Today’s blog has timestamps to help facilitate the flow of what I wrote during the day.

5pm

Bumped into Katzuma at Gelatauro. We should so get them to be a sponsor one year considering how much business we bring them the week we’re here. I think last year we managed something like 2 or 3 kilos of ice cream in less than 5 days. Katzuma explains exactly where the tracks from the show come from – a mix of his own productions redone live and covers of famous tracks, all of course with a certain twist.

6pm
New film crew is in, setting up. Katzuma and Yass are talking about the sound man coming to check the set up later and how we’re planned for Friday’s sound check.

Yass and I are still fighting with the bloody 3g stick which won’t connect. Turns out it might be because we’re inside and it can’t pick up the connection. I smell BS though, nevermind it would have been nice but it’s not essential.

6.30pm

After 30 minutes of work it turns out Katzuma forgot Blanda is playing elsewhere tomorrow night. Shit. They need to start earlier but Nico is tied up with his kid until 5. To be continued.

And we are go again. Opificio Ciclope are here today as well for some projections checks and to test the set up for Friday. Should be an interesting evening of work. Wondering if we’re gonna manage to watch the game too or not.

Blanda and Danilo are jamming, smiling at each other. Blanda really has an enthusiasm that’s contagious.

7pm

“Facciamo trick tack”. This is how they’re explaining that Blanda will keep his Korg keyboard hooked up to his bass amp as the sound is SICK. He’s going to swap between electric bass and keyboard during the show without the need for a separate channel. His smile is probably bigger while he jams on the Korg.

The key is in the breaks and pauses between and inside tracks. As Nico puts it they need to keep rehearsing until it comes naturally.

7.50pm

Danileo with the whistle and bike ringer. Killer.

8pm

Sound man is here.

8.30pm

Meros’ flute is lost in the mix. Sound man manages to help Yass and Katzuma bring Meros back up in the mix so he sounds clearer and can actually hear himself.

Lesson learnt. Kebabs in Italy suck balls. Or at least those on Via San Vitale.

Break time. Chatting with Meros about the joys of real Turkish kebabs and then his holiday in Turkey 25 years ago and all the places he saw. Could be the one for my holiday next month.

10.30pm

Another killer dinner. Like Yass said it just wouldn’t feel right if we hadn’t done it. Even though we hadn’t originally planned on doing these kind of dinners again it really does bring out the best in people. Lisa loves cooking and people, especially here, love eating together. And if you put the dinner table inside a 400 year old courtyard in warm summer nights, what is there not to like. Might be more difficult for us logistically but the result is worth it, it brings everyone closer together.

Long discussion with Meros over dinner again, from the drama of football to the absurdity of the current news cycle in England and Italy. The pumping of fear and stupidity is the same everywhere. Oh and looks like Spain much to everyone’s surprise. Out to my Serie B family!

Katzuma and Meros are comparing iPhone music apps. The musicians are calling it an early day as it’s an early start tomorrow.

Full and happy.

11pm

Katzuma reckons Blanda is in love which is why he’s playing like this and more importantly for him forgetting all the queue points in the tracks!

11.30

Opificio Ciclope are giving a small preview of their visual work. Whoa. Amazing conceptual work, featuring space imagery surperimposed on footage of local buildings. A church that looks like a shuttle. A windmill that looks like an observatory. Shuttles protruding from cityscapes, buildings with astro imagery laid over them. It’s deep, and we’re all wondering how it’s going to blend with the music. Like Will Barras said last year I think it will be a case of everyone who comes Friday finding their own narrative in the mix of visuals and music. Everyone will experience it in their own unique way.

Midnight

We’re all discussing the possibilities of having audio with the images to use the trailer as an intro. It’s not that easy though as the projectors are going to sit 30 meters above the courtyard where the show is taking place. Opificio want to press play and go drink beers.

Looks like we’re staying up late to get into the school next to the venue to test the projector setup for Friday. We make our way to the school, open the door and it’s pitch black inside. We’re waiting for Yassin to turn the alarm off. Then we start making our way through the flooors with the lights from our phones. Surreal barely begins to describe it. Opificio have grabbed the school food trolley on the top floor to move the projector around. This is insane.

I get to see what our venue looks like for the first time. A lovely courtyard inside the building next door to our rehearsal space. A big stage and bigger dancefloor. There’s sofas on the dancefloor. How Italian.

We’re trying to figure out where to concentrate the projections as the walls we are projecting on aren’t equal in size and there’s a plastic roof in the way of the first one. So we’re not projecting on screens after all as I thought but on walls and roofs, which changes things slightly.

Opificio, Ale and Yass discussing the merits of macs for projection. It’s time to go. As Ale and I talk we agree that we always learn from each of our events or it wouldn’t be so much fun. Had a nice chat with Luca, our photographer for the week, about the project and it’s nice to see that this year, as with last, we have a bunch of people, photographers, video, writers, all willing to take time out of their own lives and works to come and be a part of the event. It makes me feel good that the idea behind Original Cultures still has the potential to inspire people like this. It was the single most amazing thing to come out of our first show last year, the realisation that an idea I had could inspire so many people without the need for monetary and other materialistic payments. As long as we continue on this path, there is little doubt that Original Cultures is a project with potential.

1.15am

Opificio Ciclope are giving me a lecture on who Katzuma actually is, in Italy. The man previously known as Deda is a real legend of the Italian hip hop scene, a real pioneer whose albums are still referred to as classics of the country’s hip hop scene. It only gives more meaning to what we’re doing.

Riding home to the sounds of Ben Sharpa and discussions of life in South Africa.

Make it home at 1.45. Crashing time. One more day to go. These weeks always go so fast. I love it though. As I was saying to Luca it’s really all about the process for me, from day 1 to day 5. For sure the show is enjoyable, but really it’s those days before and after that are really the most enjoyable, I get such a buzz from it.

Original Cultures ‘From Inner Space’ is Friday July 9 at Vicolo Bolognetti. Full details here.

Videos from the week’s work can be viewed here.

Photos from the week’s work can be viewed here.

And daily photo blogging on our Tumblr here.

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