Tour of Belgium & Germany – Report

The Elements Tour (2011) was set to be an interesting experience. A collaborative tour between Sjaak Overgauuw (Premonition Factory) and Hellmut Neidhardt (N) could only produce some very contrasting and ultimately interesting musical results. For those of you who are not familiar with N (DE) and Premonition Factory (BE), both gentlemen behind the aforementioned aliases are arguably amongst the more prolific ambient, drone and experimental artists residing in continental Europe. The tour provided an opportunity to promote our own music releases, but also an opportunity to write some music together.

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The tour consisted of 5 dates, taking us from Antwerp (BE), to Duisburg (DE), Düsseldorf (DE), and Dortmund (DE) working our way East, to Berlin (DE). Each night we performed 80 minutes of original music, steadily evolving from the beginning of tour in Antwerp. Each artist performed a solo piece of around 15 minutes, followed by a 30 minute collaborative piece to conclude each evening. The recordings are (potentially) set to feature on various releases in late 2011 and early 2012.

Fingerspitzengefühl 

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For me, this was not only an opportunity to exploit the live performance system that I have been constructing for the past year and a half, but also to identify the limitations of the system and how to develop it further in relation to timbral structure. Immediately, I recognised the need for greater timbral variation, which I began to implement whilst “on the road.”

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My live performance system is a combination of real-time spatial (ambisonic) and timbral synthesis processes based on instrumental pitch extraction in Pure Data. I also use Ableton Live to host VST audio looping devices (Echoloop) and to route and master the resulting audio output. Recent acquirement of M4L and the full Ableton Suite may see the development of M4L devices developed in Pure Data. More information on these developments can be found here.

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09.09.11 – CC Luchtbal, Antwerp (BE)

CC Luchtbal is a cultural convention centre in Antwerp.  Ronald Mariën provided excellent live sound for what was to be an excellent start to the tour. This was an interesting performance, as I found myself more invested in the solo aspect of the performance and somewhat intimidated by the collaborative element of the programme. As one might expect, I became more invested in musical collaboration as the tour progressed, producing some interesting results in rehearsal the following day, which may emerge on vinyl.

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10.09.11 – Rehearsal & Collaboration, Antwerp (BE)

We spent all day Saturday developing a collaborative 30 minute piece to perform at the remaining scheduled tour dates. Interestingly, the rehearsal space produced the more interesting of the collaborative improvisations. Any future release is likely to feature key elements from each recording of each tour performance, including the rehearsal recording.

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11.09.11 – Djaezz, Duisburg (DE)

Djaezz or Djäzz is an alternative music club in Duisburg (DE). It is rumoured that it may have functioned as a bomb shelter during WWII. It had a circa 1960’s decor. My solo performance that evening was very different from the previous show in Antwerp, more drone based than melodic. It was an enjoyable change.

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12.09.11 – Slowboy Records, Düsseldorf (DE)

Slowboy Records is a record label based in Düsseldorf (DE), predominantly dealing in vinyl releases across many musical genres. Andreas Ziegler was very welcoming and accomodating, for which we were very grateful.

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13.09.11 – Ekamina, Dortmund (DE)

“Surprise Yourself”

Ekamina is a performance series bringing literature, film, music, and theatre to the stage. For ten years, Ekamina, has provided a platform for “artistic machinations beyond main stream sounds” in the northern city of Dortmund. I really enjoyed this gig. Lovely atmosphere, food and staff. One of the strongest collective performances of the tour.

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14.09.11 – Theater Kapelle, Berlin (DE)

Theatre Kapelle (Theatre Chapel) is a 150 year old church based in Berlin. The venue is still used for funeral services when it is not functioning as a venue for alternative and experimental music. The acoustics were superb. Arguably a suitable venue for dark ambient drone music. An enjoyable end to an enjoyable tour. 

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Audio sample from a solo improvisation (Live at CC Luchtbal in Antwerp, BE)

Axon (Reprise) – Luchtbal, Antwerp (Unedited) by rickygraham

My thanks to Ingrid Janssens, Ronald Mariën, Sjaak Overgauuw, Hellmut Neidhardt, Leander Reininghaus, Andreas Ziegler and John King for their hospitality. My extended thanks to ACNI for their continued support.

Danke Schön

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