Last week I had my autumn holiday and time to enjoy many really exciting art experiences. First I went to see the 3D-dance movie “Pina”, which was really impressive. The movie was dedicated to a German choreographer Pina Bausch who died at the age of seventy. She had a huge influence on the dancers she’d been conducting. The dancers (old and young) danced their own solos to Pina´s memory and told some stories about her. Pina had really found their strength as dancers. Choreographies were performed in different environments; for example in a forest, on the edge of a ravine or in a traffic circle. There were also some choreographies from Pina, for example Spring victim, which was wild. Pina used a lot of basic elements in her work, like water and earth. I haven’t seen many 3D movies before, but in this case it really worked out and made it an integrated experience. Music in the movie was great too. I can recommend this movie.
Last week there was also a contemporary flamenco festival “Flamingo” in Helsinki. First I went to see a flamenco movie “Poligono sur”, which told about gypsies in Sevilla, who lived in an area where even taxis don’t drive. The movie was directed by a French director, Dominique Abel, who was also present. She told that it wasn’t easy to go there and make this movie, but still it was really an interesting experience. These gypsies had been living in the famous part of Sevilla, Triana, and after they had been sent out to Poligono sur where they lived in the centre of concrete. There were a lot of problems there, for example drugs used by youngsters, many of them already dead. Still people living there where playing flamenco everywhere, and life was really communal. They decided to organize a concert in the suburb and show all the people what kind of art they make there and to wake up the authorities. This movie was made already in 2003, but still this topic is really current. In Finland we have a lot of the same kind of thinking too, when immigrants are forced to live all in the same area and problems pack in.
I saw also nice dance performances in this festival. The final was Night of the Solos, performed by famous Spanish and Mexican flamenco dancers, and one by the Finnish, beautiful Kaari Martin. I was really amazed by a Mexican dancer Karen Lugo whom I haven´t seen before. She performed her choreography called CAMINOTODOLOCURAEL… which means something like the lunacy from start to finish. She was a dancer with a great pure technique and strong expression. She also used some video projections in her choreography which made her work even better. After all, I had a nice few days´ holiday with these art experiences I wanted to share with you.
Just the other week we started recording my vocals for the upoming album. I had been to our summer cabin up north in Posio the weekend before, helping with some building stuff that we are doing there. My task was to remove rocks and stones from a huge pile on the lot to the ground level of a new building. There was also a pile of gravel which we had to shovel and rake on top of the rocks. Both of the piles were about my height (150 and something centimeters) and in the end there was practically nothing left of them. After that weekend my whole body was sore and aching from all that heavy lifting and manual labour, always a sign that – for once in your life – you have done some hard work.
I took the next week off work and headed to Hietasaari to our cosy little studio.Regardless of the lovely atmosphere of the studio and making myself comfortable with woollen socks and all, the first few days were a little painful. You kind of have to use your side muscles when you sing. As it turned out, these are also the same muscles you use for lifting rocks and raking grovel. Bending over to pick up for example a pencil that dropped was out of the question. Still, there was a huge pile of work ahead of me, in the form of vocal tracks that were waiting to be recorded. Like a good project supervisor (you know those yellow-cap-chaps at building sites) Okko pushed me into working harder and better than I thought was possible, even when I thought I couldn’t get a better sound for “Eco” or when I just felt I couldn’t hit that highest note in “Camino”. In the end of that week we had almost recorded all of the vocals for the album. Eventhough the aching of my muscles had already gone away, it really felt like we had gotten something concrete done.
Some time ago I wrote a brief history of me in bands. It occured to me just recently that I had omitted probably the most important one. It might have been such a long time ago that my mind might have even supressed the existence of the whole thing.
There were a few important social and electrical developments that lead to the uprising of the group that I’m talking about here, first of them being a bunch of construction workers digging a peculiar ditch on our street. Some cables went into the ground and dirt was poured back in. Then they left. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that rumours started to go around that there can actually be more than two television channels! If I remember correctly Music Television was the 11th channel that I found.
At that time there was loads of really cool music on MTV, and not just reality shows. One song that changed my life along with two friends of mine was by a chap in big trousers called MC Hammer. ”U can’t touch this!” Everybody knew it and sang along to it. Nobody was probably quite as excited about it as me and my two mates though. We went to great lengths trying to be as cool as him, like making up groovy artist names: DJ Mike, MC Edizon and JJ Hammer. The last and the most unimaginative one being me.
The second thing after the arrival of MTV that influenced us as a band was the double deck ghetto blaster. It became possible to cut pieces of music and rearrange them in a new creative way. Thus we called ourseves THE MIX MASTERS! Now that we were already able to do the basic DJing, the only thing left to learn was scratching. Our parents wouldn’t obviously be happy about us ruining their record players, so we had to find an alternative that we could afford. We went with the most obvious option -the zippers of our winter coats. An up and down motion with a zipper works surprisingly well, you can try it out yourself!
While we were mimicing our hip-hop idols with the zippers we would also learn the moon walk, mainly just because MJ was cool and in fashion back then. The best thing about these two were that you could even do them at the same time. You can also try this out, just make sure nobody is watching…
You know how people dream bout winning the lottery? You know how sometimes something so good happens to people that they couldn’t even imagine it beforehand? Well, I have two words for you that fit the definition perfectly: CASIO RAPMAN. And just like winning the lottery, MC Edizon’s parents bought it for him for christmas. I think we might have been to his place already the 25th of december. The scratch wheel, the cool presets, the fabulous beats, it was hip-hop heaven for a 12-year-old.
I think the reason why I remembered the whole story just now is that I’ve recently finished building my ”Portable Effects Station”, which I’ll be using in future gigs. You can compare the images and determine whether there is a causal relationship between the two!
This week and last week Bajo Cero has been in our lovely studio built in the top floor of a hundred years old wooden house. Sounds lovely, and it is, even though my hands are blue. No matter how lovely the studio is, hitting hard objects with your bare hands may be painful (but addictive). Saturdy morning, after the recordings, i heard that i had mumbled in my sleep something like “you know, being in the studio is quite nice”, as a response to my girlfriend telling me she’d be leaving for work.
The recordings will continue at least the whole of this week. And i guess it no longer is a surprise/secret that nex year we’ll have an album out. Things are looking good. As the famous disco song by McFadden & Whitehead says: Ain’t no stopping us now.
Also signs of the first gigs for springtime have already started to appear even though it is a rainy outumn day outside.