FMP/FREE MUSIC PRODUCTION - An Edition of Improvised Music 2010

FMP CD 137

Martin Speicher


Baden-Baden ‘75

Marañao by Rava
The GLOBE UNITY ORCHESTRA is playing Marañao by Rava. A letter from Gebers on the table, have you got the time and the inclination etc. to write something? A slight suspicion that some dust-covered tapes dug out of the archives are to be recycled for posthumous fame. Take a deep breath, like the GUO workforce, blow yourself warm – take things as they come. Yeah, and Schlippenbach: no doubt about it, precise, definite and without any dallying around - and off we go and that’s clear. And good.
For the length of a concert, the GUO gives its report from the assembly line. After breaking new ground in the sixties, the GUO had explored the terrain, musically-structurally and with much relish, rationally and intuitively, capable of realizing the different organisational concepts of bull-headed musicians. Do I hear the shout of “Crude”?

U-487 by Braxton
GUO was also a bodycheck, a physical feeling, the vibrations, a continuous flow of energy, all that was necessary after the deadlock of decades and centuries to….., well, you know what I mean. And where Varèse and others arduously had to write into the orchestra members’ music pads such disinhibitions, in the middle of the sixties, all of a sudden (I know there is no such thing as ‘sudden’), a different form of production had established itself and, above all: DISTANCED itself. Distanced itself from the almost unbearable lack of protest against the ‘prescriptions’, but also distanced itself from the obsession with chasin’ choruses and a kind of Jazz that was in good taste. It turned into: Music as an experiment in itself.
Each person knew what he needed or was looking for and later, also all of them knew if they had found it.

Jahrmarkt by Kowald
Each individual in the GUO: a pearl. End of metaphor. Pearls are tough, do not blend and usually just hang there. None of that in the GUO: the waggish collage of Kowald’s JAHRMARKT you first of all have to have been involved in something like that. But this is only the surface. The humour of this band for which almost nothing is sacred, is to be found somewhere between have to, can, and want to. Test: Let us take a well known musical personality of today, say Braxton, and listen to what he is supposed to play on JAHRMARKT. If that doesn’t put a smile on your face, then I don’t know what will. Among the searchers for identity - (“own sound”, “recognisability”, “do your own thing”; these days, in terms of strategic marketing, you would talk of the “unique selling point” - and also in this respect it would be fun to check out who learned what from whom: capitalism from art or art from capitalism) - even the generalist, in silent humility, has to endure the inevitable of a collective activity which has a tendency of trying to do everybody justice. This is what makes the whole thing exciting, controversial - and whoever feels the need to thrash this out for nights on end, should have a strong liver.

Hanebüchen by Schlippenbach
The local fair “GLOBE UNITY ORCHESTRA” turns into an outrageously short tour through the hand-writing styles of its members. Hand-writing? Engravings! The taming of something written out, through its oral and general applications and through feeling one’s way - literally. Sometimes also disillusioning for the composers in the orchestra?! A slight tightening of the thumbscrews here and there - and then loosening up. The keyboard of emotional control moving back and forth between discipline/Dizzipline and the herd humping around in the heat of the moment.

The Forge, also by Schlippenbach
...which shows that they can also count just like ‘proper’ musicians ... and while we are about it, it can be shown just how nicely it can be done without … and once again with ... subtlety and power: continuously recreating the balance, away with the niches of exclusivity. It is during the production process where the producer’s zeal is voiced and disposed of – not in the final product itself (which is all that is left to the likes of us - the CD is a weirdo object). And the lust for diversity. That is: the GLOBE UNITY ORCHESTRA. That is the individual identities playing with their predictable limitations. The identity of each individual as a recognisable musical self-representation within the sound of the orchestra, also and especially at the risk of being transformed beyond all recognition. This is not some kind of male rag but turns into a cursed problem at a certain point, when the polychrome melting pot of the orchestra threatens to boil away the individual concepts. Or, as the experts say: dialectic cancellation of individual characteristics into the heterogeneity of conflict-laden fragments, in the best sense and most successful case. Sure: only it’s that the JAHRMARKT-collage just won’t do it, and neither will THE FORGE. The GUO lives from the contrast of desires and possibilities. All the later larger line-ups of the individual members show a considerably higher musical homogeneity. This may be more satisfying from an aesthetic point of view, but the meaningful points were already made by the GLOBE UNITY ORCHESTRA. And for those reasons this CD. And therefore these memories.

Translation: Isabel Seeberg & Paul Lytton

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