Members Of Xiu Xiu And Tortoise and Tortoise
Donaufestival Krems, 2008
Devin Hoff takes the last sip of his red wine and puts the glass down on the grass. The bassist of the Californian experimental pop band Xiu Xiu stands together with his bandmate Ches Smith and Jeff Parker, guitarist of the highly influential postrock band Tortoise from Chicago in what looks like the middle of nowhere, with nothing except fishermen, leisure cyclists and a railway bridge around. Not only the location is uncommon for our sessions that normally take place in urban surroundings. We asked Jamie, the singer and mastermind of Xiu Xiu if he was up for a video shoot with us. He politely turned down our request but referred us to his bandmates Ches and Devin, who do a Jazz-Trash-side project called Good For Cows. As Tortoise played the Donaufestival the same night the two of them invited their mate Jeff Parker to join the laid-back performance on the riverside. The result is neither Tortoise nor Xiu Xiu or Good For Cows, but an improvised Jazz session interpreting classics from Charlie Parker and Ornette Coleman played on our tiny almost toy-like amps and accompanied by singing birds and passing trains.
Donaufestival is a festival for advanced pop music, theatre, film and performances in the Lower Austrian town Krems. The festival significantly changed its artistic orientation in 2005, when the “new” Donaufestival started with Tomas Zierhofer-Kin as artistic director. Since then it takes place annually on two or three weekends in spring, presenting and celebrating the most relevant popcultural movements. 2008’s motto is “Angst. Obsession. Beauty.”, which gives space to noisy avant-garde-pop acts like Liars, The Go-Team and Health as well as to numerous queer artists like The Hidden Cameras, Scott Matthew and Xiu Xiu. Contrary to all those common summer festivals music is only a part of the Donaufestival, as there are performances, film screenings and exclusive commissioned works shown on several locations all over Krems. Apart from the Donaufestival, Krems is rather known as a destination for tourists than for its popcultural scene. It is situated right by the river Danube and in the because of its beautiful landscape very popular Wachau region. Krems is particularly famous for its vine-yards located picturesquely on the hills ascending from the Danube (the town even has its own viniculture college) and the Old Town with its narrow cobblestone lanes. The city of Krems dates back more than 1000 years as first settlements of Germans and Slavs were documented in 995. Apart from tourism Krems is known as a place for trade fairs and industry, has a University specialising only in post-graduate-studies and is home of the biggest penal institution in Austria. With almost 30.000 inhabitants Krems is the fifth biggest town in Lower Austria, which is the province around Vienna.