groxis tafelbilder

Akustische Ereignisse: Rainer Straschill

The Idea

The idea for this recording formed, as many good ideas do, during one rehearsal. As it was the case, the rehearsal hadn't anything to do at all with this recording: it was one of the rehearsals for Wolfi Schlickhorn's Wonderbrass, where suddenly drummer Groxi (a.k.a Der Künstler Groxi) asked whether the group would like to perform at his art exhibition's opening at Café Vor Ort, Neuried bei Gauting, on 1st of July 2000. "But then", he added after a short pause, "this wouldn't be so cool anyway, as I don't want to perform at my own vernissage". "Well, but if you're looking for some weird musical concepts to accompany this event, I might just drop in and carry some of my gear along", said the group's lead trombone player, one Rainer Straschill. "Cool thing. It starts at 'round 19:30 at Café Vor Ort, Gautinger Straße 3". A Moinsound Weirdstuff Productions concert had been organized!


The official flyer for the vernissage

A funny thing, this concert. This was actually the first time to take my live setup into real combat action. And it was my first solo performance since I performed a bifurcation for trombone solo at the annual meeting of ChaosGruppe München back in '94. But that performance lasted for about 10 minutes, and here I should perform an entire evening! I persuaded myself that everything was cool, that I was an excellent improvisational artist on all my instruments I wanted to carry along, and that it would just be great. Of course I planned to take along my DAT to record the great event for all people to hear...

The night before the performance, I woke up in fright and terror. In my vivid imagination appeared the image of a disgruntled guy in front of a failing rack of electronic equipment, who didn't have a single idea how he should get over this evening in front of a booing crowd...

The next day - 1st of July 2000 - I phoned Groxi in the afternoon. He told me that he had set up his paintings at the Café, and was about to pick up the P.A. with the Café's manager, a certain Sylvia. He also warned me in advance (quite short notice indeed) of the "krebskranke Berufslesben" (cancerogene professional dykes) who incidentally formed the majority of the guests of Café Vor Ort. He was sure that the evening would become fantastic nevertheless...whatever. Both of us would have free food at the place - which was a vegetarian hangout...:-(

The evening began when after taking a wrong turn enroute to Neuried bei Gauting (a former teacher at our school used to tell jokes about this place in the suburbs of Munich, which was an oldschool farming place not long ago, but has become a quite chic neighboorhod in recent years and also seems to form the center of the Würmtal art scene). I arrived at the place already sporting chalkboards with large "Rainer Straschill tonight" inscriptions and was greeted at the door by Groxi and Sylvia, the latter one's first question being if I'd like a drink. A warm welcome indeed!

I'd planned to be ready for performance about 1900, then have a quick dinner and start performing afterwards. After all of my gear was set up and two short loops came to reside in the boxes, (did I mention that I brought along quite a lot of weird stuff, and that it was the first time that I set up this gear in hostile environment ?), it was close to 2000, so no more dinner before the show - just off with the stuff.

The Performance

Two of my warm-up loops opened the official part of the evening with Sixtus Reverse? when I started up the DAT, namely the reversed lute opening to Sixtus Beckmesser's song in Richard Wagner's "Meistersinger von Nürnberg" and the theme from Genesis' "Hairless Heart". After I had made sure that the loops worked, I kicked in the powerful synth strings from "Advanced Taoism" with the title Tao's Restroom. The suspense slowly built up with a Prophecy solo, until the fast-paced groove was kicked in and grooved along for some bars. At 4:09 on track 2, enter D.C. Becker, noted Moinlabs cover artist. Upon spotting him entering the venue, a quick fade-in from one of the loopers started the "Mosaic Greetings"-Samples which remained from the soundcheck as basis for a Rhodes solo over the "Taoism" synth arpeggio. 7:25 into the track, the bass line kicked in again, accompanied by a sung warning that "this is weird stuff coming from this house", followed by by the Rhodes solo, part 2. The last chords of the solo at 8:38 started yet another weird synth solo on the Prophecy (with the turnover between both solos not as cool as I would've liked it, as the Prophecy was positioned to the left of the Yamaha instead of over it). After some more quote from Sixtus Beckmesser's loop, a guitar solo (well, actually a bass solo...) starts over the drum groove at 10:20. Actually, the whole solo sounds a lot like Derek Bailey to me, although I would've wanted something like i.e. Jimi. The musical progression intensifies at 12:50 with the entire Restroom-groove kicking in with the 80ies organ, and the song's main chorus is intonated on top of the continuing guitar solo. But again, the guitarist drifts off towards Derek's corner, and can't even be stopped by the fact that the song's groove suddenly starts to fade out. Only the inclusion of a wah-wah loop manages to stop the efforts in Jimi kotzt, and the saxophone loop with the Zwischenspiel: Thema aus  "Hairless Heart" kicks in just in time

