May 17 E# Solo: Nachtmix - Bayerische Rundfunk - Munich
Since I was returning to Munich for another week of work on my sci-fi opera "About Us" for teenage performers, I'd been invited by the BR's Karl Bruckmaier to make a repeat appearance on his Monday-night radio show which sometimes features performances for an invited studio audience broadcast "live." I had last done one in September 2005 and looked forward to it—I've enjoyed Karl's friendship for many years and the intimate "lounge concert" has a friendly and charged-up atmosphere with a full audience crowded around. Left Sunday afternoon from JFK amid some worry about the active Iceland volcano and how it might affect my flight—parts of British airspace were to be closed. A smooth flight until we hit the western border of the Sea of Dublin and some strong turbulence. We then headed due south completely avoiding the British Isles and flew across France and Switzerland approaching Munich from the south. Quick trip to hotel and a few hours sleep but awoke feeling absolutely lousy, hit with either a stomach flu or the aftereffects of a bad sandwich at the airport. Rallied the forces with an espresso or three and was able to get through rehearsal with the opera project. Driven to the BR station by the video crew filming the opera rehearsals and who would also be filming my concert, all for a documentary about the making of "Abot Us." Concerned about my state, they were able to come up with some Vomex, little pink pills that worked wonders. I was able to play the concert with energy and focus though with no desire to eat anything after—very uncharacteristic. I'd brought the Godin Duet Multiac to play Velocity of Hue/Quadrature materials. I had modified this instrument with a Dobro tailpiece to anchor the strings, which then pass through the wooden bridge. This extra string-length gives me a bit of extra ring as well as allowing koto-like bends and pulls. Soundcheck with this instrument is always brief and efficient: the XLR output sends piezo and internal microphone signals to the BR's vintage Neumann desk. A small-diaphragm Neumann KM184 was deployed to pick up some air off the guitar (and this was suitably squashed) and we were good to go. In the first half of my 40-minute set I touched on a lot of new sounds and gestures that I look forward to developing, while the second half dwelt more on the familiar but with good intensity. As always, fingers were augmented with metal slides, spring bows, and EBow. Adrenaline buzz from the set left me feeling very much better but I was quite happy to get back to my hotel for some deep sleep.
Listen to "Blues Abstraction 1 & 2" from the performance here.
Photo: Amelie Mayr