Konfrontationen Festival, Nickelsdorf 2010

The First Day

So heat and moisture in Nickelsdorf that we’ve changed three T-shirts over the course of several hours. I got in 4 hours from Oradea to Hans Falb yard for the 31st of Konfrontationen. An edition under the curing of Mats Gustafsson and Falb. An edition full of big names and with expectations as big as from the part of the public.

A few changes in the first day program, against the one aanounced.

To everyone’s surprise, is a long time since we haven’t seen a festival beginning with a solo representation. Initially on the stage had to play the trio Christman / Christian Munthe / Raymond Strid. It wasn’t like that, the festival beginning with Oren Ambarchi, the shy elephant in the china shop. Yes, a shy elephant who’s calculating every move trying to not destroy the quiet and mute sounds of a China made different every time.

Games of patterns and textures, a collage concert with a development and a fine fabric on a generous theme. Sticked between the wires, with the look always hiding and not looking anything else than his own story, with a touch and a capture in a minimalistic pattern of a electric guitar sound. This was the representation of Oren. An Oren which is hard to discover even in his live representations and I wish to see him more times in solo projects.

Followed the trio made by Günter Christmann / Christian Munthe / Raymond Strid. The percussionist Raymond Strid, an emblematical figure of the improvised musical scene – whose collaborations and discographic appearances would be hard to quantify even to a record collector – near the Dixonian Gunter Christmas and the said guitarist Christian Munthe – whose guitar can be placed in a museum at the lost objects section, refund and then lost again – they had a slight show.

I’m happy that the festival didn’t started with them, as was announced in the first place. A concert ostrich-camel, indeed well articulated, I believe that it was meant to be more to be offered. Hiatus, gaps of sounds thrown in the crowd and not finding echoes often, that was representation of the of three.

Booom, boom!

And the last concert of this day, The Ex & The Brass Unbound. Terrie, Andy, Arnold and Katherina on one side, and the side of Brass. Extatica part of brass: Mats Gustafsson, Ken Vandermark, Walter Wiebos and Roy Paci. In this form, the one on the stage are not singing for a long time, I only know that they had a tournament in England at the beginning of the year. The first two rows of chairs were discontinued, that it is about in Nickelsdorf – Konfrontationen.

About a The Ex representation, I have written about a year ago. It’s the band thry excellency wich makes the show and wich knows to train the public. It’s the band of wich you never want to listen its records alone at home, but especially the collaborations that it had.

Dji-gji-dji-dji, everybody stand up, with some aggressive and percussive parts of the Mats barytone, with a nostalgy of Hungarian plains in the processing of The Thing songs – Hidegen Fujnak A Szelek of Ken’s clarinet, with a good mood of Roy Paci’s trumpet and an emotive sound of Walter Wierbos’s trombone. They played more than 75 minutes, they played the rain here and there. And it came.

When we reached the tent? I do not know, Paal Nilssen-Love made his head by DJ focused mostly on African folklore processed, Joe McPhee alternated with moments of ecstasy scenographic along the festival teens with long and white beers, Ken, propped by a sill of his inn was saying to him and listen to stories about Fred AndersonAwesome FESTIVAL!

The second day

Matinee, improperly called, from 3 PM. Schedule change. Duo improvised with Raymond Strid & Sofia Jernberg. Percussion, or rather the idea of a pronounced percussion, along with the sounds of Sophie. Beautiful, as it can better the first matinee of the festival. Primitive, tease, reminding me at times of the throaty Sainkho. And with a Stride Raymond anplifying the absent wind in the Kleyloff makeshift barn.

Followed the multimedia project of Michael Thiecke Live-Improvisation to the film “Cowards Bend the Knee” by Guy Maddin with Christof Kurzmann, Martin Siewert, Martin Brandlmayr.

Was pulled the curtain in the already heated barn, Indian summer night at 16 o’clock, I resisted the entire projection. There seemed to be a music video in true sense, but rather a sound insight into the characters of the film, a visual and sound deconstruction of the gesture itself, which at times failed. Maybe the show length disarmed me.

And the last representative matinee today, we moved into the auditorium between nuts where I found located Roscoe Mitchell. Along with his faithful saxophones, a soprano and an alto, whose sounds I know by heart and continues to amaze me every time. It was a solo, for some mystical, for other creators of new worlds, worlds overlapped, Joe McPhee told me next morning that has not felt this thrill for years. For me it was simple: Roscoe has created his sky and then he planted stars on it. It’ hard for me to say something after the above statement, and I think I would say more nonsense. nonsense.

Break for two hours, for a Wiener schnitzel in Hungary (shic), barok style, I was more than overwhelmed.

Then in the yard of Hans Falb, the marathon of 7 hours begins with: Paul Lovens, Agusti Fernandez and Ingebrit Flaken Hadden. When you have Paul Lovens on every festival print, you now what you can wait for. Before the concert I have changed a few words with Agusti Fernandez, which being very proud, was telling me that he will sing with Mr. Lovens.

