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Birthdays go along with memories. Even with memories beyond nostalgia and general consent. Harold Budd’s „Bandits of Stature“ isn’t the most immediate of listens. Not because it’s like not any good, obvz. No, more because it is so advanced that listening to it involves a degree of neuroplasticity. Your brain has to form new neural networks in response to it. It is, literally, a mind-expanding work.

 

I immediately set up my equipment on a dry pile of bricks that was reaching up to the roof. The panorama view over the valley was incredible and as the storm took shape rain and thunder was building up. Lightening was striking both horizontal and vertically. One lightening hit a nearby peak creating a rock avalanche that threw head size boulders down the same path as we ascended from. Truly mesmerizing event that went on for at least half an hour, the thunder rolling around in the valley was creating the most incredible real time phasing effects.

 
 
 

 
 
 

Is music pre- or post- or super- or meta- or ultra- or sub-linguistic? Does it project senses onto the listener or do we project senses into the music? Does it tell a story? I don’t know, and I don’t much fucking care. What I get from this is what I get from it. And what I get is a sense of noir placed in blinding light, aridity and blazing heat. Of mystery hiding in plain sight. Of wide streets at the edge of the desert. Of illumination so intense that the inner self diving further ever further downward to escape the glare, only to resurface in the time of gloaming.

 

I could not believe my ears when I suddenly heard the farmers bringing out the cattle from the larger farmhouse behind us, trying to navigate them onto the grassy knoll for grazing. I looked to the side and there a huge bull stood majestically looking out the valley, 10m away. I wanted to use the whole version but felt too long so I edited it down and decided to add some underlying electronic manipulations, bringing it somewhere else.

 

Who are you today?

Who?

Yes, that is right. I asked who and not how.

“How are you today” seems to me to be one of the most useless questions i know.

 

 What choices do you have to answer?

 

“Thanks, I’m fine.” Just answering to brush the question of like some dust that happened to land on your jacket.

Or you can answer how you actually feel. But that might take too long time for anyone to listen to. Most people are not really interested. In most cases whatever you say  does not change anything anyway.

According to rumor there is a tribe somewhere in Africa where they greet each other:

 

„How is the space between us today?“

 

That makes some kind of sense to me. The question also includes the one asking. That also makes sense to me. How I am feeling might change with whom is the asking.

Today, the space between me and myself is rather good.

We are almost one. Still we are at least two.

 

How many me`s is there inside of a me?

Are they individual me`s or just graded variations?

What is me and what is not me?

Do I have enemies of me inside of me?

 

Who are you?

 

I am watching you pointing at to those who love or have loved you as the answer to the question i am asking.

I am watching you looking at your loved ones as one creature instead of individual creatures. One big ball of a creature with everchanging faces and bodies. Sometimes different faces melt into one creating a loved one you have never been with in person. One person taking over where another one ends. Sometimes they fall in love with each other as well. Sometimes they let you in. Sometime they leave you outside to watch.

I am watching how the ages of your loved ones change. I am watching how they talk to you, how you sometimes are making the same moves, yet they answer you differently, and so the game changes. And sometime you communicate differently to them, but still the answers they give you are mostly the same.

You go in and out of love like in and out of a room. Or like you go in and out of the many faces and bodies of music.

 

Where does love stop and begin?

 

When does music start and stop?

Does the music start when it starts?

Does it start when you start to wish for the music?

Or does the music really start when you begin to remember it even when it is not playing?

 

Sometime you say that the biggest problem we have with music today is that it is so easy to listen to that we mostly forget to listen to it in our minds. That we hardly ever have to go hungry for music. There is music everywhere. We have to shut it out. We don’t get to listen to the music inside us. We do not spend time making that meeting with the inner and outer music. On the other hand: we have to seek silence actively if we want it. Not to play that record, however nice it is. Not to listen to that audiobook, no matter how fitting the voice reading it is.

I see you walking with your lovers hand in hand. Sometimes you are in the middle, sometimes you are on the side. I see the some people ignoring the three of you, but also that some people smiles longingly at you as if it is their dreams you are taking for a walk.

Its like music you say: i listen to different music. One music does not exclude the other. Blues does not exclude ambient. Rock does not exclude jazz. Red does not exclude black. You do not exclude him or her. And so on and so forth.

 

I started by asking who are you today, did you answer? I do not remember. I will ask again.

 

Who are you today?

 

Answer as you like.  Yourself or somebody else? Patti Smith or Robert Mapplethorpe? One or many?

 

 Who are you today?

 

I will watch you as you search for the answer.

