Manafonistas

on life, music etc beyond mainstream

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Archives: Sylt

 

 

Quiet life on Sylt. Not always quiet though. Yesterday the longest walk, about 15 miles starting with some industrial noise made by rattling machines (I have no English names for) and construction workers on the seaside of Westerland. Then it went very still, down Rantum beach, to the nowhere land of Hörnum with those „walking dunes“. All prospects of sunny moments replaced by gritty grey in countless shades. Like in one of those merciless, melancholic black and white movies from early Italian neo-realism (but without people).

And then, while working on a special sequence of tracks for two long radio nights in December, changing mails with some Manafonistas (on things like „Normal People“ (season 1), the reasons for playing a song from Willie Nelson’s „Stardust“ in one of those nights, etc., and the lost jukebox culture of Keitum), waiting for audio files from two of your musical „heroes“ to give further insights in their soundtrack works (Eno, from  Norfolk or London) and recent musical revelations (Tibbetts from Minneapolis) – I mean that’s a special way to spend your time, between the sea and the sounds, on a remote island at the most northern point of Germany (tourism just a memory). This is what Steve  wrote:

 

„I’ll improvise into a microphone tomorrow or Friday, send you the results this weekend, and you can be Teo Macero and chop it up any way you want. Like, „Rated X“ where you can hear Teo punching in tracks using the subgroup buttons on the recording console during the mix. (Teo described in the liner notes to the re-issue of „Get Up With It.“). I‘ll try to be intelligent.“

„I was on the beach but I was thinking about the bay. / Got to the bay but by then I was far away.“

(Kurt Vile)

 

Man denkt, wenn man oft an die gleichen Orte reist, dass sich alles wiederhole, und die Vertrautheit der vorherrschende Antrieb ist. Es stimmt, wenn ich auf einer Nordseeinsel bin, bin ich gleichzeitig auf allen anderen Inseln und anderen Zeitzonen (der Junge, der Jugendliche, der Verlobte, old times, buddies!). Das passiert in der flüchtigen Turbulenz von Erinnerungen, die entweder sanft mitschwingen, oder auch das Schwelgen in einem konkreten Moment erlauben (going, gone, gone). In dem rausgeputzten Zimmer, in dem ich schlafe, sehe ich eine akkurate Fotografie von drei leeren Strandkörben: dieser Raum füllt sich unmittelbar im Zickzack von Flashback und Fantasie. Jetzt schaue ich aufs Meer hinaus, und denke an das Cover von Ralph Towners „Diary“. Aus einem Transistorradio, am Meer, im Regen, auf Wangerooge, hörte ich einst, wie Michael Naura „Nimbus“ auflegte, aus dem Album „Solstice“. Ein quäkiger, dünner Transistor-Sound, und ich war hin und weg. Abends im Bett lausche ich, nach längeren Aufenthalt in Tom Franklins „Krumme Type, Krumme Type“, einmal mehr, Brian Enos „Music for Films“, und frage mich, wieso das eigentlich für mich eine der schönsten Platten der Welt ist.

 
 
 

 
 
 

My playlist for the crowded island and lonsesome corners: Marianne Faithfull – Negative Capability / Brian Eno – Music For Films / Steve Tibbetts – Life Of / Otis Redding – Blue / Glenn Jones – The Giant Who Ate Himself / America – Homecoming / Kurt Vile – Bottle It In  

 

2017 11 Mrz

Like springtime ’76

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“ … We were in a hotel. A bit worn down. A memory of better days.

 

Where I don’t know, perhaps it was in Sylt? I haven`t been there yet so I don’t know.

 

I recognized Michael of course and there were other people (whom I had not yet met, but I understood they were the other Manafonistas – perhaps Jochen, Gregor, Martina or Marcus – there were no individual identities that I could separate from each other, just an identity as a group).

 

We (perhaps Uwe, Wolfram, or Lajla – again there were no individuals – just shadows bleeding into each other) were sitting around a big table in a room with very a strong light. White and strong.

 

The food was being served – cut into small cubes. There were no cutlery – no knives or forks. And nobody seemed to get the idea that it was possible to eat without knives and forks.

 

We (or maybe Henning or Jan or Ian – or rather a creature consisting of us as if we were one) started looking everywhere, but the only cutlery we found had been dipped in paint or so broken that we couldn’t use it.

 

Finally we returned to the table to discover that the food was gone) …“

 
 
As I woke up this morning the dream still lingered in me. And it is still lingers on, and I have the feeling having met you – the other Manafonistas – already.

 

What it means that we could not eat our food (cut in small cubes) without cutlery or that we didn`t find anything suitable when we were looking for it I don’t know, neither that the plates with our food were gone when we were back from our search.

 

I usually do not remember my dreams so clearly, and also during this dream I remember the feeling of knowing that I am dreaming. I feel I dream so much with my eyes open, that I prefer to not use my dreams as source of creation, whether it is with sounds or images or words.

 

As I am writing right now – the dream mixes with the sounds of Daniel Lanois Flesh and machine – that I have played quite a lot the last days. Or have I? Is it rather that it is a record that was already playing inside me, and I have just needed someone to record it for me to recognize it? And it happened to pass thru Daniel? Flesh and Machine does feel like home, in a quite unexpected way.

 

Flesh and Machine grows on repeated listening, and also when i am just trying to remember the sounds (without playing it, like just before going to sleep or just after waking up) and it has a lot of the same effect on me, as visualizing Stalker by Tarkovskij or the playing of Coltrane, whose record Live at the Temple University has been equally a revelation this week.

 

But that is another dream waiting to dream me.

 

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