Berlin Cobra #2

8 Jul 2005 - 21:30

BERLIN COBRA # 02

Merle Ehlers - drums
Nicholas Bussmann - cello
Filip Caranica - guitar

Kai Wolff - guitar

Kevin Blechdom - banjo

Tim Blue - violin

Jason Forrest - electronics

Ignaz Schick - turntables

Alessandro Bosetti - soprano saxophone

Sabine Vogel - flutes

Alex Nowitz - vocals

TBA (Not Confirmed yet):

N.N. - bass

Davide De Bernardi - double bass

Curator of Cobra #02: Ignaz Schick

Nathan Fuhr: Prompter

after DJs Zelda Panda, Jason Forrest & Ignaz Schick

Vlucht Magazine, April 2004
text: Francisco Gonzalez

"I wrote Cobra to make beautiful music. I quit doing

it because it makes monsters out of people". John Zorn

to Nathan Fuhr, NYC 3/99

Vlucht Magazine, April 2004
text: Francisco Gonzalez

"I finally met Nathan Fuhr by chance at
an OT301 Kraakgeluiden night. He is the leader of Collision
Palace, a large collective of musicians (and dancers
too on occasion) from a real mix of stylistic
backgrounds, whom he directs in the in the
exploration of different improvisation languages. He has played
bass in Cobra with Zorn himself in New York, before
moving to Europe and instigating the Amsterdam-based Collision Palace
(an apparently democratic endeavor,
as he admits to not being keen on the name of the
band, but was out-voted!). I attended some of their
rehearsals before seeing them live in two splendidly
different Cobra performances in 3 days, at the
Bimhuis and at OT301. Nathan is the artistic director and
conductor of the ensemble, but to my eyes he is much
more a performer himself. His way of gathering the
band membersí energy and redistributing it back via
specific signals and movements has more to do with
body expression and dance than with simply prompting
(Zorn's term for the DJ-like director of Cobra).
This is not free or even interpretive improvisation; the
visceral clarity and physicality of his directing
almost seem to declare war on the well-run territory of improv sans
language, which is not to say that he
does not balance such command with moments of making
himself fluid or invisible, trusting
players' own commands, letting the music just
breathe, or even sharing laughter (with people on and off the
stage). Upon my observation of energy as a core
aspect of the work, his face lit-up, because although CP is
playing via different preconceived improvisation
languages (they've also done projects with Fred
Frith, Robert Ashley, Alison Isadora, and include works of
Pauline Oliveros, Frederic Rzewski, and Lee Ranaldo
of Sonic Youth in their repertoire), you can tell Nathan is slowly
developing his own language, and it is definitely through the concept
of energy.
When I asked him to describe a CP concert in one
sentence, he replied without hesitation: 'We take
risks, brew synergy, and go for blood (or Zen in the
case of Oliveros or Isadora!)' and try to have as much fun as possible
along the way."