Will you go deep inside and take a look?

Or will you just take a the first one surfacing?

 

Who are you today?

 

Who?

 

 

 

*

 

Todays song:

The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress – Radka Toneff

 

*

 

Written with

Eraldo Bernocchi & Harold Budd – Music For ‚Fragments From The Inside‘ (2005)

on repeat, every composition played three times, before moving on.

 

Good morning world :-)

 

Tonight you slept well. Tonight you had dreams from both sides of the border.
In one you were in America. The land of the Brave and the free. You were in a house with many rooms, and in every room so many things, unused and dusty. And you went from room to room without your feet touching the floor. And you looked at the objects wondering what to take with you. But as you reached for them they dissolved into nothing. And then you woke up in your bed, your hands empty.

These days you seem more obsessed by the thoughts of giving away  and getting rid of than collecting more. Yet things come to you and cling to you, as if they have decided that you are a safe haven where they can rest peacefully for a while.

What is possessions? What is it that fills up the rooms in your house? What is it that is yours, and that you do not have to leave behind on that final day?

 

The final shirt has no pockets.

 

I am watching you, growing up between books somewhere in a big house in one of the nicer parts of Oslo. Not rich, but certainly not poor.

 

And you were traveled with.

 

You were a child in Africa. Your father: a surgeon for the Croix Rouge – Red Cross. That`s were he got ill. Growing up with fences surrounding the blocks were you lived. Outside: the black children. You: not allowed to play with them. Yet, there were trades. They made toys of wire and brought sugar cane to sell. You had money. Negotiations across the fence. Deals made. Goods and money exchanged places.

And later when you had to go back to Norway because your father was ill. Cancer of the colon. Normally easy to cure, if discovered in time. But my father had been to busy saving others, to have time for himself.

Then: going to Spain because the climate was not so harsh as in Norway. Bag of books in the backseat. Paper to draw on. Comics. Walking under the burning bright sun through the dried up landscape to El Vikingo to have a dip in the pool, and afterwards a vanilla icecream before returning the same way continuously creating ever-changing stories always centering around some deed to be done, like dragons to be killed or universes to be saved.

 

Then: back in Oslo, your father died.

 

It was august. You were eleven. You knew it was to happen. It was no surprise. The reason why you cried was not that he was dead, but that your mother had not told you in the morning when she sent you of to school. That you had spent that day as if nothing significant hat happened in your life. That you had been lied to, kept outside of what really happened.
And so on. You learned early that there were something as dying. And that things have an end.

 

But also that even endings end and then turns into new beginnings.

 

I watch us as we read what i have written so far. You observe that this is one possible version of the story, one remix among many remixes. Next time you tell the story it will be different again. Only liars who have rehearsed tells the story the same way every time. The more it changes, the more it stays the same.

You were never good at learning by heart. And you are not to start now. Either you perform what you have written or you let the words form in your mind as you speak – never knowing where you end up – or if you have an idea about your destination – not a clue about how you get there.

More than once you have been stuck in a corner – and you have had to wait for the paint to dry. But also: wings have grown as you were falling into the abyss, and you just learned to use them in time before you would have splashed into the ground and the story would have been over.

 

I sense you are getting restless.

 

Soon it is time for breakfast. I will let you free to eat. There is no hurry. There is always tomorrow. Or is it? Is every today turned into a yesterday one less tomorrow? Or is that number always changing? I remember that summer when I started a new habit: walking into the street without looking. I was worn out, tired from constantly being on the move.

Anyway, these days, I look both left and right before crossing any street, sometimes I even wait when there is no cars passing. It does not make me immortal, but should i ever die, let it not be because of a metal box with wheels.

 

I choose to end with a song from the other dream:

 

Bo Jo Cie Kochom – Depress.

Nine to go.

 

*

 

Written with

Harold Budd and Robin Guthrie – Before the day breaks (2007)

on repeat in the background, every composition played 3 times before moving on.

Here I am, finally writing to myself. It seems it is about time. Harold Budd and Clive Wright is playing in my room. I love the titles, like

 

Blind flowers

 

They are poems in themselves. Just reading them makes me see the flowers still reaching towards the sun – even when it is night, even when it is dark. Like they can’t let go of the warmth that is still shining inside them. They are not touched by the fact that the sun is not there. They are not made blind by reality.

 

I am watching  you, typing as quickly as you can as to follow the words, rather than you trying to make them follow you.

