Sunday, October 23, 2016

World tour review: Sao Paulo and Curitiba

In the very end of Brazilian tour I finally managed to find time and get into the mood to review it. First of all why Brazil? The answer is not logic. It's just about a little dream that I had to go there. I knew almost nothing about experimental music scene of this country, but past half a year I was monitoring whats happening there, also saw some European artists touring there, so thought why not. And overall all I feel like a got a decent acceleration on touring and I don't know when will I stop....everything goes fast: cities, people, thoughts, emotions, everything changes quickly and somehow it helps me to think more about who I am and what is all that stuff around. For me for now this is most important.
So, back to tour things, I caught the good flight deal (335 eu Amsterdam - Sao Paulo - Rio De Janeiro - Paris, with a stop in Casablanca) and then started booking tour. So eventually I've got 7 gigs in 20 days, which was enough for me, since I wanted to see not only gigs, but something more. So let's start.

06.10 Sao Paulo, Hotel bar

Brazilian tour started with quite a big stress. Firstly, things with Sao Paulo gig was a real mess. I've agreed with one organizer about the show two months in advance and was pretty sure it will happen, but then I wasn't getting any news and eventually got to know from the other people (!) that it won't happen. And it was just a few weeks left. Man, if you read this you know that things are not happening this way, even I didn't hear "sorry" from you, I hope you care about the other people more.. Anyway, with a help of good people I managed to get a last minute show in, as guys say, the smallest venue in Sao Paulo called Hotel bar. Yes, it's a room for max 10 people I guess. I'm playing alone this night (so as mostly staying alone the whole time in Sao Paulo). Had lot's of technical problems: first I didn't check before that some of my adapters are only 220V, and Sao Paulo is 127V, so I had to forget a few devices and even I thought I burned one by plugging it to the wrong voltage (eventually not! as I checked later). This was a bit of a challenge to play without a few things. Then we had problems with the sound speakers of the venue. So, after all that stress we managed to prepare for the show. Around 5-8 people came to this show (at least!) and the owner was very nice, so overall everything wasn't so bad and I managed to play quite a good show (at least for myself). After the performance I spoke with a few guys, they proposed to go to another event the next day, but since it was late and I had early bus I decided to stay alone. All that time in Sao Paulo I was wondering mainly in one neighborhood, at first it reminded me a bit of Los Angeles. It was hard to speak English on the streets though, so it was not so comfortable time, and I was complaining on facebook. Anyway, deeply inside I was hoping that it's just a stress of the beginning, later I will adapt and things will get better. So, this huge city left me not the best impressions, and right now I don't feel like I wanna return there anytime soon.

08.10 Curitiba, house show

I went to Curitiba with a hope that it will be better. Even though there was a mess with a show too, I didn't get a proper one even if I was telling guys few months before that i'm coming. But got a house show, organized by Meia-Vida, the group of promoters that does DIY shows. In the bus station I was met by the nice guy Ariel who plays in a punk band Caos (together with Gustavo, the show promoter). Meeting is always a nice gesture. No matter how big city is and how far is the bus station from your house, but if you are caring person and good organizer, you will always make the guest to feel not stressed of finding his way to go to the venue or your house.
So we went straight to the house where a bunch of young guys were preparing for the party. This was in a multi-flat house and this could never happen in my country, because of noise and neighbors. So the show started shortly with the same Caos band doing some straight forward punk. Raw and underground spirit, but without mohawks and all the other trendy shit. I was glad to hear Brazilian punk finally! After them the guy called Post Punk Sirios with guitar and electronics made some a bit melancholic and slow compositions that made the energy of the event go down, but it also gave some concentration, which made a good soil for my show after. And I felt the underground spirit, which contributed to the freedom of expression and so my show was quite fun. After me, Aline Vieira, one of the founders of Meia-Vida made a nice electronic drone set in the candle light. Her project is called Exria Reverbera and you can listen it below. There was also another artist called Luma, but I couldn't listen to hear, needed to relax from sounds and stay out of smoked room, although what I heard sounded good.
After the show guys went to continue party somewhere, but I stayed cause needed to rest and the next day I had a bus to Florianopolis. So in the morning were preparing slowly, chatting with guys and having breakfast. I was calmed that the road to the bus station is short and uber cab will do it in a few minutes. But then, suddenly got a trouble - uber isn't coming! it stuck somewhere and time is running. my bus is leaving in ~10 minutes. shit! we ran to the street with Gustavo and we caught local taxi, but the driver showed that it's impossible to be there in such a short time. Anyway I went with him, telling in english - faster, faster, he probably understood not words, but intention. We came to the station, I ran like crazy, my suitcase dropped with all the electronics out. Shit! Ran again, and  I saw that the bus is here! was delayed for a few minutes, luckily, otherwise I would miss it.
This was the most intense stress I experienced so far on this tour. I couldn't relax for a long in the bus and was hoping that the stress time is in the end...and it was, but this is about Florianopolis, to be continued soon.
Below some photos from Cutiriba show, more on the event page.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

