Scathing free jazz
Nachtstück Records 2014
John Dikeman - sax
Rory Brown - double bass
Onno Govaert - drums
Recorded live at OT301, Amsterdam, Wednesday 2nd October 2013
Mixed, edited and Mastered by Tiago Morais Morgado
Graphic Design - Anna Smaragda www.facebook.com/ana.smaragda?fref=ts
Nachtstück Records is a new label, starting its activity in beginning of 2014, focused on releasing new and exciting music, digitally wise. People can choose how much they want to pay for each release (from nothing to whatever they might think to be fair). 90% of the incoming money, will be given to humanitarian, social, cultural, and activist institutions, 10% of the money will be divided between the people of the label, including label employees and musicians, being a label based not only but also in philanthropic ideas. The label is focused on releasing genres like Free Improvised Music, Contemporary Instrumental Music, Electroacoustic Music, Intelligent Dance Music and Ambient Music.
The resulting money from this release will be aimed for contributing to the following causes - unicef: children of syria; rotary club polio eradication campaign; a local association held by youth people connected to society of jesus called gambozinos gambozinos.org
; amnesty international; international red cross
John Dikeman - US/NL
JOHN DIKEMAN (2.3.83, Rushville, NL, USA) is an American saxophonist dealing with free improvisation. John has performed extensively in the Netherlands, USA , Canada, Brasil, Russia, throughout Europe and the Middle East. John attended Bennington College in Vermont where he studied with Milford Graves and Joe Maneri. While living on the east coast, John performed extensively with musicians from the USA including Nate Wooley, Mike Pride, Daniel Carter and Tatsuya Nakatani. Since 2004 Dikeman lived in Egypt, Hungary, France and finally settled in the Netherlands in 2008. While living in Amsterdam, Dikeman has performed with Joe McPhee, Jeb Bishop, Han Bennink, members of The Ex, Roy Campbell, Ab Baars, and many others. John is a member of the musicians collective Stichting Doek.
Onno Govaert - NL
ONNO GOVAERT is a prominent voice among the new generation of dutch free improvisation drummers. he developed a way of playing the drums described in reviews as unconventional, devouring and spectacular. He played extensively in Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Norway, Iceland, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia and the USA. He played with people like Ab Baars, Wilbert de Joode, Terrie Ex, Andy Moor, Arthur Doyle, Dave Rempis, Frank Rosaly, Michael Moore, Michael Vatcher, Theo Loevendie, Trevor Dunn, Shazad Ismaily, Benoit Delbecq, Audrey Chen, Joost Buis, Tobias Klein and Lori Freedman.
Rory Brown - Born in Sydney, Australia 1982, is a double bass player committed to free improvisation. Studied at Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Member of Kris Wanders Unit (2004-); Splinter Orchestra (2002-2007); Sun of the Seventh Sister (2005-7). has performed with Mani Neumieier; Shoji Hano; Charles Gayle; Henry Grimes; Mark Sanders; Jim Denley, Robbie Avenaim, Dereb Zenebe and many many others in various countries including China, Japan, Ethiopia, Fiji, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland and Germany.
Holly Rollers are John Dikeman, Onno Govaert and Rory Brown. John and Onno are both members of the free improvisation group Cactus Truck, but this trio features Australian bassist Rory Brown in place of Jasper Stadhouders creating an acoustic trio that is none-the-less scathing and dynamic. The group features three young and talented musicians who combine a wide scope of influences ranging from Peter Brotzmann and Han Bennink, to Buschi Niebergall. This recording was made from a live concert at OT 301 in 2013, while the Australian musician was touring through-out Europe.
the following text, entitled confessions, is the press review of this album, written by john dikeman himself, making a point between his past being a christian mystic and wanting to study theology and preaching, up to the point that through loss and study he realized that he could reach more people through music, just like people like Albert Ayler, John Coltrane and Charles Gayle did. By doing so, he commits himself to free improvisation, seeking for transcendence through some sort of physical endeavour. and by doing so committing himself to anarchism and nihilism
I miss God. It’s hard to explain… I miss it like my mother, my family, women I’ve loved and lost. It’s not the realization that the voices in your head aren’t real that is hard to live with, it’s when you realize they are the only thing that is real and you are alone. No one else can hear them because no one is there to listen. So it leaves you crying into a void.
I had an answer for existence. All existential problems could be accounted for. This life is temporary, and, by nature, full of suffering, of our own creation. That is, inherited from Old Adam. But, as bad as it is, it is just this world and through faith, an eternity with God is very near. So, this life never needed to be too frightening. However, what are you supposed to do when that eternity you’ve been living for is ripped away and all you are left with is this life you’ve been raised to disdain? I also had the understanding that everything of my nature, and all of mankind, was inherently evil, and that all good in life was merely God working through us, in spite of our nature. God is love, and all love is a manifestation of God. So when God is dead, what happens to love?
