From station to station to Dusseldorf City, but unlike Kraftwerk, instead of meeting up with Iggy Pop and David Bowie, I was confronted by the imposing forms of enigmatic Man-Machine, Markus Reuter, and the walking Kilimanjaro, Bernhard Wöestheinrich.
A day after arriving in Deutschland and one two hour rehearsal later, Centrozoon are playing at a packed wine bar/restaurant as part of a ‘chilled beats’ accompaniment to excessive food and drink consumption.
We provide plenty of beats, but as for the chilled part of the evening’s billing, I’m not sure. Part sensual balladry and part teutonic groove, we also offer a couple of pieces that would scare the crap out of good ol’ Captain Beefheart himself.
Given the fact that we’ve not played together for over a year, the day’s music is surprisingly strong and coherent, with us even managing radical overhaul of two of our songs (including a rapid-fire, pure disco reading of ‘Girl Of The Week’). ‘Bigger Space’ finally comes into its own as a live piece and ‘Make Me Forget You’ is as sweet as I remember it to be.
The audience response is good and throughout the set we have an eight year old boy running and jumping at the front of the stage shouting, “Deutshche, Deutsche!” As he showed no obvious signs of Hitler Youth affiliation, I felt I could breathe freely.
Despite the instinctive and prolific nature of our collaboration, the Centrozoon album continues to come together slowly. The problem lies with the eclecticism of the material. Varying from the most commercial work I’ve done since early No-Man to pieces guaranteed to offend the tastes of any right-thinking individual, the search for the right mixes, edits and structure is especially important in this case.
The romantic sojourn to Ireland proved as pleasant and inconclusive as ever, but at least sowed the seeds of some future musical (dis)content (N.B. Not in the ‘Riverdance’ vein!).
The two tunes I currently can’t get out of my head are the wildly differing ‘The Vigil’ by Jane Siberry and ‘Soup For One’ by Chic. ‘The Vigil’ is an ambitious and evocative extended tone poem on the consciousness as its lets go of life and slips into death (I think), while the insistent grooves of ‘Soup For One’ tell a story of ‘when you’re on your own in your empty home’ (damn, I think I’m going to cry!). Woolf’s ‘The Waves’ continues to irritate and inspire in equal measure.