Lost within the inner realms of recollection and the rhythmic worlds of Synaesthesia intertwined with the loud uncertainty of the outer world, wearing huge shades in order to conceal my anxious eyes… I rushed to the place where I was supposed to play, Galleri Bleue, in the outskirts of Vinterviken in Stockholm. The place was relatively hard to find since I imagined it to look like something else, but upon the arrival all my expectations were fulfilled, and more! A little cavern amidst the Nordic forest scenery, nearby the water, within the realms of public domain… thank you Sweden for allemansrätten!
The main challenge was the climbing to and from the scene. Thankfully, the rope, clearly visible on the photo, came in very handy in the process. Soundcheck and all the preparation procedures went very smoothly. Socializing… friendly and accepting atmosphere that warmed up significantly later on, given the amount of Småland beer consumed in the process. In vino veritas!
The place transformed completely when the light of the day dimmed away, giving the way to the velvety darkness of the autumn Scandinavian night. The speech about anti-rationalism inaugurated the event, the candlelight created the patterns of brilliant gold in the blackness, and the bonfire warmed up the still air around and brought the woody fragrance along with slight crackling to the main picture.
Sarianne, who I met before during the filming with Malga Kubiak, played improvisations “in-between” the live sessions of other participants. Bosse Stövare performed few improvised pieces on his Nord Stage 2 synthesizer, very warm analogue electronica with the vibe of the 60s. I performed a 15-minute set as Ars Sonor… something botched together within a couple of days, the result is available here. I should’ve been more gentle with the bass… but what was done, was done regardless. Afterwards, a film was shown… as far as I gathered, it was mostly the footage from a drone mixed together with metal music. Everyone was socializing in the meantime, I was lucky to have few very interesting conversations with the participants! One never knows indeed!
Finally, Glapp performed their, quote, “modern take on industrial music”. A flute, some noises, some very distorted speech touching, among other things, the theme of unemployment… following the steps of Throbbing Gristle straight to the 21st century.
Overall, quality prevailed over quantity here undoubtedly. This little event, among other things, proved to be a lively oasis among the choking rationality of Stockholm. And, I am grateful for this opportunity. In the end it’s all about experience… the time for the positive experiences has come, it’s far beyond the eleventh hour already. The dawn is here, bestowing the golden path from the shore to the horizon.
The stream of memories lays straight ahead… the ripples curling and glittering in the moonlight, reflecting the reclaimed change within the realm of illusions, the kingdom of airy castles, the factory of dreams, the dwelling of what is, what was and what will be here forever and ever for everyone to enjoy. The place where all the manifestations happen first. The perpetuity of hidden movements within, beneath and beyond the stream is the only constant in this world… whilst the course is hard to alter, once it’s done there’s no way back. The faint memories of the previous day started to awaken, the echoes of the tide waters embodying the past went ahead to sing their yet unsung hymns to the eternity, the shouts of the profound joy commencing… the very first recognition ever!
Hence, this award extends to everyone who collaborated with Ars Sonor, this wasn’t just a sole effort. Got interviewed for a podcast… after a while, we went to a studio in the very heart of Warsaw. 13th floor… the awkwardness of the previous days started to vanish with each passing sip of local wine and artsy atmosphere around, melting away with the peaceful vibes of psychedelic rock music. And, those spectacular sights…
Mingling… talks about shamanism, Castaneda and freedom, more wine… Andrzej Słodkowski started talking to me in German, and we perfectly understood each other! Thus wine is famous for its power to unite and build the bridges. The first impression, indeed, could be sometimes wrong, and initial “Takiej muzyki nie da sie sluchac! Ludzie powychodza! Ten chaos!” subsided with the firm knowledge that in this particular case Malga’s ideas worked flawlessly, and different facets within one big piece of art managed to create the final impression of Warhol’s life. And, hey, I tend to create quiet and harmonious sounds as well as loud and angry stuff. Next time it’s going to be something different, and no grudge kept whatsoever! Malga is a genius after all! The ice was finally shattered… making the way for the new to come.
