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Die Antwoord, Berlin

26 Jan

23 January 2015

Back from Berlin. I didn’t take a single photo, but we did have a good time. Remember, I was quite sick again beginning of this week. So it was risky, but there was simply no way of missing out on Die Antwoord! The concert had been sold out for weeks, ticket prices sky-rocketed on Ebay. For me it was revisiting some childhood nostalgia, like really childish childhood period, haha! >:-)

So we went. Travel was not particularly smooth, with a broken tire 10 min before arrival but we had enough time. Arriving in Berlin, it was damn cold and windy. Imagine railway stations and an icy wind constantly blowing. It was rather uncomfortable. But therefore we had a really nice place to stay.

On the way to the concert hall we got stuck again due to some demo and police cordoning off part of the area where our train had to pass. In a way it was one of the many instances occurring this week I’d connect to Mercury retrograde…

We arrived 20 min late at Columbiahalle, where people had been gathering outside and were hardly moving forward, even though doors were said to open by 8pm. It took over one hour of freezing in the cold until we finally got inside. The concert hall was full packed with people at the time we entered. And I spent another 20 min in a waiting line until I could finally hand in our jackets at the cloakroom.

Die Antwoord had already entered the stage when I was finally back in the audience. Like all their other German concerts this one had been sold out and the place was really full packed. The show was great though. With each song we could venture forward and by the middle of the concert, had ended up close to the stage. People were jumping around and crowd surfing like crazy. At times the whole crowd was jumping up and down synchronously, even the folks on the balcony. It looked mad. We were waiting for someone to jump or fall down (which didn’t happen.)

Die Antwoord played all their known hits and the show was choreographed in large parts. There was plenty of twerking combined with 90ies style dance moves. The chaotic elements were first and foremost Ninja’s stage diving actions and the audience’s responses. The whole show was a single burst of energy with no particular lows. A climax was certainly “Fok julle naaiers“. On one of the banners was scribbled “Hello Charlie” along with a little devil face, which made us smile.

We were definitely most impressed by Ninja’s rapping. Altogether the show and level of professionalism was greater than I’d expected and certainly worth the ticket and travel. But it was the crowd that made this event really special.

Enter the Ninja” was the scheduled bonus for the night, with a little blond girl entering the stage and performing the choreography from the video alongside Yolandi. They were certainly also making a point with taking a kid on stage, where the main message was “fuck your rules”. Die Antwoord are in a way children themselves, or addressing the child within with their music. Which is totally okay. It made us feel like 16 ourselves (or even younger, haha). And I was crazy enough to spend 40 bucks on a tour shirt (the last in size S). Usually I wouldn’t do this (and even less can I afford it), but this shirt is now a reminder of that child within – and also it does look pretty zef. >:)

Besides, the day after we visited the Berlin museum of natural history. The museum has some of the biggest known dinosaur skeletons on display, which was another reminder of a childhood fascination of mine (for a while I had my walls plastered with dino posters). But there were tons of other awesome things, like thousands of stuffed animals and specimen preserved in glass jars… the room with the jars was tangibly colder and in the dim light all the glasses, with pale serpentine and coiling fish specimen piled up to the ceiling, reminded of some freakish Frankenstein horror cabinet.

Still in awe we spent the evening with our lovely host until taking the bus back to Dresden. I slept like a stone and there were certainly some of the experiences from these days entering my dreams…

Today we took it easy and went for a walk to a nearby castle. There was moss all over, and strange masks carved in stone… it’s that type of old, abandoned building that makes for a perfect horror movie setting. I wonder what it would be like to live there…

But it’s late and I must end this brief written summary. No photos this time, you’ll have to use your imagination…