World tour review: Munich, Freiburg, Essen

Nothing new, it's cheap to travel within Europe, thanks to the competition of the bus and airline companies.
Even though the cheapest bus company megabus was eaten by another monster - flixbus, prices are still good and it was one of the reasons I decided to go down to Southern Germany. It's a long way to Munich from Den Haag, so I stopped on the way in Cologne (thanks to the lovely people for hosting me!) and the next day I took a postbus, Cologne - Munich for 5eu, which is around 8 hours drive. Good, yeah?

29.09 Munich, Klang buro 

This show I booked in the winter time, so during the spring and summer was adjusting the route and other shows around that date. 
Came to the city right on the Oktoberfest period, so first what I saw in the bus station was some drunk people dressed in those particular costumes (see this years fashion below). Klang buro - is the place in, as I understood, the area of different art venues. It looks a bit like warehouse or workshop room, so this should be a good place to do some art in sound too. I'm the only one at the bill, which is always not so fun, but also the organizer Norbert Stammberger said that we could do a short duo piece after. Ok. 
So, what can I say. Now I don't remember that well this performance, but it was definitely not the best one... and one guy from the audience hated it so much that it was felt strongly even if I don't understand German. as was discussing with Sascha about it. After the show when I was standing near the outdoor, this guy had to go through me, so he basically ran like a rocket, so he wouldn't meet in eyes I guess ;) ... well... I'm ok if someone hates or loves, better be that way than apathy. 
So after my solo, we did a short duo with Norbert, it was quite thing, lot's of short sounds that sometimes we couldn't recognize whose they are, but so the audience, which was no more than 10 people, got some extra minutes for listening and maybe was more happy about their time and energy investment.

30.09 Freiburg, Susi cafe

Here comes the intuition that was telling me that Freiburg will be a good experience. But before that I had to take another 7 hours by bus full of young kids drinking beer and talking loudly. This was the moment that I regret I didn't have headphones, but it also made me try to work with attention. Just simply move attention to other things and so to avoid the disturbance.
Upon arrival guys from Groba Bodock, the band that also plays this night, met me and we went straight to the venue. The venue is nice, kind of social space, and Lovis, the main man, works here for more than twenty years. With a warm meeting and good food we have started to prepare for the show, which is always free donation. People throw money to the huge plastic vase. 
So the first, Groba Bodock started with punky drums and noisy synths and sometimes funny vocals. This was a bit of a mess, but kind of fun, I accepted. The second part of the show sounded better as the drummer switched to making some feedback by pedals and one snare drum, if I recall well. So they finished in quite atmospheric note and prepared a good soil for my show.
I did quite a good show, there were some intense moments that I wanna repeat now, but I can't somehow, but in that moment some turbo energy was activated which surprised myself. Also there was some fun too. All in all only positive impressions. 
After the show we went to sleep to the drummers house. The next day I had an early bus to Essen, so I put alarm on my phone... but I didn't save it. Suddenly woke up and saw that it's only 45 minutes left till the bus.  oh shit! In a few minutes I was running crazy to take a tram to the bus station. Such a stress! But I managed to make it, even had time to buy tea and food, cause the trip to Essen was long, around 9 hours... and again with noisy kids..but this time was more happier, just because I made it ;)