MoinSound 20HU rack

But also this nice theme dissipates into weird effects and loops, under which the basic groove of Cabernet Syrah starts to creep out, soon to be joined by an overly effectprocessed trombone, generating acoustic mayhem on top of the in principle quite danceable theme - until, again, the solo continues even after the song has stopped, and can only be interrupted by the musical and acoustic rudeness of Johnny's Nachwuchs on alto saxophone. It is again none other than David who seamlessly introduces the bass groove of Edges of Illusion, soon to be joined by a Yamaha synth solo, making use of the fantastic digital filters of this synth workstation. It is a little more than three minutes into the track when, again, acoustic instruments take over with a beautiful soprano saxophone solo, which ends into a nice theme which is in turn looped and continues to make a polyphonic background at the end of the following trombone solo. In the last two minutes of this track, the rhythm section is already cut back to the bass line, which is superponed by a heavily effected version of the forementioned soprano loop, the self-resonance of the filters continuing even after the loop has faded out, and the classic "Subwars" ping sounds of Subwars' introduction remain the only acoustic events for more than 90 second, until 1:23 into the track, the synth chords fade in and are soon superseded by an abstract reverse vocal solo. The vocalist himself is even very flabberghasted by his performance, which he states at 4:30. When the only thing remaining of the Subwar groove at 6:06 is the synth percussion, the artist informs the audience about his plans to go into intermission right now...

Set two actually starts as set one has ended in Seminar für Statistische Akustik, Teil 1 with samples of the very announcement that ended the first set - followed by yet another weird bass solo, which then segues into the second part of Subwars for a talker guitar solo - all of this accompanied by the soprano sax loop we know from set one's "Edges". The solo ends with a start of the "heavy Subwars groove", forming the basis of an extended organ solo. Yet, the synths kick back for another solo, which ends at 7:30 into some arpeggiator mayhem. The arpeggiator, incorporating analogue filters and all, continues into Seminar für Statistische Akustik, Teil 2, which again clearly shows the basis for its name, with soprano sax, synths, loopers, filters, delays and modulation effects kicking in in any combination imaginable. This sonic madness fades into the last few minutes of the performance, played on the trombone with a Coda: Theme from Hairless Heart.

The Album

The CD is mainly the recording of what came out of the main outs of my Behringer MX2642A console (sans the enhancement effected by the Ultramizer) into the PA system. Any changes to the audio material, transferred from DAT to harddisk via the EWS64XL, have been limited to "mastering tasks" (i.e. dynamic processing, eqing et al. - in short: the things that the Ultramizer did to the PA feed). Nothing has been left out, nothing has been added. Thus, the album "Groxis Tafelbilder" comes quite close to what guests at Café Vor Ort heard in the evening of 7-1-2000 - but showing again the discrepancies between the live sound and the sundboard's main out in cases where the FOH P.A. isn't the only discernible acoustic source. May you enjoy it as much as I did...

Audient's Favourites

Several of the people in the audience were so kind to let me know of their favourite moments during the performance:

Andrew Loughnane, drummer (ex-Sound Research Project)
    The "Everybody in the Restroom" vocals (track 2, 13:37)
Henry Wolf, engineer, ESD specialist for Fraunhofer-IZM ATIS group
    The beginning of the "Tao" groove - "This really sounds like a mainstream pop song!" (track 2, 3:40)
Florian Wolf, engineer, CEO Ingeniq Arts GmbH
    A little child standing in front of the performer staring in awe, hands firmly pressed against his ears, while the performer just "lets it play" (track 7, 8:10)
Dominik Scheuring, student, rock bass player
    Johnny's Offspring and the audience's fearful reaction (track 6)
Rainer Straschill, artist
    uttering "Sag' amal, is des kraß !" after producing weird vocal noises for several minutes (track 8, 4:34)