Auferstehungskirche

9 Jan

We spent this New Year’s in a small church in Dresden Plauen. It’s been my dream to see this church from the inside for years. I was told it had a beautiful art nouveau interior but little could I know… The history of this church dates back to the 12th century. There are still Gothic and Baroque elements to be found. E.g. the baptismal font and crucifix over the lectern date back to the 17th century. The main building is however a unique example of Art Nouveau architecture. It was built at the beginning of the 20th century under architects Lossow and Viehweger. The church, which was formerly known as Michaeliskirche, was then renamed and is since called Auferstehungskirche. Angel faces all around the quire remind of the church’s former name. Apart from the windows and church bells the building was not damaged during WWII. On the 1st of July 1945 the Dresdner Kreuzchor gave here their first concert after the war. During the 50ies the stucco of the entire choir was removed and the windows bricked up. In 1985 a new organ was installed behind the front of the old organ. After 1989 the windows around the choir were re-opened and the walls painted new. The altar room also received new windows, which were designed by artist Wolfgang Korn (Dresden). Lastly the tower and roof were restored. Today the church counts amongst the most beautiful churches of Dresden. The wooden art nouveau elements are indeed a special treat and remind of the wood carvings found in stave churches. I do in fact not know any other church that would show a similar, almost cinematic architecture, which came to life even more, when the organ started playing…

New Year’s 2015

5 Jan

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I spent my New Year’s in a church and I liked it.

I’m from Dresden. That’s the town famous for its late baroque pomp and for being bombed to ashes at the very end of WWII. It’s also known as “Tal der Ahnungslosen” due to the geographical location, which made it difficult to receive tv from Western Germany during GDR times. It is also known for people protesting peacefully on the streets, which eventually lead to the events that brought down the Wall. In 1989 the motto “Wir sind das Volk” was used because people yearned for more freedom, equality and unity. It was motivated by positive ideals and hope. 25 years later people are protesting again on Dresden’s streets. They are using the same motto, but the motivation is a different one. People are now driven by fear, frustration and hatred. Interviews with single participants of these “silent protest marches” show how diverse the motifs are. Social injustice ranks high, amongst fears of being outnumbered, underprivileged. People are troubled with various problems. The actual motto of these demonstrations occurs almost secondary to the participants, but it is this motto, which is now being perceived world-wide: “against the Islamification of the Christian Western civilisation”. The main motif, which is carried forth on banners and in news headlines is xenophobia. The individual motivations of the people do not make the headlines.

In other countries people protest for freedom, justice and a better education. The message is clear and unequivocal.

In Germany people are apparently unable to formulate their actual concerns or they feel not taken serious if they do. Instead people now march under the banner of “PEGIDA”. It is a motto that the biggest number of the participants of these protests does not support. Yet they decide to follow it for whatever reason. The message on that banner is clear and there is no way of trying to relativize it. This is tragic and we have seen before where such passive followership can lead.

I truly hope that most of the people participating in these protest will come to senses and choose the right language for their goals. Preserving our values is indeed something to stand up for. But it is even better done by contributing one’s part and being a good example, whether you’re an artist, architect, dental technician, engineer, gardener, hair stylist, waiter/waitress, university professor or unemployed. It starts with yourself and good manners. It continues with being nice to others.

So what did I do this New Year’s? I was in fact still sick with tonsillitis and had been on antibiotics since the weekend. I felt weak and in a situation where help, love and comfort are needed. I’m extremely grateful to have two loving parents and friends that care for me in such situations. I’m grateful there was a doctor on Saturday morning to have checked me and prescribed the necessary medication. I’m grateful also, to have spirits to call upon and pray to in such a situation.

I do in fcat believe in god and a higher cause. I am interested in the essence behind the religious forms of all sorts of traditions, which are a continuous inspiration in my art. I take from all places and I pick out the best for myself. I feel this is the natural way to do in life.

We (that is my parents and me) spent this New Year’s in a small church in Dresden Plauen. This in itself felt like a little miracle and it would have sounded like an impossibility if you would have told me a few weeks ago. But this is another story and here we were. It’s been my dream to see this church from the inside for years. And little could I know of how beautiful its art nouveau interior really was…

The pastor made a very short speech, welcoming the guests, introducing the organist, Andreas Jud, a young, award-winning musician from Switzerland, and then wished us all a Happy New Year. The rest of the evening was music. No talk, no politics, no agendas. Just the organ in full blast, the organist giving his very best. And every attendant was left to his own thoughts and contemplations.

With this in mind I wish all my followers and friends all the best for 2015.