These are issues which are difficult to explain, and maybe impossible to understand unless you’ve had a similar kind of experience. A bit like listening to someone claiming deep psychological trauma from realizing the tooth fairy isn’t real. None-the-less, these are issues that have deeply affected my life. In a very real sense, I no longer have a reason to live. (Ironically, when I did, the goal was death.)
Sensually, I miss the transcendent. As a believer, I experienced other-worldly sensations. Out of body experiences. I used to practice in my Wyoming basement as a teenager and I could literally feel the presence of Satin working through my body, trying to grab a hold of my soul, and the Holy Spirit fighting against him. I had truly euphoric experiences I am incapable of explaining and that I had feared I may never feel again. There are only some rare moments that approach this sensation of experiencing God. For me they are music and love.
Love for me is now problematic. God is love but God is dead. It must sound absurd to anyone without the kind of faith I used to have. But again the problem remains: how can you believe in something once you realize it’s very foundation isn’t real? It’s as if you hallucinated in a moment of hysteria, or intoxication… say you saw a tree which wasn’t there. Eventually the drug wears off, you blink, it’s gone. Do you keep watering the tree? Do you come back each year to pick it’s fruit? If someone knocks out one of my teeth I’m not going to put it under my pillow.
Of course, this is an entirely specious argument. However, it’s one that is hard for me to overcome emotionally. People are curious psychologically. You can know something but not believe it. Or maybe more accurately, knowing it doesn’t help your emotions overcome it. There’s a lot of emotional baggage I have which I can argue away but remains a part of me. And the validation for the concept of love is confusing emotionally as well as rationally. On one hand, I feel a loss for the kind of love I understood as a child, and I’m also aware of certain arguments which might state that love is merely a chemical, biological mechanism which is part of our evolutionary instinct (an argument which I certainly lean towards). This makes it hard to trust one’s feelings. But why? What difference does the explanation of the emotion make towards its validity? Just because you can dissect the formal make-up of a great piece of art doesn’t make it less beautiful. The numbers are a just a description. And just when I’ve given up and convinced myself once again that love doesn’t exist anymore the way I once believed, it swells up out of nowhere, beyond my control, and confounds all of my theories and ideas leaving me dumbstruck and in awe.
All of these things affect the music. I initially moved towards music as a means of missionary work. My ambition was to become a priest until I decided I could reach more people through music. This was actually a big part of the connection I had with the music of Albert Ayler, John Coltrane and Charles Gayle. I felt this was a way to allow God to speak through me and possibly reach other souls. After years of personal study, theological and philosophical, I eventually lost this motivation. Now, music was literally crying into a void. And I find it somewhat fitting to play this music that admits, or attempts to achieve, no guidelines, complete freedom. Of course that’s just an ideal and everyone has to find their own rules and ideas of what is “good” or “bad.” And, in most cases, the listeners, other musicians, programmers and critics have certainly defined their own rules. But how can it be any other way?
The last couple of years I’ve been pushing the music in physical terms. Trying to find the transcendent experience by making things as difficult for myself as possible. Playing on a set-up that requires an incredible amount of air. Playing constantly with a band featuring a LOUD, DENSE guitarist who eats up my entire sound spectrum (Jasper Stadhouders in Cactus Truck). Well, that band is just loud in general… The idea wasn’t so much to make “good music,” but to see what would happen if we pushed ourselves that hard. Does it result in music that others would deem “good”? Sometimes, sometimes not.
What a relief to play with this trio! Not that I don’t love that other kind of battle, but it’s nice to fight a new fight from time to time. Holy Rollers, for me, has a similar impetus, to find the transcendent. Maybe it’s not so firmly based on pure volume and energy expenditure, but it’s goal, for me, is similar. It’s a nostalgia for those out-of-body experiences I used to have. It’s a pleading for the “other” to forgive, to love. To forget how miserable you feel day to day in an empty life that no longer has meaning.
It’s a selfish act, for sure. A bit like watching someone masturbate. But, in my opinion, that can be beautiful too. But, I think I agree with the Marquis de Sade to some extent when he suggested that the best thing we can do as people is to be totally selfish. Not in all cases. I don’t agree with Ayn Rand. And I wouldn’t apply the idea to economic policy or even most of day to day social life. But in the arts, I think the best thing to do is be as honest with yourself as possible. Because, who knows what anyone else will hear anyway? Even if they are listening. And besides, if you love them, why be condescending? Why give people what you think they want? What you think they value? In the end, you’re alone anyway. We all are.