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Music For Idiots

Monday December 2014

Week 1: Burnt instrumental exploration with Oleg Klegg and His Gaunt Twangers at a dirty basement in Utrecht, ripped Goshka Macuga poster hanging from the wall. Plugging in brand new Behringer effect pedals and bits of my original Christmas tree – who said I’m not a sensational/seasonal bitch when I want too be?!!

Wednesday in July
I am stunned by a large wasp. I thought I’d crushed it with my copy of Heat magazine, it suddenly springs back to life angrily and stings Quentin, my querulous sound engineer, repeatedly on the nose. Thank heaven it had the good sense not to sting me.

idiots-waspy-sting

Sunday December 2014
Week Three: Copying transcripts from an archive of half broken Milwaukee dictating business machines circa 1962. Stomu Yamashta and Henze’s take on Ho Chi Minh mixed into a ground down audio paste with twinges of Clint Mansell’s epidural Aronofsky soundtrack – fed open mouthed to a fuzz box and relayed around the room by speakers. I sit doing my email, dragging the mouse so slowly around the mousemat that the sound engineer becomes enraged, storms over and takes a swipe at me with his expensive soundfield microphone.
“We pay you a small fortune to come and perform and you sit there doing your emails”, he yells, quite apoplectic.
“Best save it for the mosquitos, Tantrum Boy’, I tell him. “I hear they bite little pricks this time of year’.

idiots-obey-kaffesmall-cartoon
Friday November 2017
Week 4: Practicing the violin once again. The pain in my wrist entrenches me in my humble e-pinion that the violin and its mortifying tones are strictly for annoying the critics. By the banks of the Rhine the following morning it is placed in a tulle-lined little oak coffin and pushed gently upstream.

Week 5: Its clear. I want to use the crap I see all over this town, and trap it in a clear yellow resin of epoxy – before setting fire to it. PING!

idiots-texan-kaffe

Week 2: I receive the most insolent letter from a twerp who calls himself Eddie Prevost. The NERVE! I quote:

‘Dear Kaffe. You may have heard of me. I was once a big name on the improv scene. I have been out of circulation for a while but am hoping to get back in the game. My mates have told me you are the one to talk to. You have all the right connections and a big heart. Also, I have to say, if the photos I’ve seen in the Marxist version of Heat magazine are anything to go by, you are a rare stunner and extremely fit lady. I’ve included some of my lyrics for you to set to music. If you would help me out I would be eternally grateful and will count you a friend for life. Please please, Mrs Kaffe, I know you won’t close your doors out on an old improvising geezer who has fallen on hard times. Looking forward to our fruitful union.
Yours faithfully
‘Fast’ Eddie Prevost.’

Here is a taster of the ‘lyrics’ the ineffable dolt sent me:

‘Factory labour
is being exploited.
They’re working all night
And they’re working all day.

The greedy fat bankers
Are really delighted.
They’re making the money
Without needing to use eBay.’

idiots-commie-ballet

Having been brought up correctly, I immediately write back:

‘Dear Eddie, you stupid stupid little man. Do you really crawl around your cramped and dirty council house bedsit imagining that the world’s top improvising laptop and installation artist – the great Kaffe Matthews – has the time or inclination to add even one hemisemidemimoorilemmyquaver of her brilliant music to your asinine scrawls. What planet are you on, moron?!! You insult my sympathy for revolutionary politics with your lyrics – banal dullard pinko witterings of the direst stamp. Are you certain they were not actually written by a piece of wood? Listen carefully. Do not dare bother me again or my lawyers will bury you. Period.
Lossa luv, babes Kaffe xx’

Week 3: Performance? Does it really require human agency. Is not the machine better equipped for the rigors of a 48 hour electro-operatic gestation ritual? We are preparing Act 9 for Ludo Pondswitch’s Opera ‘Sin in a Moving Car’. Sparkling Detroit wheel rims and the smell of butch men coated in axle grease spring to mind – but I step on the thought, my toe crushing a gormless bug.

idiots-idiots-perf-kaffe

The 48 hour performance approaches within 12 hours including 41 hours of non-sonic performance Eating the Brickbat at Der KunstKracker 12 West Berlin.

