Rebuilding what is worn
In Germany during the late fifties and sixties, most of the essential had been rebuilt, the “worthy” historic buildings were in the process of being restored, but many old buildings of more local interest and endearment had still been neglected. Therefore, many people invested their time in raising them out of the gravel. Many, including a group of teenage friends and I, went to a nearby small monastery, removing the weeds and gravel, and sorting it to find useful bits of broken masonry.
Craftsmen and artisans gave their time to restore the damages in traditional ways, mostly with bits we had found; only rarely they would re‑sculpture an entire essential link. Because of lack of accommodation, we would take shelter in those buildings while working. No, there were no ghosts.
Once the refractory had been cleaned, we would have our meals there, and in the evenings we would often sit in the old church, talking and dreaming, and some of us would sing, appropriately, Gregorian chants of course.
Thus, it came to no surprise, some of us could feel what it would have been like to live here as a monk a few hundred years ago. This awareness gave us a sense of how far to go with our restoration work and remain at a level of subtle, humble caring.
The results were buildings that showed their age, pleasingly cleaned from the debris, still providing an impression of their former appearance. And once again one could feel the presence of their spirit occupying its place and expressing itself again.
Thirty years later during a return trip from my second home, Australia, nostalgia invited me to revisit this monastery. Alas, I was shocked. Affluence had taken over and rebuilt the monastery to a crude, insensitive degree: there were no broken pieces anymore, it looked like new. The spirit had withdrawn.
Under the described motto, humbly, I have begun to treat Tango music the same as we did the old monastery: I removed some of the debris of wear from the early recordings so music can be appreciated undisturbed. I cleaned only noticeable damage caused by mechanical wear of the record thus spoiling the sound. And further, I intend to enhance what the lack of recording technology had been unable to capture in the first place. I am acutely aware of the fine line to be drawn.
When does Dusting changes to Repair?
A bit further up on the page, I described a line I do not want to overstep. How do I judge? Primarily, I feel the spirit of the music, and I notice, when it comes out more or when it pulls back. Therefore, I know where to start and also, when I have gone too far. Also, I am a musician with an accurate ear, I have studied acoustics and sound engineering, and finally, I am a dancer, who dances, when he is moved by the music’s spirit, my kind and cheerful guide.
Where do the music recordings come from? People know of my interest in music, and often they give me their favourite records, sometimes without any information about the songs themselves. If the music (its spirit) grabs me (it has to, because sometimes I spent hours on one piece) then, a piece of music will be dusted and becomes part of the collection available on this site.