Alexander Hacke and Dannielle Picciotto’s “Ship of Fools” berthed briefly at Eschschloraque Rümschrümp to allow the curious a glimpse of its cargo on Monday night. Dorfdisco was there to steal the cakes and scope out the scene.
Conceived and executed mainly during the course of a two month stay at Ontario’s Funny Farm before its subsequent presentation at Radial System E.V back in December of last year, Hacke and Picciotto’s project took its cue from Sebastian Brandt’s 15th century text, “Das Narrenschiff’, finding within it many apposite (if occasionally heavy handed) parallels with the modern world.
The resultant song cycle drew upon field recordings of, amongst many other things, the last mermaid parade on Coney Island, Las Vegas slot machines and a poignant re-imagining of the old time country drinking song, Rye Whiskey. Not to mention a passing nod to Elvis impersonators, the fifties exotica of Les Baxter, cheap home movie surrealism with toy soldiers, Tuvan throat singing, burlesque and belle de jour.
Pregnant with weighty themes, extracted from Brant’s 110 follies and vices to found amongst the ships passengers and crew, the resultant excursion through the treacherous seas of music theatre saw an eclectic confection of raw pseudo hillbilly sentiment colliding with tango, electronic break beats and melancholy autoharps. Tiki nature worship was finally presented as the antidote to the modern malaise of foolish appetite, though perhaps the cake might have tasted better with fewer and less sweet ingredients.
A man in front of me sneezed vigorously throughout and attention drifted from the screen to anticipation of the three song set that would provide the highlight of what was also the celebration of Hacke and Picciotto’s wedding anniversary.
In the intimate setting of Eschschloraque, sans the interviews and exegesis that accompanied and somewhat eclipsed the material presented in the film, Hacke and Picciotto’s performance and projected imagery took on a nineteenth century toy theatre quality and elicited a warm reception from the audience which included die-hard fans filmmaker Uli Schueppel (whose “Santos – Heldentaten, die keiner braucht”, about a masked Mexican wrestler stranded in Berlin, gets an airing at Whitetrash on Wednesday, 11th) and Berlin’s palest musician Steve Morrel, who tells us he has a hot new set including a remix of Cave’s Bromptom Oratory, available as a free 800 Megabyte download in Aiff Mac only format.
The DVD/CD package, documenting the voyage to date of the “Ship Of Fools”, is to be released June 20th on Potomak and features interviews with it’s joint chandlers and captains, Hacke and Picciotto, in which the former, faithful to Neubauten’s manifesto, confides that he “is always grateful to be given the opportunity to make a loud noise.” A sentiment with which we can only agree.
Alexander Hacke & Danielle de Picciotto’s “The Ship of Fools” U-Tube Trailer
Stultifera Navis (The Ship of Fools): The Medieval Satire of Sebastian Brant
Das Narrenschiff ( Deutsche Original Version / Original german version)