Anne La Berge
Interview with Bob Gilmore
Amsterdam, Summer 2005
The flautist, composer and improviser Anne La Berge was born in the United States and moved to Amsterdam in 1989. Her early compositions (collected on her first solo CD, blow) pioneered a new approach to the flute – percussive, noise-filled, microtonal, sometimes aggressively physical, and light years away from the traditional image of the instrument. Technically, she worked with new lip techniques, breathing, and use of the microphone, developing the amplified flute as an instrument in its own right. More recently she has worked with interactive computer systems and digital processing techniques in live performance, using programmes such as MAX/MSP, LiSa, Imagine and the Clavia MicroModular (check out her CD with Gert-Jan Prins, United Noise Toys). In 1999, together with the drummer Steve Heather and the synthesizer player Cor Fuhler, she founded Kraakgeluiden, a improvisation series based in Amsterdam, exploring combinations of acoustic instruments, electronic instruments and computers, and using real-time interactive performance systems. Kraakgeluiden means something like “crackling sounds” and also invokes the word “kraakpand”, a squat. Its placing of cutting edge performance work in an informal, workshop-like setting has been highly successful and influential, and many of the musical collaborations that have resulted have taken on a life beyond the Kraakgeluiden series. La Berge’s own music has evolved in parallel, and the flute has become only one element in a sound world that includes computer samples and the use of spoken text. We talked at her home in the east part of Amsterdam.
I don’t know anything about how you got into music in the first place. Could you tell me a little about that?
My mother is a violinist – a housewife first, but talented enough to be involved in the music scene in Minneapolis. My father was a psychology professor, a scientist; but also a choir director, and at the time in Minneapolis, in the late 1950s and early 60s, there was no professional chorus. So he developed a chorus with his friends that sang with the symphony, called The Bach Society. Being a scientist he had a very slanted view on music, so Bach was God. Bach and William James. They sang a lot of Bach. My mother was in the accompanying orchestra – she played in musicals and had a string quartet. We kids had talent. I was the one who ended up pursuing it professionally. The flute was chosen by my parents. We had a Frank Lloyd Wright-style house built for us, being in the idealist, intellectual atmosphere in a small town outside of Minneapolis, by this guy John Howe, who was one Frank Lloyd Wright's right-hand men. We had a half-mile driveway in the snowy climate so it was decided that I had to play an orchestral instrument that they were convinced I could carry in and out of the driveway. Anyway, that was it – no choice. The flute. You know, I really should have been a drummer!
So the kind of music you were into in your teens was classical, orchestral repertory, wind band…
Completely classical. Band music I had in the small town because that’s all we had. The band director that took me under his wing, and wanted to teach me jazz but it just didn’t click. I just couldn’t hear it, couldn’t make any sense of it. But because I was talented I got the classical repertoire really quickly.
The decision to go on to university was based on what – to become a flute player?
Yeah, I was a flute player. I didn’t have any ambitions for “the greater arts.” I tried to get into Oberlin but I think they were warned by my choir director that I was a handful! Northwestern University in Evanston took me. It was an orchestra school. They all filtered in to the Chicago Civic. And I had no interest in orchestral life or people. So I spent one year at Northwestern and then went to New Mexico. The University of New Mexico had a stunning flute professor who’d worked with [Marcel] Moyse: Frank Bowen. He’s deceased now – he died of AIDS. He was eccentric in a lovely way, a wonderful creative man. He wasn’t necessarily a new music player; he was a well-rounded player, and completely not orchestra. The faculty there was young, and they were mavericks, so I fitted right in. I played Mediaeval and Renaissance instruments, I had recorder lessons – they let me do my thing. I played Varèse when I was 16, at music camp – and then when I was at the university we got together and improvised, some of the students, tried to play Stockhausen, figured it out for ourselves, and so I took an interest. I’d go to the music store and just buy the music that was new and play it. One thing that was quite nice is that when I was about nineteen, with the history professor who was a young woman, I read the entire Perspectives of New Music, and indexed it. This was 1976. I would skim the articles that were a bit above me. I literally read the whole thing and I’d come in every week and explain it to her – so this was great for her too. You know, my perspectives on Perspectives of New Music. That was my independent study. But a school that would just do that was fantastic.
