Category: Tour Blog

There and Back Again

L2Ork in ParisCan’t believe we are less than four hours away from home. Currently waiting at Newark airport for our last connection to Charlotte, NC where Michael and Alec will be waiting with two 12-passenger vans to take us back to Virginia Tech (approx. 2.5 hour ride from the airport).

Looking back, it’s been an amazing three weeks full of surprises, twists, turns, curve balls, and stories we all will be retelling for many seasons to come. More importantly, it’s been a tour filled with successful performances.

Last night, we played as part of the closing concert at the international NIME conference in Oslo, a performance that I think was particularly well received. As I write this, my computer is slowly chewing on the video footage which I will be uploading to our YouTube page as soon as it is done.

Yesterday, I also received an email informing me that another interview aired on Croatian National TV (HTV) as part of the e-Hrvatska show covering our performance in Zagreb. You can view the video here.

I would like to use this opportunity to once again sincerely thank our Stakeholders who have generously sponsored this gargantuan undertaking. Likewise, I would like to thank our guest soloists Ron Coulter and Aurora Martin who have been brave (crazy? :-) enough to partake in the tour. I would also like to acknowledge my European Colleagues who have helped me coordinate venue planning, Robin Gareus, Marc Groenewegen, and Martin Kaltenbrunner. Finally, I would like to thank all l2orkists for their selfless contributions and sacrifices that have made this tour possible. Have a great summer all! You’ve definitely deserved it!

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Of Hostels, Spam, and Volcanoes

Yeah, we did a lot of this...It seems the farther we go west, the more “unique” our accomodations are. Our initial Amsterdam hostel was, well… unique indeed. Now that the ensemble has moved to STEIM for the rest of our Amsterdam stay we are hopeful things will improve. Something else I noticed since filling out a couple of those hostel registrations leaving my VT email (call it trying to be honest, or better yet, just plainly naive), my inbox spam has literally quadrupled. And then, there are those pesky Icelandic volcanoes with impossible names, one of which is now causing a bit of a headache due to our pending departure from Oslo scheduled for Thursday next week. Let’s hope that wind takes care of the ash by then so that our return is safe, timely, and uneventful.

Yesterday evening, we held a workshop at STEIM to an enthusiastic audience. Having been given an opportunity to recap the milestones L2Ork has achieved over the past two and a half years made me realize just how far we’ve come.

Tonight, we will be performing at Zaal100 @ 8:30pm, as part of an HKU event. More soon…

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Midpoint

L2Ork in front of Zagreb's Museum of Contemporary ArtsEleven days behind us and another eleven to go, today marks the midpoint of the tour. Having performed last night at Hamburg’s Academy of Music and Theater as part of the Blurred Edges Festival, we are using one day to catch-up with sleep and follow-up on outstanding matters. For one, I spent a better part of today producing long overdue L2Ork performance videos. Consequently, we got seven new videos ready out of which four have been already uploaded onto the DISIS YouTube channel. Similarly, we’ve been trying to consolidate tour photos which should be finding their way onto the media and facebook pages hopefully soon. Tomorrow morning, we head to Amsterdam. On the 24th we have a workshop at STEIM, followed by two performances, in Amsterdam on 25th, and Utrecht on 26th. Stay tuned for more updates soon!

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Rebound

L2Ork at Zagreb's Museum of Contemporary ArtsAs they say, what does not kill you makes you stronger. With the bout of challenges the ensemble faced over the past few days we approached our next venue in Zagreb’s magnificent Museum of Contemporary Arts (event page) with great caution. And it seems that our preparedness has indeed paid off. Not only did we land a series of interviews, including the nationwide RTL TV (broadcast today as part of the 6:30PM national news, fast-forward to 26:17 on the timeline for our segment) and the Croatian National Radio, but our story also aired in the most unsuspecting places, such as the popular Croatian computer magazine. More so, ensemble’s creative output has been compared to famous artists such as Stockhausen and Cage, as well as Einsturzende Neubauten, something that we’ve found quite flattering. Following the concert, once again the stage was swamped with curious audience members, something that has by now become the staple of our concerts. Needless to mention the event was a great success that has left us all energized and motivated more than ever before.

