Friday, July 16, 2010

Surreal

Yesterday I set out to buy a set of monitor speakers. I figure it is about time in my life to treat myself to something that sounds good. For years I have worked with small guitar amps and crappy computer speakers, and I can't wait to be able to hear things the way they actually sound and not distorted or improperly equalized. So I end up at the store, and of course the guy helping me starts telling me how crappy Behringer products are and that I would be better off getting something else. I know that they are not top quality like Adam Audio or JBL. That is why I can afford them. Anyway, this is where the story segues into something unexpected and beautiful.

I left the store as I wasn't getting anywhere with the snobby audiophile and was headed off to another store to see if I would have any luck there. I get out of the train and am walking down the street, around a small playground, and as I'm rounding the corner, I start to hear what sounds like a drum circle. I didn't think much figuring a bunch of hippies were hanging out in the park, as I got closer, I see that it was in the street, there were people with a large banner and lots of white lawn umbrellas dancing and playing drums, shakers, and other purcussion instruments. I thought that perhaps it was a protest or demonstration, but was wrong again. As everyone passed a leaf covered basketball court, a man laying on his back in the leaves starts playing along with a trumpet. A melancholy yet jazzy tune juxtaposing the lively drums of the street procession. Further along, I saw some people weaving a tangled web of red string around trees and lamp post. As the crowd reached the end of the small street, I noticed a park bench and a person completely covered with green cloth as if grass had completely enveloped the bench and the person as they were sitting there. The small parade stops, and down the intersecting street came a man playing a violin inside of a large blue paper-recycling container that was being guided down the street by two coffin bearers, all three in suits. Two decorated Volkswagen beetles joined in behind them and the man played his weepy tune as they slowly made their way down the street, holding up a few confused cars along their way. We reached a small courtyard where the man was then shut inside the container. Scattered about the courtyard were several performers. A girl slowly danced while paint was poured all over her. Another girl did slow acrobatics on the bike racks swinging about a long cluster of tooth brushes. There was a line of about seven girls in duct tape bikinis brushing their teeth. They would turn and rinse their mouths out with one of many bottles of water lined up behind them. As their teeth got cleaner and cleaner, they began spitting and rubbing on each other. Somewhere in the distance a man played a flute. There were people walking around hugging people who gathered to watch. I was given a paper boat. After a while all the drummers started to play again and the whole courtyard was soon filled with people dancing.

I'm not exactly sure what it was that I came across, though I'm sure it must have been connected to the art school. I know not the why, but I do know that it was a very whimsical and surreal series of events to randomly come across. I never did make it to the store. Today started out with an angry rumbling sky, which seems not so angry now that it is raining, perhaps I'll try again today.

Follow up:

I went to another DJ shop, and it wasn't there. In its place was an installation of giant letters, the kind from old buildings and storefronts with little placards telling the fonts, manufacture dates, designers, and any interesting historical notes. It was as if I has walked into Sesame Street. Every was room filled with letters and words, or fractions of words, sparsely decorated with pigeon-proof spikes and broken neon tubes.

As for the speakers, I finally just decided to order them online.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Le Placard


Yesterday, I played a set for Le Placard Headphone Festival. Initiated in 1999 by Parisian musician, Erik Minkkinen, Le Placard is a nomadic festival that presents concerts listened to solely with headphones, a novelty that has attracted an international following and given rise to an extensive network of enthusiasts, musicians and promoters. The 2010 Berlin Blitz Placard was hosted by N.K., and consisted of 12 hours of intimate headphone performances from a variety of musicians and sound artists. Listen to the sample based on my performance below using headphones or quality speakers.

Le Placard Sample by Renset

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Quack!


Oh it is hot! I know that it really is not that bad, but the past two days have been much warmer than I am used to them being. The duck above was a mini installation that I put together for Mandie's desk simply titled, Duck in Stereo. I wired in two speakers into her quacking flashlight friend, and she was very excited upon finding it and pressing the button to hear her duck with a much stronger voice! It was all temporary, and the little quacker is safe and back together in one piece.


This past weekend, Mandie and I hopped on a train and headed out to visit Fred and Regine in their beautiful home in Solingen. It was very nice to take a break from the city and relax for a while in the country side. Anna was also there for the weekend. It was wonderful to get to see them all again! All of our meals, and tea, were enjoyed outside, either on the terrace or in the garden. It was great that it was finally warm enough to do so, and the garden was so beautiful! Regine's cooking is something I could never tire of. She makes delicious food! I noticed that my German has been steadily improving. We spoke German the entire time, and I'm finding that I can understand much better than before, though I still tend to be the quite one of the group. I even managed to discuss the technical details of televisions while I bounced ideas off Fred ragarding my electronic tinkering.


Thank you Fred and Regine for a wonderful relaxing weekend! We hope to see you again soon!