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Interviews

Kent Carter and the Continental Continuum

By Published: August 13, 2004

AAJ: And there were a lot of composers who walked the line, like Berio and Kagel brought a lot of accomplished improvisers into a classical context.

KC: Yes, and this is what Francois Rossé is doing, setting up orchestras and we do our stuff. We work with this woodwind player from California who's been here for many years, Etienne Rolan, and he specializes in the basset horn. We do concerts, totally acoustic.

AAJ: You usually eschew amplification with your instrument, am I right?

KC: I do not like it - there is nothing like working acoustically. I know it's necessary if we're working with certain instruments like drums. But basically, no. It's like what classical musicians do, you set up and you work on it.

AAJ: Right, if you're really playing together you should able to be heard without any amplification.

KC: Absolutely. You never should hear 'I can't hear the bass, I can't hear the bass.' You only hear that when there's a sound system involved. Playing acoustically is a musical adjustment which is a part of music making; you create the sound within your acoustic environment with the ensemble.

AAJ: Amplification often adds this unnatural buzz; I play a bit of cello and amplification always muddies the sound, but if you're playing with other instruments sometimes you need it. It's a double-edged sword.

KC: Yeah, I just try to stay away from that, but sometimes you can't avoid it.

AAJ: I know you're tired of talking about this, but could you discuss what happened recently with you and the authorities?

KC: It's bad luck, and we have a problem. Without knowing it, we rented a guest house to people involved in the ETA. It's like the sky fell in and crashed. The musician friends here - they've done a beautiful thing, they made a big music day for us, twelve bands from eleven in the morning until nine at night, to raise money for our legal expenses, and it's very moving. Plus all the emails from all over the world, people I don't know from Istanbul and Buenos Aires, it's amazing.

AAJ: But you're soldiering on...

KC: It has inhibited my work internationally; we had some things in the fire that if they don't let me do them, I don't know what I'll do. But I hope we get this organized; I think they're going to trust us, and I don't need a passport to travel in Europe. Coming to the States is impossible - 'Mr. Carter, would you step this way please?' You won't be seeing me live there for a while.

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