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My software today has been developed by iKLUdGe and TTPcom – hybrid Max MSP from San Fran. After a turgid start from my collaborators I take command of the rehearsal, weaving a half-modulated threnody that is to be found drowning out the wearisome drone of the duxianqin and kicking some ass. Later we have a breakthrough.
A beer pickled triple barreled Welsh rock singer (Ydris Muhammed-Celwyn-Jones) has been located in Merthyr Tydfil who can voice the part of Tennessee Okri, the jejeune bloated patriarch of the family– fabulous!! The female side of the Improv ‘rumour mill’ says that Ydris has a nasty rep for touching up the ladies. He’d better not try anything on with me, mind – or I’ll whip him up an impromptu orchidectomy with my Kitchen Devil and have his male organs shipped by slow surface mail to the Orkneys.

idiots-tam

The awesome Tam Dean Burn, (what an actor!) will join us to play Lord Heligan and under the glare of a 12 watt energy saving lightbulb (nightmare) deliver his usual rant through a twenty six channel sound system. In an effort to confound the audience they’ll be asked to leave their bicycles unlocked by the nearest open window. In all, an exemplary peripatetic show especially when one considers the audience will be walking home after their bikes are stolen.

Monday 30th June

I am unprepared for it. My rented Skoda breaks down in the middle of the edge of nowhere – Texas.
Rampant curly snakes, a wailing wall of heat and cold Taco Bell. I pick up one of the more unusual serpents which has darted behind a rock. Mottled, it has a curious bone structure attached to its rear end that makes the most intriguing skeletal rattling sound. I wonder what species it can be as I never encountered this particular subfamily while studying for my two zoology degrees at Uppsala. For those of you untutored in Zoology, snakes are classified thus:
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes.
Family: Sly and the Stone Family

idiots-rattlesnake-small

Coiled around my arm, the snake playfully opens its jaws as if about to strike but one look from Mistress Kaffe and it changes its mind. Snakes are just like men. Full of huff, puff and bravado but so incredibly easy to deflate.
To my surprise I find I like the desert. It reminds me of the Caterham branch of Top Shop on a rainy Shove Wednesday afternoon – empty but lots to look at if you keep your eyeballs open. Eerily bright space and clouds in the shape of a fat co-op till lady that fluff endlessly over the cactus punctured land. Today, even the clouds are full of huff and puff but not much of the bravado stuff.
I am picked up my a strange young man in a hockey mask who, having elicited the information that I am somehow connected to ‘The Music Business’ (HUGE QUOTATION MARKS) proceeds to torture me with his turgid math rock Emo demos while driving the three hours to the nearest service station. Yeauccch!

idiots-motel-8

Midnight. I finally reach the haven of a cosy motel, run a hot tub, fix myself a large and vivacious Rum Collins. And then the bulb blows.

Friday October 2020
Touring – dates in the Danzig corridor, Stalingrad and a commission to play on a billionaires 202ft yacht in Monaco harbour. Despite my unshakeable Socialist convictions I accept. On deck alone together after my brilliant performance, Mr Loaded Billionaire has a grope and makes a pass. I fend him off, even though I am hopelessly tipsy pipsy wispy.
It might seem like I am quite a sober girl, the truth is I can most often be found drinking prosecco. I have been addicted to it since I was twelve or so. Next to always jonesing after laptops, it is my worst habit. And I drink the classic variety–with the absolutely nose-tingling levels of gaseous effervescence. I do not know exactly how much I drink a day. I don’t care to figure it out—perhaps I am afraid to know. But I drink so much the prosecco company agreed to deliver it to my home in a tanker. My individual daily prosecco consumption rivals the amounts they sell at the Royal Ballet, Covent Garden. Mum has been telling me since I was twelve I was going to go insane and have the teeth rot out of my head. So far my genius, and obsessive attention to brilliance, has kept away the teeth fairies (in fact I attribute my ability to communicate with tree sprites to the prosecco:))

