if there is this one melody, this melody deeply and inseparably attached to and connected with the very core of your soul, this melody your mother maybe played on her electric piano when she was pregnant with you, this melody you still catch yourself humming every now and then… if there is this one melody, i warmly recommend taking the following steps:
- choose your favourite hour (mine: 2 am)
- get your favourite drink (mine: absinthe)
- download your favourite free audio workstation (mine: lmms)
- download the midi of this one melody (mine: “kometenmelodie 2” by kraftwerk)
- download your favourite soundfont (mine: roland sc-88)
- import the midi
- assign the soundfont
- select your favourite patches to start with
- take another sip of your favourite drink
- hit “play”
- repeat steps 8ff until you
- find yourself launched into the innermost spheres of your( )self
rest in peace, florian schneider
leaving the concert hall after an anna Þorvaldsdóttir concert and entering men’s restroom is a one of a kind experience. no chance you fully realized / digested what you just heard by then. and so you’re standing in front of the urinal, eyes closed, and the silence in the restroom appears as a dynamic and complex composition of nothingness. as a magically choreographed dance of its countless particles, more and more assuming form, color and shape before your inner eye = as part of the concert. struggling to find a proper description or name for this, you finally come up with “artistic silence”. still hypnotised by these dancing particles, it takes a certain while until you wake up again and discover that you are still standing in front of the urinal. so you hurry packing your business, washing your hands, getting out of the restroom and back into the concert hall, just to take a quick shot of the prepared piano in order to get an evidence that everything really happened. out of the corner of your eye you notice the composer, talking to those who obviously are more familiar with what happened, looking happy, grateful and nice, holding a bunch of flowers. for a second you look at her, wondering what might have taken her here…
you know, i have quite some experience with contemporary / neoclassical pieces of experimental and/or ambient fashion, intensifying gloomy undertone and i even own “aerial“. all in all i was rather sceptical towards the potential outcome of an acreage that was so heavily farmed and harvested by ligeti, pärt and cage – but i was disabused impressively.
now i am sitting here, enjoying the aftermath of all this, witnessing the artistic silence getting slowly replaced by regular silence… i still have some brennivín somewhere!
and there i was, at this adorable ghost town in the midst of the maximally stunning scenery. like tons of small towns in swiss alps verbier is supposed to be a ski ressort and therefore happens to be kind of abandoned during all the other seasons. all the cute chalets barricaded, only supermarkets, tourist information and a handful restaurant opened, cable car only three times a day. it still offers plenty of attractions during off-season, like hiking, mountain biking and paragliding and it would be a huge success everywhere else on the planet, but not in switzerland. nobody out there. i am not complaining at all, au contraire, this all ensured the perfect escapist mood and that was exactly what i was looking for…
it’s not always necessary to go long distance in order to find a cute little place where you can hide from the world for some valuable time. you don’t even have to escape into the arms of nature. there are these spots in midst of all civilisation as well… like highway reststops on a very early sunday morning.
nothing but you with yourself, a bowl of goulash soup and a pot of artificial flowers in your warmly illuminated cocoon with this specific background noise that is actually subsisting but reduced to a minimum. not only that it’s not disturbing much, it feels like it’s even improving all meditational effects, like some sort of urban equivalent of the rushing of a creek. where no soundtrack is needed.
elektrolux (not to be confused with electrolux, swedish washing machine manufacturer) was* a german label releasing unique highest quality downtempo sound – a unique and perfect symbiosis of pure (robotic) ambient with dub / electro elements. the sound clearly stands out from all the other lounge-style chillout kind of mumble pulp crap.
my personal elektrolux heyday was late 90s / early 2000s when the music guided me through countless sunrises after club nights, waiting for the first train home or in car on the empty autobahns. i’m so truly thankful for all this! it’s also still connected with lots of after hours and, of course, the space night series. elektrolux has been mentioned in every blog i had so far and of course it has to be a part of this one as well… even though i own quite some releases meanwhile, there is still much to be collected and the elektrolux hunt is continuing to be part of every music fair visit.