How long were you there?
It took five years to get a Bachelors. In 1978 I went for a Masters degree to the University of Illinois, which featured in Perspectives of New Music regularly for all that went on there. So it was a great background for me. And there the flute teacher was Alex Murray, who was also an eccentric, and an Alexander Technique specialist with his wife. They ran a training course. And my idea as a new music player was that I didn’t need so much a teacher because they weren’t there, I just needed to have my body be able to do whatever I came across. So I went to it as much for the Alexander Technique idea, and this teacher, who was very experimental. He wasn’t a new music player, but he was an experimentalist.
How do you mean? What was the difference?
will play the flute backwards, but play Bach, as a process to research
or experiment with coordination. So all these acoustic principles, all
the posture, all the body integration, a lot of that kind of process was
supported, and he and I worked together well. I took over the faculty
new music position as his assistant. But we had a lot of conflict in our
relationship because I played new music and he couldn’t bring himself
to. He didn’t like it. He developed a flute that was a bit like
the system I play on now – he was into flute development. And the
flute development he did was acoustically more correct than what was going
on at the time. And because of my interest in the acoustic basis of new
music, we clicked in a big way. We were scientist-musicians! And there
I was – my office was on the same floor as the composers. And that’s
where I met Larry Polansky, and we worked together – and Polansky
is also a sort of scientist, with an acoustics orientation. Ben Johnston
was there, and Sal Martirano was there, Paul Zonn was there – so
I was just in heaven, really. I was there for two years. After that, I
could have stayed and gotten a Doctorate, or I could have stayed and gotten
an Alexander Technique diploma, but it was too crazy. It was time to get
out of there. I moved to Los Angeles. I got a part-time job in the library
– you know, the typical new music player who always has a side job.
And I went into analysis. Four times a week for four years. I think I
worked through enough of my frustrations during that time. But, you know,
what young woman in Los Angeles didn’t have a really cool therapist?
I did as much new music as I could, played in the Monday Evening Concerts
(twice a year max), improvised with all kinds of adventuresome folk in
the fringe jazz and the new music scenes, and filled in at Cal Arts whenever
they needed a performer. In 1985 I played in the American premiere of
Louis Andriessen's De Tijd. So I was up for all that stuff. I
started to compose a bit, and when Larry Polansky and Jody [Diamond] started
Frog Peak [a “negative-capitalist“ composers’ collective
and music publisher now based in New Hampshire] they told me to write
it down, because they said they would publish it. They came after me.
But I wanted out of LA at that point, so I went down south. The flutist John Fonville was at UCSD, and it was the handiest place to look for a Doctorate. They gave me money, they gave me freedom, so I just moved right down there. I spent two years getting close to a Doctorate, but I didn’t see it as satisfying me. In a way it’s too bad I didn’t finish it.
What was it about?
It would have been about the edge of improvisation and notation, these pieces like Ferneyhough that should have been improvised but were notated, and are notated for a reason. It would get into the nitty-gritty of all that. But by then I'd met David [Dramm, American-born composer and guitarist, her husband], who has never finished any degree. That was actually quite helpful, because we realised we should move to another big city and just get going. He recommended Amsterdam. I’d never been to Europe, so I thought: Why not? It was a big city, and it was Europe, and also I had friends there. I hoped that there were things in Europe that would be interesting for me. Louis [Andriessen] said, If you come as a flute player there’ll be no work in Amsterdam. He was right!
Let’s backtrack. I’m interested to know how you started making your own music. If jazz didn’t really work for you, and you never studied composition formally, how did you get into doing your own music?