idiots-kaffe-prosecco-hilton

Thursday Jan 2015
Week One: Group installation in partnership with Error 404. I can never remember their names. Our venue preps are threatened by a gang of angry neighbours who storm the space demanding that I be quiet. I yell ‘Tacit!’, followed by, ‘Eckuf off, you scumbots!’. The use of pig Latin in close association with the most vulgar expletives never fails to deter the intruder but, as usual, the spineless organisers cave in. Uncomfortable closed back earphones are to be imposed after 6pm. The useless things aren’t even stereo – yes, it’s ‘back to mono’ as the limpid 70’s decal once fulminated. This stupid restriction, however, adds to my fury at ever getting involved in this pathetic project. Are all artistic collaborations doomed to go the way of that iconic 1940’s relationship breakdown – Breton and Jean Dubuffet, two bitter scorpions stinging one another to death in an empty desert for ownership of the mantle of Art Brut? PING!

idiots-dragoncollage-ernst

Thursday September 2015
Week Two: We have come over to Ojinaga in Mexico to buy authentic peasant clothing off the locals. If there’s a cheaper way to source one’s xmas prezzies then TELL ME!
There’s little choice and nothing that’s useful on that score but the difference in colour ‘twixt garish surface and visible poverty impresses. It must feel great to be able to cast off the bounds of technology and live with so little.

Wednesday Feb 2016

Week Two: So, here i am! in Austria. Yay yay… land of the laptop loonies!
!t’s currently 9.30 in the morning and i’m sitting next to a heated swimming pool, with lots of pink flowers and mountains and a dead body floating face down. It’s all very Sunset Boulevard meets Brian Jones. Curiously absent from this Hollywood reconstruction is Michael Barrymore, surely the icon of Swimming-Pool-as-History. The Hotel manager, Herr Hanfstaengl, is going mental and the guests are in various ‘states hysterical’.

Here are some pictures I took during the journey here.

idiots-austria-snap-001

idiots-austrian-lifejacket

I should send out a big up to that yummy hunk Klaus for driving, because I got to see so many more beautiful places than I would otherwise! And when I got bored with scenery I could gaze at Klaus’ telegraph pole biceps and huge bullish neck. He’s built like Andre’s Equivalent 8, only ‘minimal’ is not a word that comes to mind when fantasizing about Klaus. Undeniably, the working class male is both subject (i.e. the willing director of his own potency) and object (to be gazed upon by others for his latent desirability). Mmmmmmm…

More working for a day or two then I’m going to take my first holiday in weeks. The local police have arrived – Closeau eat your heart out – and are trying to fish the body out of the pool. Hopeless! I wish they’d hurry up. I’m dying for my early morning dip.

idiots-piss-christ-pool

Saturday July 2016

Week One: How much have I changed the contrast and brightness controls in my own mind to avoid seeing the nightmares I never want to see ? Have I finally forged my own Holy Grail – an index of self-deception?

And what will my sweaty promoter see as we stand and stare in the saw-toothed heat and I move farther and farther away to avoid his jarring B.O. except for rubbish strewn brutality of a Californian afternoon?

For my matinee performance I am allowed a choice of piano. I dismiss the Steinberg out of hand. The Bosenlundgren is certainly attractive, as is the tinkly Bechstein but in the end I plump for the architectonically unmusical stresses of the Renzo.

idiots-klassical-piano-kaffe

Friday April 2016

Week Four:

Oversee the installation of my sonic bidet in Bruges. It’s a group show of the worst kind. The gallery owner calls me frantic and freaking out at 9 in the p.m. She’d returned to pick up some flyers and discovered that one of the American artists who’d been locked in the space during the day (they needed to hang 357 radios from picture hooks for some obscure no doubt conceptualistic reason – Americans!!) had gotten caught short and mistook my sonic bidet for the you-know-what.

