Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Kraak Fest 2009



Brussels was really groovy… everywhere you looked graffiti shot though your head, like flash photography …urgent suggestions, blueprints yet to be discovered… atrophied trees everywhere… the city was an album cover waiting to happen… A drug opera stuffed into a cuckoo clock… stacks of enticing books, and endless racks of quality vinyl biting at your pocket. Me and Kek floating along, taking it all in, our beards caked in the cultural fallout.



Everyone at Kraak was bloody lovely… Tommy, Steve (who picked us up from Centraal Station), Kurt and all the rest of the gang, the food, that gorgeous rustic type you used to get in Bath before those evil chain-stores n over-priced coffee bars destroyed the fragile eco-system… meatballs the size of bull’s eyes…

We dumped our kit off at Faro early Saturday and wandered about the city in search of exotic booty… semi dazed by the total lack of sleep during the night before, our enthusiasm wasn’t blunted…The universe was churning as the conversations became more surreal and the salami set my mouth on fire… the church bells had this insane clatter about them, recorded a few minutes on the camera for future IBS misuse… Kek found this Neo-Folk shop down a winding side street… I was literally in ‘World Serpent’ heaven… toyed with the idea of buying a rare ‘Moon Lays Hidden’ live CD…but never did…





Back at the venue, the artists were piling in…



Geoff Leigh was a real character, full of endless stories - island communes in Rotterdam, recounting his days in Henry Cow and Univers Zero… a rich stream of histories flapping round our ears, apparently Hastings was really rough back in the 60's...

His set a lush looped carpet of gong and bowl shimmers with stretched flute caresses, then getting all comically cut-up with bird chirps and stubble rash and Lord knows what else… a smeared drum and rolling monologue follows, I’m hooked up on his words...



Caught a bit of Köhn in the Recyclart venue, churning his guitar into dizzy directions, creating gravelly loops that cut into the skin… a very agreeable noise… deep, droney, oozing with substance…

Back at Faro, Burton Green nearly electrocutes himself, attempting to fix his 30 year old Korg… Vomir are throwing out harsh waves of unrelenting noise, I’m behind the stage door doodling away, taking in the back stage atmosphere in inky line… me and Kek get ready, equipment test, paranoid the x-ray machines have messed with the circuits…

Our sound check goes too fast... one day we are going to have a relaxed one…



Then Ken Butler hits the stage, and he’s a one-man dynamo, throwing out a rich stream of infectious grooves from his converted tennis rackets and garden spades… My nerves are turning, Kek plies me with alcohol to charm the growing monster… but Ken is working that audience into a frenzy of pleasure, pushing the boundaries further out, piling on the textures as the audience roar with appreciation, I’m wondering how we follow that…





but we do… and it feels good! Started slow n satanic then branched into some busted speaker noise insanity… dueting in broken jazz sticks and delayed zither kernels…and pretty much everything else… we were dripping by the end of it… and luckily the audience seemed to love it, although I spied a few ‘what the hell happened’ faces out there in the gloom… Lovely to catch up with The Great Baarsini… he’s been a fan of ours for sometime now, and really chuffed he had the opportunity to take in the live experience… The Funeral Folk / Anfang posse were all mad about it too… Alan Silva said we created 'musical cancer' and I loved this expression so much …all I could do was grin back… We were even asked to sign one of our cdr’s !!!…



Post gig I’m chatting with El-g… telling him how much I love his music, he tells me he was in the toilet for about a quarter of our show due to the bloody cous cous – LOL… and of his Tazartes collaboration with Jo Tanz… His set is mostly song based, with interludes of heavily looped vocal noise - I’m soaking it all up like a rare pleasure, swaying along scarecrow like…





Caught a bit of Fabulous Diamonds, who are just so danceable, then went record browsing in the surreal blade-runner environment at the back of Recyclart



Everything is there, an unbelievable collection of outsider musick... rarities I’d given up hope of ever finding just slipped passed my eyes… I grabbed Kek and we browsed through the goods together… Ame Son were doing their sound check from the other side of the building… Oh they sounded so good - I was determined to see them later, but sadly never did…











Back at Faro Alan Silva and Burton Greene were just amazing, and a real highlight of the festival for me... Greene's fragmented piano lines were like desolate tears… Alan moving in between the notes with synth sampled spreads…really connected and heart breakingly sparse… the red/yellowed lighting making twilights of their bodies… beautiful… intensely so… and then I start to crash…




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