One of the unsung heroes of the day, a guy playing Casio synth near the station “Ratusz Arsenał”, who Lola Möller, Kari Jantzen and I met on the way back to the hotel. If you, by enormous chance, stumble upon this blog and recognize yourself… get in touch. Since I’d love to credit your contribution to this album that, unfortunately, I can’t embed here! The search for the honorary Holy Grail a.k.a. the place to buy food in the middle of the night in the Old Town was successful, and, with many laughs on the way and a never-fading smile, I finally submitted to the embrace of Morpheus…
…who appeared to look like a cat of M., the eponymous one… Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice! The ravens behind the writing desks… and the self-cleaning kitchens, cleaning themselves very thoroughly. Back to work! Unfortunately, The Entity crept its way back to me during the day via M., and I slipped into the second reality once again, feeling very hurt. Not the first time… not the last in my life, indeed. Rushing to Kinoteka… no time to waste, once again.
Now, to the work of the genius. “Love me, love my boots”. Oh, this sweet taste of boots… oh, the delight that the boots feel while being licked by this filthy, dirty tongue. Yellow tongue, a bit furry… about to taste the super-meat afterwards. Television! And the boys kissing in the elevator… things are about to get very hot! So that’s what they were doing behind the curtain! The sparks of love between a man and a man. Hot action! Evolving to one of the funniest moments in the whole trilogy, a certain photographer and a certain model making out and playing with each other while a hymn of a certain country is playing in the background… I doubt that we all will ever get visas to this country then! But, in the end… this kind of photography indeed sells the best! Oh well… nobody got the consciousness of a human being, in the end. It’s just about proteins and vitamins… so, feel free to choose both options for your salad. The scenes from The Factory again… Basquiat being banished from the psychedelic paradise, banging angrily on the door. The flashbacks of Edie force Warhol to go to the church. And, once again, the narrator nails it. Our scars prove that we are indeed… something. The scars could be the only driving force for us, and within the realm of art it’s never the exception, it’s rather the rule that stands firmly. As grimly confirmed by an image of a cat in the upper left corner of the screen after a while. More lethal shootings… this time, perhaps, the ones happened in the dreamland only. Once again, this lonely gaze of the artist at the party… witnessing the apotheosis of hedonism, as well as suicide a bit later on, the yin and the yang of this world. The scene of a junkie injecting himself near the corpse is another highlighted apophthegm that, perhaps, we didn’t notice in the previous part of the trilogy. After the darkness comes light, even in death. The flashbacks dashing through… Andy Warhol is dead? We don’t know. In fact, no one knows already where is the line between the real and the imaginary… hereby we could state already that this line was effectively destroyed by Malga. But, even as a corpse, Warhol could become the object of art. Being alive, he’d appreciate it for sure. And, finally, one of the scenes depicting him staring blankly at the lake… and, perhaps, a young reincarnated version of him playing in the countryside during the warm summer day… feels eerily comforting. If you climb too high, you might fall, but you won’t die. There is no such thing as death in the big picture… just some thorns down there, nothing serious. Thank you, Malga, for this revelation. The rest is history. [8/10]
And the rest is history, indeed, very much. The recollection of moments… sharp and clear, like a feedback loop. Mingling in the bar. Talks about quantum physics. A little bit of confusion with the arrangements, dissolved by a very light vibe in the air. We will make it! Heading back to Kinoteka. New contacts. Going to a gay bar… things get very intense in a good way! No judging, just going with the flow. I feel… reborn. Taking the taxi to the hotel… the only downside of everything I’ve experienced during these three days was the length of the stay. Airport, early morning, coffee, the security check, the plane, Skavsta, Cityterminalen, home… total exhaustion, blackout. I’ve found freedom.
