Thursday, 16 September 2010

The longest journey of the tour, shouldn't have felt long (being only two and a half hours), but what with the sleep deprivation, the droning whine of the carriages, missed connections and the damp feet, it felt long. Arrived in Maastricht sometime after five and waited with the pigeons in the station, climbed about a bus and headed to the outskirts, the English recollections of an early autumn brought on by the sweet smell of fallen apples and cut grass.

Abandoned by the bus, we looked lost for a moment but soon found our way, a large former car garage with a guerilla mobile garden in its forecourt and the telltale signs of artists occupancy – handmade signs, salvage-art and paint. Inside a great open space, two stories high and covered in corrugated steel, huge beams and constructed wooden platforms, mirrorballs and string lights. In every corner a door, another corridor, and further rooms full of circuit-bending ateliers and wood workshops, electronic goods tradestore, cultural offices and sculptures.

So we set ourselves, soundchecked, arranged candles and chairs and awaited a slow Wednesday evening crowd, not huge by any means, but seemingly intent on listening and generous with conversation. The Great Park was on form, quiet between songs, but intense of voice and sure of hand, the songs drawing us in from the reality of the room into something altogether closer and darker. I worked with the room as best as I could, great sound from monitors and speakers, some interesting mid-frequency reverb that escalated the noise at surprising moments, but the majority of the time I just about managed to keep on top of the six cassette players, playing slower than usual, trying to tease out the patterns and clearings of sound.

Sleep, the closing paragraph to a long day, was undisturbed and surely the heaviest of the tour, preparing us for the day following, a day of writing, cityscapes and border crossings.

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