on life, music etc beyond mainstream

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1 – Am Ende eines Gespräches


In my next radio night I will play a long track from Robert Ashley‘s masterpiece „Private Parts“. A special voice tells a story full of apparently marginal things (but nevertheless a meditation on life), accompanied by interesting „background music“. Recommended for your ears, Kurt, also,  because of the way you are working with  language on Showtunes.“

“The  name rings a bell, Michael. Special background music – that was the  case, too, when Bob Dylan read his speech for the Nobel Prize, just being accompanied by a piano.“

“A propos piano. In a review of Showtunes, I put your album alongside some other albums from different genres that, for me, have a similar kind of nakedness, intensity and intimacy. And one of them was a piano solo album by Paul Bley: „Open, to love“.  Go for that, Kurt, it‘s awesome midnight music.

„I will, Michael. I love ECM“.


(transcribed from memory, from yesterday‘s Zoom-interview with Kurt Wagner (Lambchop) in Nashville, Tennessee)





2 – Einige dieser Sommerabende


Der Sommer, der morgen beginnt, und obwohl er schon ein paar Tage offenkundig war, rasch wieder von einer Regenfront und kühlen Winden verprellt wird, hatte genug warme Wiesen parat, um sich darauf zu räkeln, in die neuen Kurzgeschichten von Haruki Murakami abzutauchen,  oder sich vom feinsinnigen Humor der Essays von John Green entführen zu lassen – und obendrein gab es die angenehm kühlen Abende mit verlangsamten Blicken zu den Restlichtern dieser Tage (Laternen, Abendrot, Grillkohle), sowie Alben, die, wie in alten Zeiten, zur Nacht hin, abwechselnd den Plattenteller blockierten: immer wieder „Showtunes“ von Lambchop, „Promises“ von Floating Points, und das Album mit mehr als einem Hauch einer alten Stadt der Mayas. „Every repetition is a form of change“ (Oblique Strategies, oder Heraklit, ganz wie man will).



3 – In bester Gesellschaft von „Showtunes“


Mark Hollis’ solo album, Joe Lovano’s „Trio Tapestry“, Nico‘s „The Marble Index“,  Paul Bley‘s „Open, to Love“, Brian Eno‘s  „Another Day On Earth“, Prefab Sprout‘s „I Trawl The Megahertz“, John Cale‘s „Music For A New Society“, and the last album of Jacques Brel, the one with a pale blue sky and pale white clouds



4 – Nachspiel


Trio Tapestry‘s sense of melody, space and  letting-go  is immaculate. I will always remember their first record, one of the jazz miracles of 2019. For me, it was the best album Joe Lovano ever made, with Manfred Eicher’s perfect sequencing of the tracks. Listen to the vinyl: suspense, sound and silence in perfect union. It is quite natural that this follow-up lives up to the high standard of the first meeting in New York. Now with a deeper touch of Provence pastel and colours at dusk. You can think of every jazz writing cliche of praise, from „filigree“ to „elemental“, and be sure that Lovano, Crispell and Castaldi are breathing new life into it. After the first three pieces of pure baladry (written by soul, not by the book), the appearances of sound take more and more adventurous side steps, from moments of pianistic unrest and upheaval, to an exploration of metal and sound in Castaldi‘s drum figures. A zen-like purity‘s bold pairing with an adventurous spirit. „Garden of Expression“ delivers everything with grace, selflessness and the most nuanced sense of  tempo, time standing still and a flow of undercurrents. If this sounds slightly over the top, let the music take over, dim the lights and follow the tapestries!


The first album of the British new wave expressionists of Magazine: wasn’t it called REAL LIFE? It was, wasn’t it? This is no quiz, so don’t bother, don’t look. The explosion of punk and post-punk (first wave of post-punk) was about a certain vision of „real life“, and, get used to it, real life is about the everyday, the lust, the burden, the thrill, the boredom, the fake, the excellence, it’s the agenda of living in wartimes and in protected areas. Have a look at outer space! It’s not funny. Fucking black holes. It’s real. Even here. Like the people you know so well via radio or TV, Roger Willemsen for example, he just died, aged 60. It’s like he went downstairs for a whisky and never came back. He loved jazz. There are no jazz bands in heaven. No cappuccino up there, too. I liked the way he created a sense of wonder. So he’s just another fine guy in a line of fine guys who shared their thoughts, travelled, loved, looked, thought, died. Here we are, in our real lifes left with what is left: a story of long goodbyes, great evenings, vanishing in never ending books, ashes to ashes, ready for love, through with love, listening to Blackstar or Astral Weeks or Taking Tiger Mountain (By Startegy), in Pittsburgh, Glasgow, Hannover, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Aachen, Schwerte, Stuttgart, Kronach, Leinfelden. Tutti forgetti? Entropy. Memories. Howard Devoto. Ghosts.


Mulder: I’m thinking maybe it’s time to put away childish things. The sasquatches, the mothmen, the jackalopes. I thought it’s be great to get back to work. But is this really how I want to spend the rest of my days? Chasing after monsters?

Scully: We’ve been given another case, Mulder. It has a monster in it.

2014 29 Mrz

Bley Motian Bley

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Damals gab’s noch Wendepunkte, wo merkbar Neues geschah.

Es klang richtig rubbelig wie HIER, 1964, vor fünfzig Jahren
Paul Bley, Gary Peacock, John Gilmore, Paul Motian
Calls (Carla Bley), Turning (Paul Bley), King Korn (Carla Bley)

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