The congestion of neurotransmitters in the synaptic gaps… the perpetual sensory intercourse within the imaginary neural network, which is broad enough to embody the entire planet. Total overload of the near-peripheral retinal area. Never-ending sound of drums. When will this clutter end? Yes, I know the answer. The control is to be abandoned, the patterns still have to be reprogrammed completely. Each and every limitation is self-imposed, and we all know that true intelligence is creativity, not knowledge. Resistance is useless indeed, as Tippi Tillvind showed us all back in the airport. Especially resistance to the lovely Polish vibe, to the fluid and artsy atmosphere of the capital of this country. The relapses of my PTSD have to go for good. Waking up…
Coffee, coffee, I long for thee. Once feeling fully refreshed, I started to notice certain peculiarities effectively hidden from the public view. Those always tell the stories that still remain untold otherwise. For instance, this celebration of cyborgs and Cthulhu 🙂
In fact, the authorities should never ban graffiti in the cities. Graffiti and other kinds of street art help to get to know the atmosphere of the city better than anything else. Aggressively making photos and field recordings… no rest for the wicked! Checking out one of the local esoteric shops, getting extremely cheap and handy version of a Thoth tarot deck among the other stuff, like a very lovely pair of Boji stones… shopping’s done! No matter what, I have to stay alert, as demonstrated by rather uncomfortable situation near the train station. M. called slightly afterwards, expressing his concern for me. Such a sweet feeling when you know that someone cares for you. No time to waste, on my way to Kinoteka pronto! The film starts soon…
Oh, Andy… you always hang about with your mom. The imaginary call to the very place where imagination dwells and feasts while getting its own perfect slumber time. Malga, once again, attacks us with different facets of Warhol simultaneously. The theme of BDSM, masturbation and forced marriage transmutes into witnessing the cuteness of our closest companions. Do we all believe in love too? If it exists, it takes quite peculiar forms… In order to stop getting hurt we can stop caring about the outcomes. Or, alternatively, we can make art. And marry art. Very particular form of art. Gritty art. Sick and depraved art. For the sake of art. Not for the sake of the human beings involved. Who cares… they all decomposed decades ago. That’s why Warhol is so influential. Since he made it to this point of cultural decomposition long before his own death. Long time before the imaginary calls to imaginary land of imaginary peace ruled by imaginary gods happened first… and afterwards the ugly face of real pain crept out of this realm, a certain trigger-happy face. We’ve all seen dead people at some point, and death is still the only thing that is guaranteed to everyone. Someone is to be shot, not filmed. So gritty depiction of the true scum of the world… and the ways of dealing with it. The only possible ways, according to some of our heroes. The blood is everywhere, especially in the bathtub. Full circle. The law of attraction, if you like. Interesting… the very same actress who played Edie played Valerie as well. “They tried to bury their sins, but instead planted the seeds of their doom. A war is coming, I’ve seen it in my dreams. Fires sweeping over the earth, bodies in the street, cities turned to dust. Retaliation”. Until that dog gave our beloved Valerie 25 years in the psychedelic prison! Dead Kennedy on the screen, the familiar acid vibe is getting back. The veins are being cut, everything goes just as planned, proceeding to the creepiest scene in the whole trilogy:
Mi kujemo bodočnost! I’m not sure who these two happened to be, but everything in the Malga’s films has its own place, space and meaning. Fortunately, there is always space for light as well, since there is no darkness without light. The peaceful scene of the creative setup reminds us all that Earth is basically a huge reality show for everyone out there to watch. And, this is exactly what Warhol is doing here. Just watching… [9/10]
Travelling changes life on many different levels, bringing empowerment, new experiences, emotions and connections. Sometimes just a trickle, occasionally a flow. Like time, we always flow onward, towards the same destination, and most of the time we take different routes. That’s why new encounters could be so pleasant since it’s so easy to forget the oneness of it all, it’s so simple to dismiss the fact that the incredible abundance of the earthly delights is just out there, we just need to reach out and go with the flow. The stress of travel preparations, seasoned with a conflict with my neighbour, started to subside once I took the night bus towards Cityterminalen and, subsequently, the shuttle towards Skavsta airport. The soft amber glow of sunrise poured on my face, the sonic hugs by Delerium / Entheogenic /Conjure One and the cup of freshly brewed Gevalia coffee gave me the long-lost sense of comfort and cemented further the reassurance that everything will be alright from now on. The funny sparks of anticipation were dancing in the air. First time in five years travelling outside Sweden! A quick call to a very special person in England balanced away the initial awkwardness of the situation. Hej då Sverige! Cześć Warszawa!