01.10 Essen, Kabinet Adapter

This show was organized by Florian Walter, the sax player that visited Vilnius earlier this year (and probably will come back in the summer 2017). Here is the video of this show. So, was glad to meet him again. Even though facebook event looked sad: just a few people attending, but again my intuition was telling that it won't be so sad. And it wasn't! The venue was the beautiful, white, almost all made from glass space in the middle of a dark autumn park. A dozen of 60 or 70+ years old people came to my surprise and I got confused if I should really play my intense and quite loud stuff. But the organizer and venue people calmed me down to make what I usually make. 
Before me there was another audiovisual project of Peter Eisold & a women which name i'm sorry I don't remember (initially the had to be another person instead of her, but this person was sick that day)Peter had a lot of different percussion, which he played together with a playback. Some gentle drumming followed by groovy tracks from the laptop. It sounded very musical and made me enjoy it. The women was walking with a kind of old lamp projector and playing with the light and space. This also gave some performative aspect to the show and I can't say anything bad about it.
My show was ok. I've conquered the fear to be not understood. Did some new actions which I use now for other shows. After the performance some old guys came and said a good word, some didn't, the way it should be, but in general I felt good, though later I felt a bit like I'm both tired and full of adrenaline. That was strange feeling, which I didn't like. I understood that I should do no more than 2 shows in a row, to feel good and to recover well. Although I know that will be different and at times there could be 4 or even 5 shows in a row, but the please forgive me if I play a bit more reserved. I wanna live a bit more even if i'm ready to die on stage.
By the way here are photos.

That's all for Europe now. Time to write about Brazil as I had here 5 shows already. So, hopefully this week...and the next week I return to Europe, playing my very first show in France - Paris on 26th, and in NXNW festival in Cologne on 29th. See ya!

Monday, October 10, 2016

World tour review: Munster and Ghent

I've already did 3 shows in Brazil, but still didn't review 5 shows from Europe. Yep, not so easy to do it on the road, but I wanna have all them reviewed so that there will be what to remember and also some information could be worth for others.
So, here we go. This time two.

18.09 Munster, Black box im cuba 

Few years ago I played here in the same venue, organized by the same English guy, Ross Parfitt - great percussionist, nice man devoted to improvised music. His promotional name is Sudden Cricket and he brings interesting music to Munster.
Few people showed up this calm Sunday evening, but those who came I believe (and I heard) got enough impressions.
First act was local guy Das Andere (listen below). His table was full of tape decks, electronics and acoustic objects, also a guitar and solid stage outfit. At the beginning it seemed that he's a bit lost between his gear, and the sounds didn't had a flow, but in the end this somehow became a strong part of the performance, that made me enjoy it.
.I was happy about my show though, the venue has good sound system so it was simply a pleasure to play. Usually I don't like playing on Sundays, but this was the exception. From the beginning till the end it was good to be there and thanks for really nice people that made it happen.

