Sunday, October 24, 2004

Bookscouting, Vox Festival

Bookscouting find of the day: Improvisation by Derek Bailey, the 1980 hardcover first edition of the avant-garde guitarist's study of improvisation in various cultural contexts. Not worth a lot but not something I'd ever expected to see -- paid a dollar for it at the Salvation Army. I love making finds like that. Tried to sell it for $20 to drummer Jean Martin at the Vox Festival -- he thought it was an unreasonable price, but hell, I ain't even read it yet. Offered me $10. I kept it. Too bad -- I got no cash to do the laundry now, I spent it all on CDs. I considered approaching Ron Samworth, who, of the guitarists in Vancouver, might be the one most likely to be interested in it, but I couldn't think of a natural enough approach, particularly given that he might have happened to remember me walking out of his show the other night (I liked what he was doing, it was his collaborator that I couldn't handle).

The Vox Festival was fun -- I'm sorry it's over. Maybe I need to find some other group to volunteer with -- maybe Blim, a new venue for minimalist/drone/ambient noise stuff out near Tinseltown. The guy who I manned the merch table with tonight is involved with them; he's talking about trying to get Nels Cline to drop by when he's in town with Wilco (why is Nels Cline playing with -- oh, nevermind. I know the answer). Manning merch tables, it turns out, seems to be a good way to meet the artists. Paul Dutton sat and shared anecdotes about his career -- he was warm and friendly and very willing to share. Koichi Makigami joked with us and did a cute doodle for me on the liner of one of Tzadik CDs; he was exuberantly playful. Wish I'd caught his show -- Paul called him "the Derek Bailey of the theremin." (Had I known he had a theremin with him!). Ami Yoshida and Sachiko M. didn't seem to speak a lot of English, but they were amused by my bad Japanese and were, well, fun to look at -- they dressed pretty colourfully and had more o' the Japanese "cute" thing going than I expected from avant gardists (well... mostly Sachiko. Cuteness and piercing sine wave manipulation are kinda odd things to place in one package). The Norwegian Maja Ratkje --who, of the performers I'd never heard of before, was by far the most interesting and prolific -- was pretty intense, but likably so, and she hinted about a return to Vancouver; the intensity of her performance scared a few people out of the venue, which she seemed pleased by. Listening to Fe-mail's Syklubb fra Haelvete (Sewing Club from Hell) as I type, one of Maja's projects. It's quite cacophonous, but in an oddly soothing way -- check out the samples on the album's website. Comforting noise, the harshness somehow necessary, relevant. Of course, they're pretty cute, too, on the cover Maja and Hild Sofe Tafjord -- but it seems more likely an ironic cuteness; Maja would look more at home in black leather than girly clothes, I suspect. I assume the pigtails are a Pippi Longstocking thing -- apparently they have a thing for Pippi.

I ain't really got much to say about the festival, tho', other'n'that. Cheers again to Vancouver New Music for existing. Now I guess I'll return to contemplating my relative isolation...

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