I think when you’re in therapy you bring something in, the things you make. I brought in poems, paintings and pieces I'd made for my solo concerts. I’d play, you know, Honegger and Berio and me. And Bach. I saw that as a concert. So these little pieces made sense as “personal statement” things. I knew my pieces weren’t great music because I was playing the music of the supposedly great composers. My pieces were composer/performer pieces, more like written improv. I had Pat Purswell as my model, and John Fonville. Or Harvey Sollberger. I think that’s how it blossomed, a bit unconsciously, which was quite nice. And completely not ambitious. Kind of organic. Amateurish, in a way.
You never felt you were in competition with Honegger or Bach.
No. It was a completely different activity. For one thing I was a woman. And I was developing techniques. I was going to schools where there are young ambitious composers and I was developing techniques they would be able to use in the music of the future. That sort of scientist thing again, researching the flute.
Do I know any of these earliest pieces? Are any of them on blow?
Yes: indeed (1984). We’re talking ’83, when Larry Polansky called and said to write it down. I had played indeed in Long Beach with David Felder (who now runs June in Buffalo). Bernard Rands was there too. It was run just like a new music festival and I was one of the flutists. I played my own pieces as part of the programme. Bernard said: You don’t need a teacher, just keep playing. Another guy said I needed to learn counterpoint!
How were these pieces notated?
Graphic; a few notes, the pitch material. I’m much more into contained sections than just playing off the top of my head. I find that showing your habits is not interesting. Unless they’re extreme. But basically, yeah, something to keep me focused.
Polansky’s suggestion that you write it down was also potentially a way of letting other people play it.
Yeah, but I found out quite quickly that most flute players’ technique was quite a leap away from it. Even that first piece, indeed, I played that at a flute workshop two months ago, and it’s… it’s too hard. Even when I explained how you could fake it. You just don’t find many people who can do it. It’s not like the hard notated music where you learn the notes, it’s that there are techniques in it where you have to be a flutist/composer, probably, to have gone that far. And then you’d have made your own music anyway, why would you play my music? Some people have played it. One piece that’s been recorded by other people is revamper (1992), because it's accessible and playable.
So after these first pieces went to Frog Peak, did you feel that was the beginning of something that was going to continue?
Yes, and it was supported so actively at UCSD,
because it was an environment where that happened. When we moved to Amsterdam
I lost a lot of my written music ground – I had to fight for it
here, whereas the composer/performer ground was such a private territory,
I didn’t have to fight for it. And playing in Ensemble Modern, they
liked having me around because I was different – they liked the
fact I was a composer/performer. I think it took off more when I decided
not to notate anymore, because that wasn’t my passion. I’m
not fascinated with going down in history. And the having-other-people-play-it;
I’d experienced enough to know that just getting them to blow the
flute in a way that would work for my music was a process that they’d
have to really want – I wasn’t going to go out and make them
do that, because that was wasting their time too. So I started improvising
more, because that domain presented more interesting problems. And electronics
were around too.
My first experience with making electronics work in a personal way was when I played the Berio recorder piece [Gesti] at the Schoenberg Institute back in LA. There's one place in the piece where you’re supposed to sing, and so I played the piece miked because the instrument’s so small, and then sang full voice into this mike, opera style, and the audience was blown away. And I thought: this is new music! This is taking Berio a step further. David Dramm and I also had this electric guitar and flute duo in LA with a dancer, where I had to be miked. I was using more and more mouth sounds. At UCSD I took electronic music courses just to see how much I could understand of FM synthesis math. I took an electronic studio 101 from Gordon Mumma, cutting tape, and all that. When we got to Amsterdam I was playing amplified most of the time, but it wasn’t until we got here when the live electronic thing really started to go strongly, with the Kraakgeluiden. That was when I understood that if I was going to play with the guys I had to play loud enough. Amplified flute is not loud enough, but with filtered, amplified flute with effects you can be up there with the rest of the boys.
But if you felt this was another male domain you were drawing towards, why, psychologically speaking, did you want to go through all that again after UCSD?