23.09 Ghent, In de Ruimte

On the 7th year of touring Europe I'm finally in Belgium! Such a cute country, from the very first moments I thought I wanna explore this country more.
A honor to play together with such a great acts as: Al Doum & The Faryds, Maurizio Abate, Karren Williams & Aidan Baker. Before the show I was informed that I play the last. I'd prefer next to last, but ok ;)
The venue is the perfect size, reminds me a bit of XI20 in Vilnius, not too big, not too small. Sound system is mighty too.
The show was opened by Maurizio Abate, guitar solo. Nothing much experimental or improvised, just unquestionable guitar play. Next - duo of Karren Williams (percussion) & Aidan Baker (guitar loops). From the very first moments it took the attention. Guitar drone perfectly correlated with gentle percussion. Near cosmic psychedelic pulsations, that was a pleasure to dive in. Definitely recommended to check them out.
Next - Italians Al Doum & The Faryds. They have played in Vilnius and Kaunas two years ago and I was glad to see them again. Through that time the band members changed and maybe this made their show not so good as it was two years ago. Or maybe it's any other reason. You never know actually, sometimes it's just a bad day to play. And this was in my case too. Just before starting the show I cut my feet to the blood (hm this story I had almost a year ago in Naples). Then, when I started to play it was quite loud and the sound guy cut the frequencies (another cut!), and so with this quite a low volume I felt almost like in Copenhagen few weeks ago.

Overall it was a nice night, maybe a felt a lack of energy in the air, but the organizers made a good job and I was really glad for my first appearance in Belgium. Looking forward to Brussels show in November 15th.
Here are some photos from the show. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

World tour review: Rotterdam, Den Haag, Groningen

14.09 Rotterdam, City Art gallery

Never been in Rotterdam. The venue is nice and quite big gallery in 3 floors, full of metal sculptures made by owner Chris Ripken, also many drawings. We talked a bit about the history of this place and the future. Seems like the future is a bit hazy, cause the local government wanna close it. Hope this won't happen and meantime I was glad to perform there. On the bill also trio of butoh dancers Konpaku. Interesting combination. 
So, for the show I got a bit vintage speakers and amplifier, which sounded not so powerful and at times it felt really weak, so my show this time was a bit more calm I would say, more atmospheric, the way I usually do in gallery type of spaces. 
Konpaku dancers started by lying on the ground and moving slowly as the music background was evolving. White painted faces, black and red/brown dressing, mimics and again strange movements. I probably didn't get the idea of what was it all about, but no problem, just took at as visual happening - hallucination. 
This was the first time I've seen something like that after local artist Benas Šarka, so this was not a wow thing, but I'm looking forward to explore it more in occasion. 
In general it was a nice evening, with not so many people, but was glad to see at least 3 Lithuanian guys ; )

16.09 Den Haag, Villa te Koop

I've never had a show in the house were I basically live. So I just had to go downstairs, to the basement and am at the show place. What a comfort! So i'm staying here basically the whole time till my journey to S. America. Vaida, the host of the show was stressed that we will loose audience, because the other place did another experimental music night. This made me stress a bit too, so I called some lithuanians, and luckily a dozen of around 10 came. So, the room was full. Good.

That Black performing
The show was started by the short theremin improvisation by Spanish man Biyi Amez. Then german guy Emerge continued. Playing by two samplers and some acoustic amplified objects he did some slow strokes on delay plus some dark drones, which after a while got a bit boring, but then the same theremin guy joined by bringing some variety, some brighter colors, though it was quite long, so a few people left the room, and later me. 

The next was That Black - ukrainian guy who is living now in Moscow and who is just starting the production of very interesting and powerful synths, which seems like soon gonna be famous. So he came on his first EU tour. Quite excited and enjoying. His show at Villa was the top of the night. Using the body and gear on his body, he did a plastic performance with steps-beats, atmospheric noises-hands and voice. It was really powerful, plus he was turning around almost all the time as new techno sufi. In the end maybe I wanted to hear some new sounds, as those were already predictable, but in general he made this night. 

My show wasn't so good this time, although reactions were not bad really, but somehow I felt that things are not going so well when playing, but maybe it's just my self-criticism
Anyway the room was full and all were happy about this event. 