Airports are always special in many ways, regardless of the country. The temporary home of unrest… the constant flow of the faces gliding through the terminals, the tense atmosphere subsiding upon getting through the security checks and totally vanishing in the thick cold air, melting away with the roar of aircraft engines. Schengen area has its own advantages, one of which is lesser queues, no passport control! Being awake since 21:00 of the previous day was quite tough, but the constant flow of adrenaline made this all very manageable. The music of Keff McCulloch was following me all way through, keeping me in shape. Taking the bus to the city centre… following the film-makers whom I met in the airport to the hotel in the Warsaw Old Town. All of a sudden I started to feel totally awkward and confused, since the deeply suppressed memories of my travels with A. many years ago started to catch up with me. The belligerence of the shadowy past, the looming shadows enveloping me tightly back in the days… The heightened sense of isolation when being among the others that I’ve experienced through the last couple of years became almost unbearable, and, after the check-in, I decided to explore the city on my own. Calling the aforementioned special person from the UK, M., helped to break away from the confusion, and getting the details from Malga Kubiak, one of the bosses behind the event, gave me the sense of direction. The reason why I travelled to Poland was called 7th LGBT Film Festival in Warsaw, and, particularly, the premier of “Andy Warhol To Se Vrati” trilogy by Malga. I was invited as a part of her team, being one of the composers behind the soundtrack for the trilogy.
Still running on pure adrenaline… Visiting Organic Coffee was a very nice idea, as well as getting my dose of classic Doctor Who on the phone in the meantime. Finding my way to Kinoteka Theatre, located in the Palace of Culture and Science, the tallest building in Poland, was fairly easy. The hotel was located not far away from the tube. The consequence of upbringing in a large urban area is that you always use the tube for finding your way around. For better or worse, you feel less comfortable in the cities without the tube…
Local restaurants are impressive. As well as the local film community… the easy-going vibe was somehow influenced by the very light vibe of the city itself. The practicalities, fortunately, didn’t get in the way very much, and I managed to get some fresh air and quiet photographing / field recording time before the screening of the first part of the trilogy, “Edie”, finally commenced. The universe was kind to me by bringing some phone calls I was waiting for eagerly just before the beginning of the film. 24 hours of being awake at the moment didn’t muddle up my perception, not a tiny little bit…
Starting as a celebration of Andy Warhol through many different facets, literally – Malga used a special technique of combining different camera views in one frame – and bringing many laughs and a sweet kitschy atmosphere on the way… re-creating, perhaps, or re-imagining the certain episodes from his life, however obscure they might be… utilizing extremely awful English in the mix with other languages, for the most part… everything in the film gets more and more psychedelic with each passing minute. After a while, the first signs of the ugly reality start to creep through. And… Malga just nails it. In proper English, the narrator just… gets to the point of it all. I won’t spoil it, just watch. “The sixties were cluttered, the seventies were empty”… Illusions destroyed, very effectively. The gritty cover version of Exile works here very well. The fun is over for one of the main characters already, but she’s not stopping. She doesn’t have any choice. It’s too late for her. At some point we all stop to care, even those who are the most empathic ones don’t bother about her ultimate fate… all of the parties involved, in the end. Malga proves again and again that everything could be the object of art. Even Mr. Zimmerman. Isn’t it truly bizarre, the ways of human kind… certain ways at least. Where is the line between kitsch and reality? Is it truly defined by… just drugs? We won’t get any answers here. If you want the answer, think for yourself. But even this is not encouraged by Malga. Why bother? Entropy did its work flawlessly for our heroes. For better or worse. And we are literally being there and “holding the candle”, Malga gives us the chance at least. If… we still care. I doubt it though. Since Edie is dead. Like the famous parrot. [8.5/10]
And, the flow of adrenaline was finally over for me. Showing Bill Schiller the way back to the hotel… having a very intense conversation with M. afterwards… the interdimensional vortex towards the dreamland opened up right in my room. The inner resistance to the new experiences was gone with the last drop of LSD consumed by Edie on the screen, and this time… it was definitely for the better.