Overflowing of energy and extremely good the improvisation of the three, full of self-well dosed, three personalities on the stage on which they gave the best representation from a trio in a festival until now with a post-Schlipenbachian repertory. I was looking at Raymond Strid, being a spectator from behind the scene, it was somewhere on the authentic free jazz satellite. A free jazz concert from the classical school. Impressive.

Christine Sehnaoui & Andy Moor – a duo which I can see for the first time and offered me a trip along a sax-drone very cool for the year of 2010. I’s on the wave Christine, one of the young artists with an enormous potential for expressing with saxophone.

Sound sampled from saxophone, microtonal aspects obtained from the pet technique for introducing water in the saxophone funnel, sounds of a stunning height refund in the next set, impeccably technique and fragments of beautiful sketch sustained by the guitar of Andy Moor. An Andy Moore which cannot say no to any collaboration with an artist. And when it does, it does it excellent.

Aaaa, and whose the curator of this festival? Mats Gustafsson, follows a fresh project of his in this year: Swedish Azz. The only tube of the entire festival, handled and strangled by Per-Ake Holmlander. Free stories from the Swedish folklore, you realize that prevailed the carols, at 40 degrees, but was created the right frame for the improvised fairytale.

It was like I would tell to Vladimir (my son) the collage of story made by the ends of every day. And this reality improvised with its ups and downs leads you to anywhere you want. Just like that, I am waiting a record of free-carols, that also from the part of Ken Vandermark. Over 20 years, right it is!

We have thrown in the Swedish drone along the trols and dwarfs and the thunders of Mats baritone, uninterrupted here and there by the high sounds of the alto and sustained by a hell-rhythm of a tube which makes its job in the enervate twilight of Nickelsdorf.

We have Africa? We have Ethiopia with Ashenafi / Asmamaw / Legesse. It should sound well and should be a valve/defulator concert for what happened before on the festival stages. Was heard pretty badly, a few mistakes pretty big. and especially, it was long, very long, as long as it pushed the night until 1L30 AM. The world began to dance and to fight, pretty much mannerism and provided in the music of the three. In change a very good voice, the one of Chalechew.

We escaped from Ethiopians, we needed a Raw-Power concert. And it came from the part of The Thing XL. Along the Scandinavian kernel, climbed on stage Ken Vandermark, Joe McPhee, Terrie Hassels and Johaness Bauer. Very strong, a stoner free jazz. Pure energy, lung spitted on the barn ceiling. Sweat was flowing, the small bottle with palinca was running more than the air in the saxophones. Free that fuckin’ jazz!

Time 04:00, we were hearing our breaths, we meet Ken and Joe, make a difficult reverence, they call us for a bear. Should we make a DJ party after that? Neah, we have two more festival days.

The third day

It is already the midday, past 14, let’s go to Kleylehof, in that solar. We test something funk in the car, we are chilling down, up on the hill it is a harn. And there are Klaus Filip and dieb13, who crocheted nicely electro patterns. I loved the representation of the two, morph, just good to completely awake.

The second projection of the Guy Maddin’s movie followed, this time with Magda Mayas, Tony Buck, Hans Falb himself and Christine Sehnaoui. A representation much alive than the previous one.

We move to the natural amphitheatre to meet Sven-Ake Johansson. An old man with an extremely correct movement regarding the percution technique. He has greatly profited of the natural frame offered, used and improvised on the side of birds, on the power-jet of the plane, which was passing at 10,000 meters above us, plus a combine that baled horizon line, called the phone book. Listening him, I was thinking what an interesting duo he would do together with Evan Parker. Primordial percussion, it was cool, a surprise more than pleasant.

A break of a few hours, a time for a spinach pastry. We breath one-two, one-two-three, hardly. Back to JazzGalerie. The first concert of the evening: Kurzmann & Vandermark & Brandlmayr.

With Kurzmann, I had talked the day before about the Argentinian pampa, the beafteck and creative gauchoshes from Argentina, which are really there. Common places, deah! I would have liked to say him that we also have something like this, I told him about the Jazz and More festival, he would normally like to come.

Of a distinct fragility in the handling of the laptop and of the voice, with a Brandlmayr at the tabla that has perfectly integrated as a whole, with a Ken Vandermark, was the concert that introduced us in the story of the third evening. Having something of the mimetism of Oriental extreme dance, the sleeping beauty made insensibly her entry.

It comes the storm with Trio BerlinNeumann & Cooper & Thomas), an excellently improvising sound sculpture, with alternatives between the good moments of Andreea Neumann and the way that Clayton Thomas uses his double-bass, as well as a sound sample instrument, and Clare Cooper is diverting with an improvised harp, laying. This way we got out from the Sleeping Beauty.

And if at Konfrontationen everything is possible, let’s introduce the Scandinavian duo, too: Wildbirds & Peacedrums, a duo made of Mariam Wallentin – vocals and Andreas Werliin – drums. An atipic moment of the festival. A primary percution technique, which remembered me of Ches Smith in certain moments, and then the compositions as being acoustic of Xiu Xiu.

