Live in Beppu

Berlin open air swimming pool related this group came out of the fresh idea of “THE SCHWIMBAD JAZZ POOL” an association that was going to include the 3 of us on this record and our pal Rogier Smal on drums. For one thing or another the day before we were going to make our first record in LEEDS in the summer of 2016 with Keeby at the controls at OUSE STUDIOS it became clear it would be a trio and the SJP idea faded but left still a group of musicians as interested in improvising together as they are in bathing. Also remaining was the nub of an idea from daft conversations with Roro over time that we should both appear nude on our next duo record.

Unaware of how amazing the Japanese ONSEN experience would turn out to be, things got heavy and amazing in Beppu which has over 100 bathhouses using naturally occurring volcanic spring water as the source, coming in at 43 degrees with varying mineral contents depending a little on which one you go to. Staying in an old school house with no bathroom it quickly made sense to go and visit the bathhouse in the morning, which was quickly followed by the realisation that it was possible to go to the onsen 2 or 3 times a day.

To make the photographs happen was really a nice and unusal thing; involving I think some delicate/brave discussion between our friend and colleague Ono (he also acted as the photographer) with an onsenmeister he knew well to allow us in after closing time and with a camera to take the shots.

Listening to trains overhead, my own breathing, fingers on the skin of a drum held and bendable; a talking drum type tensioned thing, children’s games in the passage way outside, paper thin walls, light passing through different opaque materials; granulated, holding really still in hot water, breathing, sniff sulphur, doing calculations on fall height of electrcial apartus and water, walls and doors creak and slide, the outside has come inside and the reverse but you only hear and can’t see because its opaque; only light filters in and sound; private space but completely permeated by sound, shoes off, a miniute rattle or bad connection somewhere in the jack plug of the jazzmaster, still not actually fixed it in fact, downtuned ping and pang, that flavour of stuff we don’t really have at home, clear sake, clean, listening to water bubbling, shaving in a steamy mirror, steam cooking in the mountains, trains overhead.

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