I didn’t notice that I was the only girl. I thought: If the girls see me doing it, they’ll want to do it too. I was naïve enough not to see in the improv field there still are few women. They’ve gone into performance art. And in Holland the composition world is so male dominated that I didn’t want to touch it.
How did you support your work?
I got grant money to compose. I was told, You know, don’t apply for composition – they don’t think you’re a composer, because you’re a player. Apply in the improv category and they’ll give you money. So I went where the door was open. And it brought everything together. I could make stories – in the past four or five years now I have texts – there's a song dimension; there’s improv, electronic sound and a sort of performance art dimension.
Before you started Kraakgeluiden, where did this stuff happen in Amsterdam? What were the venues for it?
There weren’t many. In concerts on relatively
conventional stages. The tours I was doing at that time included a piece
by Paul Koence, some pieces of mine, and some other new pieces I’d
commissioned. That’s where I’d put it, on the concert stage.
It worked fine, but I wasn’t able to move forward quickly because
there was no chance to experiment. They were short pieces, pieces which
had to find their place in a concert programme. In the last couple of
years I’ve been able to bring my work into 30 to 40 minute stretches,
which gives me more of a chance to fill half a programme, and put it back
on stage and start working it into performance art. I’ve been thinking
more in terms of installations, but still I want people to sit down and
be quiet and pay attention. It’s not supposed to be “fun”!
The audience and I are supposed to be working something out.
Now I’ve used up the thing, so I'm handing Kraakgeluiden over to the young men. And I’ve said to them, Are you going to work to bring women into this programming? And they said, What?.. well, if it’s good. I said, You know, when we programme, for instance, for the Gaudeamus week, we made sure there was an acoustic player and at least one woman on every night. And they said, Oh. So I’m leaving that again and I’m going back into the female composer thing, and I’m willing to make my stuff a bit weird. It’s going to be tough in the next couple of years trying to get it back on the stage and out of the improv domain – it’s still improvisation, but it feels like it should be stage work.
What was the original motivation for Kraakgeluiden? What was not there that you wanted to put in place?
Personally what wasn’t there was that I didn’t have a way to practice playing, improvising, with electronics, with my colleagues. The venues that existed for that were either not enthusiastic about the electronic end of it, which is an aesthetic judgement, or thought the improvisation end of it wasn't so cool. That ruled out both the established venues and the established improv houses, which call themselves underground but are still established-underground.
Like the Bimhuis and places like that?
Yeah. The Zaal 100 had a Tuesday night, which I still do sometimes. I asked them about running maybe one month of electronic improv with some people, the same people who play there all the time, and they said: Oh no, we just can’t have that here. Which they do now anyway, once in a while. But it was an aesthetic hump that had to be somehow approached within the city of Amsterdam. I tell the story now because it felt like, not that I was pressured into doing something, but it was obvious I could do it, organise it, and my colleagues that worked with me were very active in getting people, but the administrative end of it I was just a little more at ease with. And then they departed, and I hung in there with it, and it grew.
Where was Kraakgeluiden located originally?
It was in a squat called the Entrepodok, a real squat, behind the Zoo, where there are now million-euro apartments. And there was an official eviction. I wasn’t at the eviction because that was a lot of tear gas and things – I’m not quite up to that. But I was part of the political demonstration: I marched. People like Geert Mak, you know this Amsterdam historian, his daughter had a studio in the same building, so I made a piece with his speech that I performed at an Ijsbreker evening using his text, and in a way it was nice, because it had that very old-fashioned political energy in addition to musical energy. As with all things that start out of necessity and passion in one bundle Kraakgeluiden had a kind of a cult focus, which, because I’m not a cult person, and I’m not that interested in the underground as a political gesture, went by me. I didn’t realise what was really going on until it came to be that, after a few years, I realised that people didn’t see me as an artist in Holland, they saw me as the administrator of a cult series. Someone who had a little secret that they would really like to know, what made this thing tick, and I couldn’t really say. I couldn’t really give them all the elements. You know, it started because I wanted something to get farther and I couldn’t do it alone.