An effeminate Xiu xiu, an acoustic post-rock, but also a good voice, the one of Mariam. And a pleasant scenic presence. You wouldn’t say that it could be Swedish. “If it is Swedish, I am a Norvegian” the saying of those at  Jadd. “Get b(u)eget!” was my reply (sic).

End of the day with Ab Baars and John Lindberg. GREAT. Benefiting of the best sound I heard at a double bass of the entire festival and due to the formula and repertoire, for me the representation of the two singers was the culminant time of this edition. Re-interpreting the music of John Carter, with a finess and a grace that seemed to be detached from a Bolero improvised on spot, a cameral jazz of the best quality.

I see Ab Baars live for the first time, usually he does not get out of his nest very often, I think he is one of the most under-considered contemporary improvisers, with an expression like that of James Joyce and a refinement dignified by a true lord, seeming to come from another age, the homage the two brought to John Carter music, made me realize that I am still a jazz festival. And why I like it so much! A confirmation, an arch over time of a technique and a specific language to this genre.

The fourth day, the last one

Sunday morning, around 13, I took my car, and I left away, alone. Digestive moment. I did not like what I saw, let’s go to the evanghelic church of the village, we may find something more interesting.

Yes, Evan Parker cu Sten Sandell at organ. With an Evan located above the naos, two unequal sets as value, the second one surpassing the first one, an improvisation and a mystic sludder amplified by the organ of Sandell, impressive volutes. Lately, Evan begins hardly, or is just me having this impression?! Dar the composition development and the re-circulatory technique saves him every time.

There was a difficult summer, from the point of view of losses on the scene of creative music. I refer to Bill Dixon and Fred Anderson. All the present ones knew about these things, we were saying it in a whisper, for fear for lest derange them, we wondered together with Ken what the Velvei Lounge of Chicago will be (so, true problems, not the VAT increase) until Joe McPhee appeared in the church who gave a sense to this whipping song, to this reverent muteness. And he made it in the coolest way possible. Descending the stairs with the service vuvuzwa and continuing his recital at pocket trumpet and tenor saxophone.

He really cried with the saxophone, a tenor crying, leased the manner of Fred Anderson of interpretation, the homage being full. A McPhee, more human than everything happened in the music of this festival.

Chapeau bas!

Enough with the matinees!

It comes 18 o’clock again in the yard of Hans’ inn, the first representation Hairy Bones, meaning Peter Brötzmann – saxophones, clarinet, tárogató, Toshinori Kondo – trumpet, electronics, Massimo Pupillo – electric bass, Paal Nilssen-Love – drums.

The devastating force, beginning in force. How it looks fit for this project and the reasoning for which it has been established makes it further in the same line. Toshinori Kondo, by the way, a great fan of palinca, I have never seen again. He is a rare bird on European lands. That trumpet sounds with all its effects, so quaking the defenders of the sky gates.

The same is also valid for the saxophone of Brötzmann, and the hordes of orcs of Paal Nilssen-Love are only after the corner. Too bad of the electric bass of Massimo Pupillo (from ZU).

The sounding of this concert was awful. In exchange, the concert was the best chromatics. Maybe a little bit tiring by length and repeating some places, but in the given conditions, it was excellent.

Normal, or not?! As a festival, he has for each of the present persons a bad side, too. For me, now, it came through the Barcelona Series project. With
Sven-Åke Johansson – drums, Axel Dörner – trumpet, Andrea Neumann – inside piano. A repetition, at least I considered, of the solo concert yesterday of Sven-Åke Johansson . Plus the trompet of Dorner, and this time Andrea Neumann.

The esthetics of this concert did not meant much to me. I will still look to them on the registered video tape, Maybe I was not in the mood. I have hardly digested the sealed bound of the three of them.

Well, it follows Transatlantic Series with a stellar component. You were talking about a team of Argentina of this festival: Roscoe Mitchell – reeds, Evan Parker – reeds, Joëlle Leandre – bass, Tony Hymas – piano, Hugh Ragin – trumpet. And this was that. There started extremely difficult, Joëlle did not find his movie. Roscoe in the New York in the badgeman trench was pulling on them like the horse robbers. Evan with the vestman of God started hardly, we were lucky with Hymas on the piano that reput the order somewhere. But they increased apotheotically, due to the same Roscoe Mitchell that increased very nice and invisibly somehow, I would say. The encore, with the entire stubborn of Joëlle was one in the reference moments of this festival.

And the last concert of this edition: Heaven And. A project of Tony Buck, made of two sets of percutions, an electric bass and an electric guitar. It sounded like a power King Crimson in 2010 years. Not bad, but extremely repeating in the rhythmic patterns. Nothing new under the sun, just intensity and progressive construction.

That’s all, folks! See you next year.

For the german version of this article, click here