I just got back from an intensive 3+ days of rehearsal for the theatre project Gilgamesh – reloaded. The piece is an adaption of the oldest written epic of humankind, that has been preserved in full. A chamber play with storytelling (in German…), video and music. We will re-open on Friday in Saalfelden. This time with a focus on the female narrative, the changeover from matriarchy to patriarchy.
Gilgamesh is a ruthless king, ignorant of the laws of nature and of the boundaries of his fellow men or women. Only the love for his friend Enkidu and the grief over his death turn him into a compassionate being. This ancient tale is also a story of the 21st century, in which many powerful people go crazy and we are at a turn of the tide.
Gilgamesh, you won’t find the life you are chasing. I tell you something: Laugh and dance. Celebrate each day. Look at the kid, holding your hand. Let a woman become happy in your arms. For this is humanity’s destiny.
Gilgamesh, das Leben, dem du hinterherrennst wirst du nicht finden. Ich sag Dir was: Lache und tanze. Mach jeden Tag zu einem Fest. Blick auf das Kleine, das deine Hand hält. Lass eine Frau in deinen Armen glücklich werden. Denn das ist das Ziel von euch Menschen.
Our album Mind Like Water will be available from 22nd of March. Woohoo! This is the cover front:
We had a few difficulties with the cover. Last minute obstacles make me very nervous. I ordered a few days later than I had expected, but hey!
In my last blog post, I described how the titles for this album came together and how they relate to Shakespeare, Buddhism and human communication. Now I want to tell you how this duo came into being:
Oğuz and I go back a long time. It is hard to say when exactly we first met, because it feels like he has always been around. It must have been some time in late 2000. We were both studying at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and hung out frequently. We went to the same concerts, played in the same bands. One of his compositions on the CD – Dağ – dates back to that time.
We shared the same interests and hung out and played concerts together. When I moved back to Vienna it became harder to stay in contact. Nevertheless we continued playing in several projects recorded a quartet CD together, and in 2012 Oguz invited me to be part in his Bimhuis carte blanche concert in Amsterdam.
In the meantime, life happened and it was June 2016 when we started this duo. At the same time Cafe Kurkuma opened its doors and quickly became a favorite hot-spot in Hallein. A place for the growing group of art and music interested, for young families, for coffee lovers. We were delighted to be part of the opening. What started as an experimental journey into playing duo among old friends turned out as a very colorful new ensemble project.
Another two years passed before we even played the next gig, but there was lots of writing music and getting together to rehearse and experiment in the meantime. I love the process of writing my own music, rehearsing it, adjusting things here and there, developing ideas, until finally there is a version that I like enough to consider a composition. I wrote most of my contribution to the music on the CD during those two years.
In June 2018 we played a concert at Salon Goldschlag. Martina and Uwe are graphic designers and organize a small series of music in a semi-private setting. They also host exhibitions several times a year. If you come to Vienna go check them out!
The next day we went to Hallein to record for two days, one day in an old industry building called Alte Schmiede, the second day live at Café Kurkuma. Nine months later, Mind Like Water will finally be available On March 22nd! The wonderful filmmaker Nicole Baïer documented our recording on video. I will release snippets from that footage once the album is out. For now, another tune, it is called Clarinet Song.
Sophie Hassfurther: tenor sax
Oğuz Büyükberber: bass clarinet
Water responds intuitively, follows its path even when there are obstacles and immediately afterwards regains its original state. When you improvise, alone or with others, music will take you places. When you respond intuitively, great things can happen. I wrote something along those lines in my last blog post on finalizing our upcoming album, called Mind Like Water.
This is what making music feels like to me. There is a sort of trust – trust in the universe, in music, or in “the flow” – that will take you to this state of mind. But how do you establish trust in the universe, you might say? After all, we are cruising at high speed around a burning ball of hydrogen and helium, in the middle of freaking nowhere, on this tiny planet, which we are ready to destroy at any time.