the track packed with the most emotions, warmth and memories certainly is “funkstille” by frank rückert and marcus schmahl alias rauschfaktor. oh boy…
*) the label still exists obviously, got renamed into elux recordings but releases now lounge-style music as well, at least what i heard during a first quick check
there has always been this kind of literature in which, yeah, nothing really happens – no perceptible action but exhaustingly long and detailed descriptions of inner or outer circumstances, dialogues or monologues. paperized boredom. no surprises, no sudden movements, no signs of life. in short: the proustish breath of death.
most of the literature classics are still appearing insanely boring to me but there is a bunch of living aspiring disciples that gained my attention within the last couple of years: per petterson, nils-ove knausgard or andreas maier, just to mention a few. at first glance, their books are as mind-numbing as proust’s, joyce’s or tolstoi’s. but there is something different with contemporary boredom literaturewise.
so far, i wasnt even able to go beyond the 10 page threshold really. there was this severe resistance from somewhere inside me. being forced, my body reacted with fatigue or aggressivity. that’s no longer the case (already finished two of petterson’s books). such books even taste like nothing less than the next step on the ladder. so what happened? apparently i got more tolerant of going through life in first gear.
not really daring to call it maturity or to give age credit for this (i’m still only 35 after all). but it really feels like major life questions being answered, the principle lessons learned, macrocosm explored and future comes along with all those microcosms. let’s check back in 10 years. meanwhile i am reading maier and seeing myself as only guest in a cute little pub the middle of the godforsaken wetterau, having a glass of apple wine and slowly but steadily dissolving and merging with the nothingness surrounding me while singing happy melodies.
to get the most authentic feeling, i decided to write this article next to the opened window. snowing outside, minus 2 degrees celsius. even though it was much colder very recently that’s gonna be a cold finger experience for sure. the timespan between the work seasons of 2016 and 2017 will come to an end tonight and since that will also mark the conclusion of another tiny and isolated chapter again, i have to write this article before. as long as this particular mood persists.
those last two weeks included christmas and new year (both as next generation clones of the previous years and therefore not worth to be mentioned here) and a whole lot of healthy idleness (what’s müßiggang in english? primrose path!) which allowed me to focus on some stuff, that was too time eating so far and therefore postponed: long walks, long chats, extended writing, reading, thinking… and sleeping. it’s also the ambient and vaporwave season.
outside frost traditionally creates this magical inner relaxation. the hibernation of my homunkulus makes everything around me hypnotising, inspiring and easily addicting – and everything i do meditative, soul cleaning and… just the right thing to do. actually i have no idea if this unique kind of silence (that in fact functions not nervewrecking but reconstructing) comes from the absence of my tinnitus as result of homunkulus’ sleep or from the fact that the snow blanket really kills all outside noises. maybe both. this clearly remains one of the biggest winter mysteries for me.
i can’t keep this inner peace and calmness alive throughout the upcoming weeks of course. all kinds of daily life routines will wake the homunkulus up again who will instantly start to scream. trying my best to preserve it despite everything. that’s my only resulution for 2017. again. thanks much to everyone involved! ❤
in my 10s i watched a documentary about iceland. i saw glaciers, highlands, volcanos as well as reykjavík, lighthouses and puffin rocks. i certainly liked what i saw but i liked a lot back then. life appeared voluminous, colorful and promising. so i bookmarked the entire thing as “i’d like to visit (one day maybe)” and soon afterwards the pictures left the stage of consciousness again, alongside many others.
in the middle of some tough times later on, the icelandic pictures rose from the depth back to the surface. the wish to escape from the here and now got its own peaceful and redeeming face; when iceland transformed from a “i’d like to visit” into a “i have to visit” destination. one specific picture soon became the embodiment of shangri-la: the sólfar. it took some more years until the trip finally happened. as i wrote in my diary back then, standing next to sólfar was kind of a long-awaited milestone in my life. now i was finally able to close this chapter of loss and suffering and to look into a future. a little pathetic but still…
there were, are and will be a lot more of such symbolic refuge places and lucky me had the opportunity to visit some of them: barbican estate (london), bargfeld, absinthe route, former kling klang studio (düsseldorf), gellért thermal bath (budapest), old tresor (berlin), people’s friendship arch (kyiv), … – each and everyone is connected with its own individual time of yearning in my past – not necessarily coming along with suffering, thank goodness! the spots mentioned above are not directly comparable to the sólfar of course in terms of subjective value and importance but still mean a lot more to me than those countless “nice to visit” places.