When you got the eviction notice did you think that was the end of it all, or had you already made plans to move?
No, by then we were all fired up. We went to De
Ijsbreker for a month. I’m convinced now that if you’re going
to learn something you have to just do it – you just have to hit
every wall until you understand them all. You don’t just sit in
the classroom and go “uh huh” to the teacher. So we went on.
In the initial phases I’d gone to De Ijsbreker, to Jan Wolff, and
said: This is what we want to do, what can you do for us? And he said:
This sounds wonderful. What if I gave you one Sunday a month for free
in the afternoon? I said, That would be great. He said, Well I can’t.
I said, You know, I’ve talked to three or four people already, it
sounds like I have to squat. And he said, Oh that sounds good, Ijsbreker
Squats! Doesn’t it?
So we did the squat thing, and later by chance I saw Jan at a concert and said, Jan, we’re being evicted. He said, Oh come to the Ijsbreker, I’ll give you every Monday night free with staff, with a sound system. Because we had developed this buzz in town. And we did that for a while – there were a few people I can’t name who wouldn’t come play in De Ijsbreker, the more famous people, because their new music career was identified with De Ijsbreker and could not be jeopardised by their improvising and their experimental career being in that same location. And it wasn’t actually that comfortable there, you know – the beer was expensive. But I thought it would be better to show why we didn’t belong there than to just say no to his generous offer. And then the Overtoom 301 was ready to go. So we went to the Overtoom, and we're still there.
How would you describe the politics of Kraakgeluiden? Who decided who played and who didn’t play?
In the beginning I think Steve Heather just emailed and called all his friends. He’s a very socially connected guy. After about two months we got calls and emails, and now we get emails from all over the world. The entire US has us marked out as a place to play in Amsterdam because it’s still not easy to get any place to improvise, to play. And now, because of the website, we get email from rock bands (I don’t know who because when I see it I just delete it). So a bit of it is first come, first served. It’s gone through a phase now where people like me who really needed it don’t need it in the same way anymore. Because that testing ground is secure enough. Marko [Ciciliani] and I had the sense that we should open it up to people who needed it. Quality could be mercurial – you could allow some duds for the sake of experience, and we also knew that we ourselves were not stunning every time we showed up there. The problem that came up this last year was that I was in town less and started throwing people on the schedule to let some new blood in and denying access when I thought it was not within the aesthetic. I tried to weed out the pure jazz playing, and the real pop people, and the real bad stuff – things where I would have to go home and let somebody else work the bar.
What do you feel are the main musical things you yourself got from Kraakgeluiden?
Musically, I think I can trust my sense of time
now, that it’s given me the opportunity not only to respect but
to enjoy length. It could have to do with life years, but I think it has
to do with the chance to spend 40 minutes being present and not having
it broken up. And not having to play with a conductor for a 40-minute
piece. That would be the main thing: time. And also figuring out what
the sound domain is that I’m most happy with. Once you hear yourself
doing it over and over you think: Well, this must be what I do. And learning
what kind of players you’d rather play with. You know, about the
middle point of the whole series I felt like I needed to play with people
slightly under my artistic and conceptual sensibility, to help them along.
But then I realised that doesn’t necessarily have a function within
the Kraakgeluiden all the time, that maybe it should be done outside of
the performing domain. It’s a bit of a give and take. But for me
it was to learn from other players what I want to do, and it was also
to grow out of it – to grow out of the messing around.
I’ve never been all that close to the improv world, but I find myself wondering where the scene is going. Today it’s very healthy, but I’m not sure how it’s going to develop.
It seems healthy, but it has problems. Right now I’m a member of the Corkestra, this nine-piece Cor Fuhler group, and these tours we go on, the organisers are people that have been organising that kind of free improv thing, instant composition, for the last twenty-five years, and they’re looking pretty burned out. These are guys who have dedicated their lives to being groupies to improvisers who are now also becoming seniors in the field. There are a few young people who think it’s great. But I would not want to be playing only purely acoustic free improv because it seems like it’s now rounding itself off, in a very nice way. But the electro improv thing is heading much more into installations, other forms of dealing with audience and space, videos.. And that’ll take a while for it to sort itself out. It’s changing quite quickly right now.
