Blesok no. 49, July-August, 2006
Crazy Japanese in the Land of Broken Beats
Damo Suzuki in Macedonia
Last week Skopje performances of Damo Suzuki, the former singer of the founders of krautrock – the progressive German band Can, were almost ignored by the Macedonian media. Partly because of ignorance and partly because of their need to marginalise everything that does not come from the gang of some of our stage swindlers. Anyway, honestly, at least seemingly, the Japanese has long stopped being part of the legend of the great band whose music the world is yet to discover, and on top of it, he is himself in the marginal phase, surviving on the mercy of those who are taken by his energy and improvisations, without a roof over his head. But this does not imply at all that Suzuki has given up his own self. He still fanatically lives for his own musical visions and the need for communication with the spring of energies of the musicians from various backgrounds. Especially those who will have the first chance to build the sound wall behind him and enjoy in the act with this completely unconditioned communication. They rejoice the encounter and come out richer for an unforgettable experience.
Not only them, but also the witnesses of the cruel process of creating a new modern sound. Music that happens only now and never again.
Just like this, with his bags full of his need to burn, quite until the slopes of amplifiers start running, Damo Suzuki arrived to Macedonia. He came to quench his thirst for new encounters, continue his long mission along Balkan countries, rest and warm his old bones before leaving for Australia. In the course of these two days, at the eve of Offest, he not only animated our musicians that stick to their needs to come out of their skin but also made them burn in this experiment without any reservations.
For whole three hours without a break, at the Mala stanica cultural centre, D-r Maslim (Oliver Josifovski), Vladan Drobicki, Goce Naumov, Vladoš Ribski, Zlatko Trajkovski-Hinki changed behind his slightly hunched shadow; One of Us, White Noise in a White Room… The dynamics and atmosphere of the delivered parts changed. First enraged and deformed funk, then improvised music, then distortions and noise, which is erected as a seemingly impassable wall to be destroyed in space, tin drums, accordion that leads to another dimension… and finally a voice that howls and never stops vomiting fire. Strong and powerful messages. Opinions about our existence on the globe, which we try to tear to pieces with all of our force. And this all fits in his need that no segment should look like what was once. Be it with his band Can or at any of the travels around the world.
The long-term singer of the pioneers of krautrock, Can, Damo Suzuki, was born on 16 January 1950 in Japan. Influenced by Jack Kerouac, he spent the late 1960es on the streets of the European big cities. He was discovered by Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit, the founders of the band, on the floor of a Munich café, in 1970. He started performing with Can the same evening, and the band recorded the historical albums: Soundtracks, Tago Mago, Ege Bamayas and Future Days with him. He left the band after he had become Jehovah’s witness. Then he made a decade long pause and returned to the stage in 1986, when he founded his own band; now he prefers to work with different musicians around the world. And of course, he is on the road all the time.
“I am truly surprised by what was happening here. These people, top musicians and free minded creatures, are a true revelation for me. We are having great time.” Said lively Suzuki all in sweat after the end of the concert. And without blinking, he went behind the stand to sell the disks and the vinyl records of his documented performances from Tokyo to New York, down and up to the north. The issues under his own Network label, where he is accompanied not only by the drifters of Knitting Factory or his old buddies like Michael Karoli.
The next day, the image was almost repeated. In the full studio of Žlust, Damo Suzuki has with him Olivier Samouillan (viola), Dzijan Emin (keyboard instruments, synthesizers, melodeon, horn…), Ivan Bejkov (bas), Vladimir Pop Hristov (voice and effects), Gazmend Berisha (violin), Goce Stefkovski (drums) and Bojan Ugrinovski at the mixer to document the encounter. And on the benches and the floor of the studio, the seekers of sound excitements who were deeply aware of the exclusive moment of creation of pure modern music, that can not be closed in any drawer.
The visit of the positively crazy Japanese to the land of broken beats was made possible by Nora, or if you prefer Gluva soba, in cooperation with the National Gallery of Macedonia, Mala stanica multimedia centre and Art Café. Congratulations to all!
Translated by: Elizabeta Bakovska