The owner suggests that I catch a bus over and bring some cleaning materials and rubber gloves. I generally scream and threaten death, pain and extermination to the gallery owner who promptly sends a taxi to collect me. She’s also agreed to muck out the bidet under my supervision. It’s brill. While she scrubs and cleans I slip away undetected to the American’s stupid installation. Deftly, perching on a stool, I place a doggy doodoo I scooped up off the sidewalk on top of one of the radios. Revenge is sweet, is it not? Anyway, I’ve done them a favour. As part and parcel of the tradition of re-imaging urban ideation, a turd in an installation marks it out as part of the magical social realist category.

idiots-sonic-b-bruges
Tuesday in July

Week One: Imagine Helen Fielding meets the Psycho Cop 2 meets a stale packet of cheese flavoured Doritos in deepest Guatemala. Well I am there. A huge and spacious, Greystoke themed apartment, (BFG-sized by British standards), no evidence of design, appalling ‘Me Tarzan, You Jane’ artwork, no electric kettle or hot water bottle. Thank the Saints that it’s sweltering outside or the Kaffe shit really would collide with the fan. When I examine the bathroom appliances I find that they are all broken and the bed is propped up by numerous copies of Houellebecq’s Atomised. They’re all in Spanish which I certainly don’t read or care to understand. What luck!

idiots-kaffe-rice-tarzan

Thursday 14th February

Alright yes, I admit it. I adore your pudgy little fascinated faces staring back at me as I perform – oh audience – don’t take your love to town!

idiots-mexican-skull-thang

Back to the room where they make you practice how to spell practise / Dien Bien Fooey- oh teacher, where art thy golden slippers ?
I shift gears on the tarmac of abstraction – spinning wheelies of invention – burning an imaginary performance of rubber trumpet licks and male squealing from “Men Under Heel” instead.

idiots-kaffes-magick-eye

Monday May 2018

Week Three: Good news at last! In October my software engineers will announce my new processing software. My brilliant engineers have given the software a working title – Phoebus Bulwark – but this is a temporary state of affairs. It will have to change to something that features my name prominently – Kaffesomethingorother. Here’s a tip for all you young electronica artists. Never miss an opportunity to furnish and enhance the brand.

idiots-sonic-bidet-max-patch

Also new is a small Kaffe web app that sits in your browser that allows me to remote control music the music you’re listening to. I will be streaming my music via services such as iTunes, Streampad, SeeqPod, Pandora, MyFlashFetish, Last.fm, Sponge, and at least 257 other music players. I’m proud to say that the Kaffe tech team has now become an integrated part of our collective web life delivering loads of Kaffe music and video streams along with some other cool ideas – most of them MY ideas. (Ever tried to find a prosecco outlet in Santa Monica?) Under my guidance the boffins will be working with my other engineering teams to integrate my personalized web tools into other Kaffe! ‘online products. It’s all about sustaining and nourishing the brand.

idiots-kaffe-red-show

We’ve also been having a lot of success with my 3D Web Media Player (which internally we fondly call The Square Kaffe), the brainchild of Hrafnkell Birgisson. My Media Applications team has been building on Hrafnkell’s great work to improve the player and finally put it in the hands of some of the top bloggers in the digital music space. (Brilliant thought she is, Hrafnkell has zero understanding of the meaning of the word ‘Deadline’). Watch this space, music bloggers!

Tuesday February 2019
After eleventeen years of not bothering to do much about it, we at last are presented with a spanking permanent creative space.

idiots-kaffe-art-shack

Little Tye Cottage, The Cuttings, Snapes Crackling, Essex.
At last the work that is Music for Idiots work can really continue to work – working. Working the work. God bless you Arts Counlic UK. And for covering the road tax and full party girl insurance on my little powder blue Mazda. PING!

