Swim~ming the Danube
Vienna 20/21.10.95




We all arrived (barring Gez) from our various locations on the Friday getting the first site of our venue. The boat, anchored in the fast flowing Danube near to the city centre was a good sized affair normally used as a restaurant and venue for Waltz concerts (I kid you not!) kitted out in the kind of kitchy retro style one presumes finds favour with the good burghers of Vienna and their stout companions! I.e. incongruous!

 Soundcheck proceeded with a few minor hiccups, Ian Hartley thought he'd suffered equipment failure but a new power supply took care of it. Immersion had to be rescued by the "a-team" from MEGO recordswhen we got a bit confused by the hired sampler, Samy was on the phone, Axel & Dirk were there & Mark was sleeping in his hotel room (after overnighting it from USA) but still no Gez!

 Soudchecks were completed and still no Gez. He arrived as we were all setting off to check into our hotel, cheerful but minus his sampler! Seemingly due to a strike at his connection Brussels he'd been relocated to Lauda Airlines but his luggage had not! With protests of "Nikki Lauda stole my sampler" we set off back to the hotel while the earlier event of the evening (another walz concert!) took place.

 After it was off to the "legendary" blue box a bar/restaurant in Central Vienna much favoured by the local electronic crowd a place which curiously never seems to shut. The whole festival ate and drank here and the mere mention of PHONOTAKTIK with the nod from Festival organiser Christof would gaurentee a nights vittles and entertainment (from resident DJ's) for the many festival partcipants who didn't seem to have gone home yet! We took a snap decision in the bat that as his sampler had not yet showed that G-Man would DJ that night and play live the following night. The small matter of some records was taken care of by the assistance of Pitta Rehberg (the auther of MEGO release fridge trax) who whipped Gez off to his place to return with a well stocked record bag!

 Now onto the venue where Samy opened the proceedings with his own mix of lush and wierd records. As a member of Oracle DJ Morpheus of course qualifies as a Swim artist. He really has honed his DJ skills moving from being a mere owner of a comprehensive set of tracks to an inventive mixer in his own right. Lots of familiar faces including Bruce Gilbert! As well as Christian Fennez with who Malka & I did a collaboration for local label Syntactic. As the place filled up (we had the biggest pre-sale of the festival!) it was time for Pablo's Eye's first gig in 15 years! With just Axel and live drummer Dirk Wachteler (from Mechelen!) Pablo's Eye proved what a force they are becoming, Axel manipulates the music while Dirk plays along in real time, no click track! Very Impressive, everyone danced. His Swim album promised for next year will be something very special. Drummer Dirk was immediately recruited by Paul Schutze (who just happened to be in the audience!) for his collaboration with Bill Laswell!

 As the last strains of Pablo's Eye died away Samy once again "hit the decks", he'd been well inspired by the "home team" (both Samy & Axel live in Brussels and pumped it up with some cool and heavy breakbeats. Next up Immersion, our first gig ever! We play live (on the same keyboard!) along with our own pre-programmed beats. The place was rammed, I sweated buckets and didn't look up once (being far too nervous!) so can't tell you anything about it! However they say that the audience danced and we got a lot of nice compliments from all and sudry including resident G-Stoners Kruder & Dorfmeister.

 Next up Mark Gage hit the decks and CD players. It always amazes me (it probably shouldn't) how artists, when they DJ often sound like themseves! So it proved with Mark as he poured on subtle yet hard techno grooves including some wicked tracks. Next up was Lobe, Ian's music has a mesmeric, sad yet impossibly beautiful quality. In a state of heightened awareness (caused by a few too many beers and sheer releif that everything was going very well) Ian moved me to tears. People who you wouldn't ordinarily expect to like music of his meditative nature were convinced of his sheer talent a visiting Russell Haswell (who ordinarily won't admit to like anything that can be listened to with less than lethal consequences!) gave him a rousing cheer, I can't believe this!

 Then G-Man hit the decks, Gez and Ian although they produce music of very different kinds both share the ability to get directly to the emotions circumventing the ordinary critical brain. The first 20 minutes of Gez' set was pure G-Man, all that with borrowed records! With Quo Vardis yanked up to plus 8 he rammed in a whole load of minimal tracks which all became G-Man! Come 3.00 am the club was starting to empty and Gez was off with Russ & Pitta to go bar crawling, Mark took over on the DJ set up and just kept playing till the place was empty! At 5.00 we all trooped back to the hotel!

 The next day was a bit of a blur with hangovers to contend with but we still have G-Man live to come (the sampler had by now arrived) We had team photos taken by our friend Stefan and repaired to the Blue Box as it grew dark. Mark was amazed when they played his "Chris & Cosey" remix (it sounds like Maddona!) Then on to the 2nd Venue. This was a street built two floors underground which was allegedly some kind of bolt hole for the royals, it had the acoustic of an underground station!

 This night's line up was pretty star studded and was the final night of the festival. Paul Schutze DJ'd followed by Plaid (pretty good in bits and very amusing to watch! They look like two boffins pouring intently over racks of equipment wearing permanetly worried expressions, their movements bearing no relationship to the music, best at proto drum & bass, as it played on.) A bit more Schutze (he'd been dubbed Herr or even sometimes ever Herr Doktor Schutze during the weekend as all the locals thought he was German, the name and the aryan cast might have had something to do with it!) Then on with Bedouin Ascent who seemed to have even more equipment than Plaid but nonetheless aquitted himself well. Next up G-Man, it's just Gez with one drum machine, one sampler and 2 effects, it started falteringly but as it wore on G-Man took over. Much faster, harder and well more in yer face than on record (if such a thing is possible!) G-Man drove the audience mad! One girl was dancing like she was posessed, G-Man commands you to move! Unbelievable, short but very intense! At a strategic point Mr Gilbert in a piece of potentially legendary theatre offered Gez a glass of schnapps! (Him and Russ had spent most of the weekend plying Gez with drink in order to secure him for a Central European Disobey!)

 After that we were all done, everyone got on very well, we are dead proud of our growing family! Everyone came as themselves and performed to the maximum of their ability, you can't ask more than that. Roll on the next one (when Mark also promises to play live!) Brilliant!