August 4, 2018, Gent. Selective transscript.

Participants: Hans Tonino (NL), Peter Sterk (NL), Moniek Darge (BE), Paul Timmermans (BE), Norbert Zajac (DE), Juan Maria Solare (ARG/DE), Iouri Grankin (UKR/DE), Eva-Maria Karbacher (CH), Susanne Escher (CH), Carl Bergstroem-Nielsen (DK), Haruhiko Okabe (JAP),

Carl (acting as a moderator): which themes have occurred to you as important now - closely related to the music you have been playing?


Juan Maria: We had a very nice combination of sounds - Susanne made a slap producing some sort of metallic sound. It was not an expression of anything, but it was extremely attractive. So I was beginning to think: What makes us think that some sound or combination of sound is beautiful?

Carl: when was that?

Susanne: I think it was this morning. I ws standing close to one of the robots, I did a "slap", a short note, and then I touched one of the robots. I also think it was a very special moment - I was also a bit surprised and scared because I did not intend to do it - I only wanted to do the first note but then there was an answer which just happened.

Iouri: I think it was because you made something which was new for you.

Juan: There is an unexpectedness. I could think of using this in a composition

Paul: That's the intuitive moment...

Moniek: but that's difficult to compose - a surprise!

Juan: yes, that's clear, but I wondered, is it only the surprise or is it really also the concrete sounds...

Moniek: for me it was not nice because I was worrying about the robots. If you perceived it as nice, it's because what you did and what you heard, a surprise, was in some way related to each other.

Paul: a date is more than a meeting.

Carl: so Juan had a date with that gesture and sound and Moniek did not ;-)

Paul: when you have the same frame, you can touch each other

Moniek: if the sounds you hear support what you are doing

Eva: you cannot compose a surprise. I participated in a performance where a stone was to be thrown into a metal basket with a very loud sound. For the audience it was a surprise but of course not for us since our attitude to the sound that was coming was there from the beginning.

Juan: I thought, however, there could also be beauty to it in spite of the surprise, maybe if I heard it five times, it might still be beautiful in itself - also independent of any emotional component.

Susanne: it would be interesting to know what was beautiful for you in this sound, if possible

Juan: I have to internalise the question and say it's something inside myself


Susanne: maybe there is something everybody thinks is beautiful

Peter: there is no beautifulness in the music itself

Moniek: the way I hear a certain sound today may be different from tomorrows'. Our personality remains, but I hope it changes from time to time.

Peter: your taste can change from time to time - today you want to eat a special cheese, tomorrow you don't want it... (laughter)

Paul: the music is an active, autonomous partner - I obey the process. When I play with three persons, the music is a fourth partner.

Susanne: we could take more care about this magic thing...

Juan: in spoken language, if you say a half sentence, the other half is not really free...

Carl: there is maybe a difference between opposing the flow itself and opposing the dominant tendency of playing

Paul: that is what I mean by interaction with the flow - you make a different sound from what is in the flow, but you like this interacting.

Carl: interestingly, this is the opposite of what Godfried said: solo improvisation is not improvisation, because you cannot oppose the flow


Paul: his exercises were interesting as ways to educate yourself

Iouri: I like to work without concepts - musicians invite musicians. But as exercises, Godfried's workshop was good.

Juan: could you imagine, like in classical music you have "etude" but also "concert etude"? Can you imagine an exercise that could be performed also as a piece?

Eva: but that would be a concept.

Paul: there is a paradox in improvisation - if you announce a concert date, you need a concept

Peter: - yes, the fact that musicians come to the the venue at that time - not all life can be improvised

Carl: old Tao and Zen philosophies had an origin in old men liberating themselves from life in a society with many rules, they had was a special emphasis on emancipation

Juan: like saying "be free, this is an order!" (laughter) - would be the best way of paralysing people :-) But I would like to ask Iouri: suppose you play non-improvised music 99% of the time - what can be said about really free music, can we say something at all? I think yes, but what?

Hans: I don't think really free music exists at all. When I play the flute, I'm tied to the possibilities of the flute, to my own possibilities and those of the surroundings, I'm tied everywhere.

Carl: Ph.D ethnological studies have portrayed the free music scenes of London, Berlin, and they are different.

Hans: and Basel? (asking Eva who is studying free improvisation at the Conservatory there)

Eva: it is also free, although we make exercises - but compared to how we work here, we speak more about what was good and bad in the piece. We really enalyse, how many episodes did we have, what was the change here, I did this, I could have done this, then you did this, how did we get from this point to that point, what other options were there... Somethimes it's obvious to everyone that something didn't work. But if it's working to someone and for another person not, then it's interesting to find out why ... sometimes you don't find an answer, but it's interesting to try.

Juan: a reflexion - maybe we should do this more often to find out about possible common opinions.

Eva: in Basel we know each other very well, and these close relations show immediately when we play

Juan: like a family portrait (laughter)


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