Golden sunlight coins spent just for you

Winter drive into Vienna, filmed by Gamma. Text by me, read by Beta. Music: drums, bodhran, melodeon, theremin.

Goldschmutz White Bean Zombie

Made a new video with the kid this weekend, Goldschmutz White Bean Zombie, with Bela Lugosi, bodhran and white bean soundtrack:

(Uses footage from White Zombie, which is allegedly no longer under copyright, and footage Gamma shot in and near Vienna a while back.)

Teenaged beach blanket vampire

(Gamma surprised me twice in connection with this song, first by letting me talk her into recording the vocals, and then again by taking the lyrics and recording a completely different version with a friend.)

Goldschmutz Death Valley

January 17th is Art’s Birthday. I doubt I will get anything else done in time, so here is my present to art. Happy Birthday, Art.

The film is footage from the Prelinger Archives, again. The soundtrack consists of an altered (slowed-down) drum track, Jomox T-Resonator, and electric cello run through various effect devices.

Release the Ardbeg, said Sauron, desperately.

My wife and I attended the final concert of this season’s Klangforum subscription at the Konzerthaus last night. I was early so I went for a walk and then waited for her in the bar at a nearby hotel. It was a sunny, warm evening, so it felt good to be sitting in a comfortable chair at a table in a dark bar next to the whisky cabinet.

It took the waitress a while to find me, but I was in no hurry at all. I used the time to observe a couple guys at a nearby table and when that grew too depressing I looked at the single malts in the cabinet. They were beautiful and alluring, but when the waitress found me I ordered a gin martini. As I have mentioned before, I specify gin when I order martinis but that was unnecessary this time. Maybe they know me there by now. She asked if I wanted ice. This time I said no. She asked if I wanted olives or a twist of lemon, I said olives.

My drink came. I sat there and meditated on the single malts.

My wife called and said she was almost there. I considered ordering her her frankfurters and the glass of mineral water she wanted, but decided to wait until she arrived, to avoid the frankfurters getting cold and wrinkly. Service is fast in that bar anyhow. It was the right decision because she called a few minutes later, in tears. Right after she had called me the first time, a police officer had knocked on her window and pulled her over and gave her a €50 ticket for using a mobile phone while driving, but she was unable to pay because all she had was €40 so now she was wandering the streets of Vienna looking for a cash machine and the one the policeman had directed her to was closed and she didn’t know where another one was.

I said okay. I expressed sympathy and told her no problem, we have plenty of time and so on and I’ll be here when she gets here.

We did have plenty of time.

All the single malts, or many of them, had names that reminded me of Tolkein characters. “The leathery wings of the Laphroaigs beat the darkling skies like a drum, and their screeches turned Frodo’s bones to ice.”

“He is an archer, of the Lagavullin tribe.”

“And the race of the elves abandoned Tallisker, and sailed to the Western Lands.”

“Betrayed by the treacherous traiter Auchentoshan, King Glenfarclas died a hero’s death beneath the Giant Elm in his beloved Glendronach.”

“Is it a Cnoc? You have a Cnoc in your pocket, amirite?” hissed Gollum.

My wife called after a while and interrupted an epiphany I was having about Tolkein. She changed her order to champagne, no sausages. It was on the table when she arrived a few minutes later. As was my second martini.

The waiter also brought more nuts, dispelling my fear that they had my picture behind the bar with the note, “don’t give him too many nuts, he’s like a goldfish and will absent-mindedly eat them until he bursts.”

My wife was a bit stressed but in a better mood because she had been so miserable when she finally returned to her car that the police officer, who had been abandoned there by his colleagues, standing guard with her registration in one hand and the ticket in the other, took pity on her, tore up the ticket and told her to have a nice evening. So champagne was a good call, I guess – to take the edge off the stress, on the one hand, and to celebrate not getting a ticket after all on the other.

Something you should know about my wife is that she gets out of about half of her tickets by winning the sympathy of the ticketing officer. Not always, but more than me. We both have the same approach – throw ourselves at their mercy – but maybe she looks unhappier. I have, in fact, never gotten out of a ticket.

