November 5, 2007

The visit i made to Moscow in December 2001 was the occasion of Bourbonese Qualk’s last real performance, that is to say the last performance Miles Miles and i made together. We were asked to perform as part of the Foundry’s ‘TooMuch Spirit’ event at the DOM in Moscow. I don’t know why we were selected for this event, the cast list for the trip consisted of a select bunch of London artists, alcoholics, poets, psychotics, musicians…and us… I also used the trip as a chance to continue research on the (still ongoing) book on the history of electronic musical instruments by visiting Andrei Smirnov of the Termen Institute – the worlds expert on Russian Electronic Music – which included a trip to see the ANS Synthesiser (see previous post)

So far so good. what i hadn’t reckoned on was Miles’s revelation on arrival in Moscow that he was completely addicted to heroin (something he had previously kept quiet about) which meant that if he was to perform as a human being let alone as a musician he would need a regular supply of smack (purchased on terrifying visits to Chechnyan drug dealers). I also hadn’t reckoned on finding myself in the beginning of an unexpected mental breakdown and psychotic crisis (brought on by events i won’t go into here). No wonder people mistook us for Russians.


(image: Bourbonese Qualk. Moscow 2001. L-R: Miles Miles, Simon Crab)

The Bourbonese Qualk performance was, um, adequate considering the circumstances and possibly a little ambitious. Miles was hesitantly playing guitar and trumpet while i was manipulating his performance in real-time using a program i had written in ‘Super Collider‘. The software was a granular synthesis application that allowed me to loop, reverse, alter the pitch of the live sound and mix the resulting sound into a coherent stream*. ( Super Collider was the programming language we used extensively on the ‘On Uncertainty’ album).

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