For the 10 years between 2002 and 2012, cosmic nomad Damo Suzuki made annual trips to Australia, zigzagging across the country to perform improvised set with constant rotation of unacquainted sound carriers. While most of these limitless jams only existed in a passing flash, one special document exists – The Swiftsure Session.
Recorded deep in the Melbourne suburbs at Corduroy Records in 2004, these 48 minutes of free energy were cut direct to vinyl in real time. No overdubs or editing. Nothing but live tension. Duelling guitarists Emil Sarlija and Oren Ambarchi (later of hysterical prog group Superstupid) wandered blindly to a rhythm section anchored by Angie March’s Davey Williams and Edmond Ammendola, while Damo exercised his voice as an instrument, often indecipherable, inviting listener to create their own stories. In this room, every sound carrier is equal, opting out of any cues or direction. The only direction is UP!
Damo’s spirit comes with one consideration – audience members must be present as playing to cold studio machines restricts the communication. To bridge a feedback loop, 20-30 friends and fans banded around shared space.
Engineer Harry Williamson, who has his own psychedelic history as a member of Nik Turner’s Spynx and Mother Gong, manned the controls, ready to flip the acetate.
Rushed to press to beat the plant’s imminent closure, the original short run of the Swiftsure Session stretched 2LPs with a clank side. Here it is boiled down to a single disc, maximising the listening experience.
Part 1 23:58
Part 2 23:55
Sound Carriers :
Oren Ambarchi (Guitar)
Edmondo Ammendola (Bass)
Emil Sarlija (Guitar)
Damo Suzuki (Vocals)
Davey Williams (Drums)
Distributed by Kudos Worldwide
I didn’t see Holger for many years, we didn’t have relationship, so I didn’t know what he was actually doing.
Last time I heard about him was that he didn’t appear at Jaki’s funeral early this year , after while I heard Holger was sick that time. (Unfortunately, myself was also in hospital, not able to join Jaki’s funeral.) Even I didn’t know his wife U-she died a month before him.
If you’re at Network performance, creating time and space of the moment with ever changing local sound carriers and you’re into it and enjoy that energy and you keep smile. I say, if I didn’t meet Holger on that beautiful spring day in Munich 1970, I’m not able to bring you this experience of joy and share energy with you.
Holger is the person open my door to music activity. So, you know, everything begun on that day, Holger Czukay invited me to sing. (I still don’t know what moved him to stand up and come to me and asked if I can sing with Can on that day).
Holger is next to my mother, who gave me my life.
Holger gave me way to music life. If I didn’t meet him that day at that time and that place, I may became a politician, a comic painter or just I’m somewhere else.
Holger was workaholic.
He was first one to enter Inner Space Studio and last person to leave day after day. He was into wire, equipment and electric substance, eating sweet bread and drinking coffee, seemed to be no interest to get any other food, my picture in my brain is Holger in that form.
Sometimes he watched us (Irmin and me) during chess match looks very angry while he had problem with equipment. We’re concentrating next move. He was working if he doesn’t, he say some wits (near to philosophy) that often nobody’s able to understand.
Very first day, I was quite surprised from him was playing bass with white groove. I thought of Mickey Mouse, has four fingers, therefore he is bassist?
One day at beginning with Can, he came to me, I was enjoying Kölsch (domestic beer from Cologne) in local pub Plenum (A kind of institution, a pub early 70’s where Cologne artists and bands meet.)
He came with smiles on his face,
“Hey Damo, listen to this, it’s good British band!”
I took earphone and listen to it. British band?
“yeah, it’s not so bad….who is it?”
“It’s you..it’s our piece!”
It was “Mother Sky” on his face I found proud.
He was one, I guess in 90’s, somewhere on the street of Cologne I met him, he was saying “Can is the best band and there will be no band like us…also not in future….)
In fact as he was a hard worker, he was mostly with the band, take care about equipment, lay cables, even drove bus when we didn’t have roadies. Then, at Inner Space, preparations, recording, editing…..
He was action in person.
On that day in Munich he gave me “Monster Movies” and “Canaxis”
I liked both as at that time for me both were new, “something”. In “Boat-Woman-Song” I found fresh air and knew there’re many way to make music.
Holger was indeed a pioneer for sampling, electric, house music, techno, etc… He was doing all these very long time ever since even they didn’t have name.
Holger left us at age of 79.
U-she is beside him and Jaki’s grave is just few meter distance.
He was Inner Space, he choice his last moment in Inner Space.
It may right place…..space of creativity.
Holger, rest in piece.
Damo Suzuki / September 21 2017
Damo Suzuki in performance with Château Laut, recorded at Ausland, Berlin, 30.iv.2010 by Stephan Laackman. Mastered for cassette format by Mark Van Hoen.
Château Laut’s Stefan Fähler writes: “I contacted Damo in 2009. He didn’t reply immediately and at one point I just forgot about it… So, it was a huge surprise when he replied, exactly a year to the day later, explaining his email’s calendar was weird and he had only just now received my mail. Quickly, we arranged all details for our concert-to-be.
We first met a couple of months later, at the airport. We picked him up in the morning and were stoned just an hour later in our kitchen. The energy for the whole day was so peaceful and warm. On the way to soundcheck we saw barricades and police vans on the streets in readiness for 1 May – a date famous in Berlin for rioting and protest. We joked about this “predictable riot”, marked in calendars for all to see.
The gig at Ausland proceeded organically. We shared many beautiful moments, both on and off stage. Damo was so much into the atmosphere and the crowd that, after our main set, we went on-stage a second time. Afterwards, we crashed at our place, downing a couple of whiskeys before going to sleep, happy.
We kept in touch. He became something close to a spiritual mentor for me. He gave us contacts around the globe for travels and put me in touch with many nice people. He once said to me, one of the most important things in life is to travel. We were glad he stopped by our place on his journey.” – Stefan Fähler, Berlin, 23.viii.2017