Sometimes you stop, like a dog sniffing for the next word, and then! Off you go – left –  right through the high summer grass of your imagination, when you where a child, and Crawlin‘ King Snake was already in you, not as a song, but as being. Crawlin‘ King Snake was in you way before you heard the song, the guitar, the voice. And when you heard it, you recognized it and made it yours once more.

 

You are amazed by how rich the music of Harold Budd is, why did it take so long to discover the rest of it? Yes, you heard The Pearl right away – an unusually beautiful record that you have played over and over in many differing circumstances…

Like when you wanted time to change, when you wanted the world to expand, when you wanted to imagine the hundred years or so between every heartbeat – or the slow motion waves of breathing crashing in on some faraway beach.

 

I write to you, because I have been watching over you these days. You had fever. You have been coughing. You had to sit up in bed to sleep. When you slept some short flashes the colors were strong and vivid. You dreamt new names for yourself. You dreamt of broken down buildings from your childhood, and of naked people walking around like it was normal to be naked, and clothes were something unthinkable. And you dreamt you became the leader of an organization called „The central commity for a meaningless life“.

 

And as the temperatures came back to normalish and the flu gave way to your normal pains you were two places at the same time. You were inside your body, and outside your body at the same time watching yourself. And the image of being watched and of watching yourself remains in you.

 

So if there is two of us, which one is the real me? Or maybe even the real us? I never felt alone when there were no one else around. I need my solitude – the place where I meet with myself.

 

Harold Budd and Clive Wright – The Saints Of Whispers is in my room and he talks to me as i am writing to you. Sometime you heard those whispers – sometimes you ignored them, but sometimes you did what I suggested even if it seemed like crazy riddles and penguins hitchiking.

I whisper to you from a different point in time. Not from the same here and now that you live in. Whereas you are locked inside of time and space, I am locked outside.

 

So I can never be you, and you can never be me. Or so they say. But we both know better, don`t we?

 

Maybe i should talk to instead of writing to you, make a youtube video – then it is clearer that we are on each our side of the screen. That time ceases to exist on one side. That it continues freely on the other. That space is wherever we decide it should be.

 

I look at your hands. From the outside the pains are not visible. It is not that bad in the evening. You have nice hands, many have said – they feel good.

Maybe because when you touch someone else you do not want to hurt yourself, then you are not the only touching – you are aware of being touched as you touch. Harold Budd playing the music. The music playing Harold Budd.

In front of a mirror I often wonder: what does my mirror image do when I am not there. Does it disapear? Does it wait patiently for me to return? Does it sit down with a book? Spend time with a loved one that he has not yet introduced to me? Writing a letter to a different version of himself?

 

Slowly moving towards the end of this first letter.

It will be ten letters.

Ten letters to myself.

 

*

 

Written with

Harold Budd and Clive Wright – A Song For lost Blossoms (2009)

on repeat in the background, every composition played 3 times before moving on.

Die meisten Leute dürften ihre Plattenschränke (sofern sie noch welche haben) getrennt von ihren Bücherregalen sortieren. Dabei gibt es viele Gelegenheiten, Schallplatten neben passende Bücher zu stellen. Vielleicht sollte man auf diesem Bereich gründlich umdenken und neue Regalformationen entwickeln.

Heute holte ich aus der Budd Box (mit der ich mich bisher noch gar nicht richtig beschäftigt habe) irgend eine CD, auf der ich dann – völlig ungeplant – erstmal ein Gedicht hörte. Und weil ich die Stimmung mochte, drückte ich auf repeat. Und nochmal. Aztec Hotel. Ich fand den Text im Begleitheft auf Seite 23. Da finden einige Verwandlungen statt.

Dann legte ich Abandoned Cities auf. Weil mir der Titel gefiel. Ich mag CDs, die nur wenige Tracks enthalten. Bei den Alben der Necks aus Australien ist es immer nur einer. Du lässt dich langsam auf etwas ein, kannst dich nicht mehr entziehen, kommst nicht mehr raus, beginnst zu schweben und irgendwann ist es vorbei und du wirst wieder in die Welt entlassen, verwandelt.

Zu Abandoned Cities passt ein Roman von Cormac McCarthy, „Die Straße“ (Originaltitel: The Road). Eine dieser postapokalyptischen Szenarien. In einem kalten, zerstörten und fast menschenleeren Amerika sind ein Mann und sein Kind unterwegs, auf der Suche nach Nahrung und nach einer neuen Möglichkeit des Lebens.

Wenn auch das Parabelhafte der Geschichte ein bisschen sehr offensichtlich ist, so ist sie doch ergreifend. Die Art der Begegnung von Vater und Sohn. Zu Beginn war der Mann wach, suchte die Landschaft mit dem Fernglas ab. Später ging er wieder zum Schlaflager des Sohnes.
 
