on life, music etc beyond mainstream


2019 4 Mrz

Eine Begegnung mit Eberhard Ross / Encounter with Eberhard Ross

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Ich weiß nicht, bei wie vielen Berufsgruppen die Leute sagen können: „Ich bin am glücklichsten, wenn ich arbeite.“

I don’t know for how many professions people can say, „I am happiest when I work“.


Here’s the video.



Video: Der Mann im Fahrstuhl


© Hans Kumpf


2019 3 Feb

Kurze Grüße von unterwegs

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2019 27 Jan

ECM in 2013

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This week’s episode:

ECM50 | 2013 Thomas Wunsch



„Ich mache die Fotos, die ich für mich selbst machen will und an denen mein Herzblut hängt.“


2019 20 Jan

A New Video in the ECM 50 Series

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New Video:


Frieder Grindler on his work for ECM





Video ECM50 | 2010  –  La notte (ECM 2300)


For me, the film’s key scene is when at the end Marcello Mastroianni reads the letter that Jeanne Moreau has handed to him. He reads it out and doesn’t realize that he himself wrote it at the beginning of the relationship. And in my short film Heute letzter Tag (Last Day Today) I wanted to do the same thing: Someone reads a letter that he wrote himself and fails to remember what significance it used to have. I also liked how the film reaches this kind of endpoint there. The fact that someone in a film would read an entire letter was completely new to me as a teenager – I saw the film for the first time at the age of 15 or 16.

I was immediately captivated by the movie’s imagery [and] the way in which the two characters are being placed in relation – or rather without a relation — to each other. When I was a teenager, it was the perfect puberty flick, because, among other things, it’s also about finding out why love doesn’t work — or at least not in the long run. That really hit my attitude to life very well back then.

Whenever I see La notte, I’m astonished what’s in it. It’s a film you never remember in its entirety, but only certain parts of it, and then perhaps the very parts that are relevant to you right then. The film is like a sort of mine from which each viewer pulls out different aspects.

For example, there is a scene at a party, where people play some party game, and I was enthralled by the director’s concept to use the characters more like in a kind of game and less like in a psychological constellation, and thus [the whole movie] works more like a kind of laboratory set-up, while [it] is still highly emotional. Antonioni is indeed a big hero. You have to remember that many of his directing colleagues in Italy hated him for that. Orson Welles always spoke of the ’sin of Antonioni‘, which consists of the fact that you treat your characters in such a cold-hearted way – as Welles put it. You know, [Michael] Haneke talks about the ‚glaciation of emotions‘, which Antonioni detected already in the sixties and also linked it very closely to the industrial age. From this viewpoint I find him very visionary.

What is certain is that at the time he made La notte, he was a kind of ’navel‘ of European film culture, and he certainly had already understood a lot of things with foresight at the time. And when you watch the movie today, it still appears very modern with its camera perspectives and visual ideas, and not antiquated in terms of imagery.

In comparison with Antonioni’s other films, I even find La notte a bit conciliatory, because it allows at least some kind of catharsis. There is a lot of beauty in the film – aesthetic beauty like the music… and these moods you can revel in, which is not the case with Antonioni’s other movies. L’Avventura, for example, is a big nature movie among other aspects, but it actually ends in great frustration – the main character disappears and then doesn’t show up anymore… and the movie ends with an image of a wall. As a viewer, you also feel as if you have been driven against the wall.

What remains a mystery to me today, however, is why Antonioni’s late films enjoy so little recognition. Many of them are not even available. The Mystery of Oberwald (Il mistero di Oberwald), for example, is a technically very experimental Jean Cocteau adaptation, shot on video. It’s not available. And it’s also odd why with his later films Antonioni has been so placed into an ‚old boys corner‘.

Ralf Stadler is a filmmaker and managing director of the „Randfilmfest“ in Kassel. His film Zigarettenpause (Cigarette Break), a Daniil Charms adaptation, was awarded the German Short Film Award 2006. 



La notte is for me a very wonderful gift. It was a kind of collaboration with Manfred Eicher. For so many years he had been using some of my music for the different settings for the Jean-Luc Godard and Anne-Marie Miéville [films]. And then I was trying to make music inspired by film. I had the early films by Antonioni in my mind and asked Manfred if that could be something for him, and he was very positive. Then I got a chance to make a big concert at the Molde Jazz Festival that year. And I like live recordings. I was very happy that Manfred opened for that possibility. One never knows — it can be awful, but if you succeed, it can also have a special energy. So we had the Rainbow Studio coming up to deconstruct the material and find a CD format for it; of course [we could not include] the whole concert, but more than half of it. It was not much we took away, perhaps one fourth [of it].

