Each time I go through Poland, I try to learn only the most essential phrases. The first one was “Tu jestes bardzo ambitna kobietą”, last time it was “Ile kosztuje piwo?”, and now it was just plain “Przyjemność”. Thinking about the idea of it, about the concept of pleasure, was the core of the journey to experimental music festival HRADBY SAMOTY IV, which took place near Brno town in Czech republic, in a picturesque Veveri castle. The line-up of the event, which promised a lot with Deutch Nepal, Of the wand and the Moon, Alfarmania tingled my memories, as live performances of these projects I remember from earlier – with drunken, yet sincere, fondness.
And you know how you more appreciate things you don’t have, and how limiting your assets will make you choose substance over form, since you have to think before consuming, which means that you get mostly the quality stuff? Well if not, I am not the one to tell you how to live, if yes, then high fives, bro. The main idea under this, is that everything you own and do, is supposed to make you feel fulfilment. But at some point, things you own start to matter less. It is just a 5th pair of jeans. It is just the 45th cassette in the collection. It is just another concert.
In order to keep an edge some things have to be limited, because too much of anything destroys the perspective, why you wanted it in the first place. And limiting pleasure works well not only in S&M – beauty of discipline, or pride in defying it, is hidden in human subconsciousness, and can be summed up into the concept of forbidden fruit. Why forbidden fruit is the one you want the most — because you cannot have it, because someone else has it, because you work hard to get it. But once you have it, it becomes one more item on your bucket list, not a life changing experience.
And that is why, kids, there is no life changing experiences, there are just things that happen. And that’s why the process is the main asset to your life, not the result. And that is why you ought to form your skill set, not try to get your dream job, because if you teach yourself to write, you can be a bunch of people, but if you want to be a writer, you limit yourself by becoming only one. And that is why you can always make dreams and plans, achieve them, and form new ones, but if you spend your life trying to get something, and at some point you get it, you will fall into the void of “well now what?” and drink too much and have babies with sailors.
Feeling pleasure in doing what you do everyday is the key; mindset&skillset are the only things that matter — and if you are not happy about what you do every day, why do you do that, dumbass. This way, when you are face to face to events of real importance, your judgement is not altered, because you already have a quality life, so you will not change it for settling for less than the best.
Only one act, EINLEITUNGSZEIT, even though said to show not the best they could, still gave more than I needed. The theme of the performance was about fire – literally, there was a part where the guy set himself on fire, after cutting metal with an electric saw. And it is not all about the visually exciting raw power – the noise, accompanying it, was solid on its own. The project played their set on the second day, near the end – and it was worth waiting that one performance which was never heard and seen before – it is all about limiting pleasure, so you could be twice as excited to get that quality performance.
I had high hopes for the line-up, and only they (out of 20?) was something fresh and new. The headliners for one or another reason were mediocre-ish (DN played for 20 mins because of the problems with gear, OTWATM sounded terrible), the second (techno?:) stage made me question, why it is there in the first place, the less known performers, with some exceptions, were not known for a reason.
The main reason why I am bitching is once again not because other performers were bad – but they either didn’t bring a sound which had a vibe in it, or they had a vibe, but that vibe came from standard industrial from 20 years ago. Industrial/experimental music was one of the things which were about not going by the rulebook – but it became one, after there were enough time to make up the rules. Some feedback and barking at the mic, some horns and smoke and mystique, some loops and synths – and here you have noise, dark ambient and neofolk. But hey, who cares about the experiment, or about adequate work of the soundguy? (definitely not all the people, who cheered OTWATM, which were impossible to listen due to the shitty soundwork).
Back to the good stuff. What festival sometimes lacked in a form of “being able to get a beer”, it paid back with the environment – Veveri castle is a superb location for this kind of events. In the big and spacious hall inside one of the buildings NAPALMED (CZ) was happily enjoyable, even though it is not a common practice to play noise in “songs”, which you were supposed to applaud. CHARMING ASSISTANT (SK) were a pleasant discovery for me – because of that “experimental” part they nourished in their work. They seeked their own sound, and were not afraid to step on the boundaries of improv, noise and even dub (?).
Even though for me there was only one performance, which truly stood out, there was pleasure in noises and pleasure in being surprised – for example, the varied lineup of the second day, which worked weirdly well (noise-neofolk-gothic stuff-noise). Overall – not because of the music, but totally worth it.