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a). Kaffe walks into a bar and orders a prosecco. Her coat is made of brown wrapping paper. And so are her skirt, blouse, stockings, bracelets and laptop. Her heels are also made of paper. Pretty soon, the sheriff arrives and arrests her for rustling.

b). Kaffe walks into a bar with a laptop. She says, “A prosecco for me and one for my giraffe.” And they stand around drinking for hours until the giraffe passes out on the floor. Kaffe pays the tab and gets up to leave. The bartender says, “Hey! You’re not going to leave that giraffe on the floor, are you?” Kaffe says, “That’s not a giraffe, it’s a laptop.”

kaffe-cu-tronik-copy1

c). A kaffe, a kaffe and a kaffe walk into a cafe. The bartender says, “What is this, some kind of kaffe?

d). Kaffe walks into a cafe, sits down, and orders a prosecco. As she sips the prosecco, she hears a voice say, “Nice installation.” Looking around, she sees that the cafe is empty except for her and the bartender. A few sips later, another voice says, “Beautiful laptop.” At this, kaffe orders the bartender over. “Look, I must be losing my mind,” she tells him. “I keep hearing these voices say nice things, and there is not a soul in here but us.” “It’s the chopped nuts,” explains the bartender, indicating a dish on the bar. “The chopped nuts?”, asks Kaffe. “That’s right, the chopped nuts — they’re complementary”.

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e). Kaffe walks into a cafe looking sad. The bartender slaps her hard across the face, pushes her up against the wall and asks her, “What’s the matter, bitch?” Kaffe says, “My tree sprite that inhabits an old 30’s wooden tennis racket and I had a fight, and she told me she wasn’t going to speak to me for a year. The year is up today.”

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Saturday January 2017

Men Under Heel is a seventeen and one sixthteenth hour 1-channel noise-fest at Pauline Obliveros’ Villa, Cap d’Agde near Montpellier, France – a be-in celebrating 2,500 years of matriarchal domination. Recorded on adapted vinyl using a rotating hand driven lathe next to the beach – typical of the slow-witted French to ask me to stop my performance while they change over the vinyl.

men-under-heel

This piece involves manipulation of recordings of 12 sthenic young men, mainly agonized squeals and yelps. Toshimaru and his pick up band generate a wall of Japanoise as I order the young guys to lay flat on the ground face up. After a suitable pause, I walk over their supine bodies wearing a pair of 11cm spike heels. In particular, I target their prostate glands. Women do not have a prostate gland, although women do have microscopic Skene’s glands connected to the distal third of the urethra.
As I stamp on the guy’s tender abdomens I am listening to a 4 second extract of Uffer Bent’s Rubber Trumpet Concerto in re minor. I’d stumbled upon the joy of rubber trumpets earlier in the week as I drove my powder blue Mazda at speed through the centre of Scunthorpe blasting out a selection of DVDs that I regularly tell the editor of The Wire magazine to gather for me. The experience was well worth the three points on la licence even if speeding with the wind billowing through one’s hair causes the most awful split ends.

kaffes-kar

The next day, after Toshi and his lickspittle cadres have scuttled off back to Okinawa, I pen the most marvelous text:

I doze beneath a faded cactus, grains of desert sand whisping by. My personal Adonis serves up a finger of icy prosecco in a crisp chilled glass, following my complicated instructions to the letter. He hops from foot to foot, switching posture as the baking earth burns his unprotected feet. I shift on my sunbed, prosecuting the wind for that moment of silence, when all is still and I can sip loudly, banishing the last afterimage of city and concourse. A slam of distant voices rocks me violently. Approaching from the East are one thousand chunky obeisant men, muscles rippling in a bronzed somatic gallop. I rise – Ishtar, Queen of Heaven, and gently lift my whip. Men under heel. Is it not the natural order of things?

wingsfae

Creations du Kaffe, March 2017.