17.09 Groningen, Il sole in Cantina

After long delays on Flix bus (be careful with this company) I finally reached Groningen at 9pm. Luckily the show is only at midnight even if I don't like to play so late ; ). My dutch friend Resonan, with whom we are communicating, trading  records for more than 10 years, met me and then we met Leonardo from Il Sole in Cantina. He's italian guy and from the very first moment I felt high energy and it kept being like this the whole evening. Leo brought us to the host place were I met Davide, the owner of the venue and his woman Lia and some other people. All were either Italian or Portuguese and I was so glad to see Southern people here in Northern city of Netherlands.

The venue is the nice clean basement which exists almost 20 years! The ceiling though is so small that at first I felt a bit claustrophobic, but then I got used to it. Was also a bit worried about small speakers, but Leo said, don't worry they are very powerful. 
I was the only one that night on the bill. Usually like when someone local is for the warm up, but all warm-heat thing was in my hands. And I did it. Everyone seem that enjoyed. Two girls came up after the show and said it was like on drugs, on a peak. They couldn't say what kind of drugs it were, something like ecstasy, but not... ;) .one of them also said that she will take interview with me. Leo gave also some interesting thoughts about what I do and this is what I need besides all the usual "nice show", "great performance", or silence which means I sucked ;)
There were not so many people at the show, something between 10 and 20 I guess, but there was at least one Lithuanian guy, which is good ;) 
Anyway I had a really great time in Groningen and really gonna come back there one day. Here are 29 seconds of the show which was streamed by the way.

Soon reviews from Munster and Ghent shows. Thank you for reading,

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

World tour review: Copenhagen, Bremen, Enschede

I was preparing for this big tour since early spring, did a proper work on shows and managed to have a not very tight but quite intense schedule, max 3 shows in a row. This also spiritual journey. I've totally gave myself to the destiny (but then am I not doing this in the time I'm not touring?..Hm).
Anyway now residing comfortably in The Hague at my friend Vaida, who is also hosting show here on Friday (details in the end), but first 3 days of the tour were quite adventurous and not so comfortable. I have never performed in 3 festivals in 3 days, but time has come. ;) Thank you all the organizers for inviting me!

08.09 Copenhagen, Sonic festival                   
Always hard to sleep when you have a flight in the morning. So the morning in Vilnius was quite early and full of rush. The equipment and all the necessary stuff is about 33 kilograms: 21kg on my back and 12kg in the hand, so at first it was really hard to move, especially when it's still the summer weather. 
I didn't take any food even if I knew that danish prices are high, so by the arrival to Copenhagen I got hungry, but luckily just before coming to the hostel I found two sandwiches in a paper bag near the ticket machine in metro station. As a poor Eastern European guy who used to live in Berlin squats and do dumpster diving, I took, but only one, not two, cause the other looked not so good. So this was my lunch. 
Arrived to the venue to do the soundcheck. Beautiful venue - Literature house. Quite spacious hall with high ceiling, small round red tables and candles. Really fits for readings and for improvised  / avant music of course. The soundcheck went well, the sound was good. Later was kebab time and meeting old Lithuanian friends. 
Gunnar performing
The show started from the guy named Gunnar Gunnsteinsson (initially from Reykjavik, but living in Amsterdam), who did a spoken word narrative - music exercise - techno - synth pop - philosophical performance. This was fun to watch and made me curious to explore more of his art.
Then I was supposed to play after him, but the organizers told that it would be technically better if I play the last. Ok, so then was a turn of  Tinna Thorsteinsdóttir 
She did a few minimal piano pieces following the projected abstract scores. This was atmospheric, and after the energetic show by Gunnar it was a bit too silent maybe, though it gave the concentration, which I thought would be good for my show. So my turn came up. I've started to play and I felt like something is wrong. I didn't hear many things. I felt like being without balls. Low frequencies were cut, so basically my playing was about getting out of the situation. First part was chaotic, but on the second I went to ambient field, cause I felt this was the only possible way to do something in this situation. And it worked, I guess...but i wasn't satisfied.
The first event of 3 days ended. My friend Arturas Bumšteinas had to play here on Saturday, plus some other interesting acts, but the next day I had to go to Bremen.

