pa ta music
(Original Interview by Sabine Moig / JazzoSphére)

Norbert Stein et le label PATA MUSIC c'est une histoire passionnante. Chacun de ses opus nous ouvre à un aspect artistique des plus précieux. «La Belle et la Bête» lie parfaitement musique, vidéo, théâtre. Une musique riche de ses découvertes incessantes.

Could you introduce you to the French public ?
My name is Norbert Stein. I am living in the near of Cologne in Germany and I am saxophonist (tenorsax) and composer for Pata Music.

When and why did you create Pata Music ?
The first time I published using the name "Pata" was in 1986 when I released the record "die fuenf Tage" with the PATA ORCHESTRA.

What is the meaning of Pata ?
This is the attempt of an explanation in an article written by Joerg Eipasch, some years ago : "If you want to know the meaning of "pata" you will have to learn that your dictionary stubbornly refuses to reveal any information in this respect. To illuminate the origin of the little word we need a short literary excursion into the fascinating world of Doctor Faustroll. Because it was he who in 1898 under the overall control of the French Alfred Jarry created the expression of " pata physics ". In the epilogue of the German edition (Alfred Jarry, Heldentaten und Ansichten des Doctor Faustroll, Pataphysiker;) the translater Klaus Voelker gives the following definition : " Pata physics is the science which is based on unreal logic and a new reality beyond the borders of the world of external appearences removed from the usual principles of causality. Everything is able to be mixed up, to be changed, to be turned around and exchanged: things, times and spaces. But nothing is arbitrary, only that every simplicity consists of an interrelated and self-penetrating complexity." Following Jarry ´s word creation, the saxophone player Norbert Stein, who lives near Cologne, derived some years ago the name Pata Musik establishing the collective term " pata " as a constant which should offer the listener a basis of identification of the composer-musician ´s different projects. ..."

Could you speak about the evolution of the label ?
An excerpt of press: "... During the busy Seventies he was one of the musicians citizen-initiative of the Koelner Jazzhaus, which is one of the most successful and effective musicians co-operation of our time. He was also a member of the initiative´s central groups ..." During these years we created a musicians´own label to publish music controlled only by our own. We had to finance our CD projects and to develop all abilities to produce and release CDs. After the "time of community" has ceased, I started my own label PATA MUSIC in 1986. Meanwhile there are 14 releases of Patamusic with different groups and special projects. Over the years you can find a collection of very special works and cooperations like PATA BAHIA, which was the result of a meeting with Brazilian musicians in Brazil or the soundscape-project PATA MAROC, recorded in Maroc combining Patamusic, contemporary soundscapes and the mastership of the Moroccan flute-player Rachid Zeroual. There is a quite strong connection to France, too: it is the cooperation with ARFI, the musicians collective in Lyon. We realised some very exciting projects together, which are released as "PATA meets ARFI". You can hear the exciting musical results on the CDs "News of Roi Ubu" and "Die Schoene und das Biest"/"La Belle et la Bete".

What are your influences ? Litterature? Arts ? People ? Countries ?
There are many musical influences. I grow up playing "village music", that means music for Christmas,, Carnival, funerals ... the next impression was the strange world of contemporary music and jazz to which I listened during the night in the radio ... pop and rockmusic of the Seventies ... I studied saxophone at the Music Highschool in Cologne and was one of the first jazz graduated there ... The result of all these different cultural sources and the knowledge of multiple possibilities to express in music is: PATA MUSIC.
Literature: the absurd theatre by Beckett, Ionesco etc.; the heritage represented by Goethe, Shakespeare, Dostojewski, Tolstoi ... and books trying to explain science, history and actual political situations.

Arts: Picasso, Goya, the Expressionists ...

People: I like to read books showing biographies, from artists as well as from politicians. One of the first books I read in my youth - concerning with the course of live - was a biography of Ghandi ... later I studied a lot of books dealing with different schools of psychology ... nowadays this is substituted by political analyses ...

Countries: I had to have it out with German history. I am fascinated by differences in the way of living in different places and societies in the world. Multilayered possibilities. Exciting.

News of Roi Ubu is the first recording I have discovered from you. How is born this project ? How did you work for it ?
After the work on the CD "the secret act of painting" - a commissioned production on occasion of the art exhibitions of the Bayer Cultural Divison - I got the offer from this Cultural Department to organize 4 further concerts for further art exhibitions. These concerts were intended to be well prepared creative meetings of musicians from PATAMUSIC and ARFI. The promoter really appreciated the unique work of each side. There has been the vision of a fruitful co-operation between both.

Was it difficult for you to work with so many musicians ?
No, it was not difficult. It has been an exciting challenge to organize 4 different groups for four different concerts and to combine the musicians out of the rich pool of creative persons on both side.

When did you meet ARFI ? and what do you think about their work ?
The first time we met each other was in ´94 in Lyon. It was the result of the contact between two musicians´ organisations: the French ARFI and the German INITIATIVE KOELNER JAZZHAUS. ARFI invited us (some groups from our organisation) to meet them in concerts in Lyon. At this time, these musicians from Lyon were already well known in Germany with their "Assoziation à la Recherche d´un Folklore Imaginaire". Since this first meeting we felt, that there is a strong relationship between PATA and ARFI concerning our European way of expression in contemporary jazz.