„Der Junge drehte sich zwischen den Decken herum. Dann schlug er die Augen auf.

Hi, Papa, sagte er.

Ich bin da.

Ich weiß.“
 
So viele Gelegenheiten, Stille zu spüren. Lights off in the distance.

  1. 1980 The Plateaux of Mirror (with Brian Eno)
  2. 1984 The Pearl (with Brian Eno)
  3. 1996 Luxa
  4. 1978 The Pavilion of Dreams
  5. 1994 Through the Hill (with Andy Partridge)
  6. 2012 Bandits of Stature
  7. 1984 Abandoned Cities
  8. 1991 By the Dawn’s Early Light (with Bill Nelson)
  9. 1995 Glyph (with Hector Zazou)
  10. 2004 Avalon Sutra / As Long as I Can Hold My Breath
  11. 2013 Jane 1-11

 

The „Buddbox“ is a great starting point,
and offers a lot of insights into his work with long portraits and interviews.
A new interview can be found at the end of Ian’s article „My Harold Budd playlist“.

I’ve never been so keen on mystery novels. But there are, from time to time, exceptions.  I just fell in love with the new and quite small novel by Neil Gaiman, The Ocean At The End Of The Lane. Written in a  simple (deceptively simple) language. Rediscovering childhood. The hidden places and the loss. Always the loss. I’m not waiting for the cinema version, only a master could handle that. But if that happens, let Harold Budd write the soundtrack. No, he really needn’t do that. He has written it already. One can find it all in his „Buddbox“. Everything. The hidden places and the loss. Always the loss. And the yearning. 

 
 
 

 

 

 

2013 2 Okt

Eno and Co. Drifting Backwards

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Warp Records vertieft seine Zusammenarbeit mit der Produzentenlegende Brian Eno. So wird der Katalog dessen 1991 gegründeten Labels All Saints, auf dem elektronische Werke von Künstlern wie John Cale, Roger Eno, Laraaji, Kate St John, Harold Budd, Jon Hassell und natürlich von Brian Eno selbst erschienen sind, nun in sorgfältiger und liebevoller Kleinarbeit wiederveröffentlicht. Es erscheinen aufgewertete Re-Issues sowie neue retrospektive Kollektionen und Boxsets. Das Packaging ist entsprechend den Massstäben beider Labels exklusiv und hochwertig, die limitierten Vinylauflagen erscheinen oftmals coloriert und sind stets mit einem zusätzlichen Downloadcode versehen. Anfang November 2013 erscheint ein erster Schub mit Werken des legendären Electronica-Mystikers Laraaji (selbiger ist vor Weihnachten bei Michael Engelbrecht in den Klanghorizonten zu hören, in einer Sendung, die eine besondere sein wird) und des Multiinstrumentalisten Roger Eno, der zweite Schub Ende November ist dem Ausnahmemusiker Harold Budd gewidmet. 2014 beginnt mit Werken von Jon Hassell und John Cale, bevor es im Verlauf des Jahres zu Reissues von Brian Eno kommt. Die erste Veröffentlichung wird eine Kollektion von Laraaji sein. ‚Celestial Music 1978-2011‘ erscheint am 1. November und enthält Werke seiner gesamten Karriere auf einer Doppel-CD und Kassette. Mit dabei sind Raritäten aus privaten Releasen und Kollaborationen mit Brian Eno, Bill Laswell und Blues Control. Musikalisch geht des hier über hypnotische indische Ragas über Synth-Glücksseligkeiten hin zu Klangexperimenten. Eine Woche später, am 8.11., erscheint mit ‚Little Things Left Behind 1988-1998‘ eine Doppel-CD-Kollektion von Roger Eno mit einigen seiner besten Arbeiten, darunter aus nicht mehr erhältlichen Klassikeralben wie „Between Tides“ und „The Flatlands“. Satie-eskes Piano trifft auf Kammermusik, Folksphären und mehr. Roger Eno startete seine Karriere mit einer Zusammenarbeit mit seinem Bruder Brian auf dessen legendärem „Apollo“-Album (1983) und entwickelte sich dann zum erfolgreichen Filmkomponisten („Dune“, „9 1/2 Wochen“,“Trainspotting“). Ausführliches Booklet mit raren Fotos von Cecile Eno und Sleevenotes von Mark Prendergast, Autor der Enzyklopädie „The Ambient Century“. Für Ende November kündigen sich noch Werkschauen, Raritäten und Re-Issues von Harold Budd an.


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