Bagpipe industrial? From Russia?! Sounds quite exquisite, isn’t it? According to the official history of the project, Meklabor is “Dmitry Vlasov, a sound artist and bagpiper from Russia. The starting point for Meklabor was 2004, when Werk 84 was formed. Vlasov was experimenting with the fusion of EBM, drone, ambient and kraut rock. After the first VST-based album saw the light, he decided to use hardware music equipment only. After some years of experiments with music equipment, playing at some local festivals and being active at the netlabel scene, the concept of the project was finally formed. Meklabor explores sounds of bagpipes and other folk instruments, framing it with hardware-made synth backgrounds, distorted rhythms and ethnic percussion. Meklabor is not an authentic folk project, bagpipe tunes are being used here as a tool of traditional music syntax. The project went through various incarnations, recorded some material under the name SunBurzt, released some recordings through netlabels and published a 7-inch vinyl. The project collaborated with many experimental artists in the past, for instance, i.m.m.u.r.e. (Russia) and H-LR (Israel). Dmitry got a lot of experience playing in martial dark folk group, Ostov (ex-For Faith), performing live on the same stage with Of The Wand And The Moon (Denmark), Cyclofilidea (Russia) and Noises of Russia (Russia)”. Quite a background. Now, to the EP. A fusion of Balkan-inspired folktronica and something that strongly reminds me the works of Alex Brandon… that’s what the first track on this EP is about. Plus, occasional distorted beats, occasional flute… we got something quite unique here definitely! The second track sounds more like industrial music fusion, occasional film samples never break the flow and the bagpipe sounds here just lovely. The third track develops the vibe in a little bit more upbeat way, and the Brandon-inspired bells make their return to the mix as well. The fourth track completes the circle with the tribal trance soundtrack-ish attitude and sounds like a creative remix of the first track. The rooster sample sounds really creepy here! Creepy Balkan village sounds creeping around… Things happening in this particular sound scenery appear to be quite exciting! Mixing and mastering on the recording are very good as well! Actually, one of the purposes of this review was to encourage Meklabor to NEVER give up on music, no matter how it might feel in the long run. The EP got 7 thousand downloads and counting. Even if it’s likely not 7 thousand listeners yet, still… so many, as it looks like, listen to Meklabor a lot and, perhaps, waiting for the new releases as well! So, Dmitry, don’t give up, music like yours definitely needs to be around! And, you got TEN years of experience with music. So, perhaps, something truly exciting is just on the way! [8.5/10]
“This is a test”… Almark is an experimental music project from Tulsa, Oklahoma. This music provokes very weird feelings when listened the very first time, but after few times on repeat everything starts to make some sort of sense. Honestly, this is not any kind of “easy listening experience”. I had the same feeling about few of the Autechre albums. The project explores the sound territory that could be considered nothing else but “wabi-sabi” in a more traditional context. Something unfinished, something off-beat and something to be definitely ignored after the first listening if you expect something “traditional” within boundaries of electronica or even industrial music. Mixing and mastering on this track is excellent though, as well as the synth work. First, the track feels like electro-industrial / IDM stripped off its key elements, then the bass joins and creates a warm feeling, although this warmth disappears quite fast. This is indeed a test, a test of patience rather. If the test is passed, you’ll be able to enjoy this. Unfortunately, for me it was the sonic journey on the wrong wavelength… [5/10]