Nicolas and I met sometime in 2001 or 2002 when we were both living in The Netherlands but somehow never played together. This was corrected on November 29th and 30th, when we took advantage of relative proximity to STEIM (Nicolas was in Roubaix presenting a sound installation and I had just finished a tour through Central Europe) to see what kind of collaboration was possible.
We tacitly agreed to both play acoustic, and through the two days of playing and recording were incredibly lucky in the quality of the sound that we captured. Nicolas had four mics on his drumset: snare, bass, and two general mics placed at either side of the kit about a foot away. I stood near the middle of the room and just used STEIM’s trusty AKG414 for the sax. Listening back to the tracks we recorded, we’re again fortunate that there won’t be too much mixing necessary. I can’t remember the names of the mics Nicolas used, but the sound captured of his many cymbals and various small percussion objects is, I think, really fantastic.
Musically, the meeting was a great success. Again, mostly tacitly, we agreed to play completely freely, dispensing with any discussion of structure, style, idiom or whatever. And yet the recordings reveal that we were totally in tune, finding common ground in exuberant, energy-driven free-jazz expressions that might suggest we’d been playing together for years.
After the second day we packed up and went down to The Hague to perform an informal concert at Gum, a small, cozy gallery space. It was great to do, and to do following the recordings. Although we were both tired from our respective previous endeavors on the road, Nicolas kicked everything into high gear and put me to work to keep up.
Many thanks to STEIM for facilitating this first meeting!