How did you choose the ensemble of rather unique musicians?

That was a collaboration with Manfred. Manfred is very strong in finding solutions and new musicians. I had been working with Andy Sheppard before. We were on tour all over Great Britain in 2006, so I knew him quite well. Anja Lechner was a fantastic experience; I had not been working with her before. Arild Andersen is the ’safe man‘ in my life, a bass player I have been working a lot with. With Marilyn [Mazur] I made a trio recording, together with Palle Danielsson, Floating. And with Eivind Aarset I had also been working with for many years. We never had that ensemble collected together again. 

So why Antonioni, why La notte?

Antonioni is one of the most important for me. I saw everything he did in the sixties and I have had him as a favourite for many years. It [could have been] many other choices, but I am still very happy that we ended up with Antonioni.

Where can we find Antonioni or La notte in the music?

It is a kind of feeling. I think it has to do with the rhythm of his films, [among other things]. He has a slow intensity. I was thinking about that — that it’s not always about tempo to be intense. [It was about] finding a language for the music that is more or less inspired by it. One shouldn’t overload the inspiration either, one should just put Antonioni as a frame for something. I have some different scenes in my head. I also had that when I wrote the music. I had something from La notte and from other films that inspired me for the compositions.

If one thinks about music that is inspired by old films, one usually associates rather slow or nostalgic music, instead of this kind of energetic jazz music.

I haven’t been very conscious about that… But what is interesting is that my grandmother was a silent movie piano player in a small city in Norway in the twenties and thirties. At that time, the music was often very stormy, because those weren’t high-quality movies, but [rather very simple] dramatic films. And then they picked up different music for that. I [made the music for] a silent movie by Victor Sjöström, Terje Vigen (1917). I played it in many places around the world. And that is quite stormy music, because so much is happening. I am thinking that some of Antonioni’s scenes are very intense. But I hope there are also some moments of contemplation and silence on the album.

2018 28 Dez

The Last Great Washington State

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Never be sorry for the lack of response
Your hand on my arm before we were lost
The horizon just laughed to see us fall off
Your face in a jar I constantly dropped
You have him now but I’ll have you later
The phone is a gossip
The clock is a murderer
My time is her burden
Your voice is his slumber
How long have we been here?
I can’t quite remember my name

I had you pegged as one who would throw me
Away from your shoreline
Into the galaxy
Where moons are a fool
Stars climb eternity
Long after voids
And handwritten destiny
Long after voices return from the telephone
Cut off from color
Leave everyone you know
They’ll let you down
I’ll let you talk into the sky
That he keeps turning off like a light

Praises fall short from the hands of the choir
Who all stand in judgement and funerals pyre
Now that you’re dead
They wait for the symphonies
Conductors retire to the bed of our sympathy
Losing our minds on yesterday’s tragedy
Are you surprised they’re singing in harmony?
Flooding the hallways
I notice the exit signs pointing the way out
I knew they were onto us along

Your suitcase fits well in the room you are living in
Quick to leave town
Is it how you imagined it?
Alone with your ghosts, and the question mark protagonist
Leaving you in deserts in search of the answers
To all of the questions that lead to more questions
Afraid to stand up or lose your salvation
Stop and rewind
They all change the station
The story hits home too close for their liking
„Stick to the script where your lovers are dying“
Bored and annoyed
„You’re not even trying to turn us on“

And the building was on fire
When I saw you step out*
Afraid of your ghosts, and highly in doubt
When you knew along
Not even your cloud
Would ever withstand the song from your mouth
So they took all your scripts
And the rain from your eyes
They’re cashing it in for the next passing ride
To some other city you made up in your mind
They missed when you died
So they’re hitting rewind
What good is living if you can’t write your ending?
You’re always in doubt of the truths you’re defending
Seeing yourself in others‘ ideas
I’ll write you from somewhere
And call you from later on
I’ll need a good time
You’ll need a daydream
Helplessly helpless
„I am alive, can you hear me?“
Sleeping in motion
I love you Washington State


Damien Jurado spoke at length about this song at a recent show. This is a farewell song at its core, and Damien realized after he wrote it as he was singing it and listening to it that he was speaking to himself. He was struggling with whether or not to end his career or end his life, and in some ways this song plays as a farewell to both. He also talked about leaving Washington after 30+ years and how that was so crazy to so many people. In some ways it could be compared to actually dying. Thankfully he said he got healthy and did not end his life, and has yet to end his career, so we’re left with this gorgeous farewell to Washington State. (found on

