In 1997, through a strange set of circumstances, I was summoned to Vienna, Austria, to do some recording with people I did not know. At least, I thought the reason for my visit was music. I did not know at the time that the actual purpose of my visit was to study at the headstock of Zen Metal Master Leo Bei, a bassist, songwriter and producer of considerable reputation and portentious bearing.
The other thing I did not know for a fact but that I had a visceral sensation of was that I was heading into some extraordinarily rough waters, coming to the end of my thirties as I was, and would need something in the way of faith to carry me through what would be a long and stormy voyage along an underground river, until I spilled out into open water again.
Zen Metal Master Bei provided that, but his methods were harsh.
The Vienna Seshins were lost for a long time, but Gert Haussner found them in a basement in suburban Prague recently, and they have been re-mastered by the Grammy-winning mastering engineer, John Greenham. The mixes were fixed, and while I'd adjust a couple of things if I could, these were recorded on tape, and that vibrance comes through. I've uploaded mp3's here, but if you really want to hear it tonally, it's on my Soundcloud. Among other things, the Master is one fine studio engineer who records on vintage equipment that frequently works. At the time, there were two historic mixing boards in the studio: from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Revolver. I think those were the ones. They didn't work, and apparently required a Swiss paratrooper/engineer's attention, but their presence added a certain element of spookiness to the seshins, and I have no doubt that they affected the outcome.
So there's a certain edge to these seshins because they were recorded usually between the hours of midnight and six a.m., when the Master was most restless, and after a few of these seshins, I began to unravel.
Look for excerpts from the Memoirette, The Vienna Seshins, on Blues for a Buddha.