Arrived in the evening, was met by Yen, who runs the great event organization Die Chinesische Wascherei which I knew for a few years. I always liked the program they present and the design.
So this is punky mini festival of two nights at Die Friese - good DIY feeling venue, with good sound system, kitchen, studio, etc. I was between Pisse and Hammerhead and Worlds Dirtiest Sport.
First was WDS - songs made by looped guitars, beats + vocal. It was not the best sound, was hard to hear details so wasn't so enjoyable, though now listening on a bandcamp I hear good, very American experimentao / rock stuff, so to say. Check it.
Next was Pisse. High energy new punk with theremin and synths. Great band. I heard lithuanian promoters are planning to bring them to Vilnius, so I imagine really good show at XI20 venue.

photo from Bremen show
Next - me. Did a line check. All good. Powerful sound. So did quite intense, high energy show. The punky crowd seemed enjoyed it, so as me. There might be a video later from one lithuanian guy whom I met before the show. So glad to meet everywhere people with whom I can speak mother tongue! ;)
Hammerhead - didn't listen to them. Preferred just to meditate in silence somewhere on the street a bit further from the venue.
So all went good. In general I always like to play the second show on the tour, cause if I do any mistakes on the first, I know what I shouldn't do on the second. And on the 3rd one in a row I usually don't have enough energy to do what I did on the first and the second one. ;)
Here are some photos from the show.

10.09 Enschede, Gogbot festival

When to sleep at 2am, but at 6am sms from Flixbus company woke me up, telling that my bus to Osnabruck (from where I have to take a train to Enschede) is delayed for 2 hours. 2 hours! So it means that I miss my train. So ok, but I still get on time, and they wrote that they will give a voucher for a free ride around Europe. Ok! ;)
So the bus was even more than 2 hours late and then we got into the traffic jam in the autobahn, from which the driver went out to the villages and at one point we stopped, didn't understand why and then the bus stuck between the trees. !!!. ; ) that was 10-15 minutes try to get out of it, back to the road... crazy ; ) anyway we reached Osnabruck. I took a train, didn't book a new ticket, but nobody checked. Lucky! More, I met Dan Mullin on the train to Enschede as we agreed before that we will meet. We were in touch for a few years, trading records. So finally we met. His project is Ohmtron Seedling.
Gogbot is the biggest art, music and technology event in the Netherlands, as they claim. And I was glad to be a part of it! Of course when I saw that I will have to play on a public space, I was a bit worried as I'm not so used to play for not prepared audience especially outside, where it's harder to concentrate. Anyway I had fun playing totally improvised set, with no prepared tracks. There were some ups and downs, some technical problems, real alive thing. Kids dancing. There was both positive and negative (of course!) feedback from the audience. See the video below and decide yourself. Also here's the write up about the show by Dan. 
The next day together with the local sound-visual artist Bernd we went to see the festivals exhibition. This was really impressive. I tried the glasses of virtual reality, saw robots and interesting audiovisual installations. This was the most impressive exhibition I've seen in many years, although I'm not that big fan of exhibitions, especially when you live in small town and you know the limits of that local art, but this was yeah.. impressive.
So, first shows are over, I'm curious what awaits me this week as it's 4 shows in a week starting from Rotterdam, friday Den Haag, saturday Groningen and sunday Munster

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

World Tour crowdfunding campaign

Today I've started indiegogo campaign to raise funds for my up-coming tour in South America, Asia and Europe. I need money basically for travel expenses (flights, buses, trains) and for food. 
So please support in any way!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sodų 4 event documentation

Date: 09.08.2016, facebook event
Venue: Sodų 4, Vilnius, Lithuania
Format: solo performance / exhibition
Documentation: photos by Samanta Matu below, video here