Why did you choose the subject Roi Ubu ? and what do you think about the result of the project (in concerts & CD) ?
I choosed the subject "Roi Ubu" because this is the main theatre piece of Alfred Jarry, who is the poet of Pataphysique. We recorded the composed and improvised material with each of the four groups in a studio in Bonn, the German radio WDR live-recorded each concert at Leverkusen,too, and finally I combined the mixed material with previous orchestral work - based on graphic notation - which we already had recorded at an other occasion (The ARFI night "Le grand barouf") in Rouen. The result is a very dense, intensive and colorful music (Pata 10/2 CDs) which really represents the creativity of this international meeting. We all are very satisfied with this patamusic.

Could you speak to us about "La belle et la bête". This project is from "Kulturabteilung Bayer". When did they contact you ? Have you ever work on similar projects ? Was it a challenge for you ?
The first contact with the "Cultural Department of Bayer" was about 10 years ago. They had asked me to play a concert with the PATA HORNS in one of their vernissages which they promoted regulary every 3 month. This was the beginning of a very fruitful contact. I played several concerts for exhibitions and got the chance to realise the CD project "The secret act of painting", "News of Roi Ubu" and as the latest work " La Belle et la Bête". The project of "La Belle et La Bete" was a project which brings together composed and improvised music, the creating of sound sculptures and contemporary visual-art and performance. I have played for years in a musicgroup named Boury, where we worked with the American dancer and choreograph Robert Solomon: music and dance/performance. Therefore I was used in dealing with space, performance and visual art. But it is always a challenge to organize great projects, specially when it is planned to be a meeting of two different groups, in this case: PATA and ARFI.

How did you work for children & families ? Was it easy?
The project "La Belle et la Bête" was planned to be a concert for children and families. We had to respect this and I think that we really combined a narrative form to tell the story - by the actor Joseph Hofmann, pictures by Rolf Wetter and video-projection by Reinhold Knieps - with music including all elements of emotions and expressions we like to perform. In this project we took the chance to develop and play the music we like to play in combination with fantastic fairytale-surrounding.

This is pluridisciplinary project (video, paintings, voices...) How did you work to create a coherent project ? Was it easy to work with different Arts ?
It is very interesting and mostly an enrichment to work with different arts, because each art has its own possibilities to reflect the world and the human being. Since my youth I am very preoccupied with theatre and painting. Maybe this is a reason why I don´t have any difficulties to work with video, painting voices, actors or dancers, because they all can work together to formulate similar things.

Could you speak to us about Jean Mereu ? What was the part of each of you for this work ?
It was a pleasure to work with Jean Mereu in this project. As a member of ARFI he is used and very experienced in working with music in combination with theatre and visual arts. And he likes literature and film very much. During the work on "La Belle et la Bête" it was mainly his part to reduce the long text of the original French fairytale to a short story; he had to concentrate the story to create place for creative music. Together we worked on the structure of the whole performance.

How was this project received by children & families before, during and after the concert ?
We have had two meetings with a group of about ten children during the months of preparation. This meetings were recorded and broadcasted by PAPAGENO, the children channel of the WDR - one of the main German radio stations. The WDR was part of the co-operation to make this project possible, too. First we have had an one hour meeting with the children and demonstrated the electronic elements of our work. It was fascinating for them to realise the computer as a creative music-instrument, creating really new sounds for the scenes of the fairytale. The second meeting was at the place where the iron soundsculptures where build. In our performance these sculptures are connected with the different characters of the fairytale. The children could be witnesses of the work in progress and listen - and discuss - how sounds are connected to aspects and emotions of the story. Finally the concert takes about one hour. In the audience the children where really fascinated by the performance which integrates the video-projection of illustrated scenes of the fairytale, too. In Germany the story was narrated by the German actor and in Luxemburg it was Jean Mereu himself who narrated the story and played the trumpet, too. Besides, Jean Mereu is the narrator of the fairytale in the French CD-edition of "La Belle et la Bête". We published it in German and French language.

What is the future of this project (concerts...) ?
At the moment there are no further performances planned of this project.

You seem interested by contact with other cultures (Pata Maroc, Pata Bahia, Ritual life...). Could you explain us why it is so important for you and your music ?
By the years we have had several tours - mainly with the PATA MASTERS - promoted by the Goethe-Institut. These tours are planned to be an international cultural contact and sometimes after an initial concert-stay further things and ideas developed: After our first tour in Brazil, we returned two years later to Bahia - the preparations took so long - and during this second stay we have had a well organised two weeks meeting with Brazilian musicians in Salvador. After one week rehearsing we performed some concerts and then we recorded "PATA BAHIA". I returned with the tapes to Germany and mixed the music in Germany. "PATA MAROC" was connected with the Goethe-Institut,too. After composing the music and preparing the electronic tapes in Germany - written patamusic combined with soundscapes from Morocco recorded by Michael Ruesenberg - we travelled to Rabat to work with the Moroccan fluteplayer Rachid Zeroual. We have had some days of rehearsals and then we performed the project at the festival in Rabat with great success. We recorded the music for PATA MAROC at the local radio station in Rabat within two days and mixed the music on the tapes afterwards in Germany.

What are your projects for the next year ?
In november 2001 we have had a concert tour with PATA MASTERS to Australia, Singapore and Indonesia. As a result of this tour we will return to Indonesia next year and - in co-operation with the Goethe-Institute - we
will have a two weeks meeting with Indonesian musicians and dancers. We intend to record there the music for the next CD-release of PATA MUSIC: "PATA JAVA".

Propos recueillis par Sabine Moig (JazzoSphére)