‘Duo Geloso’ is the duo of Arnold Dreyblatt and Paul Panhuysen. In December 1987, they played a concert together at Het Apollohuis in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
This concert is now released on Oren Ambarchi’s Black Truffle label.
“I think that composers and musicians can draw on all traditions”
‘Duo Geloso’ was recorded at Het Apollohuis in December 1987. If you listen to this recording now yourself, what do you hear? What do you think? What do you feel?
Arnold Dreyblatt: I was actually surprised that the recordings had “aged” well with time. It seemed more interesting and quirky than I expected. After this project with Paul I moved back to Berlin and began other projects, and I hadn’t listened to the recordings in many years.
How do you remember the day of the recording?
I remember more the periods of preparation to prepare the music that appears in this recording. The music was prepared first for a series of concerts. I was staying at Het Apolluis at the time and we worked together for some weeks, trying things out. In retrospect, I was the one interested in fixing the pieces at some point in rehearsals, that’s how I had worked in my own music with my ensembles. So I was pushing Paul a bit to rehearse more extensively than he was used to, and he used to joke about that. On the other hand he introduced a kind of spontaneity and quirkiness to the music, which I would not have. So there was a lot of give and take, we each brought instruments and performance techniques to the rehearsals.
What attracted you to Paul’s work?
I have always thought that Paul was a kind of “Renaissance” man, well-steeped in European history, endlessly curious, a polymath comfortable in many fields: a visual artist, musician, composer, art administrator, curator and thinker. One should also emphasize the contribution of his lovely wife Helene, who supported him and Apollohuis through all of those years. He was a networker who was internationally connected and interested in activities and personalities in the US, and in Western and Eastern Europe. We became instant friends and collaborators. Paul was criticized a bit later for appropriating from all those around him, but in retrospect, he was more interested in the collective, and in that he was perhaps before his time.
The album is called ‘Duo Geloso’. The word “duo” refers to the two of you, I suppose. But what does the word “geloso” mean, or what does it mean within the context of the title of this album?
Paul had some Italian loudspeaker horns from the firm Geloso, the kind used in public address systems in public space. We played all our concerts through this system, which was very strong visually! We decided to use the name as our “logo”.
Paul plays a Mattel synthesizer. Mattel does not make “real” music instruments, but music instruments as toys. Should music always still involve “playing” as in “toying around”?
We both had a large collection of instruments and sound makers lying around for us to try out in various musical contexts. Paul contributed the Mattel and the bird whistles and contributed many different amplified string instruments, some which I had built or amended. I think that a playing around or experimental aspect is essential. I guess our difference came out when I wanted to keep that phase in the preparation and not so much in the concert, although there was always room for a bit of improvisation when we played together.
In the press text which comes along with this release, there’s a reference to Dick Dale in your guitar playing. Even though you play “serious music”, is there for you still a link to rock ‘n roll?
My music is very much influenced by non-western musical traditions and I grew up in the 60’s with rock and popular music trends. I think that composers and musicians can draw on all traditions, and my music has found a new younger audience whose references are much wider than only “serious music”. Oren Ambarchi’s label, Black Truffle is an example of this – his interests and the label casts a “very wide net”. I am coming personally from the visual and media arts, so that I have performed in varying media contexts. When I began in New York in the 70’s, the musical world was much narrower. Perhaps the interest in these recordings is possible now that the musical universe has been so radically changed and widened!