This is a republish of an older post. A CD of this project, 73-D is being released on the Swiss Musicians Association label on Sept 13, 2008.
In the Fall of 2006, I traveled to Europe to perform a variety of shows including solo experimental, a duo collaboration with Laurie Amat, and a very interesting week of performances in Bern, Switzerland with my friend Philipp Zuercher and his Fractaloid Project. In Philipp’s words:
Fractaloid 1-9 are 72 hours of live music, composed by Philipp Zuercher. The main issue is the interaction between four musicians and huge virtual structures: a computer program makes a looping device produce “a heap of empty wraps that want to be filled with musical contents”.
The form of those wraps is based on the aesthetics of fractals. Fractals are fragmented geometric shapes that are self-similar and appear in nature, too. The composition was first performed by four musicians, playing nine shifts of 8 hours each at Marks Blond, Bern-Switzerland (September 14th to 17th 2006).
The looping/sequence program Phillipp created called for the performer to record at specific moments, graphically represented on a computer screen from hot to cold colors. Red parts were, ‘must record!’ and blue were, ‘listen only’ with gradations in between. These gradations chopped up the recorded bits and threw them back, sometimes for many minutes at a time, allowing the performer to listen to the progression of things or take a break and get some food and drink! Each composition of sequences lasted around 40 minutes and would then start over, going around and around continuously for 8 hours straight, relentlessly, until the next musician took over.
I have fond memories of performing my three 8 hour shifts in the little MarksBlond.com hut, which has room for approximately 12 people and is situated in a nice upper middle class neighborhood next to an old stone church. I especially remember my last shift, which was from 4am to 12pm on Sunday. Food, energy and inspiration were running low when the church’s bells started pealing – echoing around the previously tranquil neighborhood, calling worshipers with that ancient, deep, cast-metal BONG, BONG, BONG that one only really experiences in Europe. I’d been performing all by myself for many, many hours and was getting mighty punchy, so I decided to incorporate the bells into the recording. I hastily stuck a mic out the door and managed to create some very satisfying musical chaos. At some point after this, I stumbled down the street in a crazed, sleep deprived, low blood sugar state in order to record the bells with my portable recorder, and received some concerned looks from a few of the staid, well dressed residents making their way to the morning service.