KaiBorg at STEIM
Amsterdam was awesome! We landed, caught a taxi to STEIM Laboratories, had a sound check and did a gig. A whirlwind of a first day. The folks at STEIM (STudio for Electro-Instrumental Music) were delightful to work with: Taku, Joel, Nico, Erika, Minouk, and the worlds best electro-acoustic sound man, Kees. Visiting musicians there at the same time as us included, Yutaka Makino (U.S./Japan, laptop, did a set with dj sniff…who is Taku), Jack Wright (U.S., saxophones, he ALWAYS shows up, if I’m in California, NY, New Mexico, anywhere, he seems to be there or have just been there), Grundik Kasyansky (Russia, feedback synthesizer, objects), Guillaume Viltard (France, double bass) and Andreas Otto (Germany, cello, laptop). It was a smoking show, with a lovely audience. Another full house. Really nice to experience that again on this tour. After the show, an ex-pat from the U.S., John, who plays saxophone and moonlights as a tour guide, took us all on a mad dash about town, beginning with Café Gollem (my choice, they have Westvleteren-arguably the best beer in the world) and all over town, including a romp through the red-light district, where we joined all the other tourists. Pretty funny, it really is a tourist spot, to see all these groups of elderly travelers being led through the district looking at the “lingerie models” as if they were at Country Bear Jamboree at Knott’s Berry Farm or It’s a Small World at Disneyland. John gave us a great introduction to the town. (I only wish I could remember his last name.)
I can’t say enough positive things about what STEIM is doing. They take this space off of Utrechtsestraat and by populating it with interesting, creative, adventurous and intelligent people, convert it from just another space into an exciting place/destination where like-minded people have an opportunity to create and present works using new media. I believe this is their key, it is not so much the technology they make available (which is important) but the environment populated with engaging people. When you look at their history, and the people that have passed through their doors, you see a broad view of the recent history of electro-acoustic music and emergent technologies…I say that because they embrace a diversity of approach to those who are accepted into residency there. Whereas other spaces/places focus on specific aesthetics, STEIM brings in people who do hardware, software, incorporate traditional instruments, new instruments, improvise, compose, create installations, do video, a wide variety of styles from DJs to quarter-tone trumpet players, and the list goes on. Inclusiveness is their mantra, as opposed to the exclusiveness of others. What a fantastic organization, and it was rewarding to be there when they announced they had received funding (that was in question!) for another fours years when, sadly, many other organizations in The Netherlands had been cut.
The rest of our stay in Amsterdam was spent visiting friends, eating great food, drinking great coffee and beer, making new friends, visiting museums and galleries (Including the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum), and just wandering/exploring this vibrant, energetic, yet kind city. Highlights included hanging with Michael Moore, Joel Ryan, Michael Vatcher, Anne LaBerge, and Sean Bergin. What a rich/deep pool of musicians in that town…
Great restaurants with tasty vegan options included: The Golden Temple, De Waaghals, Bolhoed and the all present Maoz Falafel!
Highlights for beer: Definitely Café Gollem, a nice break from the ubiquitous Heineken and Grolsch.
Great places to hear music besides STEIM: Bimhuis, De Engelbewaarder (don't miss Sean Bergin's Sunday open session, wonderful!), and Alto Cafe (hit and miss, saw a great piano trio there, but also an AWFUL blues band).
What a great city, I hope to go back for a longer stay.
David, Yutaka and me
with Jack Wright at Cafe Gollem
The perfect espresso at Koffie Salon
Coffee with Joel Ryan
I can't escape!!! Even in Amsterdam. This was at a cafe on Utrechtsestraat.
Enjoying a Cuban Montecristo with the ubiquitous Heineken
Watching John Hollenbeck at Bimhuis
at De Waaghals
by the Flower Market
David's last night, at Cafe Gollem
Breakfast with Michael Moore
Visiting Jody (married to Michael Moore) at an Absinthe shop
Moore, me, Borgo, Sean Bergin at De Engelbewaarder
with some friends at Alto
with Vatcher at Palm Guitars
Last day, at the Rijksmuseum. Night Watch blew my mind.