I guess you got a flavour of that when you were in residence lately at Dartington, where some of the students do electro-based improv – the laptop guys, for example. But it’s not always considered self-sufficient, it’s often part of something or even just background to something. They’re happy to do their stuff at parties, or in large tents at the platform events where people come and go, or as part of installations, or even as a sort of concert where people will sit and listen – but as far as I can tell the context doesn’t always make a lot of difference to what they do sonically. Again, I wonder where that stuff is going to be in five years’ time, let alone ten years’ time.
Very hard to say. I don’t know. A lot of it does incorporate itself better with other media. There’s a word I’ve been reading lately, interdisciplinarity. A publisher took my work drive (which is also an installation now) and all the different performance versions of it to a conference in Montreal about women’s work, and in her talk and her abstract she used the word interdisciplinarity. And I thought, what a stupid word! Where did that word come from?
If all interdisciplinarity means is a basic mode of working that falls between two or more different disciplines, we’ve had it for a long time.
Like Performance Art. Well, this was the first time I’d seen that word. And I looked at and looked at it, and I thought: Oh, she didn’t do a spell check. Actually, I’ve been asked to publish drive, by [Dutch music publisher] Donemus, and they’re giving me a work crew at a technical school, ‘cause I want to have it programmed in commercial languages, not only STEIM’s language, and I want it to be able to be extremely clear, so they’re giving me a team of guys to bring it into a form where Donemus will distribute it. So this fall will be a work study. They said that my work is among the best documented they get, and I said, That’s because I do screen shots of everything. The more documentation the committee sees the more work they think I’m doing. They're very impressed!
I want to ask about some pieces on your list of works that I don’t know anything about, like these improvisation pieces for example, souped, sondsuite, bandbound and againstance.
I did those here in 1995 – I was asked to do a workshop for an improvisation group in Rotterdam that gets together and rehearses improvisations, and they would bring in guests and pay them to do a project. And I went in and I told them how I improvise. And they looked at me. And I went home to David and I said: I think they want me to tell them what to do. And David said: People are like that, Anne. And so then I made pieces for them that I’ve used in all kinds of settings, and they’re notated in the sense that they all have scores, and sets of instructions, and I’ve been able to use them in festivals where I go and work with people in the festival to play these pieces.
But aroundof for oboe and pre-recorded oboes was written for somebody else, I presume.
Yes, for Cathy Milliken from Ensemble Modern. She has this technique where she can play an open reed and the oboe at the same time and do this great pitch phasing. It starts out with a very long section with recorded oboes, that mass of sound kind of thing. Then there's mus, pak, dus, for the duo I have with [bass clarinettist] Henk Bakker. We improvised, and each played solo pieces, and played this. That worked out well. That was one of the first where I also had text, which came in the middle. We improvised a section with certain requirements, then I turned on a CD with this text that we played under, then we had another section of improv.
And the piece for the saxophone quartet, rough sax?
A sax quartet asked me for a piece, so I took revamper and revised it for flute quartet and for saxophone quartet. The flute version, rough diamond, has been recorded also by another group. Everything based on revamper has made it into the domain, because it’s just so straight ahead.
Are you still giving stuff to Frog Peak, or has that dried up a bit?
As far as published music goes, fixiation was the last one I gave them. The improv pieces I find hard to hand off, just because of the problems of not being able to coach a performance. But if the one with Donemus works out, I’ll try and notate more of the improv pieces. The last one, toss, for flute quartet, was a commission. It went quite well, but there are things they can’t do that are the essence of the piece. They can’t spit, they can’t suck – that sort of performing through your flute thing, flutists have no room for.
