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robertfotostriped
Thanks for passing by.

The shown works touch a variety of fields and disciplines:
Art, Graphic Design, Music and Sound, but also a variety of production branches within those fields and beyond.

I work as a fulltime-lecturer at University of Applied Sciences in Eisenstadt. Alternatively you may spot me at my studio in Wien/Neubau – another buzzing spot in Vienna.

Meet me there to get in touch or say hello.


Bilingual Content. Deutsch/english

Works picked from my past and present fields of work and interest.
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Line of Beauty and Grace

Songs of Claire Madison


© Karate Joe Rec. 2009
Cat.No.: KJ024
Type: EP (10" Vinyl)


Songs of Claire Madison – a search result
(By Robert Rotifer)

To be honest with you, when I first heard of this band I googled “Claire Madison“ straight away. You never know these days, it could be some extremely clever cover versions project, maybe a tribute to some obscure seventies songwriter you wouldn’t want to admit never to have heard of. After all, this is supposed to be an Austrian band, and their lyrics sound so perceptive, uncontrived and true that they surely can’t have written them all by themselves.

But all that my search turned up, apart from the band’s own rather cryptic Myspace page, was a photo album of a baby born in 2006, some mad-eyed woman from Memphis, Tennessee, on Facebook, and a Twitter page from a girl who follows Zac Efron. Her latest entry read: “rainy rainy rainy this weekend, 85 and sunny today.“

This, at last, sounded like the Claire Madison I had got to know listening to Songs of Claire Madison’s first EP, the one who, in the first song To Get Along, is found crying all over the narrator’s floor.

There’s nothing else worth to tell, except for the ringing baby bells of some people you used to know / Wednesday I’ve been to a miserable rock’n’roll show,, she tweets in Line Of Beauty And Grace, a song whose title might equally allude to a documentary about controversial photographer Jock Sturges or the inscription on the palette that the painter William Hogarth placed next to his own image in his self-portrait.

Maybe it is Sturges after all, as his predatory gaze falls on Claire Madison’s body underneath her favourite Summerdress as he watches her talking to some cute little surfing boy in the next song from behind a bench on a beach promenade, camera at the ready.

You might think I’m making all this up, but SOCM’s main songwriter Stephan Peck is the sort of conceptualist who would incorporate a hidden nod to Hogarth’s “line” into the design of the EP cover. “Don’t ask me why,” he says, “but in my mind Hogarth’s line of beauty and grace has always been conflated with the image of a freight train. That’s why there is a steam engine in the rhythm of the song, as well as the loud train whistle of the guitar.”

I don’t know if Peck (vocals, guitar, drums) has explained all this to his band mates Thomas Pronai (guitar, bass, baritone guitar, vocals), Andreas Spechtl (guitar, bass) and Robert Pinzolits (drums, omnichord), but their ideas of who exactly Claire Madison might be seem to match effortlessly on these astonishingly full and well-balanced sounding live recordings from a Viennese rehearsal room.

As it turns out, any of the Claire Madisons I found on the web could have been the one I was looking for, because her fictional namesake who inspired the band’s moniker is a flat incidental character from a novel by Austrian author Peter Handke that Stephan Peck picked up just before travelling to the US in 2006. Neither the character nor the novel seemed convincing to him as a portrayal of American life. In his self-deprecating way, Peck decided that this would fit in perfectly with his idea of a band that likes to dabble in folk and country music without aspiring to the glorification of authenticity inherent to the genre: “Should you really go to Nashville and record everything completely by the book? Do you have to play and play for five years until your fingers bleed before you can dare to go onstage with your pedal steel? Somehow, we didn’t want to subscribe to any of this. Of course, we were going to quote from the genre and use its tropes, but in a way that breaks them up and subverts the masculine myth that goes along with the whole thing. It should be Claire’s songs after all.”

I know you didn’t wait for this song, but baby, here you’ve got it (Resigned)

Instead of paying their dues touring the American heartland, Songs of Claire Madison have derived their musical grounding from repeated exposure to The Byrds’ “Sweetheart of the Rodeo”, the works of The Band, Dylan’s “Basement Tapes” and “listening to that incredible song Dead Flowers over and over again,” as Peck imparts without specifying whether he means the Stones’ original or the celebrated version by Townes Van Zandt.

When the Stones released it on “Sticky Fingers” in 1971, Rolling Stone magazine dismissed their attempts at doing straight country music as “appalling”. Interestingly, Van Zandt seems to have thought otherwise.

