen and she asked for an explanation of the plot. The explanation was not forthcoming and revisions had to be made. She was not the first to say this; I have been repeating this in my head for many months. Clarity was lacking within the voices, the narrative tone, the consistency of who knows what. Is it reasonable that they should ask this question? Is it right that they are able to comment on this? Of course there were the inevitable plot holes too, but they were soon sewn up. It is easy to do this. But giving characters a realm of knowledge and boundaries of observance. Far more difficult. The next days’ tasks involve teasing out a consistency from those passages already written. There are no true stories, only stories within which the possibility of truth may be found.

Last night I performed an improvised set on cassette players, Buddha machine and longwave radio for Funkwelle FM. I have been subjected to varying descriptions of my work recently and I have heard terms used to describe my sound that I’ve never heard before; acousmatic, lowercase, eai. Some of them make sense.

I played after a band, Distract Vibes, from Rotterdam who were touring Berlin and came to the studio to perform a live session ahead of their gig next week. A shamanic, improvised let-go ensued, a man with a guitar and some guttural yelps and hollers was kept in check (or thrown out of rhythm) by some free electric bass sounds created by his female partner. We could not enter the broadcast studio, which is in a converted art gallery right on the main street so that all who walk past in this quiet area of town could see the inhabitants and their gleaming mixing boards. Instead we listened outside on a tiny FM radio as their sounds filtered through the night. Of my music, the band leader said, it sounds so shit, for so long, that bad starts to become good… kind of like decay. I liked that man.

Then I played in a billed blind date in which I was put together with a musician I met five minutes before I entered the studio. Fake Mistress plays in many outfits (I don’t mean costumes), but solo she is a vocalist, using her voice and an effects box to create layered, looped vocals and various whisperings, shrieks and icy sustained notes. I supported with modem sounds, water recordings, Russian radio and various tonal experiments on Dictaphone cassette. In this situation, time is never enough. The dynamics need to evolve, but the symbiosis began on a clean footing and a play ensued, some giving and taking and a few threats and some truly enjoyable moments, moments only made available by the spontaneity and unknowing of the event.