Tuesday, October 6, 2015

D B mets D&B #1

seem to remember having this CD - got sent it I think, 20 years ago  -  and being disappointed in it, from a junglistic listener's perspective - beats seem a bit standard Amentalist rinse, 94 rather than 95....

now sounds quite exciting, although still not really sure the two aesthetics coexist fruitfully - they seem to confound each other a bit, get in each other's way

what Derek's doing, basically, is a lot more interesting than what the Ninj chappy's doing

DB is not exactly sparring here with the jungle / D n B equivalent of Oxley or Bennink or indeed himself for that matter

most of all though you just gotta love Derek's open-ness to the New - he got into jungle by hearing it accidentally on the radio, coming across pirate stations, is how i recall the story

here's bits from an interview with Derek Bailey done by Stefan Jaworzyn, for  Music from the empty quarter no. 12, 1995.

Derek Bailey:
Well, I did some recording... The jungle music's by Ninj - a beautiful piece, about 50 minutes - in fact it's five pieces I think. He does mainly studio work I believe - an interesting character. So he'd done his thing... I got to the studio - all this had been arranged from New York by Zorn and Laswell - the day before we were supposed to tape it. The studio was run by Mick Harris, a nice little place... I set up and tried a few things, then said to him, "Have you got a chair because I sit down to play.' And he said, 'No'(!) then, 'Well, there's one in there' but it was no good because it had arms. So he didn't have any chairs - but there was his drum stool. So I said, 'Well, I'll try the drum stool' but the drum stool was broken and it kind of weaved around. It spun round, but not only did it spin round but it conducted a circle in which it would spin - it would spin round in a circle, if you see what I mean - the upright was not upright...So it was a fairly skilful business just keeping upright on it. (I should have asked Zorn for a chair. I realise now that when I got to Birmingham I should have phoned him and said 'There's no fucking chair here John - get a chair!'). We got talking about the way to record, and he played me a bit of the jungle stuff and I said, 'Don't play it just now.' Then I went back to the hotel, and I remembered about the chair, so I rang him up and said, 'Tomorrow, get a chair'. And he said, 'It's impossible.' So I left it with him anyway... I turned up the following day and there's no chair! I used the drum stool. It turned out that the drum stool wasn't really a problem. What was a problem was that Mick didn't seem capable of mixing a DAT and a live instrument. There were also some things that went on that were somewhat in the chair vein - like I played with the first piece then said, 'I'll just have a listen to that'. he replied, 'I didn't record it.' and I said 'What the fuck do you think I was doing?' and he said 'I thought you were just getting used to it.' So we started again. Anyway, we finished after about 40 minutes - by which time I'd been into the control box a few times. And by, let's say the third take, it was possible to detect that there was a guitar player. Now I was playing comparatively loud, but that doesn't mean anything if you're mixing - you're at the desk with a DAT and a live instrument - but there was nothing there (on the DAT). Eventually, as time wore on, I could hear some plinking and plonking behind this very nice jungle stuff - a bit like rain falling on a roof, very softly. I said, 'Just turn the fucking thing up Mick, don't worry about what it sounds like.' but we never made it onto the tape; after about 40 minutes my spirits started to sag...
I have to say his enthusiasm was the only thing that was sustaining me - he seemed knocked out by what was going on. It's just that none of what was going on was making it onto tape! So I finally said, 'We're going to stop this now.' And Mick - it seemed with some relief - said, 'Yeah. Maybe you could record it at Laswell's studio.' I bet I could. And they've probably got chairs too... So the two lads helped me down with my equipment and I got a taxi back to the station and that was the end of that session... It just completely baffled me - he seemed so relieved when I said 'Let's pack this up'... It was getting louder, but I was getting exhausted - when it finally got to the point where it was starting to register on tape I thought it should have been over!


one of these years i really will have get to grips with Derek Bailey's corpus

1 comment:

Robin Tomens said...

Before going on stage with DB at a Wire magazine night he turned to us D&B DJs and suggested we both play records at the same time. Sadly, we weren't as advanced as him so it didn't happen. Still, even alternating as we did it was a glorious racket. So they tell me. I was distracted most of the time by having the Improv legend strumming so close to me, stage right.