The concert itself was, as always, good. I didn’t fall asleep until the last piece, when the hall ran out of oxygen, despite having two drinks in me. As always in this series, they performed compositions by modern composers. All but one were living, and present, and took bows on the stage afterwards. We especially enjoyed the first piece, and the penultimate one, which featured electronics and a burping soprano (an idea I had considered for a composition, but discarded out of pity for my singer. I guess that is what separates the men from the boys in the world of composition).

Needless to say, we have renewed our subscription.

Concert report

Alpha and I went to a concert last night. We have a subscription to a series of concerts in the Konzerthaus in Vienna, performances of mostly modern works by the Klangforum, which is an ensemble founded in 1985 to perform modern music. As usual we went to the bar in the Intercontinental Hotel, which is near the Konzerthaus, for a drink and frankfurters, which we ate with our hands (the horseradish was freshly-grated and made me gasp) and joked about a group of British businesspeople, mostly men, and chatted and generally had a date. I also had a cup of coffee to make it harder to fall asleep in the concert, because it turns out dissonance makes me sleepy.

The first piece performed was by Debussy and involved harp so it was real pretty. We were reminded of Beta and her harp playing and missed her, and her harp music. Alpha noticed a lot of men with ponytails in the audience, so we steeled ourselves for something artistically significant to come. The next couple pieces were more dissonant, the third piece especially. It was interesting because the harpist was playing two harps at the same time. The composer was present, and took the stage to enthusiastic applause. A group of people near us also booed him, however, which was kind of cool. I had to wonder what that was all about.

The President of Austria was there. with his wife. He apparently has a subscription to the same series, we see him there almost every time, although his wife was there with a friend last time. He doesn’t just show up at the beginning and sneak out, either, he sits through the whole thing so apparently he has genuine cultural interests. How cool is that? It is things like this that make me appreciate living in Austria.

We went out during the intermission for some fresh air. Because we were both so tired, we decided to go home. My wife gets up at 4.30 most mornings, while I sleep in until 5, generally so by 9 pm or so we are both beat.

Culture, III

After my recent concert-going fiasco with Gamma (she has announced she never wants to go to another concert with me) I was relieved last night to see that 1) the bar was open again and 2)there were no bicycle wheels on stage, but rather an ondes martenot, the name of which sounds like a small animal you trap in winter and make jackets out of, but which has a beautiful sound.

I had a  martini while waiting for my wife to arrive. I ordered a gin martini, because sometimes if you just order martini here, you get the vermouth rather than the drink. There is less danger of that at this particular hotel bar, but I wanted to be on the safe side. The waiter asked me if I wanted it with or without ice. I ordered it with ice.  I imagined there would be a few cubes, but they were real generous with the ice. It also came with three olives, and a tray of peanuts, smoked almonds and wasabi almonds. Although I know that bar nuts are a hygenic disaster, I cannot resist them and always polish them off.

My wife had a non-alcoholic drink, and we shared a pair of frankfurters, eating them with our hands.

About the concert – I bought a program this time. The Klangforum Wien performed, I’m really liking this subscription we have and the relatively new music we are seeing, my wife less so although it varies. She liked Toru Takemitsu, for example, and many others. This time, Emilio Pomárico conducted and Marisol Montalvo, an American soprano, sang. Works by André Jolivet, Karol Szymanowski, Nikolai Obukhov and Isang Yun were performed.

Marisol Montalvo, the Klangforum Wien are always great, but Marisol Montalvo was the high point for us. Beautiful, expressive voice, great personality, wonderful. Nikolai Obukhov is a Russian composer with an interesting biography who composed impossible pieces (his main work, “le Livre de Vie” has vanished, he claimed he was robbed, the only surviving part had vocal parts that were impossible for a single person to sing and, oh yeah, called for the construction of a special cathedral to perform it in) but Montalvo managed well.

Despite the martini, I didn’t fall asleep until the final piece, “Pièce concertante” by Isang Yun, who once composed an opera on the floor of his prison cell while being tortured by South Korean intelligence, which had kidnapped him from Germany because they thought he was spying for the North.

PS Thomas Bloch rocked the ondes martenot.