i wont post a sólfar picture here. common decency and due to great respect for all the other places on the face of the planet that already were / are or will be playing their role in my biography. i found an abstract shangri-la illustration instead which perfectly does the trick.
taken from: http://publicdomainreview.org/
unfortunately many are led to van gogh’s art by his extraordinarily eventful life, writes raymond cogniat in his biography, even though the art persists in itself, deserves highest admiration and should not be seen as the illustration of a gripping fate. ok, cogniat’s book is from 1958 which brings up a question: is it still the same today? do people still get in contact first with the painter’s life events and only later with the sunflowers? not too sure about that. in my case at least, it was the exact opposite. my first contact with the sunflowers was in kindergarden i guess. the more i’m bombed with something within a certain timespan (especially mass / pop / hype stuff) the less interested i get. that’s the main reason why vincent willem van gogh entered my personal stage not before autumn 2016.
what i already knew before (besides goddamn sunflowers) was: dutch painter with a love for self-portraits and starry nights, absinthe drinker who cut off his ear (correlation myth), overall associated with impressionism. i heard his name in school, tv and lectures; spotted his face on postcards, cheap absinthe bottles and dutch chocolate boxes; saw his paintings in museums, books and documentaries – and simply got oversaturated pretty soon; too annoyed too early to generate a serious interest. every other painter was more attractive right from the start.
a few years ago i attended an exhibition on montmartre fin de siècle art and found myself standing amazed in front of (non-cliché) “la colline de montmartre avec une carrière de pierres” (wikimedia image). it usually can be found at amsterdam van gogh museum so i probably walked past it already without taking notice. i mean, it requires a certain amount of maturity maybe to find attraction in moody landscape paintings. nothing to please teenagers for sure. in a fairy moment in val de travers, holding a glass of absinthe, i decided to finally explore whether there really was a relation between my favourite distilled beverage and the dubious decision for self-mutilation by mr. sunflower. van gogh was successfully dismissed and offtopic long enough which perfectly allowed it to ask google.
as a result i’m now reading biographies and the correspondance between vincent and theo van gogh; looking at the (non-forest) pictures i took during my french-belgian holidays, watching documentaries by (sensational) waldemar januszczak (youtube) and starting my precious little private hype now. time is right for this!
a cute and tiny swiss valley next to the french border – with sleepy villages, a picturesque river, beautiful restaurants and museums, mystic trails, delicious sausages and cheeses, pure and adorable creeks and fountains in deep forests and everything surrounded by steep mountains. far away from ski- or any other form of mass tourism it lies cozy and quiet, famous for clock manufactory even though time apparently stands still. escapist’s paradise and, almost as a sideline, the birthplace of absinthe. the perfect little spot to disappear from the face of the planet for a little while, to come to a complete stop and to recharge the inner batteries. shangri-la for walking meditation and a mental reboot.
absinthe is the thing for me for almost two decades now. introduced to history, myth and rituals in my late 10s, i meanwhile drank lots of different brands and versions all over europe but never an original one; until my visit at val de travers a couple of days ago. act of long awaited completion. you cant miss the absinthe thing there when spending your time with eyes opened but all happens in an unobtrusive and all too pleasing way. outlying farmhouses, growing the holy wormwood (artemisia absinthium), smaller and bigger distilleries, some modern, new and always legal, some older, rich in history and with owners who were proud resistance fighters during prohibition with great stories to tell.
highly recommended for these kind of slow-paced interludes that are needed from time to time to pause for a moment and to make sure you’re still alive and moving forward into the right direction. to feel real again… the blue color filter in absinthe context is intentional by the way. for those who know.