Honestly, I don’t have an answer to that. There is no recipe and no How-To. What I can say is that, trust in yourself is a first step. Trusting your sound, your breathing, the physical side of playing an instrument, and hearing the music coming out of your horn an instant before you play it. Trusting the people in you band to move along with you. Or to take the music elsewhere and come back later. Focus. Mind Like Water.
A lot has happened in the last week, zooming in to tweak the details: the title order is finished, we have a cover draft and we are making some minor changes in the mix at Feedback Studio Vienna. Finally all tunes have a title! Gasp! References are Shakespeare (The Tempest), Zen analogies and human communication. Pretty cool mixture, I must say.
Oğuz made the beautiful cover draft. He is one of those highly skilled people, who can play an instrument at the highest perfection and be a graphical artist at the same time. Oğuz does most of the artwork for his projects himself, which I find very cool. You can find him on Instagram. If you are into Instagram.
The cover is still a draft, so I can not share it here, but the top picture will be on it! Michel Marang took the photos. Not only is he a great photographer, he is also an amazing classical clarinettist. All those gifted people involved in this production!
We had a lot of fun during the photo shoot. Our location happened to be the building in which the Conservatory of Amsterdam was located back in the day. I used to attend theory classes there. What a flashback.
I am sharing one more piece. It is quite different from Mind Like Water, our title tune. This one is called Wild Waves Whist.
Sophie Hassfurther: tenor sax
Oğuz Büyükberber: bass clarinet
Sophie Hassfurther, Oguz Büyükberber: Mind Like Water
My next album entitled Mind Like Water will be released in March. Mind like water refers to a zen analogy. To me it boils down to: water responds intuitively, follows its path even when there are obstacles and immediately afterwards regains its original state.
I would love to say that I live this much in the present, but as life has it, this state of mind is rather rare. I find it great however to get back to the analogy, when there is distraction and too much noise from my various obligations. Deal with whatever is there, and move on.
Mastering will always be very a delicate part of finishing a recording. It is a process of listening, fine-tuning and listening again. But only when you are in the Now, the outcome will matter. Ollmann of Feedback Studios did a super nice job. His input was and is invaluable to this production. I keep listening back to the recording. Is there something to improve about the song order? Do i hear every note clearly? Is the room live? Is there something in the mastering that needs more adjusting?
As little as mind like water applies to my everyday life, the analogy is very much applicable for my life in music especially for improvised music. When you improvise, alone or with others, there will always be musical and nonmusical distraction. Non musical distractions are self explanatory, I would think. Musical distraction is when the music takes you places you did not expect. When you respond intuitively, when you are “in the zone”, great things can happen.
Some tunes still need a title. Interesting to note that the great majority of musician friends I have, find it hard to give their instrumental pieces a title. Then again, it is no wonder, that for centuries composers used mainly terms that refer to the form and often overall character of the piece. Take Sonata, a specific form of a composition, meaning a piece played – as opposed to sung – or Passacaglia, originally a Spanish folk dance, later used as musical form of a serious character in triple meter, or Air, a song form going back to the Italian vocal composition called aria.
@Mario Vavti , Hannes Enzlberger und ich heute Abend um 20:30 im Blue Tomato
Sophie wrote the following postMon, 22 Oct 2018 13:26:05 +0200
t.o.n. in Vienna Nach mehrjähriger Schaffenspause tritt das Trio Hassfurther/Vavti/Enzlberger, alias t.o.n. (Telefonzellenorchester Nonntal, Trio ohne Namen, Tricentric organized nerds, Tiramisu ohne Nussfülle…), wieder in Aktion. Viele neue Songs sind inzwischen entstanden, und so präsentieren die drei ein funkelnagelneues Programm in bewährt lässiger Manier – Ausflüge in die französische Filmmusik nicht ausgeschlossen. Chill-out-chamber-music im Geiste der Großen Ungereiztheit.
Sophie Hassfurther – Sax Mario Vavti – Posaune Hannes Enzlberger – Bass
22. November, 20:30 Blue Tomato Wurmsergasse 21, 1150 Wien