(more photos of the church to follow in my next post)

In the mail today: New Single by Path of Samsara!

2 Jul

When you least expect it! Now here is another jewel from this German band – in my mail today.

Unpacking is a pleasure. No note from the band just an envelope and the CD inside. Cover and backside are stamped with a traditional print, front showing the beautifully done band logo by Akherra Phasmathanas/Ars Leprosa. The seal on the back was created by the hands of Kitti Solymosi of Anatiummi Arts. (Will have to check her out!) The CD sporting the classic look of vinyl is another nice treat. Gray in gray, a simple and well-designed booklet with credits and another mysterious illustration of a devil’s hand, reminiscent in style of tantric artworks. The packaging alone would deserve a price.

But on to the music. So there’s two new songs. Putting them on you immediately recognise the band. They continue merging Western sounds with Eastern motifs. There’s always a bit of playful Roky Erickson, blending in broader stoner rock elements and making something listenable out of it. We don’t like genres. So for the sake of convenience I will just call this pop. (Pop can be good music also.)

The first song Veil of Gold is driving, pushing forward. They put quite a bit of force in the drumming and there’s a nice dirty solo, thrashing in the end, but still melodic and rounding this song off nicely. The second song Dawn of Saturn starts with a melancholic melodic guitar part, followed by a dark driving beat. There are certainly homages to the last the Devil’s Blood. Dark yes, heavy, but also somewhat self-effacing. They build up tension and you basically wait for the great culmination, but instead they tone it down again. It’s like a struggling for something, then radio-friendly, then again mystical. Waiting, tic toc, now, solo, beat, heavy, chorus – “The skies are burning. The dawn of Saturn comes. And on demon wings. On and on I fly…” swaying, “Till love will fall”, repeat, “till all will fall”, end. 5 minutes, 34 seconds. Neat.

Judging by the previous album Black Lotus, which I have had spinning many times and the music of which accompanied quite a few hours filled with working on art, I expect this little two-side single to be on rotation for a bit. Alas, I am thirsty for more already…

If you have also licked blood check out the Path of Samsara website. Besides they currently put down the prices on everything in their webshop so do not miss out on this chance to get some of the first shirts and records they printed as long as they are still available: http://pathofsamsara.bigcartel.com

MAGICAL ART/E, circular tower of an event – part II

31 Mar

The Art

Below you see some of the art displayed at St. Augustine’s tower last weekend. We set up our works in the tower’s different storeys, starting with the entrance hall, which had the best facilities for displaying drawings, paintings etc. I somehow missed to take snapshots of Charlotte Rodgers‘ sculptural works, which were shown on the first floor, where also the talks, music perfomances and meditations took place. (Might do a special about those at another time in connection with Charlotte’s recent publications.) On the second floor was the room for the tower’s clockwork, where Glen Tomney, Amodali and Jezebel Halewood-Leagas and myself arranged our different works (see photos below).

Lastly on the third and top floor Angela Edwards had set up a controversial art-shrine dedicated to Pomba-Gira. Think for a moment of a demonic vulvic altar, all covered in blood, being exposed in the top of a church tower and accessible to a wide audience – not only Christian visitors felt repulsed by the visual aggressiveness, but also esotericists and occultists of various backgrounds had a hard time relating to the work. It was very interesting to see the different reactions from outraged to amused, from stunned to indifferent. My way of response was by lighting candles and icense because that’s what the incense and candles was there for. Amidst the provocation and controversy there was also a way of showing respect.

This was certainly not a ‘professional’ exhibition as you would expect from a normal gallery. The tower was cold, electricity was not working propperly and there were little facilities for hanging up work (hitting nails in the walls was not allowd inside the historical building). Regardless we managed to work around that and improvised: at night we lit candles to illuminate our artworks, which we arranged inside and around the windows and upon the wooden doors of the tower’s clockwork. The light and warmth of the candles created a special and beautiful atmosphere inside this unique location. After three days at the tower none of the pieces felt quite the same. Amidst cobwebs and dust centuries old they had now been charged with the special vibes of the place.