Tomorrow 11am-3pm, a national radio show titled “Putovi Hrvatske Glazbe” (loosely translated as “Paths of Croatian Music”) will air featuring L2Ork works and an interview, followed by additional broadcasts of various pieces over the next couple of weeks. Similarly, a TV show titled e-Hrvatska (e-Croatia) will in coming days air on the national HTV an interview with excerpts from the performance. We will make sure to keep you posted as soon as we know more. We are also working on editing video footage which we will be posting hopefully soon. In the meantime, to keep up with latest tour developments, join our facebook page. For a media fix, check out David’s L2Ork tour photo journal.

Next stop, May 21st @ 8PM at Hamburg, German, with a performance at the Academy of Music and Theater.

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L2Ork Unplugged

As I battle a monster jetlag-exhaustion combo driven by an insane concert schedule, I caught myself pondering the following: in a society driven by an incessant pursuit of elusive perfection it seems like we are always trying our hardest to present ourselves as being something we clearly can never be–perfect. So, instead of propagating a fake ideal image of what a tour might seem to an outside viewer, here is an alternative, “behind the curtains” view of our ambitious undertaking in hope it may provide some wisdom to those who might be considering initiatives of similar nature and scope.

During our three-leg flight, we went through four (yes, you read that right, four) TSA checkpoints tripping additional security checks at every single one of them with our ominous looking hemi speakers that have confounded even most experienced TSA officers. In Charlotte (the point of origin for most of us), over half of students were unable to obtain their boarding passes for connecting flights. This, in combination with the fact we had to deplane our original flight in Charlotte due to a “mechanical problem,” we barely made it to our overseas flight literally minutes before its departure. As if begging for trouble, due to preexisting logistic challenges not all l2orkists shared the common itinerary. Ron joined us at Charlotte airport barely making it through security in time for our joint departure, while John joined us in Frankfurt. My advice? Don’t do this.

Knowing how much punishment checked luggage is commonly subjected to during air travel, we bought a hard-shell suitcase for our subs and supporting L2Ork accessories. Yet, upon arriving to Linz we discovered the brand new suitcase not only had a nasty rip in its plastic shell, but one of the subs inside it had a leg completely torn off (including a piece of its wooden enclosure), despite the fact we stuffed the entire suitcase with shock-absorbing foam-like material. So, I spent an afternoon in Linz between the workshop and a concert seeking inventive ways to fix the sub. Luckily, it all worked out since Martin generously offered access to his studio. Following the late Linz gig, on our way back to the hotel we were caught completely unprepared in a rainstorm which once again tested our L2Ork bags to their very limits.

Next destination, Ljubljana. As we were setting up in Kino Šiška, we discovered that one of the stations were not properly packed and that we left behind 3 critical cables (speaker, sub, and network), effectively rendering one station inoperable. While we did bring along an additional station as a backup plan and thus were able to compensate for this unfortunate loss, another one of these slip-ups and entire tour will be in jeopardy. And we are barely getting started…

And then there is the Budapest gig. The train to Ljubljana ran quite late begging a critical question whether we would be able to make it to Budapest in time for our 7pm gig where we had barely an hour between our anticipated arrival (following an 8-hour journey of the only train connection between Ljubljana and Budapest) and the beginning of the concert. Following our last night’s performance the ensemble spent two hours deliberating possible alternatives and finally arriving at the most dreaded, yet the only rational option of having to cancel our Budapest gig. Swallowing a bitter pill is never fun, but when one spends a year in planning an event just to cancel it less than 24 hours before the performance, it is plainly unbearable.

Nonetheless, there are many exciting things ahead of us and the one-day break has given us a chance to catch our breath and recoup some of the precious energy. Looking forward, despite all the curve balls we’ve been dodging for the past couple days, I cannot help but feel optimistic. We still have tons of exciting venues ahead of us. Our next stop? Zagreb’s magnificent Museum of Contemporary Arts and a performance on May 18th @ 6pm as part of the International Day of Museums.

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