*One analogy often used to explain why a depressed person would kill themselves is the burning building. Someone doesn’t necessarily want to die, but the pain from being in a burning building is so intense that death seems like a better alternative


  1. Low: Double Negative
  2. Autechre: NTS Sessions 1-4
  3. Damien Jurado: The Horizon Just Laughed
  4. Actress & London Contemporary Orchestra: Lageos
  5. Marianne Faithfull: Negative Capability
  6. Idles: Joy as an Act of Resistance
  7. Rival Consoles: Persona
  8. Andy Sheppard Quartet: Romaria
  9. Julia Holter: Aviary
  10. Kira Skov: The Echo of You
  11. Ancient Methods: The Jericho Records
  12. Barre Phillips: End to End
  13. Jon Hassell: Listening to Pictures
  14. Ital Tek: Bodied
  15. Alva Noto: Unieqav
  16. Beach House: 7
  17. Moon Relay: IMI
  18. Charles Lloyd & The Marvels with Lucinda Williams: Vanished Gardens
  19. Rosalía: El mal querer
  20. Deena Abdelwahed: Khonnar
  21. The Good, The Bad And The Queen: Merrie Land
  22. Puce Mary: The Drought
  23. Danish String Quartet: Prism I
  24. Tuomo Väänänen: A Small Flood
  25. Andris Nelsons & Boston Symphony Orchestra: Dmitri Shostakovich Sinfonien 4 & 11
  26. Frode Haltli: Avant Folk
  27. Die Nerven: Fake
  28. DJ Richard: Dies Irae Xerox
  29. Sonar with David Torn: Vortex
  30. Amen Dunes: Freedom 
  31. Anna Calvi: Hunter
  32. Ah! Kosmos: Beautiful Swamp
  33. Michael Gordon & Kronos Quartet: Clouded Yellow


Autechre’s NTS Sessions is the most convincing piece of world-building in music today. Its universe is one whose causal networks are as beautifully balanced and interconnected as our own. (…) comprising around eight hours of music (culminating in an hour-long track, „all end“), this is a magnum opus from one of electronic music’s most influential acts, and proof that, in the quarter century they’ve been making music, Rob Brown and Sean Booth have never stopped moving forward.  (Resident Advisor staff pick their favourite electronic albums from the last 12 months.)

You thought the Duluth trio’s 25 years of slow, minimalist indie rock was gloomy? Well, now it’s doubled down, triple distilled, quadruple concentrated, resulting in the masterpiece that their hugely impressive catalogue has been heading inexorably towards. (…) the rhythm section is closer to Mika Vainio or Thomas Köner than a rock group: shuddering blooms of static in place of snares, blurred whorls of noise for bass, sounds that are violence itself. The bass impact on Quorum and Always Trying to Work it Out is like an angry father beating a fist on the dinner table, the rest of each song shrinking away from him. (…)  

Indeed, the erosion of America and our wider ecosystem, and the psychic state of living amid that erosion, is the focus here, enacted in the very music as well as the lyrics. (…) Across the album, there’s a trudging, incantatory tone that feels almost pagan, like the last rites of a nation – even the planet – are being read out. This ranks alongside the likes of Anselm Kiefer and Cormac McCarthy as a document of contemporary social collapse, and as such is the most important, devastating album of the year.

(Double Negative review – the sound of the world unravelling)


favorite EP: SØS Gunver Ryberg: SOLFALD

music DVD: Ryuichi Sakamoto – Coda / async at the Park Avenue Armory

re-release: Belong: October Language (2006)

box release: Art Ensemble of Chicago and Associated Ensembles

archive release: Prince: Piano and a Microphone 1983

potential top 20 albums in 2017, but discovered only in 2018:

EMA: Exile in the Outer Ring / Wadada Leo Smith: Najwa / Niels Rønsholdt: Songs of Doubt


Other (Re-)Discoveries:

  • Alice Coltrane: Journey in Satchidananda (1971)
  • Herbie Hancock: Mwandishi (1971) / Crossings (1972)
  • Moor Mother: Fetish Bones (2016)
  • Curve: Doppelgänger (1992)
  • Stephen Malkmus

Top 10 of my year’s best list 2018 candidates that I still don’t have & couldn’t hear:

Sonar & David Torn Vortex

Jeff Tweedy Warm

Andrew Cyrille Trio Lebroba

Anna St. Louis If Only There Was A River

Silent Servant Shadows of Death and Desire

Skee Mask Compro

Tim Hecker Konoyo

The Necks Body

Christina Vantzou IV

Kim Kashkashian Six Suites


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