Could you describe the set-up you use when you play a solo gig, say in a place like Zaal 100?
My set-up always includes – and that’s a bit of a surprise to me but to nobody else – the flute. I still use the flute. Even though the text is now very important, the story, however minimal it is, and the sound which is computer samples, often the text, and then – usually just sampled things, not synthesized, just sampled. Then most of the time I filter my flute with a piece of hardware that I trust. And I go in and out of various beta software and hardware that STEIM puts together for me. Not the most revolutionary that they have, although it’s not on the market, but I don’t have myself totally wired up with stuff that could potentially break down every time you got on stage. What’s interesting in breakdowns is if people sense that you’re going to break down in your head. That’s a fundamental conflict that you can take them through. Whereas if you’re always fighting with your equipment they can sympathise but it doesn’t bring them any real experience that they would like to feel. Might make for a nice piece, though, continually having things break down.
One of the things I was very struck by at that solo gig you did at Zaal 100 recently was that you could bring all your equipment, mixer and all, on your bicycle. Obviously there’s a practical side to that, but how important to you is that aspect of things, to be small and mobile?
That’s another thing that Kraakgeluiden gave us a chance to explore – within the field of the travelling musician it’s essential that you can get your stuff there, otherwise you’re dependent on an expensive hall. One technician you can ask for, but if you have quite a lot of needs technically it’s expensive. And this kind of art needs to be kept at a low price. It’s a marketing problem. But then again, I think it’s very aesthetically pretty to have a table that looks like it’s within the scale of the event. You know, you see these pieces where half of IRCAM is sitting at the back of the hall jerking off, and I'm at the front in a dress going, Doo doo doo-ooo doo doo. And it’s so out of scale, so out of proportion with the aesthetic of a human being playing the flute. If you wonder why I’ve cut down on my performing solo flute pieces over the years, it's because I felt I was jerking off and there was a hall full of composers watching, saying, Hmm, mmm, mmm, mmmm, great performance! A lot of the time it didn’t make sense as a complete musical event. Maybe that was the charm of it. So portability for me is very important – I just don’t like the dependency, which more conventional players love. They love to just walk in and have this stuff come to them. That’s just not me.
Can you tell me a bit about your collaboration with Gert-Jan Prins, which resulted in the United Noise Toys Live in Utrecht ’98 CD?
It was a festival where installations were also part of what occurred in the building, and we were a live installation, so we played for about four hours a day, maybe six, half an hour on, half an hour off. Because Gert-Jan’s set-up at that time was also much bigger, we used it as a chance to really learn to play together. The CD was a recording taken from that. We’ve worked together a few times since. His set-up – these self-built radio frequency boxes (he could explain them in more subtle terms) – worked as a fantastic filter for the tessitura that the flute occupies. At least my flute.
Are there more CDs in the pipeline?
I have these pieces, cross and all these older pieces I played with CDs and interactive computer, which I need to release as a real CD. I talked to Frog Peak and they said: People don’t make CDs anymore, they don’t sell. I must have about four or five hours of non-mastered stuff ready to go, that I just have to fix and do the footwork for and release. Putting CDs out costs money. You have to think if you’re going to codify a piece, why and what and how. But I think it'll take care of itself.
What else are you working on now?
I've been commissioned to do a new piece, black veined white, and I’m writing short stories like an interview where the text will go a little bit on video so people can follow key words. It’s much easier for them, especially in those countries that don’t pick up on English well. And then I’ll play text samples, sound samples and flute at various times, similar to some of the latest pieces. I’ve worked harder on the story this time. It’s about the sounds butterflies make, which of course is no sound. So I’m thinking of having speakers built that sort of rattle, so you keep trying to hear butterflies, but I haven’t gotten to the point of thinking whether it’s going to be about failure or success, or how to fit in the flute. I have a concert in New York in March and it might be fun if I could do a short version of this then. In March I will do the published version of drive, launch a final version of it. But otherwise, I have to find a time and space to make these pieces that are still in my head. It’ll happen.