The People and Surroundings

On Saturday it was hailing whilst sun kept on shining, creating a very special mood, which again reminded me of the imagery on the tarot tower card… Below is the view from the tower’s entrance door towards the old gravestones lined up to the left. Directly infront of the tower was a beautiful majestic tree, looking all the more dramatic against the scenery in the sky formed by dark clouds, sunshine and hail. You see also a sandstone relief left to the tower’s entrance, showing three skulls with triple crossed bones, hourglass and dragon wings…

The other photos are from Saturday’s talks and musical performance, perhaps the busiest day and drawing the largest crowd to the tower throughout the entire week. You see painter and performance artist Angela Edwards chatting with Lucius Matthiesen, the audience at Charlotte Rodgers‘ talk on spirit houses etc… Saturnnight ended with a jam session by Roberto Migliussi (vocals), Chris Chibnall (theremin wiz), Gavin Semple (guitar), Mark O Pilkington, Glen Tomney and Freya Black (magic flute). I could not attend the entire session due to being left in charge of guarding the entrance, however I could still enjoy the sound-scapes from the hall below (the tower proving to have amazing acoustics).

Saw it, listened to it, bought it

22 Jan

In the mail today:

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It’s about time I share some of my favorite records. Not that I’d have that many – actually it’s quite a small collection consisting of but a few dozens of vinyls and CDs I have managed to keep after moving and relocating a couple of times. Also, opposed to adolescent dreams I did not turn exactly into an audiophile, but anyway… this ought to be about having fun and that’s also what I’ll concentrate on in this blog series.

So, I am starting with my recent acquisition, which is a milk white 10” vinyl single by Hole. The background story is that around new years we were watching some music documentaries on tv whilst I was lying in bed with a stupid stomach flue, which brought amongst others Hole to my attention. Actually I have not been overtly interested in them before as that whole grunge thing and related had more or less passed me by. However, I remember to have been quite fond of Courtney Love’s acting in The People vs. Larry Flynt and began looking for Hole music videos and interviews on youtube. After listening to some stuff from the 90ies I finally checked out the latest (and last?) album Nobody’s Daughter, which I’ll have to give another listen. Then visited the merch site and came across the glass slipper poster… continued to look for records on ebay and was quite happy to find this was indeed the art on the single release. Honestly, why else buy a single if not for some attractive cover art? Well, it also got a heartfelt cover version of Codine on the B-side, which makes a nice addition, however I could live without that. I bought this record chiefly for the visual aspect. The white vinyl adds to this and I must say it feels nice to hold this record in the hands, there is not much fuss around it apart from the cover. Therefore it has one dirty rock song on it. (Love the contrast.) Secondly I imagined this song may sound nice on vinyl and infact I like a lot how it sounds on our old vinyl player. Besides, at first we accidentally spinned it at 33 rpm… doom baby (don’t go slower). My mum then asked me if it was a man singing (however the record was already spinning at 45 rpm then). Well, I think next time she’ll recognize the voice! A final remark, I appreciate the fact there is still someone like Love in the alternative ‘mainstream’ department continuing to do music like this. This is rock the way it’s supposed to be. Good choice to release this song as a lead single. Btw. if you have not seen it yet, here is a nicely done video by a fan.

Bought from: hhv.de (fast shipping, safe packing, good customer service)

Dissection Reinkaos Album Photography

1 May

Dissection, Reinkaos (Album Photo)

Seven years ago DISSECTION’S REINKAOS album came out – inside my concert and band photography, alongside amazing photos by Shelley Jambresic of www.metalpix.ch and reknown Swedish director/filmer/photographer/producer Mikael R. Hylin.

This photo went on the backside of the album booklet as well as a row of band t-shirts.

I thank everyone who worked hard to bring this album to manifestation.

Have a Blessed Walpurgis Night!

More of my Photography

Path of Samsara Pyre Shirt

22 Dec

Path of Samsara

I just love the shirt with the band-logo and art designed by Akherra Phasmatánas

Path of Samsara are a band from Munich and currently have their first album Black Lotus out

Their demo was demo of the month in German Metal Hammer

Read an interview with the band in German Legacy magazine here

To order the shirt and album go here: http://pathofsamsara.bigcartel.com/