﷯ life ﷯ some releases ﷯ some work ﷯

Caroline Kraabel is an improviser: Going Outside.

 

On 28 March 2019 at 12.45 I walked to Westminster, with saxophone, to hear and play through the sounds around the parliament buildings. So many sounds. The chewy shifty human sounds of busy streets, elusive as they slide past : engines in motion, walkers, piper on the bridge. Often their complexity and density boggles the ear, the playing sense – like translating a dance, a lake into mere words. Turn the corner to walk along the front of the parliament building, see the memorial stone for the policeman, Keith Palmer, killed almost exactly two years ago, a few hours after I’d crossed this same bridge in the same way, just getting on with my own life. The stone is new, clean, beflowered. Touching.

Hordes of people. Some on traffic island with megaphones, howling for brexit. Man in yellow vest (I did not realise until this moment of writing that it might have had some significance) approaches me– a suspension, curiosity, sniffing at me like a dog… but deciding there is only one possible response, ‘Are you with us or against us?’ I just played, as I had decided – here to listen and play, not to speak. TRAITOR TRAITOR TRAITOR he shouts and keeps shouting, TRAITOR TRAITOR, again and again, tentatively slapping at the bell of my saxophone. I play or reflect his sounds back at him and after a last slap, easily evaded (but a jolt to bell can cost teeth) he turns away disgusted. Carry on. No one else says anything though a few stare or laugh, at him, at me… Farther down on the other side of the road the pro-Europe demonstrators stand, ranks of flags blue and gold, blue and red and white. A man’s voice hoarse keeps slowly shouting S T O P  B R E X I T… but I don’t see him, he’s elsewhere. I leave the obvious indicators of conflict behind and try to hear engines again, their glissandi, density of coloured sound, shifting harmonics. Tiny scraps of birdsong appear in any gaps – I’m walking past Victoria Tower Gardens. Spring, after all. (Re-) birth of what ? I write this 36 hours later and the people and government of the ‘U’ K seem exponentially more divided even than yesterday. For 40 years, inequality has been carefully nurtured and anything standing in its way ruthlessly disposed of. Now these few days during which the Tory Government’s poorly realised spectacle of venality, self-interest and refusal to listen, based on the true story behind their accumulation of affluence and power for the few, could be the fulcrum for a drastic and very rapid change for the worse, as the most aggressive, thoughtless and unscrupulous seize upon their scapegoats and the vacuous moment.

29 March 2019

© Giuseppe Tamponi

2019 Kraabel CD LAST1 and LAST2, released on the EMANEM label, featuring live large-group and quartet versions of Kraabel’s piece LAST, for improvisers with occasional interjections from the pre-recorded voice of Robert Wyatt singing a song composed by Kraabel for this purpose. Musicians' profits from sales of this CD will go to two NGOs working with migrants in northern France, Care4Calais and Utopia56. Why is Improvising Important? In 2018 Caroline Kraabel recorded a series of 17 interviews with improvisers (and people who study improvisation) in music, activism, dance, religion and visual art, including Maggie Nicols, Paul Mason, Joëlle Léandre, Pat Thomas, and Alexandre Papas. These were broadcast on London’s art radio station, Resonance 104.4 FM (available on the ResonanceFM mixcloud by searching for Why is Improvising Important here: https://www.mixcloud.com/Resonance/). The interviews are also available on Caroline Kraabel’s Bandcamp page: https://carolinekraabel.bandcamp.com/ Caroline Kraabel spent most of 2018 preparing the Twentieth Anniversary London Improvisers Orchestra celebration events, raising funds and planning in order to invite thirty of the great musicians and conductor/creators from the 20-year history of the LIO to return for a three-day celebration at London’s Cafe Oto, featuring workshops in improvisation, open rehearsals and concerts with 12 newly commissioned pieces for improvising orchestra. This incarnation of the LIO featured an equal number of male and female musicians and a representative ethnic balance; the events were a resounding success. https://www.cafeoto.co.uk/events/twentieth-anniversary-london-improvisers-orchestra/ Caroline Kraabel features as a composer/conductor and instrumentalist on the new double CD from the London Improvisers Orchestra, Twenty Years On, available here: http://www.londonimprovisersorchestra.co.uk/newreleases.html In November 2018 Caroline Kraabel led a large-scale workshop in improvisation (for women) at the EFG London Jazz festival.
In Autumn 2017 Caroline Kraabel's Taking a Life for a Walk, was selected for a Madrid exhibition of art relating to sound and public space, Charivaria.
In Spring 2016 Caroline Kraabel was invited by Québec’s Grand Groupe Régional d’Improvisation Libre to rehearse and perform her piece Une note n’écoutant qu’elle-même In March/April 2016 Kraabel organised the Calais Music Caravan, which travelled to the La Linière refugee camp in Northern France to play music and bring donations of musical instruments and other necessities for the people living there. A benefit performance of Kraabel’s piece LAST for improvising orchestra plus the pre-recorded voice of Robert Wyatt (singing a song by CK, also called LAST) brought in a lot of funds for this project; a live recording thereof is to be released soon. In 2015/2016 Caroline Kraabel curated and performed in a series of events, The Silver Wire, on William Blake’s home ground in North Lambeth, featuring Blake’s poetry and images alongside improvisation from Kraabel and Charlotte Hug, John Edwards, Tori Handsley, Cleveland Watkiss, Beibei Wang, Evan Parker, Hannah Marshall, Lauren Kinsella, Pat Thomas, Hyelim Kim, Maggie Nicols, Louis Moholo, David Stockard, Daniel Thompson and many more. Caroline Kraabel was part of Evan Parker’s 2015 large improvising orchestra for a tribute to Butch Morris. Since 2013 Kraabel has again been Going Outside, walking and playing the saxophone in London, with documentation: wealth-is-a-disease going-outside-northumberland-park-haringey-thursday going-outside-wednesday-8-january-2014-10-00-am Late in 2013 Kraabel contributed saxophone improvisations to Andrea Zarza’s Sonic Time Capsule for the Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid. In autumn 2012 Kraabel’s piece Recording The Other, for voice (French and English text by CK), flute, cello, piano and four recording devices, was selected for performance at the University of Glasgow at a symposium examining the appropriation of women’s voices and experience in Debussy’s Chansons de Bilitis and Ravel’s Chansons Madécasses. Kraabel played at the Tate Modern Gallery in May 2012 as part of the HerNoise festival, performing in Pauline Oliveros’s piece To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe. In 2011 Kraabel composed a set of music for two flutes, sax and drums, which was toured by Rowland Sutherland, Neil Metcalfe, Mark Sanders and CK. For two months in Autumn 2011, Caroline Kraabel was one of two live saxophone soloists taking it in turns to improvise as part of Anri Sala’s piece 3-2-1, at the Serpentine Gallery, in London’s Kensington Gardens. Taking a Life for a Walk, a weekly or fortnightly half-hour wander through London streets with her child(ren) while playing the sax, was broadcast live on Resonance 104.4fm for five years. Music In Your Head is a live acoustic performance that takes place (mostly) inside the head of its audience of one. Recording an Impression, a piece of radio and postal art, was broadcast on Resonance 104.4 fm. My Foolish Machine, a half-hour radio art piece broadcast across Europe by the Radia network in 2006. Saxophone Experiments in Space, a site-specific ambulant composition for 55 saxophonists, made for the Queen Elizabeth Hall/foyer/environs, in London. All of this work comes from a desire to make explicit the uniqueness of each way of making and receiving sound in time and space, which also relates to trying to live and work with integrity in the literal sense.