The fact that a Vienna-based band, whose members all hail from the flatlands of Burgenland, the Eastern-most Austrian province, should use this wonderful bastard of an American song imagined by a bunch of Brits and reappraised by an American as a yardstick for their own, decidedly unauthentic approach to Americana, perfectly encapsulates Peck’s original idea.

Anyway, in spite of the odd imported American phrase in their lyrics and the American feel of their music, Songs of Claire Madison never actually pretend to live there. Far from it. Resigned, the last song on their debut 10-inch, travels all the way from Tel Aviv to Sherwood Forest, discreetly quoting a verse from (I Can Get No) Satisfaction on the way out.

So was it the Stones version of Dead Flowers after all?

3

Rhombold

Interior

3

Stadtoase Tulln

Stadtoase Tulln Errichtungs GmbH

Graphic Design

3

MIKRO

Interior

3

spolia.

Spolia. (Roland Hemedinger)

Interior

3

Mikro (Furniture)

Mikro – Adaptive Studio

Interior

5

Astrid Table

Interior

3

35 Jahre Cselley Mühle

Cselley Mühle Kultur- und Aktionszentrum

Contribution, Graphic Design

6

Dark Water

Artist, Graphic Design, Music, Music Label

2

IFK

Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften

Graphic Design

2

vor ort Ideenwerkstatt

nonconform architektur vor ort

Graphic Design

5

We went from Destruction

Pendler

Graphic Design, Music Label

3

Line of Beauty and Grace

Songs of Claire Madison

Artist, Graphic Design, Music, Music Label

2

See This Sound – Web-Archive

Ludwig Boltzmann Institut

Graphic Design

5

See This Sound – Keyvisuals

Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz, Ludwig Boltzmann Institut

Graphic Design, Publications

6

See This Sound – Videoteaser

Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz, Ludwig Boltzmann Institut

Graphic Design, Video

5

Glanz und Verderben

Kunstverein Medienturm; Hrsg. Vitus H. Weh

Contribution, Graphic Design, Publications

5

Canon to the Hammer of the Gods

Secession

Graphic Design, Publications

2

Liebe

Tanz Baby!

Graphic Design, Music Label

2

High Table

Interior

2

KJ Rec – Website

Karate Joe Rec.

Graphic Design

2

Multiplex Fiction

Secession

Graphic Design, Publications

3

Long Table

Interior

2

Samarium-Cobalt (…)

Lars Stigler

Music Label

2

Menora

Kutin

Graphic Design, Music Label

6

Annähernd Robert Schneider

Eveline Lehner

Contribution, Graphic Design

5

You come to me

Pendler

Graphic Design, Music Label

3

30 Jahre Cselley Mühle

Cselley Mühle

Publications

2

Aerial View of Model

Glim

Music Label

2

Naila

Mimi Secue

Graphic Design, Music Label

2

Quietude

Takuma Itoi

Graphic Design, Music Label

5

Game Music

Robert Pinzolits

Artist, Video

2

Safe in its place

Pelzig

Music Label

2

Forst

Mimi Secue

Graphic Design, Music Label

6

Post No Bill

Le Charmant Rouge

Artist, Music, Music Label

2

Glear

ELAK Vienna

Music Label

2

Ground/Lift

Ground/Lift

Music Label

2

Horizons (realized on photographs)

Contour

Graphic Design, Music Label

2

Mon rideau noir

Lars Stigler

Music Label

5

Music for Fieldrecordings

Glim

Music Label

2

Tanzcafé der Nationen

The Beautiful Kantine Band

Music Label

2

Dean Roberts – Be Mine Tonight

Kranky Rec.

Graphic Design

5

Winzer

Le Charmant Rouge

Artist, Graphic Design, Music, Music Label

2

Delay makes me nervous

ELAK Vienna

Music Label

2

Blüte

Various Artists

Artist, Music, Music Label

5

Amocco

Songs of Suspects

Artist, Graphic Design, Music, Music Label

2

Tanzcafé der Nationen (7-inch)

The Beautiful Kantine Band

Music Label

2

Mimi Secue (s/t)

Mimi Secue

Music Label

2

25 Jahre Cselley Mühle

Cselley Mühle

Graphic Design, Publications

2

Das Gasthaus zum fröhlichen Arbeiter

Artist

5

Fingerprints

EU-Art-Network

Artist, Video

2

Don't Say Maybe (DSM#4)

Artist, Contribution

2

Synart 3

Charmant Rouge

Artist