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1903-domenico_de_bertiol_prosecco

The mixers are connected in feedback by connecting outputs to inputs, back out to the outputs, out of the outputs into the inputs, in through the outputs by way of the inputs and out of the auxiliary sends to the inputs. These inputs are then outputted in through outputs and inserted into inputs whose outputs are not in the least put out. The resulting feedbacks are fed with another feedback produced by feeding feedback back into a feeding trough. The feedback produced is fed back into the feedback circuit not by blowing but by feeding. However, by the time the feedback is fed back into the back of the feed trough, everyone is fed up and tries to go home.
The result is a terse conflation of chairs slamming, feet stepping and angry people asking for their money back but they won’t get their money back, only feedback. I order the back doors locked so they can’t leave.

kaffe-and-prosecco-band

Towards the end of the evening, when I’ve wrung the last perspiration-inhibiting underarm blast out of my dinky Dior déodorant vaporisateur – L’essence de Cyborg, – the projectionist shows the last 23 minutes of Yasuzo Masamura’s ‘Blind Beast’ – accompanied by 9 hours of static and feedback.

blindbeast

It is an odd film. Inside the artists studio, a disturbing tale of cruelty, sexism and mutilation is acted out… by actors.
The movie is given soundtracked identity by professional laptop artists – ME i.e. the amazing Kaffe Maffews – and my so-so backing band, the abrogative Mattin, Yoshio Mashida, Gundra Gottschalk, Phil ‘Headblock’ Niblock and his dopey hoverfly girlfriend Astrid. Why hasn’t he got shot of that fawning bitch is a mystery to all…. (Phil, hunni… you’re better than that!! xx)

chopped-nutz

Each participant generates 6 hours worth of dense top drawer sonics. It is hilarious watching the Visual artists doing their level best to keep up.

prosecco-trio

Audience = ill formed under informed pernicious amateurs, an ideal ‘take the money and run’ show. I am mindful of my justly famous Kaffe quote:

‘No longer are we homo sapiens. We now are promo sapiens’.

kaffe-iz-chavvi1

By the end of the evening I can’t stand to talk to anyone. Leaving precise directions for how I expect my equipment to be packed away by the dopey engineers, I depart in a taxi for my five star hotel. As to how it earned those five stars is a complete mystery to me.

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On Viewing Laptops
By Dell’s Store, I wander to and fro,
Gazing on Sony’s peak, where Apple’s latest
Laptop,
White-gleaming, sparkles.

Sachiko M.

cat-sach-n-kaffeSachiko M. and Kaffe partying hard @ 7969 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood

Inspired by that mind-blowingly marvelous text by the gorgeous Sachiko, I’m going to tell you about my latest solo performance. Not that I’m above collaborating with my fellow musicians – provided they’re good enough and can do as they’re told. But, let’s face it, the rewards are so much better if one can play on one’s own. It’s like having a large jar of honey all to oneself.

cat-spiral-stairI’ll Starve Your Cat – photo by Paul Bennun Mon 2014

Bored with the usual laptop thing I decided I’d do a prepared/damaged laptop computer acoustic/electronica solo set.
The prepared/damaged laptop computer acoustic/electronica solo set is based in the characteristics of an Apple laptop modified by placing objects in its shiny computer belly. I employ a special technique that keeps my hands free and permits permanent sound production through a technical software technique.

As the computer hard drive squeals to a halt and the screen goes blank, the laptop throws out sort of indeterminately pitched economy-size sounds that evolve in hideous directions, building with horrid epitaxial layers of noise.

cat-kaffe-yella-cutz

You could call it a sort of noise/ontological pointless polysemic music. You could also call it sort of an epistemological epidermis with sonic blackheads. These long sounds are cut with silences that are fundamental to the process of puffing out one’s music. Which is itself an analog of the judicious application of plumping gloss to the lips – or a vivacious springy mousse to the hair. The longest silence occurred soon into the piece. Too soon! The laptop gave one final stuttering squeal and burst into flames. I sat in silence for the remaining 57 minutes of the performance and the audience sat with me, not daring to move.

cat-kaffe-kar-kartoon

It’s really quite easy to destroy a computer. Objects like ping pong bats, pieces of Scharffen Berger chocolate, melted chopped nut boxes (my friend Annette has a kiln), liquid prosecco, plasti-dip (junior sized pot), sharp violin bow and really heavy water are used as the tools of destruction.

cat-ill-starve-your-kat

That’s enough ‘solo’ secrets from Kaffe’s Birkin bag for the present. It wouldn’t do to spoil all you marvelous fans rotten!!! xx

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